Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

PZ Myers is Made of Win

Elles, author of the blog Splendid Elles, wrote this about the PZ Myers presentation we hosted recently, so I though I would share.

“So, after the Metro-State Atheists went through much stress and annoying bureaucracy stuff involving the student government, I got to see PZ Myers give an epic speech that was made of win!

After having heard the majority of my non-science teachers pussyfoot around having to say the “E word”, it was refreshing hearing somebody say that we shouldn’t avoid talking about evolution just because the creationist “has a big rock”.

Most refreshing was hearing somebody say that science and religion are in fact competing worldviews. One relies on faith, while the other asks for evidence. Now, that doesn’t mean that people can’t be compartmentalized and use faith in one situation to make them feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and science when they end up in an emergency room, but they’re really not the same.

PZ gave a very good summary of the present state of science education in our country, loaded with all those juicy statistics and stuff. He also pointed out that a certain vice-presidential candidate is a creationist and thinks that creation should be taught along-side evolution.

He then divulged his evil plan for when he becomes Emperor of the world by showing us a clip from Expelled with him saying that he wanted religion to become like knitting. But of course, after saying that quote a bunch of knitters (including myself… er… not really… I’ve knitted a few scarves and stuff) because upset that he had vilely compared their hobby to religion so he made a new analogy (and I will paraphrase and plausibly severely misquote him here)

I want religion to become like masturbation. Something that everybody does, doesn’t talk about it that much, doesn’t affect their lives… but it feels good and it doesn’t harm anybody…

I don’t want it to become a deciding factor for president of the United States though.

He then talked about the whole cracker incident and shared a few of the e-mails he had gotten from it, and as entertaining as it was to hear him tell the tale in person, I frankly felt he spent more time on it than he needed to… and I don’t think he tied it in to the talk very well. Actually, I still have no idea how it related to science education. I loved listening to it and all but…

Sorry, PZ. You’re still made of win. Just a touch of constructive criticism…

He ended with a quote from Lawrence Krauss…

I wonder which is more important: using the contrast between science and religion to teach about science or trying to put religion in its place?

He said “why can’t we do both?” And I agree. The better a person understands the scientific method, I’ll bet the more likely they are to apply it to everything.

Education needs to be about freethought. It needs to be about teaching kids skepticism and not telling them “apply this to everything! But not your religion.” We can’t make conclusions for them, but we can give them the freedom and the tools to get to their own conclusions… if they choose to use them.

So, in conclusion, when PZ becomes emperor of the world it’s not going to be that bad of a place. If you don’t like cephalopods, though…

Anyway, still a pretty awesome talk.”

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October 2, 2008 Posted by | Lecture, splendid elles | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Jewel of Medina


The UK publication of The Jewel of Medina has been put on permanent hold after the fire-bombing of the London offices of its publisher Gibson Square Books last week. It’s owner, Martin Rynja has gone into hiding.
http://www. thefirstpost. co. uk/people,1457,sherry-jones-book-put-on-hold,47888

– Chalmer

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Censorship, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casualty of Christian Science

Found this article from childrenshealthcare.org.

“At the age of five, Nancy Brewster of El Paso, Texas, developed lumps on her neck and threw up repeatedly. She was too sick to go to school after first grade. A Christian Science practitioner prayed for Nancy. She urged the girl and her mother to deny the symptoms of the illness as an illusion. Nancy was constantly told that she was God’s perfect child and nothing could be wrong with her.

Nancy was made to exercise in 100 degree–plus heat and forced to eat even though she was vomiting. Both her mother and the practitioner believed that Nancy was just being stubborn. Her mother sometimes even beat Nancy and blamed her for not getting healed. Nancy got no pain relief, even an aspirin. She was not held or comforted because that would be giving reality to the disease.

Nancy died September 29, 1963, at age 7. Her death certificate lists “probable malignant lymphoma” as the cause.

She had no obituary or funeral service. Her mother told her siblings to think that Nancy had just gone on a trip to Africa. In her family home, Nancy was never spoken of again. Like illness, death was considered unreal in Christian Science theology.

Her mother later became a Christian Science practitioner and published a testimony in the January, 1984, Christian Science Journal with a disturbing omission. “Rearing four children with total reliance on God for healing was a joy. I cannot remember an activity missed because of illness,” she wrote.

As Caroline Fraser writes, however, “In fact, Mrs. Brewster had five children. The unmentioned fifth child who has been revised out of this testimony—indeed, out of life itself—was Nancy Brewster.” (Fraser, God’s Perfect Child, 428)

Nancy’s big sister published an obituary and held a memorial service for Nancy on the 40th anniversary of her death, and publishes an In Memoriam every year to honor and remember Nancy.”

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, Pseudomedicine, Pseudoscience, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments