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Archive for April, 2009

This is what I call good news.

April 30, 2009 Leave a comment

“40 Million Nonbelievers in America”

edit [5/3]: Some counter-evidence.

In the 2008 survey, 16% of Americans said they had no religious affiliations, but of that group, only 10% identified themselves as atheists and 15% as agnostics. Far from joining in religion-bashing, roughly 4 out of 10 currently unaffiliated said religion is at least somewhat important in their life. And many said they are still hoping to eventually find the right religious home. Among those who were raised Catholic or Protestant, the study says, “1 in 3 say they just have not found the right religion yet.”

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Torture, cont.

April 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Here Matthew Yglesias, writing for The American Prospect, wonders why if the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ that some conservatives believe are so useful and lawful America doesn’t use them more widely.

I don’t hear the calls for a waterboarding apparatus in every American police station or for equipping the Afghan national army with fewer guns and more bug-filled boxes.

He also goes on to dismantle the idea that torture is really useful anyway.  BTW, has anyone thought of any responses to my 9 objections?
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A penny cut, a penny… cut.

April 28, 2009 Leave a comment

The Obama team thinking of cutting spending by $100 million:

Such bravery.
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Scientific Roundtable?

April 27, 2009 Leave a comment

A group of some of my favorite scientists (and 1 philosopher of science) sit down and have a wonderful conversation about the state of science, the process of science, the education of science, the spreading of science, and the unification of the disciplines of science (and some other things).  Another long one, but anyone with any interest in science as a general topic will really enjoy this. 

Feel free to check out the other videos on the site that might peak your interests – if anyone finds any gems let us know.  It will be our way of “refereeing” for quality control. (you’ll need to watch the video to understand the reference).  
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I’m a discriminated against minority

April 27, 2009 2 comments

Sean was skeptical that atheists are thought of as low as I suggested.  Well here is some polling to back up my claims.  

53% of Americans surveyed said they would not vote for a “generally well-qualified person for president” who was an atheist.  Compared to 43% for the next highest, homosexuals.  Also only 67% of liberals said they would vote for an atheist (29% of conservatives).
(data from 2007)
An older set of polls is not better in the prejudice department:
One poll from 1999 has 48% of Americans unwilling to vote for an atheist compared to 38% that wouldn’t vote for a muslim.    In 2003, the Pew Research Center found that “52% [of Americans] have a mostly unfavorable or worse attitude” toward atheists.  
In 2006, a University of Minnesota study found that “atheists are America’s least trusted group.”
In 2007, apparently (I could only find a secondary report) 61% of Americans would be less likely to vote for someone who doesn’t believe in a deity.  In that article it points out that even our presidential candidates are willing to put down atheists.  Mitt Romney was probably the most famous recent candidate to exclude and demonize non-believers, denigrating what he called the “religion of secularism.”  
Finally, George H.W. Bush famously described atheists as non-Americans. The incumbent vice president while campaigning for president actually said, “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” Does anyone think if he said that about Jews he would have been elected?
So Sean, you’re worried that atheists are the ones that have the prejudiced views? 
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Fascinating Talk

April 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Check out this great presentation at a recent atheist convention on the scientific research about why people have religious beliefs.  I strongly recommend everyone watch the whole thing; it’s a bit long but very interesting and well worth it.

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Here’s something we can agree on

April 26, 2009 Leave a comment

A great column by George Will showing the ridiculous consequences of race-based hiring.  It’s not racist to hire people based on their merits.  It is racist to not hire someone because of the color of their skin.  When will everyone learn this?  

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