Politics vs religion vs science

Politics is simply something that will happen if we are to have any form of government. The best we can do is channel it through democracy. Religion? It will happen, but we don’t need it, nor is it a good thing. Science, however, is necessary if we are to take the human condition seriously.* This quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson captures all of this for me:

My read of history tells me that extreme Political or Religious conflicts ultimately resolve by War. Meanwhile, extreme Scientific conflicts ultimately resolve by a search for better data.

*What I mean is, if we are to take seriously the notion that happiness is good and suffering is bad – utilitarians do, libertarians hold it as a secondary concern – then we ought to shed ourselves of religion (or, more specifically, the random baseless thinking that is faith).

Thought of the day

“Government doesn’t create jobs!”

~said no one standing on the Hoover Dam, driving on the Interstate, using most any bridge, or using any other fundamental piece of national infrastructure

The fruits of faith

As I’ve noted many times, faith is an effectively random way of believing. That is, faith is precisely belief without evidence, so it offers absolutely no logical path towards one idea or another. This is an obvious problem in the world; there are far more ways to get things wrong than to get them right, so we should expect theists and other random-belief persons to cause a lot of havoc and offense on a daily basis. The religious, dogmatic United Arab Emirates offers one of the most egregious examples as of late:

A Norwegian woman who was sentenced to prison in Dubai after reporting that she was raped has been given a pardon and will be heading home soon, she said Monday.

Speaking to reporters in Dubai, Marte Deborah Dalelv seemed relieved and happy as she confirmed the news — if still slightly bewildered by the swift turn of events.

“They told me that I would be pardoned and that they were going to give me my passport back, so I got it immediately,” she said.

Asked what happens next, Dalelv paused a moment before replying: “I get to go home.”

She added, “We want to make it as soon as possible.”…

Dalelv, a Qatar-based interior designer, was on a work trip to Dubai when she reported to police that she had been raped by a colleague at the hotel where she was staying.

She was herself then detained and charged with having unlawful sex, making a false statement and illegal consumption of alcohol. A court last week sentenced her to 16 months in prison, prompting outrage in Norway.

Dalelv’s lawyer, Mahmoud Azab Abu Gareda, said the sheikh’s pardon is “effectively a royal decree,” which wipes the slate clean, leaving no record of her conviction.

This means the alleged perpetrator, who was charged with public intoxication and having sex outside of marriage, also walks free, he said.

Notice the stark difference in the involved nations. The United Arab Emirates is a majority Muslim nation where Islam is the official state religion. Norway, on the other hand, has a high cultural Christian population, but relatively little religious participation. According to Wiki, only 32% of Norwegians said they believe in a personal god. Moreover, an overwhelming majority, 73%, are not theists: Of the total population, 44% are effectively deists, whereas 29% are atheists.

Of course, it isn’t that atheism or deism have led the charge in Norway’s basic moral authority in this situation. They couldn’t. They’re both 100% descriptive positions. No, it’s that the people of Norway have opted for a secular guidance in their moral and ethical thinking. This is just the opposite of faith, so it isn’t surprising when we see it working so well in so many instances.

The Atlantic Wall

The Atlantic Wall and the U.S. Interstate System are two of my favorite pieces of infrastructure. Of course, one was far more successful than the other.

Thought of the day

One of the things that makes our country weaker is that we allow states that wish to undermine the teaching of evolution. We can’t expect to have a strong, scientific nation if we keep acting like science is an opinion-based discipline.

Those obsessed atheists

2013-07-10

George Zimmerman found not guilty

George Zimmerman was found not guilty yesterday. (I would give a link, but who isn’t aware of this case?) I’m actually quite happy with this verdict. Though it initially seemed as if he was motivated by racial animus – and maybe he did profile Martin – what apparently transpired was grounds for reasonable doubt. That is, witnesses testified they saw Martin pummeling Zimmerman. If that’s the case, then there’s just no way a jury should come back with a guilty verdict.

Ultimately, this is a victory for us all. I’m sure plenty of people won’t see it that way, but it really is. The system is heavily skewed in favor of the government; there’s just no way police, detectives, and prosecutors are something like 90% accurate in terms of their arrests, investigations, and charges. Yet that’s the conviction rate as wrought through plea deals. It’s bull. So when someone beats a charge, that should usually be cause for celebration, at least of the principles of our legal system.