Rationing Organs for Religious Refuseniks

AwakeMay94

Since new medical advances always catch my attention, I read with interest this article about "bloodless" lung transplants being pioneered at some hospitals - that is, salvaging and re-infusing the patient's own blood, rather than relying on transfusions from donors. It's being sold as a cost-saving technique and a way to lessen the risk of allergic reactions or other rare side effects, plus it conserves donated blood so that more is available for emergencies. But the technique was developed for … [Read more...]

The Intellectual Sterility of Creationism

CreationistCartoon

In honor of Darwin Day earlier this month, Slate ran a thorough article about the creationist movement in America and one of its leading evangelists, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis. As the article points out, the science is at best a secondary concern for them: their certainty is founded on a literal reading of the Bible (which explicitly trumps any evidence, according to their statements of faith). Their primary concern is that they believe acceptance of evolution leads to sin, like abortion and … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: Making the Blind See Again

Eye

As science marches on, the miraculous cures that past ages dreamed of are slowly becoming reality. We're gaining the ability to engineer new body parts, like windpipes and bladders, outside a person's body and successfully transplant them to replace a damaged or cancerous organ. Bionic exoskeletons to let paralyzed people walk again are becoming commercially available. And this month, the FDA approved the first artificial retina, designed to restore limited vision to people with certain kinds of … [Read more...]

The Menace of Hipster Atheists

DanielDennettSmall

Over on One News Now, Peter Heck is very concerned, in a column entitled "As Atheism Rises, America Declines". Like the Catholic apologists I wrote about earlier this week, Heck has noticed that atheists are making demographic gains - but his diagnosis of the cause leaves something to be desired:A prosperous society built upon the back of the very values espoused in the Judeo-Christian worldview inevitably yields to satisfaction, complacency and arrogance - the belief that our material … [Read more...]

The Church Isn’t Too Good at Introspection

AbandonedChurch

While doing research for another post, I came across a slew of articles with a common theme: young people are leaving the Catholic church at a high rate, and the church's apologists are trying to figure out how they can stem this tide.They're not wrong about this, either. A 1999 survey found that only 14% of Catholics born after 1960 say the church is "very important" in their lives, and a 2009 Gallup poll found that church-going among Catholics has declined dramatically since the 1950s. A … [Read more...]

Scattered Thoughts from the #ForwardOnClimate Rally

I just got back from Washington, D.C., where I was taking part in the Sierra Club's Forward On Climate rally against the Keystone XL pipeline, which is intended to carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands to American refineries. I'm still a bit washed out and don't have anything profound to say, but here are some scattered impressions:• It was cold in Washington, D.C. all weekend, with bitter, frigid winds lashing the National Mall, which made the immense turnout all the more surprising. … [Read more...]

My Thoughts on the Civility Pledge

HamiltonBurrDuel

My Patheos colleague Dan Fincke has proposed a civility pledge for people engaged in public discussion.I think his motivations are good, and most of the pledge is fine. I completely agree with his points about using specific charges rather than abusive epithets, about recognizing that members of marginalized groups may have experiences which I lack, and about refraining from slurs based on ethnicity, gender or sexuality. I also particularly like his point about the difference between safe … [Read more...]

On Tolerating Intolerance

FirstAmendmentArea

Zinnia Jones at Freethought Blogs had a great post last week exposing Matt Moore, an evangelical and so-called "ex-gay" who loudly boasted that Jesus had cured him of homosexuality. It turns out the cure wasn't exactly complete, since Moore had an active profile on the gay hookup site Grindr.When confronted with the evidence of his hypocrisy, Moore admitted the account was his, claiming that he had been "disobedient" and that Jesus had already forgiven him for it (a clear example of … [Read more...]

The Arab Spring in Danger

640px-Tahrir_Square_on_November_20

I first covered the Arab Spring just over two years ago, and since then, I've written about whether the revolutions were a setback for women's rights, as well as the unresolved tension between democracy and Islamism among Arab populations.I didn't report on events in the Middle East very much last year, since I thought there were fewer major developments to cover. It seemed like the worst violence was over, and all that was left was the sausage-making process of democracy, writing new … [Read more...]

In Support of Feminism and Diversity: Atheists Speak Out

AtheismPlus

In January, I created a petition calling on atheists to show their support for feminism and diversity. That petition, with more than 2,000 signatures, was delivered to the leaders of the largest atheist and secular organizations.The petition also attracted over 400 comments from people who wanted to further explain why they were signing. Most of these comments were excellent, and I want them to be seen more widely. In this post, I'll continue spotlighting some of my favorites.A person … [Read more...]


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