Salon Writer Says We Should Stop Criticizing Astrology; Here’s Why He’s Wrong

Eric Adams considers himself a “man of science,” but doesn’t want to be a dick about it to astrology believers. That alone isn’t a bad idea — it’s hard to change minds by insulting people. In a piece for Salon, he shared how how he’s learned to strike a balance… but it quickly took a strange direction:

I have very few buttons people can press that will elicit any sort of knee-jerk reaction. Actually, I only have one: Astrology… The subject strikes a nerve because my main avocation happens to be astronomy. You know, the actual science.

When I thought about it, I quickly realized that similar low-level intolerance crops up other places in my life, as well…

So where do I get off being such a dismissive shit?

It’s the equivalent of dismissing entire religions, which just isn’t like me.

Let’s stop right there before he goes any further. Astrology’s fundamental principles tell you how you’re supposed to interact with others based on their star sign: You’re compatible with this person. You should avoid that person. In pretty much every other context where you treat people differently due to something beyond their control, we have a word for it. People deserve to be treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation, skin color, and when they were born.

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Faithful Hindus Give Their Gods Billions of Dollars in Gold, Resist Government Bid To Put It In Interest Accounts

Gods need gold:

India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold and its ancient temples have collected billions of dollars in jewellery, bars and coins over the centuries — all hidden securely in vaults, some ancient and some modern. … Now, the Narendra Modi government reportedly wants to get his hands on this temple gold, estimated at about 3,000 tonnes, more than two-thirds of the gold held in the U.S bullion depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to help tackle India’s chronic trade imbalance.

The Modi government is planning to launch a scheme in May that would encourage temples to deposit their gold with banks in return for interest payments, it is said. The government is likely to melt the gold and loan it to jewellers to meet an insatiable appetite for gold and reduce economically-crippling gold imports, which accounted for 28 per cent of India’s trade deficit in the year ending March 2013.

Even if the plan succeeds, it’s still not nearly as good as converting the gold into cash directly to help the poor. Why would gods be interested in precious metals in the first place? It boggles the mind that more and more gold accrues to Hindu temples and none of it is used for anything but adornments, at best. A lot of the yellow metal just sits uselessly in vaults, hidden away for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.

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Five Challenges Atheists Face and How We Can Overcome Them

Today is Openly Secular Day and Tom Krattenmaker uses the opportunity to bring up five challenges atheists still face.

I wanted to summarize his points and add a few thoughts of my own:

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Elementary Schoolers in Maine Learned About Transgender People and Conservatives Are Panicking

By now, you may have heard about a storm brewing at an elementary school in Kittery, Maine. Teachers read the book I Am Jazz, an autobiographical children’s book by transgender teenager Jazz Jennings, to K-3 students. One 7-year-old reportedly asked his mother when he got home if he was transgender.

Enter conservative media, like Fox Nation writer Todd Starnes.

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Greenville (SC) County Council Members, Ignorant of the Law, Won’t Let Atheists Deliver Invocations

When it comes to invocations at government meetings, the Supreme Court said last year that prayers are fine — even sectarian prayers “in Jesus’ name” are fine — as long as the process is open to everybody. If they want invocations, city councils must set policy so that even minority faith groups have a chance of delivering them. And we’ve seen the consequences of this for a while now, with atheists, Pagans, and Wiccans making the most of their opportunities.

But that message seems to have escaped the 12 County Council members in Greenville, South Carolina.

They think they already have diversity:

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