Fantastic video from QualiaSoup:
The National Secular Society has a great piece on Cameron’s recent speech on Christian values and Easter:
- Prime Minister’s dissembling, hypocritical and disingenuous speech to religious leaders
Common sense, critical thinking, the scientific method, these have all shown the improbability of any religion being a reflection of reality. In fact, religion has been shown to be nothing more than a mechanism for control and enslavement, a media for ignorance, injustice and terror. Further, science has shown the improbability of a god.
There is enough beauty in truth and in reality but the religious are blind, close-minded, in their faith. I would therefore question the thinking processes for those that profess belief in gods and religions as such thinking is in opposition to rationality. In particular, I would scrutinise those politicians who “do god” as they have now flung open the door of their beliefs to criticism,
Based on the improbability of gods and religions being a truth, based on the evils of religion, Cameron is either an unthinking, credulous person with a flawed thinking processes, or he is a liar trying enhance his politician position. What is undoubted is that he is a politician.
The National Secular Society makes a clear case that Cameron is dissembling, hypocritical and disingenuous. He has failed in trying to be “cool” to attract younger votes. Now he’s going for the religious votes.
Being Human posts a rather interesting article about Buddhism, amongst the religions, probably being the closest to a fully rational philosophy; the article goes on to describes some of the problems with Buddhism as a religion. What has bothered me most with Buddhism has been its irrational elements, the superstitious elements such as karma and re-birth. There are, of course, many Buddhist sects, each with a different set of philosophes and superstitions; some sects de-emphasising the superstitious elements. The Dalai Lama, although seen as a hero my many, is much steeped in superstitions although there have been attempts over the years to put some spin on this.
Get rid of all that re-birth, karma, etc and what do you have? Sam Harris’s famous article, Killing the Buddha, argues that the original core tenants of Buddhism would be better served if they were not wrapped around a religious framework (a PDF version is also available).
Being Human explains that the original Buddhism, stripped of the superstitions and the other claptrap added by later generations, is a compelling philosophical framework. Perhaps. But is it sill recognisable as being “Buddhist”? I do not understand why a secular Buddhist philosophy is needed as there already appears to be an innate moral code in all of us, and I am not sure that secular Buddhism adds anything meaningful, However, but I am receptive to what it says so further research is called for. The Secular Buddhist appears to be a good place to start.
On a related note, I do recognise that there are many people who are uncomfortable in living without a ready-made philosophical framework and perhaps a secular Buddhism would help, even if as a transitory phase to a life free of dogmas. Those disillusioned with with Christianity or Islam, for example, may look at Buddhism where a secular form may appeal. Being Human has made a similar argument for Epicureanism philosophy and has, of coursed, noted the similarities with the early forms of Buddhism.
reprinted from Sense About Science
Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.
Beware the spinal trap
Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all, but the research suggests chiropractic therapy has mixed results – and can even be lethal, says Simon Singh.
You might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that ’99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae’. In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.
In fact, Palmer’s first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.
You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying – even though there is not a jot of evidence.
I can confidently label these assertions as utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.
But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.