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Religion

They are barely even pretending these days

We are entering a very interesting period in public life.  Now I am not one that looks back to a halcyon golden age when government reports always held government to account.  The infamous Widgery report is proof of that.  But it seems that of late, the whole thing is getting more shameless.

Cameron recently claimed that the Wanless report into historic abuse cleared the Home office.  Of course it did no such thing.  It merely said they could find no evidence that the missing files had been lost deliberately.  I’m not sure what they were expecting to find.  MI5 couldn’t find any evidence either.  Considering the suspicion was that MI5 were using video footage to blackmail senior political figures, its unlikely the spooks would have said “Yes, we knew these cunts were raping kids, but god it was a useful stick to beat them with, so we thought – fuck it”

In the USA we had the ludicrous situation where the IRS, when accused of serious wrongdoing ‘lost’ two years’ worth of e-mails.  Try that as a defence if you aren’t the government.  Do we really think they would have lost two years of records that completely exonerated them?

Then we had the FIFA report that clears FIFA.  Only the report’s author said it was a travesty and disowned it.  So now what?  Well probably nothing.  I heard a senior football administrator type figure saying it was time to “move on”  Code for’ ignore’ obvious criminality.  UEFA could of course say “Publish the full unexpurgated report or we are leaving.  Try even staging  world cup without the Europeans.

And now we have Mr Cameron’s latest anti-terror proposals.  I had always thought of him as a fat social democrat, turns out he’s a creepy fascist.  The Government wants to stop British jihadists returning unless they agree to strict conditions.  Mr Cameron said that British nationals would be unable to return to the UK “unless they do so on our terms”. If not, they will face a temporary exclusion order of two years, with the possibility of another being imposed after that.  This is utterly remarkable.  It amounts to “if we suspect you do something (ill-defined) abroad, that we don’t approve of, you are guilty of it and aren’t coming back, unless you confess”  So let’s examine this:

Does this apply to anyone who joins a foreign army/fighting force?  Okay ISIS bad, got it.  What about the FSA fighting Assad (the people we wanted to arm last year?) Criminal or not?  What if you join the FSA as a medic?  What if a Brit of Syrian origin from an Alawite family went join the Syrian army against ISIS, what if they joining Hezbollah also fighting against ISIS in Syria?  What if you joined HAMAS, notionally the government army of Gaza, would this be okay?

What if a British/Iranian joint citizen did a year in the Iranian navy?  I was in school with a Welsh kid who went to Afghanistan in the 1980’s to fight the Russians (really), is he liable to arrest?  Is it only a religious thing?  If you go to join the (secular) Tamil tigers should you be arrested?  Should Mahal mums be worried?

Unlike some other countries, Britain does not have an effective law prohibiting its citizens from fighting for foreign armies, so as far as I can see, joining any state organisation from the IDF to the Syrian army is okay.  The latter being particularly mad, because you could be doing more or less exactly the same thing Hezbollah is doing in Syria, but in the latter case, I think you could face trouble under this new proposal.   This proposal seems chaotic and liable to random and subjective application. Far better as Dominic Grieve suggests, to prosecute people if they break the law and release them if they are found not guilty.  (And it will be very interesting to see how this new law is drafted, will it specifically apply to war, or will it be a catch-all “anything we don’t like” clause?)

The whole rational basis for public life seems to be imploding. It was always implicit that the law was rational and it applied to everyone.  If this ceases to be the case, it ceases to be law in a meaningful sense and becomes rule by fiat edict.

And now we have this (very vague) Met police statement that suggests senior figures in the 1980’s weren’t just raping kids, they were killing them as well.  We can really trust this who government thing huh? Never mind, there’ll be another report along in a minute.

Maybe Women are Some Good after All?

But really, they should also include K-9 officers and enlisted.

From Clash Daily, via Weaselzippers, who got it from WSJ, where it’s only available to subscribers:

BOOM: Kurds Send All-Female Soldiers To Fight ISIS, The Reason Why is Hilarious

Posted on August 21, 2014

Kurdish women are bad-ass. You’ll never guess why they’re the ones on the frontline’s against ISIS. Check this out…

The Kurds have adopted a rather unique strategy for not only eliminating their targets, but also humiliating them along the way.

According to WZ, Kurds are deploying whole units comprised of female fighters to the front line, which has boosted their recruitment numbers, and given them a psychological edge over ISIS. One female fighter explained why the Kurds have decided to put women in the thick of the battle, and it’s sure to make radical Islamists go crazy.

“The jihadists don’t like fighting women, because if they’re killed by a female, they think they won’t go to heaven.”

Awesome. The Kurds have an understanding of what it will take to stop ISIS, and it isn’t peace talks or goodwill offerings. It’s bombs, bullets, and brute force.

Sam Harris in Defense of Israel


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Not a Sam Harris fan, as I dislike and mistrust militant atheists just as much as other militantly religious or anti-religious folk. Particularly when they seem to believe it’s they themselves to whom the phrase “from God’s mouth to your ear” applies.

But this piece by Mr. Harris is an op-ed that by me deserves great praise, particularly as it probably offends most of his natural audience. (Of course, I don’t agree with every word, nor every implication.) And I know why he put in all those parentheticals: It’s to try and cut off at the pass the obvious accusations with which we’re all too familiar.

Audio at source, from which the following are excerpts. The whole is a fair bit longer, and of course better integrated.

July 27, 2014

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

gaza

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT [Note: This is a verbatim transcript of a spoken podcast. However, I have added notes like this one to clarify controversial points.—SH]

The question I’ve now received in many forms goes something like this: Why is it that you never criticize Israel? Why is it that you never criticize Judaism? Why is it that you always take the side of the Israelis over that of the Palestinians?

I have criticized both Israel and Judaism. … I’ve kept some sense of proportion. There are something like 15 million Jews on earth at this moment; there are a hundred times as many Muslims. I’ve debated rabbis who, when I have assumed that they believe in a God that can hear our prayers, they stop me mid-sentence and say, “Why would you think that I believe in a God who can hear prayers?” So there are rabbis—conservative rabbis—who believe in a God so elastic as to exclude every concrete claim about Him—and therefore, nearly every concrete demand upon human behavior. And there are millions of Jews, literally millions among the few million who exist, for whom Judaism is very important, and yet they are atheists. They don’t believe in God at all. This is actually a position you can hold in Judaism, but it’s a total non sequitur in Islam or Christianity.

I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state.

[Note: It is worth observing, however, that Israel isn’t “Jewish” in the sense that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are “Muslim.” As my friend Jerry Coyne points out, Israel is actually less religious than the U.S., and it guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens. Israel is not a theocracy, and one could easily argue that its Jewish identity is more cultural than religious. ....]

More civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few weeks than militants. That’s not a surprise because Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Occupying it, fighting wars in it, is guaranteed to get woman and children and other noncombatants killed. ….

Whatever terrible things the Israelis have done, it is also true to say that they have used more restraint in their fighting against the Palestinians than we—the Americans, or Western Europeans—have used in any of our wars. They have endured more worldwide public scrutiny than any other society has ever had to while defending itself against aggressors. The Israelis simply are held to a different standard. And the condemnation leveled at them by the rest of the world is completely out of proportion to what they have actually done. [Note: I was not saying that because they are more careful than we have been at our most careless, the Israelis are above criticism. War crimes are war crimes.]

It is clear that Israel is losing the PR war and has been for years now. One of the most galling things for outside observers about the current war in Gaza is the disproportionate loss of life on the Palestinian side. This doesn’t make a lot of moral sense. Israel built bomb shelters to protect its citizens. The Palestinians built tunnels through which they could carry out terror attacks and kidnap Israelis. Should Israel be blamed for successfully protecting its population in a defensive war? I don’t think so.

there is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions towards them. The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal. … [Note: Yes, I know that not every Palestinian supports Hamas, but enough do to have brought them to power. Hamas is not a fringe group.]

The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking. Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that it should have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews.

And this gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it.

The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does.

Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields.

There are reports that Israeli soldiers have occasionally put Palestinian civilians in front of them as they’ve advanced into dangerous areas. That’s not the use of human shields we’re talking about. It’s egregious behavior. No doubt it constitutes a war crime. But Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.

If you’re going to talk about the conflict in the Middle East, you have to acknowledge this difference. I don’t think there’s any ethical disparity to be found anywhere that is more shocking or consequential than this.


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

It’s not just us brutal Anglo Saxons you know…

Protest outside Muenster Town Hall

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in the historic city of Münster, Germany – a university town with 50,000 students and famous as the site of the Rathaus where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.

What was not so appealing this weekend was the protest outside the historic Rathaus by a group of supporters of the Palestinians shouting quite frankly repulsive and anti-Semitic slogans while the Police looked on with cold eyes.

The rally had been called by the “initiative of the Friends of Palestine in Münster”. Bearing banners and pamphlets to express their protest the participants were mainly women with headscarves and children.

They also chanted slogans such as “child murderer Israel” or “mass murderer Netanyahu”. In a pamphlet stated: “We do not hate the Jews, but the terrorist state of Israel.”

On the opposite side of the street, under the arches, demonstrated a significantly smaller group of people for self-defense of Israel.

Heated verbal exchanges on the principal market (in the original German, translated into English by Google Translate)

It was quite clear to all concerned that the Police were not there to ensure the demonstrators didn’t get out of hand (as occasionally happens with environmental and Neo-Nazi protests in Germany), but rather to ensure that the demonstrators themselves were protected from the public at large.

Marcus, my host for the weekend, is an educated native German with a doctorate in physics who spends his summer vacations building village schools in rural India, so not exactly a little-Deutschlander, but he was outraged to the point of anger that the “…spectre of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era…” (his exact words) should be displayed again on the streets of Germany.

I pointed out to Marcus that if the right to free-speech means anything, it means the right to make statements which others may find offensive and that there is no general right not to be offended.

“Quite correct”, Marcus said, “but if the protesters had been ethnic German’s rather than immigrants, then they would have been dragged away by the Police at the first anti-Semitic outburst” - this was in relation to an anti-immigration protest at the Münster Rathaus some months ago, which the police had broken up for exactly that reason.

“The police are afraid to intervene because they are Muslims” was Marcus’ final word on the matter.

Putting the Hype into Hyperbole

From  north of the border

A teenage girl and 39-year old man who desecrated an Edinburgh mosque by attacking it with strips of bacon have both been jailed.

That’s right.  The evil pair weaponised several rashers of Danepak and attacked a large building, hurting the feelings of the security guard and his friends.  Scary stuff.

Usman Mahmood said: “I was surprised if a person did it for a joke. It is against our culture and religion.

“We do not eat pork or even touch it. I felt very bad seeing this meat in my sacred place.

“It hurt my feelings when I saw this meat hanging inside the mosque in the worshipping area. It was very disturbing.”

Yes, discovering dead meat inside a place of worship is very worrying so let’s put the bacon stunt that injured nothing but outsized sense of victimhood sensibilities into perspective shall we.

Clearly bacon is more of a threat and sheriff Noble was quite right to jail the miscreants for hurting feelings.  Society is a more safer place now that two underclass, brainless cretins who didn’t physically harm or threaten harm to anyone are locked away.  We can all sleep safer in our beds.  I’d hate to wake up one morning to discover someone had wedged a bacon butty in my letterbox.

Then we have this as quoted from the Morning Star; the bastions bastion of unbiased reporting.

Fascist mosque attacks worry British Muslims

And the form of these attacks?

Mosques in London, Bradford and Glasgow have been invaded by Members of far-right Britain First party where they were handing out Christian leaflets and bibles.

Christian leafleting and the handing out of bibles = fascist.  See what they did there?  And to ensure the message is hammered home the article is headed by an image of a bunch of skinheads indulging in a bout of frenzied, synchronised crusader flag waving.

“People are fed up,” Luton Central Mosque president Mohammed Shafait told the Morning Star on Wednesday, June 18.

“He is going around all over the country abusing people.”

I know exactly how he feels.

Resurrection Shuffle.

It’s Easter Monday, a day of great joy for Christians. Their Lord and Saviour is risen from the dead. But 55 of the prod nosed, know better than you do, self righteous, would prefer you forgot all about it. Could their letter to the Telegraph be just a coincidence on this day? I seriously doubt it.

I’m looking out of my window, and from where I stand (I live on top of a hill here in Bristol) I can see  at least five church spires. Admittedly two of them are now carpet warehouses and another converted into sheltered housing, but the other two are still functioning places of worship. I live in the district of St Andrews, just down the hill is St Pauls, then next to it is St Annes and St Werburghs , all with their attendant churches. Bristol was just a little bit Christian religious in the past, just like the whole of Great Britain, don’t you think?

Are we now? In strict observance and church attendance certainly not, but who can deny that the whole of our culture, Laws and morality stem directly from Christianity, and as belief in some imaginary sky fairy or other goes, it is most certainly the most benign that has ever been invented.

But the 55 signers of the Telegraph letter think that iDave’s professed belief is divisive to our country. Oh really? what more divided than it is already? This is Hotel UK. Come on in, get yourself a room, make whatever mess you want , carry on just as you did wherever you came from, live in a parallel universe, and we’ll do our best to just ignore it. Don’t bother trying to fit into our culture or learn our funny little ways, cos it’s all made up rubbish anyway, say the 55. The great cathedrals of Wells, York, Canterbury etc etc matter not a jot, in fact pre Christian contributions to our Nation count as much… Er, who the hell was that then? Bronze age Britons? The Romans?

It would seem to me that the ones being divisive here are the signatories to  the Telegraph letter. Is iDave being a two faced little PR shit in trying to hoover up every spare vote he can get, including the Christian one? You bet! But if the 55 want to have a go at Potato Face then do it directly, not through knocking what we fundamentally are and have been for over a thousand years… A Christian country.

A little music for a bank holiday that suggested the title of this piece. Bugger Ashton Gardner and Dyke, this is much more fun… Or riseable… take your pick.

The Egg Dance

I’ve recently got back from Amsterdam. Now I suppose it is moderately unusual to collapse into giggles in the Rijksmuseum’s section on Dutch 12th-17th Century art but I managed it. This is a detail from the picture that made me laugh…

That is a detail from The Egg Dance by Pieter Aertsen.

What made me laugh though was the caption next to it…

At right, in this brothel, a young man does an egg dance to the music of a bagpiper. While dancing, he had to roll an egg within a chalk circle – without it breaking – and to cover it with a wooden bowl. This ‘pointless’ amusement, along with the dissolute behaviour of the other figures, served as a moral warning against debauchery.

Emphasis mine. I just loved the phrase “This ‘pointless’ amusement”. Sums up life really. Less, seriously though, this was painted in 1552 and I guess you had to make your own amusement back then. The Rijksmuseum does also boast a large collection of impedimenta for drinking games. An inventive (if drunken) lot those renaissance Dutch.

In fact it stuck in my mind so much that upon my return I googled (I think the term is so ubiquitous as to have lost the capital like “hoover” has) the picture. I found this.

Now one of the first things I wondered was why the Rijksmuseum was so sure it was a brothel. To me (and my wife) it just looked like a fairly chaotic party in a home…

At the back of the room an old man is playing the bagpipes. Because of its shape, the instrument often symbolised the male genitalia. In the window is a jug containing a leek, a vegetable of the onion family. A sixteenth-century viewer would immediately have realised that the scene was a room in a brothel. Onions were supposed to be a stimulant. All around lie onion flowers, leek leaves and mussels, which were supposed to have the same quality. It was also thought to be true of eggs, the theme of the painting.

OK, the bagpipes I kinda got already. That’s a bit of a classic (cf Hieronymous Bosch)…

… Or indeed this. It is amazing how, across culture, time and geography, symbolism can be both steady yet sometimes obscure like the leek. Though that might explain the perennial appeal of Sir Tom Jones (or why, as I type, the Welsh are giving the Scots a hammering at the Rugby). This evening I shall be in the peculiar situation of cheering on France). Anyway back to my point.

From the same source (I almost hit “sauce” – hmm…)…

Pieter Aertsen has given this piquant scene a moral message that appears to reflect his own moral reservations. A joker is depicted on one of the wooden boards on the table, left, and on the other a goat jumping. These are cards in a Tarot set. In the sixteenth century everyone would have understood that these symbolised drunkenness and lust. The reel above the fireplace on the right is a sign of folly: in fact ‘reeling’ is still used today to describe a person swaying or staggering from the effects of alcohol.

The Egg Dance is one of the earliest paintings of a peasant scene. The elongated form suggests it was designed to be hung above a fireplace. This kind of genre painting was popular among the burghers of the cities. The moralistic message was often an excuse to paint a piquant scene. Aertsen was also commissioned to paint large religious works for churches. However, many of these were destroyed during the Iconoclast fury.

Emphasis mine. There is something almost reassuring about the continuity of this moral hypocrisy. We see it in modern times with the Islamosphere and the idea that a normally dressed woman is a hussy. And elsewhere.

“…the American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs” and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

- Sayyid Qutb (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood who are currently sexually assaulting “inappropriately hijabed” women and girls in Egypt” describing a Methodist tea-dance in Colorado in 1950.

Qutb apparently died a virgin having failed to find a woman “pure” enough for him. It would be farcical but for the Hell that has followed in his wake.

Or what about the most sanctimonious of businesses – the Co-op and it’s “Crystal Methodist”? The Co-op sells “ethical water” (whatever that might be) and it’s ordained Methodist preacher bank boss was using crystal meth, crack cocaine, ketamine and rent boys. Oh, and the bank had a “black hole” of over GBP1.5bn.

My favouritist newspaper in all the World is of course the Daily Mail which routinely in it’s “News” section includes scare stories about the sexualization of girls and women being driven into eating disorders by being “forced” by the media into looking like models and starlets right next to the “Femail” column (how cute) which is supposed to be about women’s issues (yeah, right). It includes stuff like this all the time.

So, to tie this all together… I’m not sure how but in some sense (and there are different variations but the basic tune is always the same) “elites”* of all descriptions will always find some sort of justification to indulge in the sins they would deny the plebs or… Well, something along those lines. Qutb is an outlier but there is still the same infernal moral arrogance of “I can see this for I am pure but you can’t”. It is the same as the burghers of Amsterdam all those years ago titillating themselves whilst feeling (or pretending to feel) morally superior to the lower orders.

Apparently there are things in the dungeon of the British Library that are so vile they can only be accessed in the presence of a couple of trustees of the British Library and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I bet Prince Philip has had a gleg…

*A term in political discourse I hate because when I was a lad “elite” meant the SAS and such. And not just gits.

Weekend Humour

At last an end to the religious debate…

The end of the religeous debate

Ken Ham takes his dogma for a walk

Bill-Nye-vs.-Ken-Ham-Debate

Periodically, the intellectual conflict between science and religion comes to a head in the form of a debate and the results of such debates are often quite interesting and lead into areas of enlightenment that are surprising. Those who say scientists should not take part in such debates are fascists, morons and idiots.

I classify myself a lapsed-Catholic agnostic atheist (that is someone who fundamentally does not believe in god, but as a good scientist cannot prove or disprove his/her non-existence, it’s a very good form of rhetorical macramé), as such the debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Ken Ham CEO of the Creation Museum piqued my interest.

At 2½ hours it is quite a long debate, but you need to go through it all to get a real flavour of the thing, the excerpts simply do not do it justice. As you would expect, neither side expected to win over their opponents, but this was a genuine debate for serious stakes, with the minds of children in classrooms at stake.

(more…)

Religious Exemptions in Law – Is Mr. Singh to blame?

Sikh Motorcycle Club

A group of religious fanatics terrorise the community :-)

Further to the brouhaha over at York University in Toronto, I got to thinking about the problem of religious exemptions in law and the various compromises that have arisen trying to balance the rules of secular society without violating freedom of religion. (more…)

Darwin, Pauli & Stuff…

I have a strong interest in biology. I actually started a biology degree but switched to physics. I have some issues with Darwinism. No I am not a creationist but I tend to think the views of folk like Lynn Margulis got side-lined and I can’t stand Dickie Dawkins. OK Margulis was mad as a box of frogs on some stuff but whatever! She was almost certainly right with symbiotic development of eukaryotic cells. And then some weird stuff in evolution is down to maths more than just pushy little replicators slugging it out (that’s quite a good joke, actually – though not at a club at 2am which is packed with sluggy and pushy little wannabe replicators). Yes, slime molds are fascinating examples of self-organisation. They ain’t pretty but neither are engine rooms. I have a maths book somewhere which deals with the way they organise. Apparently it is dead easy to write a computer program to model them. Basically they operate more like a society than a single organism. Truly bizarre but then so is a jellyfish which you can stick in a blender and then can spontaneously reform.

Biology is very strange. And we are only now starting to be getting the full sp and it is hideously mathematical (and I like maths). A maths student I knew at university was doing a PhD on cancer angiogenesis – cancers developing their own blood supply! I saw his talk on it and left feeling not 100% – and I was not alone. Like I said down in the basement there are some very unpleasant things. To say nothing of the woodshed. I guess at some level I kinda thought if I stick with biology I might get a disease named for me (and probs a very unpleasant one) but physics! Ah, you can get a star named for you. I was a romantic youth. Still am.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dissing Darwin who had a truly profound insight into the Universe. But of course he didn’t get the full toffee apple – nobody ever does. Not even Newton and in many ways Darwin was biology’s Newton. Before him it was all myopic vicars hunting butterflies and pinning them up or some such. Chemistry is mainly buggering about and trying to make epic pongs – which is why we have mainly left it to the Germans. As a kid I did a chemistry masterclass thingie in the Easter hols at Newcastle University and some student at some point had scrawled in a way that suggested some form of abysmal moral torment the phrase, “Chem is wank” on my desk. Oh, it’s useful and I’m glad other people do it but A-level was my limit and I guess seeing my teacher blow the bejesus out of the fume cupboard doing the thermite reaction (now banned in schools) straightening his tie and saying in very calm tones, “Um, quite a vigorous reaction” was enough. But this is getting off topic. It was hilarious though. And he was a good teacher. 25 years later I recall that lesson. If only we’d had facebook then that moment would have been immortal.

Anyway…

This blog has collected a load of comments by creationists from tweets, blogs and whatever. The unmitigated pignorance of them astounds me. It isn’t so much they are wrong. They are in the words of Wolfgang Pauli, “nicht ganz falsch”. They are not even wrong. Hey ho! Let’s go!

@Yhwh_TheLord so then why do women have babies if we can just evolve fRom um whatever you think we evolved from?

You to old to believe in evolution. If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys. are they the stupid that couldn’t evolve?

I’ve never seen an animal or a micro organism become a human. So that evolution shit is out the window for me.

Evolution is atheism. It’s not science, but an impossible, unrealistic, unbiological, invented process in order to remove God from equation.

And it goes on. And on.

So why am I blogging it? I have a long-term hatred of what can be called the science/religion debate. Putting the two in opposition has never made any sense to me. It doesn’t stop folk though. I’m sat having lunch at Lenton Hall University of Nottingham in 1993 and this git sidles, yes, sidles up to me and gets chatting. Well he’s a missionary and he rapidly turns around the meet and greet into, “Well if you come back to my room I have an excellent 20 minute defence of religion against science.” I politely but firmly declined. Should I have added that many people on my physics course were religious? Nah, that obvious fact never works with these folks. Then there was the head of the Christian Union who used to organise five-aside footy and at half-time once came out with, “You know in many ways God is like a football”. What fatuous guff! How precisely is God like a football? I mean some of the greatest minds of all time have wrestled with the question of the existence and nature of God and he comes out with that utterly meaningless toss! So fuck you Descartes! God is like a football because Robin said so (he was a twat BTW – an epic twat – a twat’s twatter of a twatting twat). There was a nervous silence and a lot of folk looking at their boots until someone suggested we just get on with the second half – thank God! Need I say quite a few of us were Christians. Not me but a few of the lads. They were even more deeply embarrassed. God is like a football – oh Pity Me! (a village in County Durham BTW).

There is no real clash between science and religion because fundamentally they are about different things. I can tell you (roughly) how a hydrogen bomb works but a priest can tell you whether it should be used. It’s very much like asking a plumber about the wiring. This is not to say I don’t have ethical viewpoints and it is not to say the priest might not have a strong interest in scientific matters (note vicars and flutterbies -as my Gran used to say) it is just that they aren’t the same thing and when people attempt to conflate religion (or especially quasi-religions such as National Socialism or Communism*) with (usually pseudo) science very bad things tend to happen.

Science says how things are and how to do ‘em. It should have next to no input in the moral dimension. It doesn’t say what ought to be done. That is for all of us as moral human beings to decide. By the same token religion (and moral stuff in general) ought to take note of science and not see it as a threat. Moreover the fusing of the two is a terrible idea and the instrument of totalitarians because it makes us objects to play with in the lab. And an invented (note I reffed Pseudo science earlier) lab at that. Science and religion fill two very different human needs and arguing the toss about which is better is like arguing whether pizza is better than Coca-Cola. You might ask a bishop in a moment of spiritual doubt but you’d ask an engineer or physicist if your PWR looked shonky. And vice versa. And the same applies to all religions (or moral codes) as it does to the sciences. You wouldn’t (even though she was a scientist) ask a botanist to look at your iffy PWR any more than you’d ask a nuclear scientist to tell you the best way to get rid of the crop-infection on your farm.

Science versus Religion is possibly the greatest nicht ganz falsch in the history of thinking. Yet it goes on.

H/T Infidel753

* The Sovs were not exactly into “racial realism” but did some bizarre stuff. They had women volunteer to be inseminated with gorilla semen because Stalin wanted to cross-breed a race of invincible Planet of the Apes style warriors and workers. And yes, I do mean they genuinely volunted for the socialist cause which is the really spooky bit. Utterly bent out of shape. Here’s your monkey baby says the midwife before taking it off to the research facility 214 for “studies”. Of course it didn’t work because “perverse science” is never “correct” in any sense of the word. The very idea that Darwinism leads to communism is twisted because communism lead to Lysenkoism and attempts at disgusting cross species mating (which can’t by definition work anyway – OK up to a point it can: mules, ligers etc but human/gorilla is really pushing the envelope). Anyhoo it doesn’t take away from my point that science is morally neutral. It is. It can be twisted though. Not to put too fine a point on it this is exactly why we need different modes of thought – not just science or pseudo-science. That is why religions and other moral concepts exist and need to. Because to put a very blunt point on it any quantity of knowledge on the structure of the atom or the structure of DNA says nothing about why you shouldn’t rape, murder or steal. That is a moral question and just as religion should keep out of science science has nothing to say about religion or morality and nor should it try to. And as to “science” impinging on politics – God help us!

A Reply to Paul Marks.

You won’t get me now or ever to swear on the Bible, the Torah, the Qu’ran, the collected works of JK or anything else.

My word is my bond. Simples.

I would shed blood, tears and toil to defend my village (on the outskirts of Manchester) and if people of any faith or none (such as me) bled, sweat and toiled with me to save my England and their England then I would gladly be at their side – regardless of their faith. Our country is far from ideal but it ain’t Somalia. And that is worth fighting for. I mean the only time I was a pirate was playing the Sid Meier game “Pirates” and that was on a Commodore Amiga.

I would try to avoid dying for my country* but if push comes to Noel Chavasse I’d like to think I would stand. I would probably be bloody useless on the frontline but I would stand. I’m more a backroom lad. But that is by the by and every spear needs a shaft. And I am part of the shaft.

Yes, I, un-baptised heathen though I am, would fight, kill and die for England. It is my country. And there are much worse places to come from. I could have been Yemeni – that would have been hilarity wouldn’t it?

I don’t believe in God (well I am a Spinoza-ish pantheist – sometimes) but asking me to swear an oath to God is just wrong. And it is wrong because the meat of it is swearing something I do believe in (such as telling the truth ot being a loyal soldier) but but swearing it by something I don’t believe in would make a total mockery of an oath I would wish to swear with utmost solemnity. Not least because if I went into battle I also wouldn’t want the person next to me to have sworn an oath he or she didn’t believe in either…

I don’t believe in God. I do believe in the defence of the Realm. If I became a soldier, sailor or airman why should I have to add on a belief in something I just don’t believe in and moreover would not that make my deep oath utterly meaningless? Anyhow, why can’t agnostics fight! Or atheists? Why does disbelief in God mean disbelief in everything?

* “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.” General George S Patton.

Islamic Vinegar

One school policy to rule them all; unless you are an aggrieved Muslim father in which case all bets are off.

That’s right.  Yet another dhimmi appeasement.

A Muslim father has removed his six-year-old daughter from school in protest at her teacher who confiscated her Islamic necklace.

Despite the fact that school regulations do did not permit the wearing of necklaces, Islamic or otherwise.  But Islam is a special basket case isn’t it.  So Tariq played the only card he holds in his hand – the offended Muslim trump.  And did it work?  Well what do you think?

The Year 2 pupil was told to take off her taweez – a chain containing verses from the Koran – after she was caught playing with it at Nottingham Academy last Monday.

A disciplinary action, surely.  You can’t be paying attention in class if you’re fiddling with an item of jewelery you shouldn’t be wearing in the first place.

As a result, Britain’s biggest school have now made a U-turn on their uniform policy, which dictates pupils can only wear one plain pair of metal studs, and say she can now wear the jewellery in class.

A singular act of cowardice from the school.  Religious offence dictates a change in school policy and the school is now guilty of undermining a member of its own staff for upholding the original, sensible rules and keeping discipline in the classroom.  Way to go Nottingham Academy.  You’ll be putting halal meat on the school menu for everyone, including non-Muslims, to eat next.  Oh, wait.  There’s a good chance you already do…

But now the school has shamefully caved in that should be the end of the problem, yes?

However, Mr Tariq has still pulled his daughter out of lessons for over a week after he branded the teacher’s actions an ‘insult to Islam.’

FFS!

Give these idiots an inch and they take a mile of piss.  Verbally disciplining his darling daughter and removing a necklace equates to a  religious hate crime?  Seriously?

He is now demanding that she be placed in a different class away from the teacher who banned her ‘sacred’ locket.

Well the school caved in once so why not issue another outrageous demand to see if the school rolls over even more quickly?  The law of unintended consequences anyone?

Yesterday Mr Tariq said: ‘My daughter was really upset about it when she came home – she was in floods of tears.

How traumatic!  What is the world coming to when a kuffar teacher corrects a distracted Muslim child in the classroom?

‘This is very sacred to her and to our religion. It should not be taken off Muslims and it is something she holds very dear indeed.

All secular schools must kowtow to Muslim demands or else.  Islam is a special case so your rules do not apply to Muslims and don’t you forget it.

‘To have it taken off her for the entire day and be shouted at by her teacher like that is an insult to our religion.

Diddums.   Kids get disciplined by their teachers every day but their parents don’t usually create about it or try to turn it into a religious hate crime.

She said she had only been itching her neck and had got the taweez out to scratch her neck.

Why would she need to take the entire thing out just to scratch her neck?  Or isn’t it Islamic to simply reach behind and scratch?

‘But the teacher thought she was playing with it and swinging it about.

Probably because that is precisely what the girl was doing.

‘The whole thing really upset her and I don’t think she is happy in the class any more.

Kids attend school to be educated.  Not being happy with teacher from time to time is par for the course.  Discipline in the classroom isn’t a popularity contest and nor should it ever be.  Until Miss Tariq learns that “no” means “no” she’s going to remain unhappy.  It’s a shame her father failed to teach her that before she started school.  But then he clearly doesn’t understand what “no” means either.  Nor does the school apparently.

I think it will be better if she moves to a different class so I have taken her out of school until we can get this issue resolved.

I think Tariq should be prosecuted for keeping his daughter out of school and depriving her of part of her education in an attempt to blackmail said school into giving in to his delusional demands.

The academy has now agreed that Saniya can wear the item on religious grounds – except in PE and swimming.

Spineless!

Saniya, who lives with her parents in Bakersfield, Nottinghamshire, said: ‘I wear it every day.  My taweez means a lot to me and I think she should have asked my parents before making me take it off.’

It was teacher’s fault!  And now I can play with my necklace in class whenever I want and not suffer the consequences because they would be an insult to the beliefs of my, and my parents, Dark Ages religion including the bits they make up as they go along.

Headteacher Steve Jones said: ‘After speaking to Mr Tariq about his daughter, we decided Saniya could keep her necklace on in school, under her polo shirt, apart from the PE and swimming lessons.

He’s talking like the child is a special, one-off case.  Here’s news for you Steve Jones, she isn’t and she won’t be.  Not now you have sold out your school rules.  You should have told Tariq to go up himself.  Instead you have let an Islamic genie out of the bottle that will be used against other schools now that you have set a precedent.

We would always consider exemptions on the basis of religious principles.

Then why bother having a school policy at all if any Tom, Dick or Tariq can come along and bend it to suit their own religious prejudices?

Indeed, in Saniya’s case, we were able to reach a compromise with Mr Tariq.’

So the child can remove the necklace but only when the father dictates to the school she can?  And this is called “compromise” is it?

Other parents gathered at the school gates gave mixed opinions on the incident.

One mum, whose son goes to the school, but did not wish to be named, accused the head of caving in and bending the rules.

Bending the rules in this way is a smack in the face to everyone who abides by the rules.  I wouldn’t want to send my kids to any school that prefers to undermine its own staff and policy to suit the unreasonable demands of one religiously intolerant individual.

She said: ‘It is ridiculous that they felt threatened enough to change the rules like this.

If it was a lad with a Christian cross and he was messing with it then I am almost certain the rules wouldn’t have been bent to let him wear it.

And, quite probably, would have been told not to misbehave in class if he went home and whinged to his parents about it.

At the end of the day if the girl is messing with the chain and it is distracting her or others from working then that’s why the rules are there.

Quite.  If this lady gets it why didn’t the school?

Another father said: ‘I agree it was wrong as it does mean that much to them as a religion.

Actually it doesn’t mean any such thing.  If it did the Muslim professionally aggrieved posse would have potted this supposed “insult” by challenging school policies regarding “sacred” necklaces long ago.   I suspect the Nottingham outbreak was down to a one man band.  Expect this “sacred necklace” crap to go viral.

However, they have said she can wear it in class now – so surely that should be the problem resolved.

I have a sign that says Beware Low Flying Pigs he can stick at the bottom of his garden.

To conjure a dark illusion

“In a society that believes in nothing, fear becomes the only agenda. Whilst the 20th century was dominated by a conflict between a free-market Right and a socialist Left, even though both of those outlooks had their limitations and their problems, at least they believed in something, whereas what we are seeing now is a society that believes in nothing. And a society that believes in nothing is particularly frightened by people who believe in anything, and, therefore, we label those people as fundamentalists or fanatics, and they have much greater purchase in terms of the fear that they instill in society than they truly deserve. But that’s a measure of how much we have become isolated and atomised rather than of their inherent strength.”

Dr Bill Durodié is an Associate Fellow of the International Security Programme (ISP) for Chatham House

The above quote is a brief excerpt from Adam Curtis‘ 2004 classic documentary The Power of Nightmares on how black propaganda can create a fantasy of self-delusion which ultimately seduces the body-politic of its producer. This is a compelling interpretation of the history of the creation of Al Qaeda as a phantom enemy to fill the gap caused by the fall of the Soviet Union.

The US Networks have refused to show it, so while it may be familiar to our UK readers, it has probably not received the audience it deserves outside of the UK.

The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares – The Rise of the Politics of Fear

Regardless of whether you believe his interpretation is correct, it is an interesting analysis of the road to Baghdad.

To prevent Cats from accusations of copyright infringement, I will not post links, but I watched all three episodes this afternoon courtesy of Google.

Neighbourhood Watch RoP Style

The dhimmification of Birmingham’s police force is on track.

Two brothers in law who went on a sponsored walk wearing comedy mankinis had to be picked up by police – after they were pelted with stones and eggs by residents who told them ‘this is a Muslim area’ and demanded they leave.

Yes, you read that right.  Two people who were going about their lawful business were prevented from doing so after coming under a cowardly attack.  They committed the crime of wearing silly swimwear on an English city street and walking their dogs for charity.

WTveryF?

Shome mishtake shurely?

This is Britain!  Things like that don’t happen!

But they do, don’t they.

Be accused of “islamophobia” and you can all too quickly become acquainted with the inside of a police cell.  Display overt racism Anglophobia by throwing stones, other missiles and verbal abuse at filthy kuffar innocent members of the indigenous public gets your law abiding victims removed from the area they were inno0cently passing through by the very agency that should have protected them by controlling a lawless mob – West Midlands Constabulary.

Your extorted jizyah taxes at work.

Steven Ellis, 41, and Jason Hendry, 22, wanted to walk eight miles from Solihull to Birmingham city centre wearing the outfit featured in 2006 film Borat to raise money for Birmingham Dogs’ Home.  But they ended up being escorted by officers after they were attacked as they passed through the Sparkbrook area of the city, claiming police said they had offended local Muslims during Ramadan.

Offending Muslims by pursuing a harmless and lawful enterprise during ramalamadingdong?

Is that a crime?

Hurling stones and racial abuse?

Isn’t that a crime?

They were driven through the area as locals hurled abuse at them – calling them paedophiles. Mr Ellis’s wife Victoria, 36, had followed the pair’s journey in a car, with the couple’s five young children.

Public order offences and hate crimes committed by a favoured and protected minority, thy instances are legion and thy law enforcement officers devoid of testicular body parts.

She said: ‘We were basically run out of the area. We had stopped at a supermarket car park to give the dogs a drink as it was a hot day, and we were suddenly surrounded.

The men were taking off their jackets and threatening to fight Jason. I have seen nothing like it in my life before. The children were terrified as within minutes a crowd of 30 or 40 men assembled.
‘They began throwing stones and eggs at us. They were shouting at Jason saying that he was a pervert and a paedophile, and one of them called me a dirty white s***.

‘They told us that they hated dogs and told us to get out of the car park. The children were petrified and asked why these people were calling me a s***.

‘One egg narrowly missed hitting my 12-year-old son, Jason, leaving him petrified and even passing cars ended up being hit by the eggs and stones. The abuse was appalling.

Menacing and threatening behaviour and incitement to commit violence.  Throwing missiles with intent to intimidate regardless of what injuries may occur.  Racist and sexist abuse.  A breach of the peace at the very least.  The arrests will come thick and fast as soon as the cops arrive at the scene.

Whoops!

‘We called the police and they came straight away. I asked the police what they were going to do to help us but they just said it was because of sensitivities over an EDL (English Defence League) march and Ramadan.

It wasn’t the Muslims.  It was the fault of the EDL.  Well of course it was!  Who else could possibly be blamed for Muslims behaving in a criminal fashion?  Certainly not the Muslims.

Face/palm interface.

Of all the police’s feeble excuses for ignoring criminal behaviour from RoPers this has got to be the most spineless one I’ve heard in some time.  Surely that’s the job of the left leaning, muslim apologists?

‘We didn’t even know there was an EDL march planned for that day – we had nothing to do with it. Our family just love dogs, we’ve homed a rescue dog and we wanted to raise money to help the charity.’

It shouldn’t have mattered.  Neither should the attire of the two men doing the walk for charity have mattered.

But local butcher Irshad Armani, 22, said: ‘It was disrespectful for the men to come here half-naked. This is a Muslim area and we don’t want to see that.

Then turn away and mind your own damned business you intolerant buffoon.  And WTF is a muslim area?  Since when did Sparkbrook relocate to Pakistan?  If I told a tabloid journalist  I live in a “white area” and then accused muslims passing through of “disrespect I’d be hauled before the local beak and charged with a hate crime faster than Irshad could howl “Islamophobia!”.

‘People were fasting and we do not want to see anything considered impure or dirty during such an important month. That is why people were so upset by it.’

So that gives muslims an excuse to intimidate and assault people does it?

Bullshit!

Islam does not put muslims above British law even if they think it does.  Islam does not make muslims special even if they think it does.  We don’t give a kippers dangly bits how offended muslims are by Brits doing lawful Brit things on Brit streets during ramalamadingdong.  Most certainly not when muslims do things like this and this on the streets of Britain in the name of their intolerant and hateful religion.  They turned being offended into a fascist industry.

Iqbal Khan, 25, a carpet shop owner, added: ‘They came here saying it was for charity, but what they were wearing barely covered their private parts.

Muslims do tend to get rather agitated when it comes to dress code, don’t they.  Suggest that burqas should be banned because many Europeans find them offensive and oppressive and all hell breaks loose.  Muslims seeing a couple of Brummies wearing swimming cozzies for charity and, you’ve guessed it, all hell breaks loose.

‘We see people come and go doing charity around here – black, white, Asian – but it is not appropriate to do it in a bad way, dressed as they were, especially when this is mainly an Asian and Pakistani area.’

Black, white, Asian?  So Asian is a colour now is it?  As a point of interest how many Asians of Chinese or South East Asian extraction were part of the Sparkbrook Massive?  And where the hell does Iqbal Khan and his ilk get off telling people how they should dress when they don’t like the same authoritarian pointy stick thrust up them?

Mr Hendry said: ‘A man who was in a nearby hairdresser came over and started having a go at us and then a guard at the supermarket and the manager came out and joined in.

I take it we’re not talking Morrisons, Tesco or Asda here…

‘It was disgusting behaviour. I was furious. I was angry with the local people for how they reacted and we tried to explain it was just a bit of fun, to raise money for charity.’

You’d get more sense out of a brick wall than try to reason with minds deeply entombed in a psychotic religious cult straight out of the Middle Ages Middle East and unpolluted by enlightenment.

The police escorted them all back to Birmingham Dogs’ Home because there were two groups of men waiting at the end of the road.

Because religious mob rule on the streets of Birmingham isn’t in the politically correct public interest to stamp out.  Unless it is a mob of one Bible thumper handing out leaflets about how gay sex is sinful.

He added: ‘But it was also frustrating to have to be escorted as it made us feel like we had done something wrong. I am shocked and disgusted that this should happen in our city.

A shame West Midlands Constabulary don’t feel the same way.  They should be scammelling embarrassed at being so useless.

‘It was like something you see on TV. The idea behind the mankini walk started off as a dare and then we decided to make it a reality and do it to raise money for charity.’

‘We have a love and passion for dogs and we both wanted to do it to raise money for Birmingham Dogs’ Home.’

Mrs Hendry added: ‘I grew up to respect people irrespective of colour or creed as have my children. But this was totally appalling and has made me so angry that this should happen during an event to help a charity.’

Unfortunately Mrs Hendry and her group broke a cardinal rule – you cannot offend or disrespect muslims.  Ever.

However Raja Ahmad, 46, a local shopkeeper, said: ‘The men were partially dressed and it’s not really appreciated around here by the Asian or the English community.

So how many white faces were part of the Sparkbrook Massive then?  Or on the streets hurling abuse as their victims were driven away under police escort?

‘The police moved them on and they said they were covering their modesty but it upset a lot of people in the community.’

Diddums.  Grow up and get over yourselves.  Your regressive religion and aggressive arrogance makes me want to vomit like Mr. Creosote.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called to reports of tensions on Stratford Road in Sparkhill at around 2:50pm on July 20 due to a group of men wearing fancy dress whilst on a charity walk.

‘Officers attended and worked closely with those at the scene to resolve the situation peacefully in order to ensure no unnecessary or unintended upset was caused.

Resolved the situation by appeasing the aggressors.  West Midlands Constabulary thy name is dhimmi.

‘Police left the area around 25 minutes later and there were no further calls to the location.’

Because arresting muslims for criminal behaviour is racist and likely to cause unnecessary and unintended upset to religious bigots who recognise no law but sharia?

So West Midlands police punish the victims instead by restricting their freedom to walk certain public streets.

You useless, lazy bastards!

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