I really don’t think Donald Trump is an atheist but I do find it strange that so many Christians have voted for him. There has been a rise in hate crimes that target the same people religious leaders preach against. Randi Rhodes rants about it, between the tears. Ok, let’s build a privatized bridge and get over it.

The Cuddly One says a Catholic priest must have a penis even as their members continue to droop.

A Christian school in the UK offers to perform an exorcism on a gay student.

As citizens of the world we have moral obligations to each other, wherever we might be.

This weeks’ Woo: Clinical trials that never fail.

The reactions of some scientists to the Trump election win. But just who trusts them anyway?

Trump said Climate Change is a hoax which alarmed scientists attending COP22 in Morocco. There is not much cause for optimism at the moment. In fact, it could be tremendously bigly bad.

Could the Universe be infinite?

Over time natural selection removed Neanderthal variants from our genome.

Archaeologists discover a Bronze Age city in Iraq.

On thinking about problem solving. Were you persuaded by that article?

Ten things we did not know last week. Some photographs taken last week.

While you are waiting for the kettle to boil.…..

Coffee Break Video: The Atheist Delusion explains how we atheists are just denying the obvious. I have my bananas and scratching stick ready and I am so looking forward to discovering the evidence.

As it is her birthday today, Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Faith and Foreign Policy.

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Have a great week everyone!

"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."

George Washington, in an address to Congress, 8th January, 1790.

I don't understand the denial of climate change, unlike, say, the denial of evolution (I'm not saying I agree with the denial of evolution, just that I can understand why people deny it). But what worldview/belief does the evidence of climate change contradict? Do these people just distrust science in general?

I think for some people they don't like the implicit criticism of capitalism. 

Ok, that makes sense.

Hi Beth. I think they are various reasons for climate change denial amongst the religious fundamentalists.  I think Trump probably does accept it but was pandering to evangelical voters when he tweeted that global warming a hoax created for and by the Chinese. I think his lies to the politically unsophisticated helped his success, none of whom seem to have any long term concerns about the planet.

The religious fundamentalists have a mistrust of Science instilled from a young age. This is why many are YEC’s that think the world is less than 10k years old. They take the Bible literally so their god is in charge of everything. The Theory of Evolution throws out any creation myth so they are forced to live in denial of proven scientific facts in order to believe that their god created all life in the forms we find it in today.

They see weather events as isolated events and not part of a global Climate trend. It is all part of God's plan. El Nino might change the weather for a year or two but that is not the same as looking at 350 years of metadata on global climate fluctuations. If they were to give Science credence for the reality of Climate Change then they would have to consider that maybe Evolution is true too (which it is).

They often see environmentalists as “hippies” or “left-wingers” and people who have a naturalistic worldview rather than a Christian one where God gave them the planet. People like Trump exploit that idea as a case of “Us and Them”. In reality we are all in this together.

We are not born with the ability to think critically. We tend to look for confirmation of our biases as it is often easier than challenging or even have to change our views.  Our ability to reason and to learn critical thinking skills comes from being educated in systems that promote them.

This article from Patheos is worth a read.

Awesome, thanks!

Thanks, Reg!

"As citizens of the world we have moral obligations to each other, wherever we might be.

- this is a very interesting question about what some people call "the circle of concern" - whom you are prepared to treat as a human being.  Peter Singer's utiltarian view of the greatest good for the greatest number is ultimately (I think) based on fairness, while Kwame Anthony Appiah's position is based on our shared humanity, in other words, personhood.  I think that of course they go together.  

Just as important, or more so, in my opinion, is how we think not just of people over the other side of the world, but of those strange cultures in our midst - migrants / newcomers / foreigners.  It's only 30 years ago that the UK was a much more racist place than it is now. 

Pete Singer believes that someone over the other side of the world deserves equal consideration with yourself or your family and friends.  I think this is a foolish position that ignores a fundamental fact of nature:  inclusive fitness.  All living things seek to maximise their own genetic fitness.  Our family carries our own genes (the "selfish gene") and our friends help us to maximise our own genetic fitness while at the same time, of course, we seek to maximise theirs. 

I didn't know that Neanderthals interbred with homo sapiens so much. 

Here is more info on our relationship with Neanderthals.

I find the claim "moral obligation" questionable. There are rational interests in mutual support of each other, but the idea of moral obligation is a religious concept. It's part of the package manipulation religious organizations foist upon their followers. It's widespread though that even the non-religious have tended to buy into it without critical thought.

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