Candide

catholic by birth; scientist by choice; sinner by merit. gaidhlig-speaking neuroscience student at oxford. likes to question everything! @di_macd

Why (ironically enough) I am not an "Internet Atheist"

As I now actually have serious nationwide campaigning responsibilities, I’ve decided to move off Tumblr to a “proper” blog on wordpress. I thought I’d begin with a statement of intent, to explain why atheist (shorthand for atheist, humanist and secular) activism is necessary in the UK, and why it is different from so-called “internet atheism,” I haven’t had time to sort my theme and widgets out yet so the blog looks pretty shabby, but I think this longish essay is a reasonable defence of my new role, although its certainly coloured by own political views.

Why Humanist Marriage Is Important

mulattoalbinomosquitolibido:

candide94:

The passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 means registry offices and religious organizations will be able to marry two people of the same sex. Religious organizations must opt in to be able to do this while the Church of England will be banned from doing so altogether. We can predict that nearly all religious organizations (except e.g. The Society of Friends) will NOT opt in.

So, in reality, this bill gives gay people the right to marry in a small state-approved registry office by a registrar with only a few guests. Thus gay people will be unlikely to be able to have the large “big day”-style ceremony so popular with people today because the religious organizations which provide these will just refuse to marry them.

That is one of the reasons it is so important to support the campaign for Humanists celebrants in England/Wales to be able to officiate at marriage ceremonies - as they are able to in Scotland. This gives irreligious people the same right as the religious to a personal marriage ceremony which isn’t just a legalistic act run by the council. It hence also gives gay people the (practical) right to an actual marriage ceremony they control.

Personally I don’t like the idea of the state sanctioning and sponsoring certain relationship choices over others. However, so long as people want to get married, then I believe they should have the right to marry who they want, in a ceremony under their own control - and not controlled by the wishes of a priest or a registrar, of the Church or State. That is why it is so important to support the equal marriage campaign for humanism - it is inextricably linked to that of same sex marriage, because without humanist marriage, in practical terms, gay people will have no choice but to marry in an official state-chosen setting such as a registry office. The bill passed this week provides for a review into humanist marriage - it needs to be supported. 

(NOTE: When people have humanist ceremonies in England/Wales at the moment, they aren’t actually having a marriage ceremony. They have already had to go to the registry office to get married by the registrar. The humanist ceremony is just a celebration. Humanist marriage means the celebrant marries the couple, without any need for a servant of the state or church.)

I’m shocked this isn’t already the case. In New Zealand people can be married in a secular ceremony by a Justice of the Peace. I have been to two beautiful weddings performed by JPs. This should be the case everywhere to avoid discrimination against LGBT people and nontheists.

A secular JP ceremony sounds similar to a registry office marriage in England/Wales. Presumably you are tied to legalistic terminology? In Scotland, Humanist celebrants are trained by the Humanist Society of Scotland, and help the couple literally write and create their own ceremony.Can’t get this in England/Wales yet, sadly.

In a bid to improve my online presence I am now on twitter (CLICK TO FOLLOW!) and have had a mass clear-out of some of my more, ehm, exuberant youthful postings on tumblr…

Why Humanist Marriage Is Important

The passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 means registry offices and religious organizations will be able to marry two people of the same sex. Religious organizations must opt in to be able to do this while the Church of England will be banned from doing so altogether. We can predict that nearly all religious organizations (except e.g. The Society of Friends) will NOT opt in.

So, in reality, this bill gives gay people the right to marry in a small state-approved registry office by a registrar with only a few guests. Thus gay people will be unlikely to be able to have the large “big day”-style ceremony so popular with people today because the religious organizations which provide these will just refuse to marry them.

That is one of the reasons it is so important to support the campaign for Humanists celebrants in England/Wales to be able to officiate at marriage ceremonies - as they are able to in Scotland. This gives irreligious people the same right as the religious to a personal marriage ceremony which isn’t just a legalistic act run by the council. It hence also gives gay people the (practical) right to an actual marriage ceremony they control.

Personally I don’t like the idea of the state sanctioning and sponsoring certain relationship choices over others. However, so long as people want to get married, then I believe they should have the right to marry who they want, in a ceremony under their own control - and not controlled by the wishes of a priest or a registrar, of the Church or State. That is why it is so important to support the equal marriage campaign for humanism - it is inextricably linked to that of same sex marriage, because without humanist marriage, in practical terms, gay people will have no choice but to marry in an official state-chosen setting such as a registry office. The bill passed this week provides for a review into humanist marriage - it needs to be supported. 

(NOTE: When people have humanist ceremonies in England/Wales at the moment, they aren’t actually having a marriage ceremony. They have already had to go to the registry office to get married by the registrar. The humanist ceremony is just a celebration. Humanist marriage means the celebrant marries the couple, without any need for a servant of the state or church.)

A personal experience of ‘Faith’ Schools

An interesting piece about Catholic education and the dark side to these schools that are often stellar academically but deny their pupils the right to unbiased and accurate sex, sexual health, sexuality and relationship education. In Scotland, any attack on Catholic schools is dismissed as sectarian. But I think we should be clear that its shameful in the UK today STATE schools exist where the only learning about contraception, homosexuality, masturbation etc occurs within the context of these things being condemned as sins…

Unfortunately, that supposedly civilized country also has the highest per capita number of reported rates in europe, with the lowest conviction rate on the continent too.
http://www.gn.apc.org/network/news/sweden-has-worst-rape-conviction-record-europe

Atheists more distrusted than rapists?

mypetrockbernard:

candide94:

“atheists are, alongside rapists, the most distrusted group of people.” Maybe in your privileged world, they are. Um, have you heard of race?

MY REPLY
There a number of independent studies that have shown this to  be true. I know it sounds surpising, but here are the links, so u can see for yourself:
Scientifc American article on a University of British Colombia study:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust
The original paper:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22059841
Here is an article on a University of Minnesota study, it states the conclusions, but I can’t find the original paper:
http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm
I’m sorry but this isn’t my “privileged” world. These are peer-reviewed studies carried out with the highest degree of scientific and statistical reliability. Of course there ia a degree of uncertainty in the sample, but it is only small, or else the papers wouldn’t be published. If you can provide me with some studies that point to race being the greatest indicator of distrust, I would be quite happy to read them.
On another note, we must always remember that the modern USA was willing to elect an African-American president, but never an atheist one. This is just anecdotal evidence, so we can’t read to much into it, but I think it gives some backing to my point, However, as I say, better to read the studies.

I hate people. People are more willing to trust those who believe in the supernatural than those who follow a more scientific standing?

Well, I think the fact nearly half of all Americans surveyed find atheists the least trusted people stems from the idea that not believing in God means you have no basis to act morally. If that were true, then I can understand why they distrust atheists policy-makers or doctors…

Of course this isn’t true. We know very few moral decisions are derived from authority. The neuroscientist Joshua Greene has done some excellent work to show that moral decisions are usually instictive and driven by emotional involvement with the concerns of others. And when we do try and reason through our moral decisions, rarely is quoting an authority sufficent justification. Even when Christians interpret the Bible and decide that Old Testament commands to stone adulterous women ought to ignored, they are appealing to a set of moral concerns, over and above that supposedly provided by God. They are depending on a moral sense we all have, atheists included.

Moving on, I think the person who replied to me was just basing her objection on the commonsense notion that most Americans would distrust black people - I mean, we know there is racism, and we know crime-figures are high in the ghetto, so it would be reasonable to believe many Americans were prejudiced against their fellow black Americans. Of course, gathering the data has shown that intuition to be unwarranted.

(via aruithleisnamadadhallaidh)

Atheists more distrusted than rapists?

“atheists are, alongside rapists, the most distrusted group of people.” Maybe in your privileged world, they are. Um, have you heard of race?

MY REPLY
There a number of independent studies that have shown this to  be true. I know it sounds surpising, but here are the links, so u can see for yourself:
Scientifc American article on a University of British Colombia study:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust
The original paper:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22059841
Here is an article on a University of Minnesota study, it states the conclusions, but I can’t find the original paper:
http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm
I’m sorry but this isn’t my “privileged” world. These are peer-reviewed studies carried out with the highest degree of scientific and statistical reliability. Of course there ia a degree of uncertainty in the sample, but it is only small, or else the papers wouldn’t be published. If you can provide me with some studies that point to race being the greatest indicator of distrust, I would be quite happy to read them.
On another note, we must always remember that the modern USA was willing to elect an African-American president, but never an atheist one. This is just anecdotal evidence, so we can’t read to much into it, but I think it gives some backing to my point, However, as I say, better to read the studies.

Candide’s Wager

If God really did create the universe, then it’s those of us who don’t believe in Him who are going to Heaven. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good - and all too clever to believe anything without evidence. If He exists, I’m convinced He’ll reward those of us who came to the conclusion that there just isn’t enough empirical evidence to justify belief in His existence. By my reckoning, the only God befitting of the title is one that created a universe without enough evidence of Himself as a part of test to see whether you could make valid inferences from the evidence at hand. He endowed you with reason and free will, and wants to see you use it. So if you rightly conclude that the universe doesn’t provide sufficient evidence for the creator, then you have passed the creator’s test - you have used your head and you’re going to paradise!