Another misguided believer claims that science is based on faith

Source: Whyevolutionistrue

Author: Jerry Coyne

Emphasis Mine

I guess it was too much for me to hope that my 2013 Slate essay, “No faith in science,would once and for all dispel the claim that science is just like religion in depending on faith. My point was simple: what “faith” means in science is “confidence based on experience,” while the same term in religion means “belief without enough evidence to convince most rational people.” It’s the same word, but with two different meanings. Yet religious people mix up those meanings regularly—and, I expect, deliberately. I wish they’d read my goddam essay.

So someone’s done it again: Matt Emerson, a Catholic whose blog says, “I teach theology and direct the advancement office at Xavier College Preparatory in Palm Desert, CA.” He’s also written the book Why Faith? A Journey of Discovery, to be published by Paulist Press this May; it apparently aims to help people maintain and understand faith.

At any rate, Emerson published a short essay in the March 3 Wall Street Journal—”At its heart, science is faith-based too“—that, as usual, conflates the meaning of “faith” as applied to science (but we scientists avoid that word!) versus as applied to religion. Rather than go into detail, I’d recommend you read my Slate piece, and Emerson should have, too!  Here’s a bit of his conflation:

The scientists who made the gravitational-wave discovery, [Italian physicist Carl Rovelli] wrote, were pursuing a “dream based on faith in reason: that the logical deductions of Einstein and his mathematics would be reliable.”

Mr. Rovelli was not referring to religious faith. And scientists generally deem even faith scrubbed of theological meaning to be something unrelated to their endeavors. Yet the relationship between faith and science is far closer than many assume….

Wrong. Scientists don’t have “faith in reason.” As I noted in Slate:

What about faith in reason? Wrong again. Reason—the habit of being critical, logical, and of learning from experience—is not an a priori assumption but a tool that’s been shown to work. It’s what produced antibiotics, computers, and our ability to sequence DNA. We don’t have faith in reason; we use reason because, unlike revelation, it produces results and understanding. Even discussing why we should use reason employs reason!

Here’s an old canard from Emerson and physicist/accommodationist Paul Davies:

Arizona State University physicist Paul Davies has noted that the work of science depends upon beliefs—that the hidden architecture of the universe, all the constants and laws of nature that sustain the scientific enterprise, will hold. As he wrote in his book “The Mind ofGod: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World”: “Just because the sun has risen every day of your life, there is no guarantee that it will therefore rise tomorrow. The belief that it will—that there are indeed dependable regularities of nature—is an act of faith, but one which is indispensable to the progress of science.”

Well, we can’t be 100% certain that the sun will rise tomorrow, but I dealt with this in Slate as well:

You have faith (i.e., confidence) that the sun will rise tomorrow because it always has, and there’s no evidence that the Earth has stopped rotating or the sun has burnt out.

I’d bet $100,000 that the sun will rise tomorrow (i.e., day will break, for it might be cloudy!), but I wouldn’t bet $5 that Jesus was resurrected bodily. The dependable regularities of nature are, unlike the tenets of theology, not acts of faith, but observations that we accept as holding widely, because they always have. This is simply confidence based on experience!

Why do people like Emerson mix up these uses of faith? It’s obvious: accommodationism—and also a mushbrained attempt to do down science by saying, “See, you’re just like us!” (Implication: “See, you’re just as bad as we are!”):

Recognizing the existence of this kind of faith is an important step in bridging the artificial divide between science and religion, a divide that is taken for granted in schools, the media and in the culture. People often assume that science is the realm of certainty and verifiability, while religion is the place of reasonless belief. But the work of Messrs. Davies and Rovelli and others, including Pope John Paul II in his 1998 encyclical “Fides et Ratio,” demonstrates that religion and science sit within a similar intellectual framework.

ORLY? How, exactly, do the “findings” of religion resemble those of science? After all, Emerson may believe that Jesus was not only part of God, but also God’s son, was crucified and resurrected, and that we’ll find salvation through accepting that. But if you’re a Muslim, you could be killed for professing such blasphemy, and Jews, of course, don’t believe in Jesus as the Messiah. There are millions of conflicting “truths” in religion, but although there are some disputes in science, there’s general agreement that, say, DNA is a double helix, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and that a benzene molecule has six carbon atoms. Theology can offer us NO truths so well established.

But Emerson claims it can, and his claim is laughable:

But just as faith is indispensable to science, so is reason essential to religion. Many find themselves relating to God in a way analogous to the scientists searching for gravitational waves. These seekers of religious truth are persuaded by preliminary evidence and compelled by the testimony of those who have previously studied the matter; they are striving for a personal encounter with the realities so often talked about, yet so mysterious.

In such a context, it isn’t blind belief that fuels the search, any more than scientists blindly pursued the implications of Einstein’s theory. Rather, it’s a belief informed by credible reasons, nurtured by patient trust, open to revision. When I profess my belief in God, for example, I rely upon not only the help of the Holy Spirit. I also rely upon the Einsteins of theology, thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas, whose use of reason to express and synthesize theological truths remains one of the great achievements in Western civilization. Aquinas’s “Summa Theologica” is a LIGO for the Christian faith.

Open to revision? Only if science disproves religion’s claims, and even in that case 40% of Americans still reject evolution in favor of the fairy tales of Genesis. And what, exactly, are the “theological truths” of Aquinas and his coreligionists? Can we please just have a list of five or six? Please?

And here’s the kicker—and Emerson’s conclusion:

To be sure, religion and science are different. But many religious believers, like scientists, continue to search for confirmation, continue to fine-tune their lives and expand their knowledge to experience a reality that is elusive, but which, when met, changes life forever. And if the combination of faith and reason can deliver the sound of two black holes colliding over a billion light years away, confirming a theory first expressed in 1915—what is so unthinkable about the possibility that this same combination could yield the insight that God became man?

There’s a difference between searching for confirmation and searching for truth; religion does the former, science the latter. If Emerson can give us evidence—and not just from the Bible—that “God became man”, then I might take his truth claims seriously. Absent that, we need accept his verities no more than we accept those of Scientology, Mormonism, or, for that matter, Beowulf.

It’s a travesty that the Wall Street Journal publishes tripe like this. Are they that desperate for copy? I doubt that they’d even entertain a piece like the one you just read here.

Atheism 101: The anti-intellectualism of religion

Source: Examiner

Author: Staks Rosch

Emphasis Mine

As an atheist, one of my biggest issues with the Abrahamic religions is that they perpetuate a culture of anti-intellectualism. It isn’t hard to miss. For example, it is no surprise that the large numbers of evangelical Christians in America are ignorant and proud. The fact that one of the most idiotic President in our nation’s history (George W. Bush) was elected mainly because of the support of Christian fundamentalists speaks volumes. Not to mention that within the Republican Party there is continually a race to the intellectual bottom with most candidates and politicians touting their religious beliefs and conviction.

A quick look back at history also shows that the Church and various organized religions have done everything they could to restrict science and knowledge. At every stage of scientific achievement, fervent religious believers were always there persecuting those who wished to expand human knowledge and human progress. One of the humanities biggest loses came pretty early on too. In 415 CE a Christian mob brutally murdered Hypatia of Alexandria. I would go into more details about the brutality of that murder, but it is a bit graphic. Needless to say, it was much more brutal than what Christians often describe as the “Passion of Christ.” She was one of the bright lights of science in her time. Even today, almost half of Christians in America stand against the scientific theories of evolution, the big bang, and global climate change. Many religious believers even oppose scientific medical advances like stem cell research, vaccines, and blood transfusions.

The fact is, that the more religious someone is the less value they tend to place on science and education. According to the National Academy of Sciences, 93% of scientists express disbelief or doubt in the existence of a personal deity. 72% outright disbelieve in a personified deity. These are among the brightest minds on Earth. Both Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking (widely considered the two smartest men who every lived) had issue with the personified deity of the Abrahamic religions. These men joined the company of many of the most intellectual founding fathers such as Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, among other.

The concept of “faith” is a slap in the face to science and intellectual curiosity. Faith stops questions while science encourages questions. Faith provides dishonest, unsupportable, and unquestioned certainty while science leaves every conclusion open to re-evaluation with additional evidence and discoveries. With faith, no education is necessary. In fact, education seems to often be a determent to faith. This is one of the biggest reasons why Christian fundamentalists are so keen on homeschooling so that they can control the information their children are exposed to. Even in the Bible, the character of Jesus elevates blind faith above intellectual rigor, reason, and evidence.

This is not the only instance in which the Bible attacks the intellect. Corinthians is full of such examples. “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” – 1 Corinthians 1:27 and “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:5. There are many more examples where those came from. Just pick up your Bible and read it for yourself.

Science, reason, and intellectualism support the concepts of continued questioning, education, and human curiosity. Through the scientific method, the rules of logic, and the thirst to understand, people of reason are continually pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and helping to make life better and longer for us all. Yet, example after example, the Bible and the Abrahamic religions stand against the intellect and continue to propagate ignorance, fear, and unreason. Between the Creation Museum and the absolute unquestioning certainty of a divine deity, religion remains one of the biggest oppositions to human progress and the greatest threat to intellectualism and humanity’s continued survival on this planet.

Religion often starts with the conclusion and then tries to find justifications for that conclusion. Science and intellectualism on the other hand start with curiosity and then form conclusions based on the evidence and even those conclusions can be re-evaluated if new evidence comes to light.



Paul Dirac on Religion:



” I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can’t for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.” Paul Dirac, via Heisenberg.

How Non-Believers Can Counter That Annoying Religious Dogma That Life Without God Is Meaningless

Source: Alternet

Author: Hari Kunzru

Of all the jargon words that get thrown around in British political discourse, “faith” may be the one from which I feel most alienated. If you listen to politicians, “faith” seems to be a nebulous goodness, a state of mind that leads citizens to behave in certain convenient ways. The faithful perform charitable works, like running food banks or homeless shelters – great for reducing the departmental bottom line, or indeed for shifting the burden of dealing with the poor (not to mention the weak, the halt and the lame) from government altogether. The faithful lay down rules for their sexual relations and have prohibitions against socially problematic behaviour such as stealing things or (up to a point) being violent. In general, “faith” makes people much easier to govern – after all, they’re already being governed by God, who has panoptical security cameras and already knows what’s in everyone’s browser history. No wonder politicans line up to praise it. If only everyone possessed this salutary quality!

None of this seems to have anything to do with the actual experience of faith, which I have been struggling to understand since I was first exposed to organised religion as a child. I’m not talking about the kind of religious adherence that’s mainly a badge of belonging. Going to a holiday service or getting married in a church or temple is, for many people, no more than a way of asserting their identification with a tradition or their membership of a cultural group. For me, coming from a family that includes both devout Hindus and Anglican Christians, that kind of allegiance was never straightforward, and the assertion of a religious identity was left up to me. Belief would have to come, not as a comforting experience of group belonging, but as an individual choice. As a child, I waited for faith to make its necessity felt in my life. It never did. The plethora of contradictory rules and prohibitions in the major world religions appeared at best confusing, at worst absurd. Why did God care what I ate or how I dressed or who I slept with? Not everyone’s book could be divinely inspired. Someone had to be mistaken.

Faith, as opposed to “faith”, seems profound, disruptive and potentially terrifying. It is a leap into the dark, a surrender of will and judgment, an enormous risk. It is clearly an experience of great joy for some believers. Equally clearly, it opens others to the darkest and most atavistic impulses. For every person who is consoled or comforted by the belief that there is a God giving order and meaning to existence, another feels compelled to defend their unique truth against the unbeliever.

If one takes faith seriously, as I believe we must, then the idea of a “faith school” starts to seem bizarre. Critical thinking is anathema to faith. It is what one must relinquish, or transcend, in order to take the leap. The young British jihadis who are the object of so much public concern have gone to war for their faith. For them there is no question of comparison between religions, or understanding their belief as primarily a matter of cultural pride. They believe they have submitted to the will of God. This might be acceptable, even useful, to Britain’s political class if their faith was neatly subordinated to nation: “defender of the faith” is, after all, a royal title, and until political correctness went mad, presumably “attacker of the faith” was, too. However, the transnational nature of the ummah will never be reconcilable to the post-Westphalian nation state, so we say they have been “radicalised”, and their leap of faith has made them terrorists. This is the difference between faith and “faith”. The first, for good or ill, radicalizes the believer. The second is a political jargon word for a set of behaviours and practices that enforce social cohesion, or, if you prefer, subordination to the agenda of the ruling class.

In our lazy, dishonest contemporary conversation about faith, the faithless, such as myself, are almost silent. We are usually used as a negative rhetorical marker, against which the faithful can measure their virtue. To those who value tradition, we are deracinated. For those who like their principles founded in some unshakeable transcendental truth, we are feckless and mutable. We are assumed to be morally dubious, too weak or spineless to stand up for anything very much at all. Certainly we are not worthy of “respect”, which is the jargon word for what our political class offers religious or ethnic minorities in lieu of actual inclusion or equality. We are not invited on discussion programmes to describe how offended we feel that our cherished symbols are being mocked. We have no such symbols. Even if our numbers are large, we are rarely heard amid the hysterical yelling. Perhaps this is why the so-called “New Atheists” increasingly sound like a religious sect. It’s the only way to get heard.

I have come to resent this characterisation. My lack of faith has, over the years, formed itself into an active ethical position. I don’t have a sacred text, or beliefs that I wish to place beyond challenge or mockery. None of my positions are beyond argument. I will change them, if persuaded. My dislike of dogma and my respect (as opposed to “respect”) for rational debate doesn’t make me weak. Indeed, I hold that the very contingency of my positions are at the core of their ethical force. If you can’t point to a line in a book, or the dictates of a religious hierarchy to justify your opinions, then you have to own them yourself. You are fully responsible, and that is, in its own way, as radical and disruptive as submitting to the will of the divine. I hold tolerance as a signal virtue, but my tolerance is not absolute, nor is it cowardly. I am not, for example, a pacifist, though I find the notion of a “just war” shabby and despicable. I believe that a secular state is the only way to guarantee freedom of conscience. If I were to run the British educational system, I would establish schools devoted to questioning orthodoxies, not necessarily because everything old or traditional is wrong (quite the opposite – things last for a reason, and often that reason is because they work) but because critical thinking seems to me at least as much of a civic virtue as faith, and we ought to value it, instead of doing it down.

I describe myself as an atheist, but I don’t believe I have special access to a metaphysical truth about the world, or the lack of such a truth. It simply seems to me that the qualities of the divine that believers value – that it gives purposefulness to life, and renders our actions consequential and meaningful – don’t require the existence of a transcendent creator. Occam’s razor suggests that, unless God is necessary, he should probably be left out of the argument. Leading a decent, purposeful, virtuous life isn’t the sole province of religious believers. It certainly has little to do with the dishwater notion of faith offered in our current political conversation.

Emphasis Mine


Good Reasons to Avoid Belief!

“The question is not can we have morality without religion, but rather can we have morality with it!”  (CF Pervo).

To substantiate that observation, AlterNet published this piece:

5 of the Worst ‘Religious’ Organizations

Uncovering the lies, hypocrisy and exploitation of some of the most egregious pseudo-religious groups.

This story first appeared on the Buffalo Beast.

N.B.: We might also observe that – at least in the States – there is widely accepted practice to leave hands off institutions of organized religion.

“A common response to criticisms of religion is that its adherents can sometimes do good things, even if it’s for irrational reasons. That’s fair enough, but at the same time it’s useful to remember that while some good can be mixed in with the bad, sometimes religions create institutions of pure evil. Here are a few of them:

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

You thought Mormons were sheltered human barnacles desperately clinging to a nostalgic vision of the past which never actually happened? Well, they are, but that’s nothing compared to their even-more-inbred fundamentalist counterparts in the FLDS.

If you’ve ever asked a Mormon about polygamy, you’ve probably heard that the mainstream church discontinued the practice in the early 20th century, following a manifesto by then-Church President and “prophet” Wilford Woodruff. The manifesto is now considered to be prophecy — the word of God translated by the Dear Leader of the Church himself.

Warren Jeffs was the President / Prophet of the FLDS Church, but since 2007 he’s been busy tending to the matter of his 10 years to life sentence for being an accomplice to rape. Church leaders currently won’t tell who is the President, probably because that would be a pretty strong indication of who’s been filling the role of dungeon master / “marriage” arranger since Warren Jeffs has been in prison.

And most recently, this past week a former FLDS member testified in court thatwaterboarding infants to get them to stop crying is “quite common” amongst the community. They call it “breaking in,” which I thought was a term usually applied to boots and horses. Look, I hate babies as much as the next guy, but you can’t torture them. You just can’t. No. STOP IT. But that’s their “family values,” you know.

Sri Ram Sene

Sri Ram Sene translates to “Army of the Lord Ram.” They’re a right-wing Hindu nationalist group in India which was founded by a politician named Bal Thackeray. In the late 1960s, Thackeray started a “Maharashtra is for Maharashtrians” campaign against non-Hindus migrating to Mumbai. And in 2002, he infamously called for Hindu suicide squadsto fight those darned Muslims. See, America’s not the only place where right-wing whackjobs get off on hating Muslims. Here’s a nice quote from him in theAsia Times:


“Trouble-making Muslims should be wiped out from the country … kick out the four crore [40 million] Bangladeshi Muslims and then the country will be secure,” the Shiv Sena leader said. Urging Hindus to start calling India “Hindu rashtra” (Hindu nation), he maintained that only “our religion [Hinduism] is to be honored here” and then “we will look after other religions.”


Sound familiar? Unfortunately, so far Thackeray has failed to take his own advice and start up his own suicide squad.

In August of 2008, Sri Ram Sene sent some vandals to smash up an art exhibitby controversial artist Maqbool Fida Husain. They didn’t like his artwork because it depicted Bharathmata nekkid and depicted other Hindu gods in a way they considered derogatory. So apparently the only thing they could think to do in response was to smash up his art, leaving notes explaining why they did it on the off chance that somebody missed the point. Even Bill Donahue has the decency to limit his anti-art fuckwittery to press releases.

In October of 2008, Sri Ram Sens activists attacked the offices of the democratic socialist Samajwadi Party. Someone at the SP had insulted a police chief the Sena liked, so they ransacked their central offices, damaging cars, furniture, and “hoardings,” according to the Sena’s own national general secretary Binay Kumar Singh.

This last tidbit about the Sena has a happy ending, but it starts out pretty ugly. Like the Saudi religious police (I’ll get to them later), they have a real problem with Valentine’s Day. Pramod Muthalik, the group’s leader, sent out a memo in January 2009 claiming that they would send their goons on patrol on February 14 to forcibly marry any couple who expresses their love in public:

“Our activists will go around with a priest, a turmeric stub and a ‘mangal sutra’ on February 14. If we come across couples being together in public and expressing their love, we will take them to the nearest temple and conduct their marriage,” he said. If the couples resisted the move, the girl would be forced to tie a ‘rakhi’ to the boy.

But instead of that, what actually happened was that outrage over his comments was so widespread that Muthalik and about 140 of his Sena buddies had to betaken into preventative custody on Valentine’s Day, 2009. And the very best part was the international success of a Facebook campaign to send Sena members pink underwear which Indians call Chaddi. Here in the US we call them ‘granny panties.’

Lord’s Resistance Army

For the past few years, journalist Jeff Sharlett has been covering the notorious C Street Family whose shady dealings have, among other things, included ties toUganda’s proposed legislation which would punish homosexuality, including capital punishment in some instances.

The Lord’s Resistance Army wasn’t behind that. The “kill the gays” bill is too mild for them. They just want straight-up theocracy in Uganda, with laws based on a mix apocalyptic Christianity focusing on the Ten Commandments and traditional Acholi spiritualism, and they’re doing pretty much everything they can do in order to make that happen.

The LRA is led by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed “spokesperson of God” and “spirit medium.” That means he hears voices in his head and thinks that it’s a deity talking to him. Under his leadership, the LRA has abducted some 30,000 children to use as soldiers, kept women as sex slaves, attacked and raped civilian populations, all of which has caught the attention of INTERPOL and theInternational Criminal Court. In the meantime, children find a new place to sleep every night in order to avoid getting mutilated, forced into sexual slavery or into Kony’s Christian militia.

Army of God

It’s so typical of the American anti-abortion terrorists on the list to be the ones with the least creative name. The Army of God is a group which even the worst doctor murderers will not normally associate with. Usually what happens is that one of them will flip out and shoot or blow up a bunch of people, and the AoG will step in and claim the perpetrator as one of their own.

When Eric Rudolph blew up an abobo clinic and a gay nightclub in 1997, it was the AoG who sent handwritten letters voluntarily claiming responsibility. When Paul Hill murdered the abortion provider John Britton and 2 of his co-workers, the AoG wrote up a statement calling that mass killing “morally justified.”

And some of the anti-abortion terrorists reach out to the AoG on their own. Shelley Shannon who had tried to murder George Tiller in 1993 is one example. She is now serving a sentence for attempted murder and is projected to be released in November 2018. And in 2001, Clayton Waagner sent abortion providers over 500 letters containing white powder in the wake of the Anthrax scare that year. He had previously escaped from jail and robbed a bunch of banks, so he won’t be getting out until around 2046.

Michael Bray is unfortunately not currently in prison, but he also associates himself with the AoG. If you haven’t seen this interview of him, it will sum up what he’s all about.

Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice

The CFPVPV is also known as the Mutaween, also known as هيئة الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر, also known as the Saudi Religious Police. According to author Lawrence Wright, an imam named Turki bin Faisal Al Saud began secretly monitoring CFPVPV members after one of them insulted his sister. He found that most were criminals who were given light sentences because they had memorized the Quran.

The CFPVPV is tasked with the duties of enforcing Sharia law in Saudi Arabia. That means making sure everyone prays at the proper time, keeping men and women separate so Allah doesn’t get cooties, arresting the gays, preventing the corrupt Western practice of selling cats and dogs, and that sort of totally normal thing. And that’s just they’re supposed to be doing. So you might imagine how bad they can get when they go above and beyond the call of duty. If you did, knock it off because I’m going to get to that next.

In May of 2007, a 28 year old man in Riyadh named Ali Al-Huraisi had a run-in with the CFPVPV. Because they believed that he possessed alcohol, they broke into his house, arrested his entire family, handcuffed him, and then beat him to death. Ta-da!

In August of 2008, a member killed his own daughter for converting to Christianity. He burned her to death. Apostasy does have a death penalty associated with it in Saudi Arabia, but as in the case of Ali Al-Huraisi the role of the organization according to Saudi law is to apprehend suspects of religious “crimes” and hand them over to the courts. Besides confiscating things which are banned and detaining people, they aren’t supposed to have the power to actually carry out much punishment on their own.

And the worst of the worst of this organization’s crimes has to be how they responded to a 2002 fire at a girl’s school in Mecca. I’m going to have to quote news sources here because every time I try to start to write about it in my own words I worry that I’ll just end up bashing my head through the keyboard and into my desk in a futile effort to dull the rage and disgust that builds up in the form of a terrible headache and violent twitches. So here’s the BBC:

Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers…
One witness said he saw three policemen “beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya“…
The school was locked at the time of the fire — a usual practice to ensure full segregation of the sexes.

I have a question: What’s more evil than that? Seriously, even in all of fiction it’s difficult to find a close contender. I was against the US wars in the Middle East before they even began, but even a pinko peacenik like me would have no problem with sending some Special Ops guys over there just to specifically target these people. When you’re an adult ex-con fighting girls and forcing them into a burning building because you’re offended by what they’re wearing, you have to lose any possibility of sympathy from anyone with an ounce of sense in them.”

Josh Bunting is a Beast contributor.
emphasis mine

Survival through evolution

From HuffPost –

“According to Nicholas Wade, veteran New York Times science reporter, and author of the new book The Faith Instinct, religious fervor has dwindled of late because religions have failed to keep pace with human knowledge. For faith to thrive, our concepts of God must adapt to our evolving scientific knowledge.

What happens if we project our current scientific knowledge into the future? A new scenario suggests the evolution of a new concept of God.

Imagine 100 years ago, looking up into the sky and seeing a pinhead in the stratosphere, and someone telling you the dot contained 400 people whizzing off to China faster than the chariots of the Greek gods. Or consider the progress with cloning; we now have the ability to resurrect species that no longer exist, such as the Bucardo mountain goat – and using chromosome transfer, we can create a mate for it just like God did for Adam in the Garden of Eden.

Now imagine what will be possible in 100 billion years….”

Emphases mine