Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

Based on little more than magical thinking

Aug 24th, 2014 6:15 pm | By

Steven Salzberg at Forbes points out that Whole Foods Markets does some very good things, like having a seafood sustainability policy and offering humanely-raised chicken and beef. On the other hand it also does ridiculous things, like flogging homeopathy, opposing GMOs, and refusing to sell aspirin.

Whole Foods sells homeopathic medicines that are little more than snake oil. They make claims for health benefits, both on their shelves and on their website, that are based on little more than magical thinking. For example, they sell “homeopathic flu remedies” claiming that “when taken at the first sign of sickness, these can provide temporary relief of symptoms including fever, chills, and body aches.” This is simply false: no homeopathic

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



As kind of awkward

Aug 24th, 2014 6:04 pm | By

Gosh, even Sarah Palin got in on it. I wouldn’t have thought she’d know who Dawkins is.

Mr. Dawkins, I’d let you meet my son if you promised to open your mind, your eyes, and your heart to a unique kind of absolute beauty. But, in my request for you to be tolerant, I’d have to warn Trig he must be tolerant, too, because he may superficially look at you as kind of awkward. I’ll make sure he’s polite, though!

Love,

Sarah Palin & family

It would be interesting if he actually took her up on it.… Read the rest

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Marching together

Aug 24th, 2014 3:41 pm | By

In Dublin this afternoon, thousands of people marched in support of extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian people.

Organisers said 8,000 people took part in the march, many of whom held signs reading “equal”. Some dressed in sashes and tiaras after the news that the newly crowned Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh had publicly come out as lesbian.

Comedian and writer Tara Flynn introduced speakers at a stage on St. Stephen’s Green. Ms Flynn recently starred in an LGBT Noise ‘Armagayddon’ video, which went viral internationally.

The march was notable for the number of straight people marching alongside LGBT people, along with families, and an almost endless array of colourful banners and signs. Representatives from LGBT youth organisation

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



One can simply pick and choose about which values one accepts

Aug 24th, 2014 12:40 pm | By

Kenan Malik did this talk at the Global Humanist Conference a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been meaning to read.

Right at the beginning we run into a funny (odd and haha both) idea.

Every year I give a lecture to a group of theology students – would-be Anglican priests, as it happens – on ‘Why I am an atheist’. Part of the talk is about values. And every year I get the same response: that without God, one can simply pick and choose about which values one accepts and which one doesn’t.

Ye-es…and?

Of course one can pick and choose about which values one accepts and which one doesn’t, and one had damn well better do exactly Read the rest

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A missing word

Aug 24th, 2014 11:20 am | By

You know what English needs? It needs a word that’s the opposite of “want.” It needs a word for want-not. Just adding a not doesn’t do it, because it’s too limp, too reactive, too mere. We need a word that’s more forceful, more feeling, than “don’t want.” An unwant word. A verb form of aversion.

Is there a verb form of aversion? If so it’s certainly not in active use. English needs a word like that that is in active use, and so is available to use.… Read the rest

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Everything in this world was worthless in comparison

Aug 24th, 2014 10:30 am | By

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain tweeted a striking forum post from a year ago, titled Believing in Jihad and Martyrdom.

I lived my younger years wanting only one thing: martyrdom.

I wanted to die in battle, in the name of Allah.

I wanted the peaceful happy death that martyrs appear to experience with a smile on their face.

I didn’t care who I fought or why, as long as I was fighting for Allah under Islamically justifiable conditions.

Everything in this world was worthless in comparison. You die in the name of Allah, and you get a free pass from all the pain and suffering that awaits everyone else on Judgement Day. You go straight to heaven, and all

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Aggressive secularism shock-horror panic upset fear

Aug 23rd, 2014 4:02 pm | By

This time it’s former UK attorney general Dominic Grieve, in the Telegraph, with a candlestick.

Britain is at risk of being “sanitised” of faith because an “aggressive form of secularism” in workplaces and public bodies is forcing Christians to hide their beliefs, a former attorney general has warned.

What an arrestingly fresh and novel thought!

Dominic Grieve said he found it “quite extraordinary” that people were being sacked or disciplined for expressing their beliefs at work.

So do I! But they aren’t. So I don’t. I find it “quite extraordinary” that political talkers keep telling whoppers about this. People don’t get sacked just for “expressing their beliefs at work.” They get sacked for, for instance, refusing to do the Read the rest

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The Oxford comma

Aug 23rd, 2014 3:27 pm | By

You know: the comma before “and” in a list of three or more items.

Have some paradigms:

The two main rationales for choosing one style over the other are clarity and economy. Each side has invoked both rationales in its favor. Here are some quotes that have served as shots exchanged in the Oxford comma wars.

Pro: “She took a photograph of her parents, the president, and the vice president.”

This example from the Chicago Manual of Style shows how the comma is necessary for clarity. Without it, she is taking a picture of two people, her mother and father, who are the president and vice president. With it, she is taking a picture of four people.

Quite. The … Read the rest

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In the USA

Aug 23rd, 2014 12:08 pm | By

So now I’m going to have to allow more cuteness into my aesthetic range than I usually do, so that I can say yes to Mary Engelbreit and no to the people who said no to her.

St. Louis artist Mary Engelbreit‘s work typically epitomizes “non-controversial” art: She makes comforting cartoon illustrations of apple-cheeked children, often accompanied by cheerful slogans about friendship and family. She has a large and devoted following, both for her art and for Engelbreit-branded products of various types, and she is an official inductee in the St. Louis Walk of Fame. These are not normal times, however, and when Engelbreit posted an image on her Facebook page on Tuesday in response to the

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Benson has a “guest post”

Aug 23rd, 2014 10:51 am | By

Update: Right. It’s not that she’s bizarre and creepy for monitoring all my posts and tweets and then doing “research” on them and writing up the “research” as if it were significant somehow – no, it’s that I am, for pointing out that she’s doing that. Totally makes sense. Nosce te ipsum.

 

Sometimes the level of obsession is so bizarre and so creepy that it just needs pointing out.

(Click on the images to embiggen.)

This is someone with a real job, a demanding, professional job, and this is how she spends her free time – monitoring my every visible-to-her word, hunting for the source of a guest post, comparing the original to the guest post, and writing up … Read the rest

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You mean women can talk?!

Aug 22nd, 2014 5:16 pm | By

Brilliant move. Have a panel to discuss expanding leadership opportunities for Buddhist women and…well, take a look.

Featured panelists – James Coleman, Gary Gach, Charles Prebish, Christopher Queen, Paul David Numrich, Justin Whitaker, Eisel Mazard. Photos go: man, man, man, man, man, man, man.

Hmm.

Rita Gross, an author and dharma teacher, wonders what they were thinking.

Earlier this week the website Patheos published a panel on the topic “2014 Religious Trends: Expanding Leadership Opportunities for Buddhist Women—Which Way Forward?” The panel introduction ended with this question: “What are the risks and benefits of opening Buddhist leadership to women?” As a Buddhist-feminist scholar who has watched and participated in the rise of female leadership in the Buddhist world for

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Get a good look before you buy

Aug 22nd, 2014 4:49 pm | By

One of those zany Islamic “scholars” in Egypt has issued a very useful bit of advice in a video. (Is it still called a fatwa if it’s on a video? Is there some different word for it if it partakes of the novel technology? Is there a fatwa for that?)

Men can spy on women in the shower, an extremist cleric has argued in Egypt, prompting outrage from other Islamic scholars.

According to Osama al-Qusi, a Salafist or ultraorthodox preacher, peeping toms can watch a woman wash as long as they are interested in marrying her.

“If you were really honest and wanted to marry that woman, and you were able to hide and watch her in secret,

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A bit of Yes Minister

Aug 22nd, 2014 4:15 pm | By

“It’s simply subsidized self-indulgence.”

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgDxvaCsZMIRead the rest

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Guest post: Because their religion demands it

Aug 22nd, 2014 1:01 pm | By

Originally a comment by Eric MacDonald on Guest post on Sam Harris and the duties of public intellectuals. (So yes, a meta-guest post.)

I think there are two sides to this story, and Atran’s claims cannot be taken as scientifically confirmed. For example, in the article Ophelia links entitled: “Here He Goes Again: Sam Harris’s Falsehoods,” Atran makes claims which, while true in terms of his own research, do not necessarily subvert some (at least) of Harris’s conclusions.

For example, Atran says: “Harris’s generalizations of his own fMRIs on belief change among a few dozen college students as supportive of his views of religion as simply false beliefs are underwhelming.” This is unquestionably true, as I have said before … Read the rest

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Choose your victims well

Aug 22nd, 2014 12:41 pm | By

The Deputy Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists remembers James Foley.

He was already well known to CPJ staff, who along with many other groups and individuals had advocated for his release when he was captured by pro-Qadaffi forces in Libya in 2011 and held for six weeks.

Foley had been with three other journalists when they came under fire near Brega. One, Anton Hammerl, a freelance South African photographer, was killed.

Captivity in Libya, and the death of a colleague who was working on a shoestring budget, seem to have intensified Foley’s passion to help fellow journalists, particularly those risking their lives in conflict zones without the training, equipment, and finances afforded by major news organizations.

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What can cure Ebola

Aug 22nd, 2014 11:56 am | By

What can cure Ebola? Apparently if it’s prompt enough and intensive enough, aggressive supportive care has a good chance of curing it. The better the hospital, the better the cure rate. Poverty is key here.

The two American Ebola patients, medical missionaries Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, have walked out of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta infection-free.

They were the first human beings to receive an experimental drug called ZMapp. But they are not the first people to have recovered from Ebola, and good hospital care is likely more responsible for their recovery than any mysterious “serum,” as the charities they work for termed it.

“They are the very first individuals to have ever received this agent,” Dr.

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Setting a place for emotion

Aug 22nd, 2014 9:44 am | By

I’ve been very critical* of Richard Dawkins’s recent Twitter dictats on abortion and Down syndrome, but now I get a chance to defend him, and from some of his own ardent supporters at that.

As you all no doubt know, he posted an apology plus explanation yesterday. What I want to take issue with here is not the post but a comment replying to a pair of comments pointing out the importance of emotions and persuasion in discussions of moral issues.

Do you have a list of topics at hand about which we should avoid talking logically? That would be most convenient for everyone concerned. Even if you can’t see the absurdity of that, consider that your list would differ

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Guest post on Sam Harris and the duties of public intellectuals

Aug 21st, 2014 6:02 pm | By

Guest post by Simon Frankel Pratt.

I think that Harris is good at presenting a kind of naive though not completely stupid position that many thoughtful but poorly informed secular Western liberals are likely to arrive at. In a sense, his positions should be the challenge or the foil against which informed experts and public intellectuals frame their answers. For example, Harris’s views on the links between religion and violence are almost entirely wrong, as scholars such as Atran have shown, but they are understandable.

The problem is, of course, that Harris does not engage with the experts.

He does not frame his views as naive or as questions in need of answering, but as the obvious answers. … Read the rest

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Like a trucking company

Aug 21st, 2014 4:58 pm | By

Cardinal Pell is another one vying for the Zero Empathy Remark of the Year Award.

Cardinal George Pell has strongly defended the so-called Melbourne Response as Australia’s first comprehensive redress scheme for victims of clerical sexual abuse at the royal commission.

Appearing at the commission via video link from the Vatican in Rome on Thursday night, Cardinal Pell likened the Catholic Church’s responsibility for child abuse to that of a ”trucking company”. If a driver sexually assaulted a passenger they picked up along the way, he said, ”I don’t think it appropriate for the … leadership of that company be held responsible.”

What’s wrong with that analogy? Well let’s see…

  1. The Catholic church doesn’t pick up passengers along the
  2. Read the rest

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Trending

Aug 21st, 2014 12:38 pm | By

Dawkins is trending on Facebook again, thanks to his Most Recent Tweet of Infamy. At the top of the list I see (I assume the list is different for different people, because of their different Facebook histories) there are a lot of mainstream media stories and some Facebook posts by friends, and then after that…there is a long stream of right-wing, Christian, anti-abortion links.

Fabulous. Very very helpful.

There’s The Blaze.

There’s Christian News Network.

There’s Life Site News.

There’s Alan Colmes.

There’s Life News.

There’s Ray Comfort.

Richard Dawkins is being consistent again–with his Darwinian/Nazi ideology of “survival of the fittest.” This time he suggests that down syndrome children aren’t fit to

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