A few items related to religious-nonsense item I commented on yesterday. Richard Chappell quotes from another amusingly (or irritatingly, depending on what sort of mood you’re in and how many people there are on how many construction sites in your immediate vicinity and earshot running power saws, jackhammers, cement mixers, anonymous grinders and roarers and screamer-mechanisms – I myself have three such sites and who knows how many people and deafening pieces of equipment, so I’m not sure I’m entirely sane today) bit of religious confusion on his blog:

A lot of New Zealanders, I think, are very nervous of the word ‘religion’ because they think it’s indoctrination, but the danger is if you miss that whole dimension of intellectual debate out, you deprive young people of the opportunity to engage with some of these really important issues, such as genetics, or the war in Iraq.

Eh? One can’t talk about the war in Iraq or genetics – genetics?! – except under the auspices of religion? Really! That will come as a suprise to a lot of people – geneticists, for example. Apparently the danger is if you miss that whole dimension of learning to think clearly out, then you confuse religion with intellectual debate and intellectual debate with religion, and the next thing you know you’ve turned into a sheep and are being chased by a lot of horrible slavering men in running shorts.

And Pulp Movies has a comment on the same Mary Kenny piece.

So there you go. Religion good. Secular bad. No thinking. No understanding of the range and subtlety of moral choices. Just a simple black/white dichotomy. Mary Kenny seems to be frighteningly unable to recognise that any values other than her own have any worth whatsoever.

It’s good to find allies, and it may be that if enough people squawk about this kind of thing – this blithe assumption that you can’t have morality or moral thinking without religion – people will eventually become just a little more aware of how absurd it is, and even stop saying and thinking it and start saying and thinking more sensible things instead. Or maybe not, but it’s something to shoot for anyway.

And there’s an entertaining item at Pharyngula that indicates religion may not be so good for ‘family values’ after all. Personally I don’t care much, because I’m not keen on family values to begin with, but since the religious side often likes to claim a monopoly on the things, it’s fun to see the claim gainsaid. And no one can dispute PZ’s final point:

The actual numbers unfortunately show that there is a bit more to marriage than just godlessness, though—I guess atheism is no panacea. All it does is give a substantial boost to one’s charm, wit, intelligence, health, and beauty.

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