According to this article (in The Register, which I don’t recognize – anyone?), the UK Advertising Standards Authority ruled that people with doctoral degrees in Essential Oils, Homeopathy, etc. are “scientists.”
Is this for real?
Not much time today. Here’s a 6 month old story: Montgomery County, Maryland passed a law saying if you wanted to offer pregnancy counseling without a licensed doctor on staff, you had to say you didn’t, and post a sign saying that the state suggests you see a real doctor.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are basically anti-abortion organizations pretending to be confidential medical clinics. They are not regulated by HIPAA and are not staffed by licensed medical care providers. They give pregnancy tests and then try to shame and scare women out of getting an abortion, in some cases even before the test results come in. Women walk in thinking they’re seeing a real doctor, and in fact they’re just seeing preachy evangelicals in lab coats and latex gloves.
That’s the point of having licensing for medicine in the first place, right?
Well a Crisis Pregnancy Center sued them, saying it infringed on their right to free speech. No, my conservative friends, you have no right to make women think you’re a medical clinic when you really aren’t.
Check out these links:
Medical News: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172119.php
A Post Editorial letter in defense of CPCs:
Local MD blogger: http://www.sarahsaysblog.com/2010/10/crisis-pregnancy-centers.html
Listen to this interview
Good news all over the place. For instance, over 80% of Americans believe that there is truth in most religions, per a survey question that also gave the option to respond that their religion was the only one that’s right.
Is this some form of Pascal’s Wager (what if I dis the wrong religion) or is it something deeper — growing reason? The belief that what you were told is right and what others were told is wrong is a deep acceptance of an argument from authority. The belief that everyone is basically right about most things, despite the fact that most religious dogma disagrees, is thinking for yourself.
Thoughts? Feel free to listen to the interview and comment on Kojo’s site instead. Just link me to your comment so I can read your insights 🙂
(And… Yes, I know it’s been a while since my last post.)
A co-worker loaned me The Family. This book is pretty chilling. I’ve gotten about halfway through. As typical of this sort of book, the first half is the history of the subject, which is, in this case, an elite fundamentalism that works like a shadow organization of religious right leaders in politics and business.
Expect a review soon.
According to the ARIS results, free thought is on the rise. About 8% of the USA in 1990; 15% in 2008. A Pew study in 2007 corroborates the ARIS numbers somewhat, giving the “nones” 16.1%.
But sociologists are curious folk, especially about easy-to-measure populations like college freshmen. So in 2010, 21.9% of 219,864 incoming freshmen surveyed claimed they had no religion. Not “other” or “refused to answer” but “none”. For comparison, only “Catholic” had a higher percentage, as specific denominations go. The majority are Christian, still: If you add all the Christians together and include Mormon, Eastern Orthodox, Quaker and Unitarian, that’s 70.1%. Still the majority, but closing.
The survey has been around for 32 years. In 1978, when it started (“when your mom was in college”), 8.3% of respondents claimed no religion. In 2005, it had more than doubled to 17.4%. Comparing “The American Freshmen” to ARIS, it seems that college students are about 6 years ahead of the general population.
College Students are often more aware of religions other than the one their minister and parents told them about, and exposure to new ideas without hard proselytization leads to reasoning freely. They often learn that other famous “nones” include Thomas Jefferson (who edited his own Bible to remove the miracles), Abraham Lincoln (who is known to be a deist), Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes (“I am not a subscriber to any creed. I belong to no church.”).
Nonbelievers aren’t exactly taking over the country, though. Much like those presidential “nones”, many of the college students surveyed may have theistic beliefs such as deism; philosophical theism; or just vague, pragmatic or apathetic theism. That’s fine by me; they’ve given it some thought and rejected patently supernatural assertions from religious authorities. Atheism or agnosticism is not a guaranteed outcome of reasoning freely, after all. And despite the steady rise, the United States is a very religious country, compared to Western Europe and Scandinavia (For instance, Germany 42% nonbelievers, Sweden 64%).
So I was browsing suggested freethinker books on Amazon when I came across the following excellent review of a book that looks pretty good. (The Amazon AI seems to think skeptics only really care about religion, so bear with me.) The book is a review of the world’s eight largest religions, and it focuses on their differences, rather than their similarities. The reviewer agrees with the author’s premise, but disagrees with the title (“God is Not One”) claiming that there’s but one “Godhead” and it’s man’s imperfection that gives us these highly conflicted descriptions of Him.
This post is the apogee of “McBlog,” because I’m describing and linking you to my comment on a stranger’s review of another stranger’s book. Keep in mind I didn’t read the book, and I agree with the author and reviewer.
I’m echoing Dawkins’ “one god more atheist than you” point, from a roundabout direction. This is an example of the kind of reflective, other-focused conversation I advocated in a previous post and will discuss more next week.
There goes Texas… and with it, the world. Before getting to the details, let me explain that Texas Board of Education orders so many textbooks, they basically dictate textbook standards for most of the nation.
I’ve been trying to write something on this subject for a while, but… At this point, I feel the need to simply aggregate what others have said out there into one big post. These links will catalog for you what is going on. Pick and choose as you want from the various sources. Maybe I’ll come up with a good freethinker angle and write an essay. For now, I’ll just give you the news articles and opinion pieces that I’ve found:
The details: Texas has been rewriting history.