On Hiatus, kinda

You may have notice that I haven’t posted for over a week and even before that my posting was on the sketchy side.  My brain chemistry has taken a turn for the worse and I need to get it sorted out.  Don’t worry, I’m not about to become intimate with a razor blade or anything drastic like that.  However, it has left very little head space for blogging.  Then again, the way my head is at the moment, I may turn into a blogging fiend tomorrow and spam you all with 10 posts a day.  I just wanted to touch base with those of you who are kind enough to read my blog to let you know what is going on and the reason for the lack of updates.  If I stop posting on Twitter you will know it’s time to panic about my welfare.

On an unrelated note,  I have these Bonds underwear with Bonds written around the waistband.  However, the spacing is out of whack so instead of reading BONDSBONDSBONDSBONDS it read SB OND SB OND SB OND. I am finding this more unsettling then I really should.

Religious Imbeciles Of The Week

WASHINGTON - MARCH 03:  Protesters demonstrate...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Thought I would set up a weekly post highlighting stupid decisions made in the name of religion.  Let me know if enjoy like it.

The inaugural religious imbecile of the week goes to the Saudi Arabian government for making it illegal for women to conduct their lives without a man watching over them.

A Saudi woman has been sentenced to 300 lashes & jailed for 18 months for daring to appear in court without a male guardian and filing complaints against local officials. This because under the strict laws of Islam, women are not supposed to leave the home without a male guardian.  Full story can be found here.  I just find this law repulsive and the fact they are going to whip her for daring to be an independent woman is abhorrant.

However, the Saudi Arbians are not the only ones this week to do something really stupid in the name of religion.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington DC has halted its foster care program and stopped all spousal benefits for all new employees in protest against the DC government legalising same-sex marriage.  Apparently it is way more important to discriminate against gays & lesbians than it is to provide services for the most helpless members of society.  Way to go DC Catholic Church – I hope your god is proud of you.

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Completely Unexpected

My blog post The Dangers of Not Vaccinating Your Child made it to the finals of the Young Australian Skeptics Blog Anthology and they gave me this very lovely badge

YAS Blog Anthology Finalistand the opportunity to feature my post in their actual hard copy book.

Please check out the other finalists.  I am in some very prestigious company including many bloggers whose work I greatly admire.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by this to be honest as I don’t class myself as a writer. I blog cause I want to tell people things that I have learnt or found on the internet.  I don’t pretend to have any great skills in the written medium so this is just completely unexpected.

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18 months late, but still…

This is from October 2008, not sure what I was doing then but obviously I was in my own little oblivious bubble.

Let’s just add this to the very long list of why I detest PETA.

Seriously, WTF PETA.

Temple Grandin at TED

Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism as a child, gave an amazing talk at TED about how important it is to recognise that people think in different ways and to find ways to motivate and inspire kids with different ways of thinking.  The passion she spoke with about mentoring kids with autism and how one person can change their life forever is just inspiring.  I found it interesting that Temple lumped in smart geeky kids with those on the autism spectrum as though they were all the spectrum. I also identified quite a bit with some of the things she was saying about ways of thinking.

Even if you don’t know anyone on the spectrum or have an interest in autism, give this video a watch as Temple’s views on teaching and inspiring kids is something everyone should hear.

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The Poetry of Reality

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know I am a huge fan of The Symphony of Science, a project to spread scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form.  John Boswell has released a brand new piece this morning titled The Poetry of Reality and like his previous pieces this one is wonderful and amazing.

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Survey Results: Are Scientists More Likely To Be Atheists Than Non-Scientists?

As promised, although later than I had hoped, here are the results of my survey into whether scientists are more likely to be atheists than non-scientists. A big thank you to everyone who took part.

We had 16 people respond of which 11 were scientists and 5 were non-scientists.

Out of the scientists; 5 were atheists, 3 were religious and 3 were spiritual.


Out of the non-scientists;  4 were atheists and 1 was spiritual.


This means that out of my very small sample size, atheists were more likely to be non-scientists than scientists.

I then also looked on the effect of growing up in a religious household on people’s religious beliefs.

Of the 16 people who responded; 10 grew up in religious households whilst 6 grew up in non-religious households.

Out of those who grew up in religious households; 6 were atheists, 2 were religious and 2 were spiritual.

Religious Households

Out of those who grew up in non-religious households; 3 were atheists, 1 was religious and 2 were spiritual.

Non-Religious Households

Therefore from my sample, those who grew up in religious households were slightly more likely to be atheists than those who grew up in non-religious households.

Due to the small sample size, we can’t make any generalisations about society at large, but still it is very interesting to find out amongst my readers their religious views and if they were affected by the type of religious experiences they had as children.  I must admit that I was a little shocked to see more atheists amongst my non-scientific readers than my scientific readers though.  However, I think that is because my blog attracts way more atheist readers than non-atheists due to my rather outspoken views on religion.

If you are a new reader and want to take part in the survey,  I have placed it up on Survey Monkey.  It will be interesting to see if a larger sample size has any effect on the overall results.

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Children & Religious Extremism

Religious extremism and religious motivated violence are repugnant to most people, atheist and religious alike.  Most religious people see violence to advance a religious cause as a perversion of their faith and beliefs.

We can become numb to seeing adults preaching this viewpoint, but what if it is a child who is preaching and promoting these violent acts on national television?

The clip below shows a boy who looks between 10-12 on Egyptian television preaching about children’s love of martyrdom whilst his proud father looks on.

The story the boy preaches is about a young boy who wants to join the men in going to Jihad to fight.  The Commander tells the boy that he can come as long as Allah decrees that the boy is to be martyred.  What the fuck?? When is it ever okay for a child to be martyred for a religious cause?

What is even worse, this boy tells the Commander that his father was martyred last year and his uncle the year before that and this year his mother had told him it was his turned to be martyred.  This stuff truly breaks my heart.  Children should be protected and sheltered against violence, they should not be sent out to fight and die.

The story ends with the boy being killed during a battle with Byzantine soldiers and the Commander taking his blood stained shirt back to his mother.  The mother rejoices at the news that her son has died and that her daughter drops dead whilst hearing the news of her brother’s death.

There is an epilogue to this sad tale, just when you think it can’t get any worse.  When the Commander is burying the boy, the boy’s corpse keeps popping out of the ground.  In the end they give up trying to give the kid a decent burial saying it’s Allah’s will that the child not be buried.

Now, before you go off believing it is only Islam that preaches violent tales of children dying for religious causes, the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah are also full of tales of violence towards children and children fighting and dying for religious causes.

Hearing tales of children dying in the name of religion breaks my heart.  Seeing a child preaching about how wonderful it is for kids to martyred on national TV makes me extremely angry.  It is not okay and it is never going to be okay for children to be sent to die for any cause, religious or otherwise.

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