This year’s Miss USA candidates had to answer "Should evolution be taught in School". The stupidity of their answer might be due to the lack of information about evolution, and due to religious zealot’s mis-information. The fact is that the theory of evolution is about as established as the theory of gravitation.
Of course, their answers are also due to politics. A Miss has to be pleasing and diplomatic. A Miss who says the total truth would be too controversial and would be demoted by religious zealots.
Miss California gave a fairly true answer. She actually won! I doubt it was because of her good answer to this question!?
The true answer would be, in Dawkins’ style: "Should the stork theory of child conception be taught in school?" "Should alchemy be taught instead of chemistry. Or should be both sides be taught, Alchemy and chemistry?". Evolutionary theory is as much a theory as the theory of gravitation.
Let’s be sexist and enjoy what these young women do best:
Religion, even if untrue, could help guide the average person’s morality. Religion could help if religion taught morality at Wall Street, compassionate behavior for chief executives, just profits instead of blind greed.
Unfortunately, Western religions miss the big issues and instead devote themselves to obstructing society on minor philosophical points (rights of embryos containing 300 cells only are more important then life saving research), prohibition of condom use in Africa, etc.
But, religious books are outdated, badly interpreted, and as Sam Harris would say, dangerous to society. Sam Harris, a militant Atheist, aptly dismantles religion in his speeches and Videos. Really interesting & valuable.
Sam Harris: The View from the End of the World: Dangerous Deadly Religion
Quotes taken from the youtube post of the video above follow:
In the US, Christians useirrational arguments about a soul in the 150 cells of a 3-day old human embryo to block stem cell research that might alleviate the suffering of millions. In Africa, Catholic doctrine uses tortured logic to actively discourage the use of condoms in countries ravaged by AIDS. “This is genocidal stupidity,” Harris said. Faith trumps rational argument. Common-sense ethical intuition is blinded by religious metaphysics.
In the US, 22% of the population are CERTAIN that Jesus is coming back in the next 50 years, and another 22% think that it’s likely. The good news of Christ’s return, though, can only occur following desperately bad news. Mushroom clouds would be welcomed. “End time thinking,” Harris said, “is fundamentally hostile to creating a sustainable future.”
Harris was particularly critical of religious moderates who give cover to the fundamentalists by not challenging them. The moderates say that all is justified because religion gives people meaning in their life. “But what would they say to a guy who believes there’s a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in his backyard? The guy digs out there every Sunday with his family, cherishing the meaning the quest gives them.”
“I’ve read the books,” Harris said. “God is not a moderate.” The Bible gives strict instructions to kill various kinds of sinners, and their relatives, and on occasion their entire towns. Yet slavery is challenged nowhere in the New or Old Testaments; slave holders in the old south used the Bible to defend their practice. The religious texts have power because they are old, but they are also hopelessly out of date because they are old.
Sam Harris has been identified as one of the “Four Horsemen of Atheism”— company he shares withRichard Dawkins, Dan Dennett and Christopher Hitchens.An outspoken proponent of skepticism and science, his two books — The End of Faith and its follow-up Letter to a Christian Nation — have become best-sellers.
In The End of Faith, Harris showed “a harrowing glimpse of mankind’s willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when these beliefs inspire the worst of human atrocities.” After receiving thousands of angry letters in response, he wrote Letter to a Christian Nation, which centered on religious controversies in the United States: stem cell research, “intelligent design,” and links between religion and violence.
Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. He is the co-founder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society.
source: ted.com/speakers/ sam_harris.html
“Intelligent design” or “scientific” creationism are buzzwords created by religious fundamentalists, with the agenda to put content of 2000 year old religious books into our children’s school science curriculum.
Dawkins just takes apart all the religous arguments, shreds them into pieces. Watch the video “the purpose of purpose”.
pretty shocking topics: from animal rights not to be eaten and slaughtered to “abortion” rights until after birth, mercy killings of babies that get born severely damages.
Singer thinks topics to the end. His main philosopy is minimizing suffering, creating the maximum of happiness. So there is a consistency in his thoughts that one should not kill poor cows, but severely crippled infants should be killed out of mercy.