How Conservative and Religious Public Policies Kill People

14smrtThroughout recent centuries, conservatives (people who fight to maintain tradition and oppose progress) have been responsible for public policies in governments around the world that cause many deaths.

Of course, when people think of conservative religious governments they tend to focus on the Islamic ones, countries where simply being gay or atheist can earn a death sentence. There are similar cases in countries that aren’t dominated by Islam, a recent example being the American pastor who imported his hatred of gay people to Uganda. But there are less visible effects to be found even in more secular western democracies.

Consider war, for example. During much of human history, violence has been a common method of dealing with international disputes. Retaining this tradition is completely illogical in a world armed with nuclear bombs, yet conservative parties in America and around the world tend to be much more eager for war than diplomacy. Several of the Republican candidates for president this year expressed a desire to use nuclear and/or conventional bombs on Middle Eastern nations they perceive as a threat (and Trump went as far as advocating the murder of innocent women and children to get back at the terrorists). Obama’s efforts to make peace with other nations are derided as weakness, an “apology tour”, while our needless use of two atomic bombs on Japan is enthusiastically defended, despite the huge and inexcusable loss of civilian life they caused.

For supposedly pro-life people, these warmongering policies are hypocritical and insane. In fact, our indiscriminate bombing of Middle Eastern people is one of the main reasons terrorist groups like ISIS even exist. America gave them a unifying hatred of the west by murdering their civilians.

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The Young-Earth Creationist’s Problem with Evidence

early_cretaceous_plant_fossilsThe whole basis of young earth creationist (YEC) arguments, and indeed the only way they can even begin to make a case for their so-called viewpoint, is the idea that nothing can be known about geological history based on the analysis of rocks. This idea is so fundamental to the case for a young earth that vast amounts of evidence must be brutally twisted or completely ignored, and the entire field of geology is reduced to nothing. It’s really more of a non-viewpoint, since they refuse to do any viewing and their point is empty and self-defeating.

Let’s take a moment to consider the strange irony of people worshiping as absolute truth an ancient human-produced document of dubious origins, claiming that the world is direct evidence of their god…and then utterly denying the possibility of learning truth from ancient rocks formed by predictable natural forces that we’ve been studying for a long time now and can actually observe in progress today. The cognitive dissonance of such a position blows my mind.

There are numerous things we can learn from the rocks, fossils, and other features on our planet. I mentioned varves in a recent article–they are particularly compelling because the evidence of their age is the very physical stuff they’re made from. They show clearly defined seasonal layers that contain the pollen, flowers, and fruit of plants, as well as many other substances representing specific times of year. We have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that varve layers are of annual nature, some that are still forming today have more than ten thousand layers, and we have unearthed well-preserved ancient varves covering millions of years of environmental history.

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Christianity Cares More About Belief than People

To anyone who spent any time in Christianity and then left, the title of this article is likely obvious. When I left, I was told things like “nothing in your life matters except believing in Jesus”. All my life I’ve watched Christians shun each other for believing slightly different things. I grew up hardly knowing many of my cousins or one of my grandmothers for that reason. The examples of Christians putting a higher value on beliefs than people are never-ending.

I watched another case unfold in Oklahoma recently. It all started when an atheist attempted to donate $100 to the Murrow Indian Children’s Home, which is run by Christians, and his donation was refused. He offered more, and more. He set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe and raised over $28,000. I contributed to it, along with many other atheists and some Christians who aren’t insane. Still, since beliefs are more important than children to some people, the donation was once again refused. (The figure of $5,106.47 includes his original donation of $100, the $6.47 they spent to mail it back to him, plus an extra $5,000.)

atheist fundraiser

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A Tour of the Lynch Cave

IMG_4524I live in one of the oldest houses in my town, a five-bedroom place with hardwood floors that was built in 1940, just a few years after the town began as a construction community alongside the dam.

My corner of the house has some wonderful quirks, due to the age and its position in the upstairs southwest corner. For example, the door doesn’t fit quite right and the knob doesn’t turn, so it sticks shut via friction. I actually like it this way–instead of fumbling with the knob when I have my hands full, I can just shove it open with my shoulder.

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