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Comment Titan (Score 1) 703

Titan is incredibly interesting. Though priorities I think should be the moon and Mars, as they'll be the easiest ones it seems to set up bases on where people could go live and we could finally start trying to move out in to space.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 1) 630

Modern pieces of shit? Wow, that's pleasant. So I guess that includes people like Einstein, Feynman, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Minksy, von Neumann, Sussman, Abelson, Stallman, Chomsky, Pinker, and many more famous people that are (were for the dead ones) Jewish... Though not in the religious sense.

No, the US is not a religious country. As far as I know, it's actually the only country that has as one of its founding principles, the separation of church and state.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 1) 630

No I think that Israel is a secular nation. There are issues still, like the marriage issues, but the Israeli government does not claim to be carrying about the will of Yahweh.

Right now in Iran, you have a leader that has said he'd like for Israel to be wiped off the map (though there is some disagreement as to whether that is an accurate translation) and even more recently has denied the holocaust.

There seems to be a massive amount of cultural relativism going on around here. It's all well and good to point out the problems with out own societies, but the problems with our societies don't some how lessen the problems with countries like Iran.
Lots of people seem to think that conflicts in the Middle East are conflicts between Christian society and Islamic society. It's not, Western society is no-longer Christian, it's secular and it's a hell of a lot better than either Christian or Islamic society.

Anyway, as to your point. Israel is a secular society, just as America is a secular society. That doesn't mean that religious groups in either country don't have authority in areas that they shouldn't. But the areas they have power in are tiny compared to the power the religious leaders have in countries like Iran.
Hopefully in the next decade or so we'll see the last remaining areas of authority that religious groups have in Western societies removed.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 1) 630

Well many Western nations already have nukes, it's a problem that we have to deal with. They do seem to act as a good deterrent, just so long as no-one uses them, it's still very risky though, it could just be that given enough time a nuclear war is guaranteed... Hopefully not though.

The reason I'm happier with secular governments (which hopefully is a reflection of a lack of religious belief in the population and politicians) having them is because I think they realise or at least act in accordance with the assumption that this is the only life we're going to get. So instead of fighting, we should cooperate and improve things.

When religion dictates policy though it generally makes cooperation with others very problematic, not that there aren't problems that affect cooperation between secular nations, but religion is often a far bigger barrier to cooperation.

If, and hopefully it'll happen, Iran becomes a secular nation, then I'd be happy for them to have nukes if they really wanted them. Though it'd be nice if they didn't, and if countries like Russia and America would put more effort in to reducing their stockpile.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 1) 630

Yes, the marriage laws are friggin ridiculous. I read a while ago about a Russian Jew that was going to get married in Israel to a Jewish girl, but the idiot rabbi deemed him to not be "Jewish" enough to be married... In Russia he said he often had problems because there he was seen as Jewish, in Israel he had problems because he was seen as not Jewish (enough). But those problems, and others like circumcision which should be stopped, are not as immediately dangerous as the problems with Islam currently.

As for Israel claiming the land based on what the Torah says... I'm sure there are some religious idiots that claim that. I would be shocked, disgusted and very worried if I heard the government of Israel claim the land for such a reason.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 1) 630

As I said, it's probable that the current leaders are really just concerned with wealth (and lets add power) in the real world, and wouldn't be stupid enough to do anything to assure their own annihilation. But I don't think I'd rule out the possibility of a truly religious nut getting power there (then again, I unfortunately can't rule that out for America given recent history, though hopefully Americans have learnt from that mistake) and trying to wipe out Israel.

The other problem is that even if those governments aren't crazy enough to attack Israel with a nuke... They'll quite happily do nothing about militant groups within their own country that attack Israel, and if the government have nukes then Israel could likely feel that they can't retaliate and do anything about the attacks. These small nutty Islamic militant groups though are unlikely to stop attacking Israel just because Israel doesn't attack back.

Israel should return the occupied territories though. I would be absolutely amazed though if doing so would bring peace to the region. There is too much hatred in the region... Whole thing is a mess.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 4, Insightful) 630

"Jewish" isn't, and wasn't even at the time, a term for people that followed Judaism. It's a tad annoying that it's so ill defined. But back around the time of WWII, many "Jewish" people were well educated, middle class and not religious, they might have gone to their synagogues on occasion and celebrated religious holidays, but then as now many didn't believe it.

Many Jewish atheists were killed, along with many religious ones in the holocaust. There doesn't seem to be any really clear cut definition of what makes someone Jewish. But one thing is certain, you don't need to be religious to be considered Jewish.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 3, Insightful) 630

From what I've observed, the Israeli government is secular. They don't hang homosexuals, in fact there is a thriving homosexual community in Israel. They don't punish apostasy, many Israeli's are openly non-believers. They don't forbid people from eating ham (though pigs in Israel are farmed in a rather funny way to get around rules in the Torah).

If there is good reason to think that the Israeli government is a religious government then I would like to know. Because that would be a bad thing.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 1) 630

I've heard, watching a rather stupid rant by some Fox network idiot, that some of the new money being produced in America has omitted "In God we Trust". I haven't confirmed this myself, but it'd be nice. Though it was really a rather vacuous statement anyway. America is a secular nation, though it certainly has its dangerous religious nuts.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 2, Interesting) 630

I don't think you'd find one here in NZ. At least not within the last 25 or so years. I've never known of a religious government getting power here. There was a fundie church that ran for government a couple of years ago, everyone thought they were insane and made fun of them. I think they got less than 1% of the vote. Australia, I don't know. I would say it's likely the same.

Europe, countries like Germany, Norway, France (which is aggressively secular, which I like), Switzerland, Sweden, Holland and others I think you'd also be hard pressed to find a religious government within recent time.

England though... I think that Blair had said some pretty stupid things. But I think that was a bit of an anomaly in recent British governments. Of course England is an officially religious nation, the Queen is the head of the church. But I don't think in reality that religion wields much power there, thanks to better education and living standards.

And I really have no idea about Spain.

Comment Re:Not the first middle east nuke (Score 2, Insightful) 630

If the other side believes that when they die, they'll go to paradise, then I don't think you would get a stalemate. It is probable that the current leaders in Middle Eastern countries do want to hold on to their wealth in the real world and wouldn't go so far as assuring their own annihilation... But until the governments stop making religion a serious part of their policies, I'd rather not trust them with anything like a nuke.

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