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Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

If you do not teach the fundamental underlying concepts of life, you do not teach people to contemplate the question.

So, telling a kid a liver breaks down certain poisons for you and it's bad to lose it doesn't inherently equip the kid to discover more about the nature of the human body.

Hence, starting with the basis of electronics and teaching fundamentals would be important in my view. But then my school period was an endless cliched period of regurgitation and blandness, and we even have relatively OK schools here.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

Something tells me you come from a country with a really shitty educational system.

I only had chemistry for one year before I dropped it, but we definitely went through the underpinnings of the science including the periodic table. Biology, same thing. DNA was explained, which gives rise to evolution.

So I don't tend to agree with you here.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783


Killing the city of Jericho, Sodom and Gomorra because they don't agree with you is a good thing, while having a wank is a mortal sin. Burning oxes before the sabbath because the odor pleases the lord is good, but putting a dick up one's bottom is a mortal sin. If two people have sex outside of a narrowly defined set of circumstances, it is OK to stone them to death in the village square, but it is a horrible sin to show someone a breast.

These examples just serve to illustrate the complete moral bankruptcy of many religious writings. These books were not exactly written during the renaissance. As such, in a renaissance view, religion does foster a system where people can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

Now religion does not cause schizophrenia, but it has been proven that schizophrenia and epilepsia do cause religious visions, and hence religious beliefs. There is a researcher called Dick Swaab in the Netherlands that has done interesting work on simulating certain attacks by use of electrodes in humans and has thus been able to conjure up end-of-life visions, out-of-body experiences and religious epiphanies with the flick of a switch.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

Again, you are being very ignorant about the motivation of atheists. You take all form of nuance out of the discussion.

Firstly, if you look at the bodies of law that exist around the world, you will find a huge religious influence. Many countries' laws forbid euthanasia, abhor abortion, even have things to say about one's consensual sex life, say things about which beverages or substances one is allowed to consume and get in your face about the clothes one wants to wear. Holland, for all it's liberalism, still has religious schools that teach discrimination of the LGBT community and still has laws against blaspheming. Go figure. We're trying to get rid of those though, but that's another story.

Atheists may take offense to certain aspects of these legislations because not having a god simply makes it silly to subscribe to certain notions. If I am terminally ill or old without any shadow of dignity or life quality, why should I not be able to end my life? The other day in Ireland a dentist died because she didn't get an abortion. She had correctly judged and diagnosed herself, asked for an abortion for two weeks knowing she was in danger, and when the foetus finally did have no pulse anymore and it was removed, she slipped into a coma and died. This happened in the EU. In 2012. The Irish should be ashamed of themselves.

Your "drinking alcohol" analogy is, again, poppycock. All atheists ever say is that god does not exist. This might have implications on their political views, and in a democracy we get to seek representation for our political views, not so? So yes, many secularists might have an agenda. This agenda might boil down to seeking a more humane and liberal body of legislation and diminishing the harmful influence of religion on our society.

Having said that, Freedom of Faculty and Freedom of Enterprise are enshrined in my Constitution. The Unie van Utrecht has had freedom of religion enshrined in it since 1579 and served as an inspiration for Thomas Jefferson et al when they were contemplating the US Constitution.

So your freedom to believe in what you will is enshrined in the Constitution. The functional separation of Church and State should become a fact, but that does not in any way infringe on your right to adopt a religion of choice or talk to your kids about that in the privacy of your own home or even the town square.

Your reasoning is so devoid of nuance I don't even know where to begin on the last question you asked.

Comment Re:good (Score 3, Insightful) 783

Your view on atheist morality is dangerous and disturbing at best. Firstly you confuse the notion of atheism and evolution in your mind. Atheism does not teach anything, certainly not that survival of the fittest is the rule. Atheism simply means that one does not believe in any deity, no more no less.

Evolution theories of today don't even teach survival of the fittest. It has been proven that in many species altruistic behavior is an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy as it's called, so helping one's neighbors and even members of other species is definitely wired into our system.

As far as Evolution not being a fact because of lack of proof, that is simply not true. We have fossil records that are becoming ever more complete, both in the plant- as well as in the animal side of things. This fossil record amounts to a mountain of proof on which to base the hypothesis that evolution occurred and how it occurred.

Now if you add to that the real-time observations and experiments that were carried out, you can argue that evolution as a concept has been proven in an ironclad way, and the only thing that remains is the figuring out of the details.

Now the creationist view and the view of non-evolution have never, ever had a shred of evidence to support those notions. It really reminds me of XKCD comic 373, The Data So Far. Google it.

Quite frankly, since altruistic behavior is pretty much wired into our system, we have an inherent sense of morality that really exists outside of any religious source. As a matter of fact, I think that the religious writings are an apt reflection of the human condition in its full breadth.

Actually, Humanism and Liberalism in this country was phrased by non-religious people. Baruch Spinoza even got kicked out of the Jewish congregation because he wrote humanist books. We could have the tedious exercise where I would put the religious wars and inquisition in the fray, and you'd come up with Stalin and Hitler (although they were also dogmatic), and that whole discussion with you is just a very tedious chess game in which I know all the moves you'll play but I also know we'll agree to disagree.

It's just very boring to have to deal with your kind of arguments, because we've seen 'm all before, they've been logically refuted a million times over and yet people with your line of reasoning crawl out of the woodwork wherever I turn.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

Now you're simply splitting hairs over the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic. Quite frankly I call myself an Atheist because at this moment I have no reason to believe in any kind of supernatural beings.

There may be beings in this universe that are evolutionarily and technologically advanced to the point where we see them as omnipotent or godlike. The size of the universe and the amount of possibilities that would give us is just too staggering to exclude that option.

It doesn't mean I am agnostic. The Wiki definition of Agnostic is this:

"Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable."

Seriously, this is not what I am advocating or what I believe. I really do believe Pan the forest god does not exist because we have no empirical proof of his existence. The same goes for poltergeists and voodoo, if you will. And I lump the Christian/Hindu/Jewish/Islamic gods into that same category as poppycock.

My belief system hinges on the notion that any supernatural event is really just a natural event in a reality we don't fully comprehend.

To cut a long story short: We need more data.

Comment Re:good (Score 4, Insightful) 783

You are right about one thing. It is a psychological cliche to believe you are a better than average driver. Indeed.

However, as I argued above, I feel many atheists simply don't believe because they haven't seen anything to support the notion there is something to believe in.

Quite honestly, I don't understand your notion that atheism is truth. For all I know one day we can all be caught with our knickers down when we do discover there is a supreme being of some sort, even if it could be a wanker like Q from star trek.

The thing that most atheists would like is this:

- Quit trying to debunk factual phenomenon because they don't fit your antiquated book
- Quit trying to impose a system on morality on others based on what some dude with a beard wrote in Babylon 2500 years ago (talking about Torah here)

That's not so much debunking Christianity / Judaism / Islam as more trying to get the Christians / Jews / Muslims to shove it into our faces all the time with shitty and immoral legislation.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

My belief is not a belief. I tend to only credit notions for which some kind of tangible proof or argument can be made. My atheism isn't because it is the cause that gives my life meaning, my atheism simply arose because all alternatives look silly.

Burden of proof, er?

Having said that, teaching about a known fact such as evolution doesn't necessarily push the atheist agenda, if there were one. Quite a few religious folks will happily accept a notion of a Creator that set everything in motion, including evolution.

As such, I really don't understand why you felt the need to come down on the previous poster like a tonne of bricks. While he or she phrased him- or herself clumsily, I fully agree with the point that teaching religion is bad for the morality of a people.

The reason is simple. I have my own set of morals, to which I hold myself accountable. I have developed those over time, and they are all mine. So when I try to do good, it comes from an internalized sense of what the right thing is.

Now a religious person has been bribed to do good with images of heaven, or intimidated to do good with images of hell. Hence, to a religious person the morality comes from an outside source. Moreover, most religions ask people to commit to a life-style that is inhumane, so they automatically, somehow, sometime will break that morality, and classify themselves as sinners. This just fosters bad behavior.

To cut a long story short, I tend to agree with the previous poster that raising kids religiously is bad, but on the other hand in this man's country your freedom of religion is constitutionally enshrined. Hence, it should be allowed.

Having said all that: evolution is a fact. Not teaching it is moronic and harmful.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

You make that sound as if evolution is an ideology or religion, which it isn't. Evolution is an empirically proven fact. We have fossil records, nicely carbon dated, and we have instances of evolution happening in laboratory conditions, hell we've even observed it in real time in nature. That being said, it is simply one of the topics that people ought to know about.

This argument of infringing on other people's rights to believe as they will is irritating and incorrect. By framing it in the "freedom of religion" discussion, you are doing the science a disservice. Any parent can still tell their children what they think of the curriculum, and the government doesn't usurp a damn thing.

What a horrid argument. We've got this same thing going on in Holland surrounding discrimination against gay kids in religious schools. The government is looking to make sexual education, including LGBT information, mandatory, and these Calvinist and Catholic wankers in their special schools still think they should have the right to say homosexuality is a disease and a sin.

Luckily, in the Netherlands we are now debating whether the first Amendment of the Constitution, which the so-called "equality principle" and forbids any type of discrimination, should be amended with sexual orientation so that we can nip those ideas in the bud too.

The "Freedom of Religion" argument is solely used by a bunch of reactionaries who are afraid their power base will erode. Disgusting, really.

Comment Re:Look at who they appoint to the SCOTUS. (Score 2, Informative) 1576

I hardly think that Corporal punishment, Death penalty, Surveillance or even being held without a fair trial are things any US citizen can comment on at this junction in time. As long as y'all have 12.000+ deaths due to handgun violence per annum, still execute more prisoners per year than any other country on the planet, run camps like Guantanamo and invade the odd nation for spurious reasons, y'all can't really bitch about Singapore, now can you?

Having said that, I am a citizen of the Netherlands. We've been known to be a wee more liberal and less violent than the US for a while now.

Comment Re:Tweedledee won ! (Score 1) 1576

As an outside follower of American politics, I have no idea what the people were smoking when they modded this comment up +4 Insightful. Really. Seriously guys?

It is clear as my nose that Barack Obama has the following points:

- Pro choice in the abortion discussion
- Favors gay rights
- Favors a universal health care scheme
- Favors government intervention in economic matters
- Favors a certain wealth re-distribution through taxes in the direction of the lower and middle classes
- Actually seems to know his ass from his elbow in terms of foreign policy

Then Mitt Romney:

- Panders to the more fundamentalist Christian elements of the Republican electorate in spite of previously having been a moderate
- Therefore becoming more pro-life
- And less gay friendly
- Claims that no government is good government
- Does actually not know his ass from his elbow in foreign politics
- Does not believe in income re-distribution away from the richest 2% in the country, probably because he's exactly that

Now once everything has been said and done, while the difference between these two men is evident, the difference they can make depends largely on the equilibrium in the Senate and in Congress. If you are a democratic President, but the Republicans swing too large a bat in the Senate or Congress, you have to maneuver a lot to get anything done. Add to that filibusters and the mess is complete.

You cannot vote for a presidential candidate, then let them and their party slide during state- and local elections, and finally expect them to deliver on all they said. You need to follow through to ensure a robust power base across the board.

Hence, the previous poster's comment was idiotically near sighted, and the people who modded it up confuddled at best. ;)

Comment Re:Not at all (Score 1) 348

Dipping your fingertips in oil before slicing the peppers makes it safer. ;)

Having said all that, this poll is ridiculously vague. The correct answer is that it depends.

A traditional Sauerkraut and Potato stew as made in Holland doesn't contain peppers. The peppers could be on the sides of crispy pork you fry with it, and then we're talking black peppers or a mix of white, green, rosé and black peppers. The good old fashioned stuff you get out of a mill, preferably a Peugeot mill.

Now both Thai and Indian curries benefit greatly from sharper peppers. One of my go-to peppers is the Madame Jeanette, a pepper that got introduced here by means of the Surinamese colony. The Madame Jeanette can have a 350.000 scovile index which is not bad for a naturally occurring chili.

When I am making Hungarian goulash I tend to douse everything in copious amounts of my own pepper mix. This means sweet paprika powder, spicy (Moroccan will also do) paprika powder augmented with Cayenne pepper powder, mixed peppers (black, green, rose, white) and possibly simple red chilies. The same goes for Chili con Carne, even though I might throw in a Madame Jeanette if I want to be evil about it.

Now when I am making noodles or Indonesian food, I tend to use Sambal. Sambal Badjak, Surinamese Sambal or Sambal Trassi are my favourites, while Sambal Oelek strikes me as a beginner's sambal for the uninterested masses.

Then if I throw some meat or gambas on the barbie, I tend to like using Surinamese Mango Chutney as a dip. It is a factor 10 hotter than the average Tabasco, with hints of sweetness and a very clean, sinus-clearing burn to it that stays on the lips for a good couple of hours.

It must be said that my foster sister from Suriname makes an excellent bleak-orange sambal made with Madame Jeanettes that will scorch you in a positively evil way.

So the question of adding heat to food is not a one-answer-fits-all type of question.

Comment Re:Foreskin (Score 1) 544

By the way, can you explain to me how it is xenophobic to defend the integrity of defenseless children, even if it is at the cost of the religious sensibility of the parents?

How would you feel if a group of surviving Mayans moved to the States and claimed they needed 50.000 virgins because their religion dictates they cut their hearts out with a crescent shaped knife?

Should children of Jehova's witnesses get blood transfusions, or should the parents be allowed to sentence those children to death because of their religion?

Should animal suffering no be minimized? If there are more humane ways to slaughter a cow than slicing its throat while alive, should they not be applied?

I hardly call the defense of dignity, humanity and children's integrity "Xenophobic".

If you subscribe to religious views that cause suffering, the problem is you. Not the German Constitutional Court, and they would be fully right to give you a slap on the wrist for bad behaviour.

This, as some would call it, is civilization.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman