248 thoughts on “According to religion…

  1. @ John Zande

    A baby girl says
    “According to religion I am:

    The truthful Religion does not say this.
    If you think it is so; please quote from Quran.



    • Koran … isn’t that the Good Book that guided the actions of the heroes who shot that wee schoolgirl … Malala or what ever her name was … on the schoolbus recently, for daring to go to school?


    • 4.11. Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females.

      4.34. Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart; and scourge (beat) them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.

      But let’s not forget

      Child brides
      Forced marriages
      The Hijab
      Honour killings
      No education for girls

      Shall I continue?

      What about this from Homa Darabi’s book, Why We Left Islam: “”The specific task of women in this society is to marry and bear children. They will be discouraged from entering legislative, judicial, or whatever careers which may require decision-making, as women lack the intellectual ability and discerning judgment required for these careers.”


      • Good refutation points, John, of the “holy” Qur’an from “the truthful religion”. The good news is that many Muslims don’t believe what their party’s sacred book demands. Fortunately, many religious folks don’t believe what their banners actually declare — their religions can be much kinder.


      • Some don’t, many (most) do. To err on the side of caution its simply best to not let any girl near Islam for her own health, safety, and general happiness and well being.


      • Right — if my daughter ever starts to date a Muslim, I’d be sure to point out to her what may be hidden in the faith of some Muslims. I’d hope her boyfriend is the progressive type. Heck, even moderate Muslims can make fundamentalist Christians look open-minded.


  2. I know lots of religious folks that don’t think this way at all. I know lots of religions who don’t think this way.
    So if by “Religion” you mean, “the fundamentalists angry Christianity I fight”, I guess I’d agree, but I don’t use “religion” as generally as you. But I guess using a kid in a photo like this is great propaganda — I see religious people do the same.


  3. @ John Zande

    A baby girl says
    “According to science I am:
    -Full of wonder
    -a great learner
    -Potential for greatness!”

    Please quote from a text book of science or a peer reviewed article in a journal of science. I think science deals with specific physical or material matters; does not deal with abstract attributes like “beauty or smartness” that are not quantifiable.



    • Beauty and smartness aren’t abstract. Super-models are super-models and IQ can be measured. The girl in question may not have been tested for either, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be tested.


      • Beauty is subjective, no? I find super-models disgusting. IQ has been debunked — it was a favorite of scientism for a long time — now it is viewed as far better to compare specific abilities than talk about general IQ.
        I think Paar has a partially valid point if we are generous enough hear it — but it is tough with his “True Religion” bullshit, I agree.


      • I’m not talking about your personal taste. There are general standards of beauty which have more or less resisted the test of time i.e. the golden ratio for facial measurements; Or, body proportions used in Greek/Roman sculpture.
        Of course a ‘single standardized’ measure of IQ is misleading, but that’s not what I meant either. I’m not referring to a test score, but to true abilities.


      • Well, Pink, “general standards” have been the enemy of gays for millenium. “General” is never a good standard unless you fall under that curve. The Golden Ratio thing is hugely fabricated, btw — not sure if you have read up on that. Just goes to make my point again for the power of scientism and how people abuse the word “Science”.


      • We’re not debating whether it’s good or bad- we’re debating the existence of general standards.
        As someone who works with art (history)- I can assure you there are general standards of beauty. They may be invented/influenced by culture, but that doesn’t make them any less real.
        If you have a look at the Romantic Realism favoured by the Nazi’s, you’ll see precisely what I’m talking about. Or for that matter the idealised Madonnas of the Renaissance or 19th century. Or the female faces by Renoir. Or the bodies in Rodin’s Kiss sculpture.
        The use of the golden ratio in art is no ‘myth’. And that serving as a model for perceptions is no myth either.


      • And just to be clear, what science does is identify those standards. It doesn’t invent them. There’s no scientism in the statistical analysis of the most popular (idealised) facial/body characteristics/ratios.


      • Just some sites on the Myth of the Golden Ration (actually, takes very little googling to find):

        A Nautilus article
        A website devoted to debunking this
        A University Prof’s blurb

        And as Art History shows us — taste in art and what is considered amazing and beautiful changes. What people value (to hang in their houses) changes.

        But I think we may be getting into defending to defend without seeking understanding. If these myth links and the criticism that pretending science has value judgements almost like science is a person or a religion or something, don’t contribute to the dialogue, then perhaps I should bow out.


      • I just left a reply — it is awaiting approval as it had links in it.
        John doesn’t have links made clear on his site. But there are three there — you’ have to mouse over to find them — if you are curious.


      • @ Pink
        As an Art Historian, do you mean to tell me that East Asian art, African art and European art have the same standards of beauty both between themselves and over time? Sure, we can see patterns, but not STANDARDS and not consistence and all that. “Standards” has a prescriptionist, elitist content that are inaccurate.
        We may be arguing words, or we may actually disagree. Not sure. Defensive abstract debating can hide all that.


      • It depends how you look at it. Cultural standards of beauty were different in the past because of isolation. In a post-globalized world they become more universal by the day. That’s why many Asians have blepharoplasties and there are rising sales of skin whitening products in Africa and the Caribbean, and the Brazilian bum implant is gaining worldwide popularity.
        My point is that society created (recognized?) a model of beauty based on a number of factors (many of which can be linked to science/evolution)- and from there we have an ‘idealised’ form. I suppose we could call it the dynamics of beauty (and sexual attraction).
        Large bust, wide hips, big bottom (fertility). Broad shoulders, muscular, strong (virility). The jock and the cheerleader pairing translates to every culture. The footballer and the wag. The torero and the señorita. The Zulu spear-thrower and the spear-thrower groupies 🙂 etc…
        Those basic factors serve as a framework of a standard of beauty and I don’t use the word in an attempt to include or exclude anyone. By identifying the patterns we identify incidence and then we have “standard”.
        And I think you’re correct that we’re arguing semantics 🙂


      • None of the links work 🙂
        I think you’re getting caught up in the minutia rather than the general point. Add a margin of error to the golden ratio for faces (or bodies) in art, and you’ll see it covers the lot.
        Just put Adolf Ziegler’s reclining woman (frauenakt 1940) next to Titian’s Venus of Urbino and tell me what you see. Or Ingres’ Odalisque vs. Manet’s Olympia.
        The similarity of proportionality is extraordinary.

        How many female stars do you know have very large noses?


      • They were easy to fix if you wanted or knew how.

        Here they are:

        Interesting, you dismiss me by saying I am getting “caught up in the minutia” — yet…

        The point is “SCIENCE” does not tell us what beauty is. But I don’t think we are going to get any agreement with the type of dismissals and efforts you are making.


      • I come from the other direction. I said science can statistically analyze incidence and popularity. Science can say what people find attractive- and that is what we’ve translated to mean ‘beauty’.
        It’s as basic as symmetry being deemed more attractive than asymmetry. We can however tack on an evolutionary explanation, should we choose to- and then make the jump to science tells us that we admire traits that represent better survival. Increased survival means mating with the best specimens. And that’s what’s behind what we find ‘beautiful’.

        I’m not dismissing you, I’m explaining you’re not looking at the larger picture. You’re the one dismissing the quite obvious reality of standards of beauty/attractiveness because of decimal differences aka minutia.
        I can show you a clear pattern of humans idealising beauty from as far back as art has existed. You won’t find many portraits of obese people with facial deformities (with the exception of Royalty, and still they were idealised as much as possible- i.e. the portraits of Charles II Habsburg of Spain).


      • Yes, millennium of people idealizing beauty and then it changes again. Much like religion, they are promoting their favorite preferences.

        Yeah, of course I get all the symmetry stuff — bird feathers, ape testicles and all. I know that stuff. Science has explored the VARIOUS things we are attracted to and how it changes and fluxes. Science does NOT tell us what is beauty. You are missing the big point.


      • Darling,
        Just a note for future reference- if you look over your comments, you’ll probably be able to recognize a certain level of simplicity that borders on the ridiculous.
        Obviously, you really want ‘to be right’, but you’re trying to do that by sacrificing knowledge and ‘playing the system’.
        One of your references actually cited the Mona Lisa as an ideal beauty. Seriously? That’s just imbecilic.
        Disregarding the universality of standards of beauty and how that relates to reproduction and evolution is downright foolish. It didn’t really even merit a response. So perhaps you should/could re-think your thought format. The one you used today is highly deficient.


      • @Sabio Lantz
        While you carry on about science can’t define beauty, it is apparent that neither can you. It’s not even a subjective term or definition. Likewise science cannot define love but we all know it when we see it. Let’s try to keep it simple. We can see that there are common traits for all subjective definitions of X. By measuring these common subjective traits we can scientifically determine if Y is a subset of X.

        The golden ration has a bit more going for it. Our subconscious mind has processes built into it to recognize faces and facial expressions – we recognize the value and status of others visually. The golden ratio for faces is not subjective. The same processes give us the ‘uncany valley’ effect as well.

        Beauty is not a thing to be defined, rather it is the gestalt of an experience – that which does not exist on its own. Beauty such as that of a sunset is not contained in the sunset nor does it exist without the sunset, neither is it bourne only in the brain as it can be shared so we can conclude that it is a description of the experience of experiencing some thing that we call beauty. Wait, I just used logic and reason to define what beauty was, and in what might well be called a scientific manner.

        Let’s see if anyone can repeat that and get the same results, shall we?


    • Over the last century or two we have many people using “science” to do all sorts of horrible things and propagate lies. But maybe everyone has a “True Science” in mind, eh?
      Point: nasty people use anything they can to do nasty things. The good thing about “science” is that it purports to embrace criticism — though in reality, this is often found false in academia and more. But at least we can approach them that way. Many religions stand proud on their stance that doubt is bad — but not all religions (fortunately).


      • Sabio, I don’t think there is anywhere in my comments you will find a reference to true science or true anything. I try as much to not commit the No True Scotsman fallacy. That said, I don’t think particular post raises that question.
        And I agree with you, we can’t run out of excuses when we want to do horrible stuff to one another.


      • Right, I find it common in some atheists circle to pit “Science” against “Religion” like they need their own abstract god to fight another abstract god. This then leads to mistakes in buried in the abstractions. They mix up the nuances of the word “science” much as religious people do the word “faith” — to use it mainly as a banner.

        In medicine, I hear bullshit spread far and wide under the banner of “Science tells us”…


      • Oh, I disagree. In a sense, putting up a cute little girl picture tells us what “SCIENCE” tells the girl is personifying or doing some other such abstraction to the thing called science. Contrasting science and religion is a mistake. IMHO.


      • Granted, “Secular Humanism” would be better in-place of “Science” here, but as science is more readily associated with secular humanism (atheism) then with religion (being the total construct or organised “faith-based” systems) the point is made.


      • Yeah, some understanding.
        Yes, I agree, secular humanism — with all its values and judgements — would work here. “Science” fails for all the reasons I mention.
        Just because most secular Humanists are atheists doesn’t allow the substitution.
        Not all atheists agree with secular humanist values, for instance. And using “science” instead of just saying “secular Humanist” is trying to ride on “science” coattails — that is scientism.


      • Why didn’t your credit your source?
        And posting it, even if you did not make it (especially without source or comment) is like saying “I agree with this.”.
        So let’s just leave it at that, OK?


  4. @paarsurrey

    I usually do not interfere with commentators, unless necessary.
    It would have been superfluous to interact directly by asking you since when “beauty or smartness” are just plain “abstract”, given that both were objects of different scientific enquiries since the dawn of commonsense, because your presumably devout allegiance to an exclusively “truthful Religion” would probably make a balanced conversation quite difficult.
    Instead, I just simply googled the terms you yourself have used, and lo and behold, the very first result I’ve got:

    If you’d care to reply, please kindly make sure it is “scientifically peer reviewed”.

    Respectful regards.


    • LIBERTY OF THINKING :April 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

      I think beauty and smartness are abstractions and are attributes of a thing or a person; others could see beauty in a thing while still others won’t acknowledge it.


      • @paarsurrey
        We are all entitled to our own, private opinion on all issues concerning existence.
        Problems emerge when anyone’s own, private opinion becomes a mandatory opinion for others, regardless of their own personal preferences. When this happens, liberty is gone, to be replaced with oppression. Now if a mandatory opinion can be empirically justified for the clear benefit of individuals and social conglomerates, it may be legally enforced regardless of personal choice, as in the case of mandatory basic education for social settings where private/family education has not been opted by the family even if the option has been made previously available.
        No sane society should have illiteracy as a valid choice.
        But, in the case of ANY religion, no individual, group, society, government or state should be able to persuade, enforce, pretend or coerce a religion or religious view upon anyone. This should be condemned as intellectual and psychological torture, as it’s nothing less than slavery, with whips and lashes used not on the physical body, but on the soul…


      • Sorry to intrude, and that all was nice and all, but it is NOT what the Bible says, so it’s wrong. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa, and there really is absolute truth- the Bible: a book that hasn’t been read subjectively ever by anyone. There’s also the Qur’an, which would be absolutely true if it mentioned that St. Paul was the rock star he was and Jesus was God., cause he is. It doesn’t say that so it’s wrong. The Bible is true, Paul was right, Jesus is God, and the Qur’an is just bloody wrong on this. BTW, this is not a subjective opinion that I just made up. It is God’s own truth which I know because I said I do. Reason shows us this, once we can learn to make it tell us what we want to hear. Question this, and I’ll have you stoned to death. And with pebbles, too. It’ll take months for you to die.


  5. C’mon john. You are better than this caricaturing. And its simply factually incorrect, at least in the case of the Bible. Everything on the right is affirmed in the Bible.

    As for the left, not sure where that came from, but given that a naturalists world view is we came from nothing and are going back to nothing, doesn’t the last point belong on someone else’s list?


    • Women Shall Not Speak
      “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)

      1 Timothy 2:12 “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”

      I Timothy 2:11-14 “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

      Burn The Daughter!
      “And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

      Female Inferiority
      “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)

      “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9)

      Rape My Daughter
      “Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.” (Judges 19:24-25)

      Virgin’s Worth
      “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silvers, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

      Wives, Submit Yourselves!
      “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”(Ephesians 5:22-24)

      The Wicked Woman
      “Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman.” (Eccles. 25:13)

      “Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.” (Eccles. 25:22)

      “If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go.” (Eccles. 25: 26)

      “The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids. If thy daughter be shameless, keep her in straitly, lest she abuse herself through overmuch liberty.” (Eccles. 26:9-10)

      “A silent and loving woman is a gift of the Lord: and there is nothing so much worth as a mind well instructed. A shamefaced and faithful woman is a double grace, and her continent mind cannot be valued.” (Eccles. 26:14-15)

      “A shameless woman shall be counted as a dog; but she that is shamefaced will fear the Lord.” (Eccles.26:25)

      “For from garments cometh a moth, and from women wickedness. Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach.” (Eccles. 42:13-14)

      And Clap, Scripture is quite clear that we are born sinners:

      Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

      Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.”

      Genesis 8:21 “…the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

      I could go on, but i won’t. So, care to re-think your statement? 😉


      • Yawn.

        Thanks for wheeling those out – those same tired and rebuffed arguments about completely out of context verses.

        If any of that was even remotely true, why is it that those who most vehemently oppose lifestyle abortion tend to be religious?

        Why is it that Paul wrote that husbands were to love their wives in a culture where men owned their wives?

        Why aren’t secular humanists campaigning for the end of abortion if it’s the religious who believe children are “nothing”?


      • “Why aren’t secular humanists campaigning for the end of abortion if it’s the religious who believe children are “nothing”?”

        That’s rather obvious, isn’t it? A woman’s right to make decisions concerning her own health are considered paramount by Humanists, but not by the religious. Women are considered intelligent, unique, equal, capable, and wholly human in the Humanists eyes.

        And I see you can’t actually counter any of the rather specific parts of the Bible which denounce women as inferior, and born flawed, into sin. Dismissive hand-waves don’t work in the big boys tent, Clap.


      • Sadly (sincerely) I don’t have the time to go into all of those.

        But a few observations: you quote very selectively. You leave out everything that elevates the status of women, eg. Proverbs continual reference to wisdom as a women, genesis recording women as made in the image of God. You’ve gone for the usual suspects which better apologists than I have dealt with. I’ve also already shown Paul’s writing to be very progressive in a society where women were considered chattel. – a point critics seem deaf to because it’s impossible to miss for anyone who picks up a history book.

        As for your point on abortion, I hardly think you’ve dealt with the issue. Choosing the arbitrary moment when the baby becomes physically separated from its mother as the dividing line for a right to life does nothing but confirm that it’s not the religious that view children as nothing, but the humanist. A viable foetus is not simply a “health issue”.

        As for the very rosy view you have of humanity, watch “We need to talk about Kevin” for a picture of the other side of the argument. It’s so easy to tug the sentimental heart strings with a picture of a child. Every rapist, drug, dealer, murderer, corrupt politician etc. was also once upon a time a cuddly little child.

        Best, CCT


      • I don’t think that. My position on abortion is quite clear: Something cannot be considered “alive” until it can “die.” Defined Human Life begins at the moment its twin, death, also springs into existence. Without death there is no life. The former begets the latter. The latter assigns meaning to the former. One delineates the other, and fortunately the definition of death is not in dispute. Death is when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases. That’s it. That’s death. It follows quite naturally therefore that the onset of defined human life is when foetal brain activity begins to exhibit regular and sustained wave patterns, and that occurs consistently around week 25 of pregnancy. Only after something can die can it be considered alive, only when something is “On,” can it be turned “Off,” and to argue anything to the contrary is patently absurd.

        Further to this point, “life” never emerges in the foetus. Life began on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. “Life” does not magically spring forth at conception, or at any phase through the foetuses development. The egg and the sperm are already parts of the living system; a system that began 3.8 billion years ago. A foetus was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic. As such, EEG activity is the only means we have to determine legal issues regarding human life and abortion… and EEG activity switches on in a permanent and sustained way at around week 25.


      • We should split out some points here. Is it alive once you have sustainable ECG? If so, are we clear that this is a human life at that stage?
        If so then any attempt at generalising when human life starts poses a giant moral problem. Once a particular foetus has ECG then it’s alive and terminating it is killing a human. Viable foetuses are often born (one out of five or more) prior to the 25th week. Aborting them is killing a human life if we agree on the points above.
        The very fact that we are having this discussion should I hope show you that religion, or at least the religious (or some of us) are not the caricature that you put up.


      • Clap, you just aren’t getting it. Life never emerges in the foetus. Ever. At no phase does the foetus magically sprout “life.” Life began on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. A foetus was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic.

        For this reason, a reason missed by every anti-choice, anti-woman fanatic, the only measure we have to define the onset of “human life” is sustained EEG activity, for only when something is “On,” can it be turned “Off.”


      • That has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to this discussion.

        Do you, or do you not concede that neither the egg, sperm or foetus were ever inorganic?


      • It certainly does. If all life is a continuum from the first inorganic systems to current forms then on what basis are lines drawn? Remember, its apparently the religious that think children are “nothing”.

        Yes, I think the foetus is never inorganic, although I’m not a doctor so can’t really give a technical view on that.


      • It has no relevance to this subject as we define animal life differently to human life. We shouldn’t, but we do, although that bears no import here.

        Clap, the only way you can negate the definition of human life being identified as sustained EEG activity is if you can prove the existence of the human soul.

        Can you?

        If not, then this conversation is moot.


      • 1. Please refer back to my earlier question to you – do you accept that the presence of EEG life is human life and therefor terminating that is ending a human life?

        2. Are you saying there is no soul?


      • 1. Please refer back to my applicable comment. You simply aren’t understanding “life.” Life never magically emerges in the foetus. Period. I believe, as per the evidence, that after sustained EEG activity kicks in then we can say we have a legally and scientifically defined human being. Week 25 is, therefore, the generally accepted outside date for legal abortions.

        2. Are you saying there is?


      • 2. yes. do you agree? or are you soul-less? 😉

        1. I’ll take it then that if sustained ecg is found in a particular foetus prior to that that you agree this is a human life. I’ll take it that the only logical conclusion from this is that terminating it is a killing of a human. And I’ll bring you back to the medical facts that foetuses are routinely born and survive prior to this.

        All just to say that abortion is not simply an issue of “health”. And the religious very much, very, very, very much, do not regard children as “nothing”. I’d like to hear your comment on the case Victoria put forward and my response to that. I hardly think it’s the religious viewing children as the left hand column….


      • You see, you just aren’t getting it. Sustained EEG activity occurs uniformly around week 25, and that is why the law uses this date as the cut-off point for legal abortions. This isn’t guessing, Clap.

        Again: Nothing can be considered “alive” until it can “die,” and the legal definition of human death is not in dispute.

        Prior to this date the anti-choice, anti-woman, fundamentalist Christian is exercising their perverted, religiously-inspired disdain for all women by claiming they do not have the basic human right to make decisions concerning their own health… which, in part, is precisely what this meme highlighted. This entire thread of yours is merely enforcing that statement.


      • I come back to my point on who regards life as “nothing”. You seem to nonchalantly sit back on some arbitrary generalisation (and its arbitrary because it generalises) point of ecg activity. The medical facts are that large numbers of children are born prior to this alive and kicking. The scientific (yes, a favourite term of the secularists) evidence shows life sustains prior to 25 weeks.

        That “pro-life is anti-women” has been so widely discredited it’s ridiculous that it still gets bandied around. It’s got nothing to do with gender. It’s got to do with life. That things that you were so keen to defend with you picture…

        If you are in any doubt as to whether foetuses have to be killed (and are therefore “alive” by your definition) why not do some reading on how abortions take place and what happens when abortions go wrong and the foetus is born alive.

        Seems pretty clear to me from this thread and Victoria’ comments which camp thinks children really have lots of potential and which is less convinced…. Victoria in particular seems to think lots of kids wouldn’t tick the boxes on the right side of your picture….


      • Brilliant. Another pro-birther. Approximately every 5 seconds someone dies of starvation, primarily children. Unwanted children — those who are placed in orphanages have a significant increase of mental illness, and attachment disorders such as RAD. And as of August 2013 — “Every minute, at least one woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – around 20 more suffer injury, infection or disease – approximately 10 million women each year. Maternal deaths are detrimental to social development and wellbeing, as some one million children are left motherless each year. These children are more likely to die within 1-2 years of their mothers’ death.”

        So who’s really empathic here — a mother who knows that she can’t properly take care of her child, those who know the dangers of pregnancy and a woman’s right to her own body or —> a pro-birther?


      • Whoa – let’s separate the issues here.

        Mother’s die in child birth. Yes, that’s true and very sad. Should we ban sex or pregnancy in the name of empathy? I’m all for as much care for mothers as we can muster. I’m also all for adoption.

        But should we end these lives because SOME suffer difficulties later in life, or should we give each child a chance? Surely if we believe what science says in the picture that John posted we should say each child should get a chance. Or actually are you saying that the left had side si true and these children should be “ended”.

        Should a mother who can’t care for her already born child just kill it? There is no difference in the salutation you are painting.


      • Let me see if I can make myself clearer for you. The former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, banned abortions and contraceptives in his country — much like the religious conservative legislators are trying to do in America, and here were the results:

        “The result was a proliferation of babies in overcrowded inhumane institutions. In one orphanage 20/20 visited in 1990, babies were stacked on the shelves of a cart like loaves of bread. Young children in straightjackets, groups of mentally disturbed adolescents spending their days in bleak rooms sitting in eerie silence, babies nearly starving to death. .”

        So please spare the ‘compassion’ card. If you don’t think something like this won’t happen in America should your dictatorial buddies have their way with women’s bodies, you better think again. Who’s going to take care of those multi-millions born each year in the U.S. Remember, these are the same religious legislators and their ilk who are doing their damnedest to prevent sex education and undermine family planning.

        The chances are they will not live a quality life and WILL most likely suffer. And we aren’t even talking about all those who would be born with horrific birth defects and most likely die anyway — more suffering.

        Btw, have you seen the Center for Disease Control — Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) studies with over 17,000 people who were studied — having adverse childhood experience? Not to mention more than 50 scientific, peer-reviewed studies that have been published? Those who experienced ACE had a significant risk of early death and disease. Major findings:

        Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
        Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
        Fetal death
        Health-related quality of life
        Illicit drug use
        Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
        Liver disease
        Risk for intimate partner violence
        Multiple sexual partners
        Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
        Suicide attempts
        Unintended pregnancies
        Early initiation of smoking
        Early initiation of sexual activity
        Adolescent pregnancy


      • what exactly do you mean by quality of life? This brings me back to the point right at the start? Who views life as “nothing” and who views it as valuable?

        Human life, in child form and otherwise is not something to be snuffed out as a matter fo convenience. And who are we to decide whether a life is worth living or not based on speculation as to the outcome?

        You seem to lament the breakdown of the family (rightly so IMHO)? What framework to you provide as an alternative?

        Only those born irch and healthy have “quality”.


      • Again: Something cannot be turned “Off” until it is turned “On.” Using unnecessarily colourful language like “snuffed out” doesn’t advance your poorly-thought-through, anti-women crusade.


      • John, when a pre-25 week foetus is born alive and kciking it shows you it was “on”. It doesn;t miraculosuly get switched on in the birth canal. Thinking that that is how something gets “switched on” – now that is poorly thought out, medically unsound and eithcally bankcrupt. And obvious for all to see.

        I’m supruised you hae the gall to post that picture when arguments like this and victoria’s are put forward.


      • It is “on” – a few inches inside of a mother is a living being. this is demonstrated by the fact that it is born viable. The mere fact that it is inside a woman does not mean it isn’t “on”. It just means its inside.

        Whether you believe it is by blind evolution or theistic evolution or literal creation, for better or worse women are the custodians of human life -whether we like it or not. That life is not switched on at the entrance of the birth canal – it exists beforehand. This is demonstrated by the birth of viable foetuses before 25 weeks.

        I’m not sure how we are disagreeing on the fact that a foetus that is born alive prior to 25 weeks was already “on” in the womb. Its an unavoidable fact. No one “switched it on” between the inside of the womb and the outside.


      • Not quite, Clap. Premature babies are entirely dependent on life-support (incubators), and without it they will simply die.

        You haven’t answered the question. How can something that isn’t “On” be turned “Off.” We have a very clear definition of death, and the opposite of being dead is being alive, correct?

        So, as you’ve already conceded life never emerges in the foetus, then please answer the question.


      • Are you suggsting that a foetus on life support is not alive?

        If you agree that the premature foetus outside the womb is “on”, please tell me when it came to be on other than at some time inside the womb?


      • A foetus on life-support is not capable of surviving by itself. Remove the support, it dies. That’s fairly straightforward.

        I didn’t say it was “On.” Here is the definition of Death:

        In 1979, the Conference of the Medical Royal Colleges, “Diagnosis of death” declared: “brain death represents the stage at which a patient becomes truly dead.”

        This was updated in the 1980s and 1990s to state that brainstem death, as diagnosed by UK criteria, is the point at which “all functions of the brain have permanently and irreversibly ceased.”

        Further still updated in 1995 (to present), “It is suggested that ‘irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness, combined with irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe’ should be regarded as the definition of death’

        I think that’s pretty clear, don’t you?

        So, shall we try one more time to answer the question, Clap?

        Please explain to me in a coherent and intelligible manner how something that is not “On, ” can be turned “Off.”


      • Fortunately for the many people, including babies, on life support, the law disagrees with you. A foetus on life support is very much “on”, John. If you’d like to test your little hypothesis maybe wander down to your local hospital and start killing people on life support. Let’s see how far your theory of “alive” goes with the local law enforcement.

        What you are speaking of is infanticide. It’s amazing how thin the line becomes, isn’t it. Maybe I am crazy but I have too much respect for you as a human to believe that you honestly think a baby on life support is not “on”. If we cannot agree that that is a living human being then there is little point in us continuing this discussion. Because in the law’s eyes there is no difference between that baby on life support and a normal living adult.

        You were so keen to come out as a defender of that little child in your photo. What happens to defending the even smaller?


      • Chap — the brain of a fetus is not fully developed and can’t fell pain until 24 weeks from conception. Only a very, very small percentage of abortions happen after that, and that decision should be between the mother and her physician. When such a decision is made after 24 weeks it’s usually always due to the life of the mother being threatened (who probably has children in her care), or horrific abnormalities found in the fetus which would lead to much pain and suffering and eventual death after birth.

        Who gives you the right to allow such suffering? Your bible and Christian teachings create the very dysfunctions and adverse childhood experiences in families. AND it says nothing about forbidding abortions or contraceptives. But condones genocide with those who do feel pain, and who, using come common sense, didn’t bow down and worship your dictator god.

        “What framework to you provide as an alternative?”

        Alternative? That has already been addressed.

        Are you pro-suffering, especially for children? Because it sure looks that way.


      • My dear that may be the text book answer -the medical facts re that children are REGULARLY born alive and kicking before 25 weeks. So any argument that children are somehow not “on” or alive” before this point is PATENTLY absurd.

        On your reasoning why don’t we also just pop off kids who show signs of disability and metal problems after they are born? Let’s not confine compassion to the womb – lets all share it!

        Considering that it was supposedly the religious that thought a child’s life was not worth living I’m flabbergasted at your argument. I belief children are potentially the things that are written on the right, regardless of the start they get in life. And so I would fight to give them the chance to achieve that. Not let the bad decisions or adverse circumstance so f their parents snuff out any hope for them.

        The nerve to suggest it’s the religious that take the left hand view of children….


      • You just answered my question. sigh.

        Btw, are you going to take care of those multi-millions of unwanted children who are at significant risk of mental disorders? Should I give you more data on attachment disorders? Here you go.

        “Behaviors observed include:

        poor peer relationships
        hyper vigilance
        destruction to self or others
        superficially engaging phoniness
        indiscriminate affection with strangers
        extreme measures to gain and exert control
        extreme anger
        poor impulse control
        lack of conscience
        poor causal thinking
        abnormal eating patterns
        lack of eye contact except when lying
        cruelty to animals:

        Attachment spectrum disorders primarily affect the part of the brain called the pons. The pons typically develops between one to five months of age.”

        If a mother or primary caregiver is not able to give a child the necessary nurture and safe environment, there’s a significant chance that child will not be able to develop proper attachments, and this effects all of humanity. Women who have full rights over their own bodies and have control over how many children they can safely and securely bring into the world are generally found in peaceful countries.

        And while we are at it, read this:

        Chap, it may be that you really are generally caring, and mean well — but apparently are not absorbing the ramifications of a proliferation of unwanted children, and it seems you fail at seeing the bigger picture.


      • I’m already taking care of some of them. My wife and I sponsor three.

        A poor start to life is not a death sentence. Neither is some suffering. I had a great start to life but i have physical disabilities – should i have been snuffed out?

        Stop and think of what you are saying. Is a life only worth living if it is in comfort and peace?

        The solution to this problem is to create conditions in which people who get off to a bad start can recover and thrive – not to eliminate them because they cause us inconvenience.


      • Again Chap — you are missing the bigger picture. That’s great that you have adopted. But I ask — are you willing to care for, fully nurture, and provide a safe environment for the multi-millions of unwanted children?


      • If the answer to that is “no”, is the solution to kill off otherwise viable children?

        Many children survive the most adverse of environments to become mature adults.

        Please tell me you are not advocating killing them off as a solution to difficult life?


      • Chap — what part of the bigger picture do you not see? Who’s going to take care of them? Millions and millions, annually. Just reading your posts tells me you haven’t done your homework. That you haven’t read the stats. That you are not comprehending the full ramifications.

        Now, I ask you — who’s going to take care of all those unwanted children? As I’ve already stated, someone dies a horrible death from starvation approximately every 5 seconds. Children are left without mothers by the millions, due to pregnancy complications, and are at great risk for attachment disorders and death before age two. We are just scratching the surface here.

        And who are you to decide for another woman. Quite frankly, it’s non of your business. This should be between the woman and her physician.

        You fail to see the ramifications of over-population and a proliferation of attachment disorders. Only in utopia does your reasoning stand.


      • That’s a cope-out. Your reasoning is to allow for untold (preventative) suffering on a massive scale. Far above and beyond the suffering that’s already taking place, globally. Again, I ask — who’s going to take care of all those unwanted children? Who’s really being empathic?


      • It’s not a cop-out. It’s exactly what you are saying. Are you even listening to yourself? Your solution to the problem of POTENTIAL suffering of children is to kill them off? Are you serious? And your list of seemingly unbearable problems includes hyper vigilance and poor peer relationships. Geez, let’s just kill all the babies if we need to spare them that.

        As with John, I can’t believe that you are actually advocating this as a viable option. How about encouraging responsible sex, or better family life, or wide scale adoption. The world has way more wealth than is needed to take care of these kids. If we were less focused on our retirements and more on solving real problems we wouldn’t be having ridiculous conversations like this about killing people to avoid them having some disadvantages in life.

        And John – yes, I’m favour of sex education and contraception. You and I might differ about the content of the sex ed though…


      • Let me get this straight. You are advocating for suffering outside the womb. Starvation, severe mental illness, emotional and physical pain. A fetus does not feel pain until around 24 weeks and approximately 98% of abortions are done prior to that.

        So by your reasoning — millions of unwanted children, who can’t be properly taken care of, will experience untold suffering out-side the womb and not only will they be affected but so will the well-being of humanity.. You see Chap — you are not pro-life. You are pro-birth. It is obvious by your argument. You have also devalued women in your argument.

        “Until woman is affirmed as fully equal to man; has complete and autonomous control over her own body, particularly her sexual body, it will not be possible for woman to become mothers by choice and to give birth to only wanted children who are nurtured and loved – the foundation for a peaceful, harmonious and egalitarian humanity. ~James W. Prescott, Ph.D.

        Now I ask you again — who is going to take care of millions upon millions of unwanted children, globally, each year?

        Who is more empathic. The one who is pro-choice or one who is pro-birth?


      • This is honestly one of the most disturbing conversations I’ve ever had. I’m arguing for life. Loads of children grow up to lead full life despite having a tough start. Your reasoning is exactly the kind of logic that leads to infanticide.

        Are you seriously arguing that the absence of pain justifies killing something?

        We are going to snuff out lives because society can’t be bothered to take care of its children? What’s wrong with you?!?

        You pronounce a verdict over children that they are a burden to society. At best for your perspective these children who will grow up having to suffer unimaginable pain like “poor peer relationships”, can make their own decision and jump off a bridge (by your reasoning, not mine!) if its so unbearable. How about devoting ourselves to rehabilitating them.

        Yours is the logic that leads to arguments for killing babies because they are deformed.

        And please stop dragging around that ridiculous argument that this is anti-women. Its not.

        Let me state this again – it is YOU who would put a whole load of negative characteristics on John’s photo. Not the religious. Its YOU who says their lives are not worth living. NOT the religious.


      • What’s grossly disturbing is your insistence that women are inferior personages who should not have autonomy over their own bodies. What’s painfully troubling is your sheer inability to grasp the fundamental nature of what is being put to you.

        You have not established a single valid point, Clap. Not one. You have conceded life never emerges in the foetus, and you have not countered the scientific and legal fact that something cannot be turned “off” until it is turned “on.” Your appeal to premature babies (most of whom are delivered long after week 25, the date we are *actually* talking about, but you are ignoring so as to service your own poorly thought-through emotional needs) is utterly meaningless as these babies (born long after week 25) are wholly dependent on life-support systems.

        But that is not what we’re talking about.

        You are advocating for the removal of women from all decision making concerning their own bodies and health. This is sick. I have proven to you that your argument is childish and fundamentally in error. Victoria has proven to you the consequences of carte blanche forced birth. Victoria has in fact been at pains to explain to you that any “adult” conversation concerning abortion should focus on prevention, not access, as the central subject of any adult discourse. That, however, is not a conversation Christians like you are open to.

        Do you, Clap, wholly support sex education and free access to contraception?

        And if you want to go down the religion path let me sort you out here. Your Middle Eastern god loves abortion. If you actually read scripture (something the vast majority of Christians never actually do) then you’d see your god is not only a prejudiced, insecure and jealous mass-murderer but also a definitive advocate FOR abortion; personally and passionately performing many terminations and ordering countless more. In fact, your religion even has an ABORTION RITUAL as described in Numbers 5:11-21 which is to be performed by a priest on any woman suspected of adultery; a ritual which results in an abortion. In the text a poison is mixed and the accused woman is brought before the priest who says, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband may the Lord cause you to become a curseamong your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.”

        As clear as day this is a definitive description of an induced abortion; an act where poison is forcibly given to ruin the foetus and rid a woman of another man’s child.

        Would you now like me to list the 26 separate instances where your bible details abortions on demand, infanticide (the intentional killing of new-borns), and the straight up mass murder of toddlers; acts recounted from 1 Samuel 15:3 to Isaiah 13:15-18 where your particular god not only smashes babies to death but also rapes their mothers?


      • John, I respond reluctantly because this debate has left me sick to my stomach.

        if you would like to discuss law, lets do it. The law in EVERY SIGNLE COUNTRY that has abortion law (including the uk and us) recognizes that this is not simply a matter of women’s health. That’s why there are abortion laws. So please stop raising that inane argument that this debate is somehow anti-woman. A foetus is not simply an ingrown toenail that you can clip off at will – so please stop trying to suggest that it is.

        I have addressed your “on” issue a number of times. You have not responded to my points. The fact that the foetus is “on” is amply demonstrated in the very name of “abortion” – its aborting something. And its not aborting a word (pregnancy) its aborting a thing, with its own DNA and body parts. If you leave it as is it will soon appear as the wonderful girl in your photo. It takes effort to stop it – it must be aborted. If that doesn’t prove to you that its on, then nothing will.

        I said a foetus is always organic – I never said life never emerges – not sure why you would think a Christian would think that. Its disingenuous at best to suggest I did given the points that I’ve made that the foetus is a human life in the womb.

        I’m not even going to bother addressing your mistreatment of numbers since its obviously another cut and paste exercise, possibly like the one you did earlier when you had no idea where the texts actually came from – clearly reproduced from elsewhere.

        I’m retiring from this discussion now as the point of unproductiveness and disgust was passed long ago.

        I’m surprised someone like you has posted drivel like this on your page. Its aids no one in actually understanding the other sides position.


      • Clap, you still aren’t getting it. You’re simply refusing to comprehend what is being said. It seems you don’t even know what you’re actually screaming about here. Yes, there are laws, and the measure for those laws is the scientific understanding of the foetus as only being recognised as a defined human life after, and ONLY AFTER, sustained EEG activity kicks in. That’s it. Something cannot “die” until it is first “alive.” That’s the legal definition.

        Ask yourself, why are the laws structured the way they are, typically around week 25, without actual hard science backing that up?

        Why are you denying the science, Clap? Do you have an alternative science, perhaps? If so, I’d be happy to review whatever claims you’re willing to put down.

        Clap, you never demonstrated, not once, how something that is not “On” can be turned “Off.” Revisit my posted legal/medical definitions of death. Just to remind you, its the total loss of sustained brain activity. That is our agreed upon definition of death, and the opposite of being dead is… Being Alive. Meditate on this truism.

        And I see you haven’t answered the Abortion Ritual printed in black and white in your Bible. Why is that, Clap? Have you no answer to why there’s an Abortion Ritual in your good book?


      • Chap — get out of your limbic system and try to think from your frontal lobes. You know very will what I am advocating for so don’t you pull that card on me. Your kind of rhetoric is what leads to hatred and violence against women. You turn women into murderers, and yet followers of your religion put every obstacle in the path of women to keep them dependent on men, uneducated, living in unequal, dysfunctional environments for which children are raised and are at a great risk of being abused. (See the ACE study)

        —> The very religion you believe in has caused a devaluing and dehumanizing of women. —> The very religion you believe in is controlled by men who think their god said they should have the rule over women. —> The very god you bow to said that he would greatly increase sorrow/pain in the woman, because apparently, according to your ‘holy’ book, she was the first sinner; the very god who ripped up pregnant women and dashed infants against the rocks. And you’re disturbed with me?

        So, according to your ‘holy’ book, a woman is saved through childbirth. I will say it again. If you are supporting such a religion, you are not pro-life. You are pro-birth.

        Now — what I don’t get is why you are so upset with abortion. If you believe a fetus has a soul, where does it go? Does your god send the fetus to hell? If not, does your god send them to heaven? So what exactly is your concern?

        I’m not sure if you are from America — but we have studies showing that when women and teen girls have access to universal birth control, pregnancies drop significantly — thus abortions. Sex education reduces pregnancy significantly. So I ask you, Chap, why do you belong to a religion that is responsible for all these unwanted children?

        Btw, just in case you were not aware —- Hobby Lobby — you know the religious corporation who has done their damnedest to prevent women from getting birth control coverages via the Affordable Care Act — the corporation who has gone before the United States Supreme Court? The company that says that allowing women to get birth control coverage goes against their “sincere religious beliefs”? Well check this out:

        “Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).” Source

        They are also claiming that the FDA approved contraceptives cause abortion. They do not, and they know it. A brief filed by multiple health provider groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — explains, “there is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.”

        There are over 100 lawsuits that have been filed in federal court based on the same claims that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods are making. If Hobby Lobby and the other religious companies win and it looks like they will, then the company also argues it doesn’t want to provide “related education and counseling” about the birth control methods it opposes, that would prevent heath care workers from discussing those types of contraception with their doctor if they want that doctor’s visit to be covered by their insurance.

        The United Nations declared access to family planning a fundamental human right. Dr.Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, states:

        “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women</strong. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive.
        Now my question to you, again, is why are you supporting a religion that is doing its damnedest to control women and undermine a woman’s right to chose how many children she can afford to raise and nurture? And again I ask — who is going to take care of the millions of unwanted children each year?


      • what you are arguing for is plain for everyone to see. Your own words condemn you. My religion does nothing of what you claim it to be – you and john wheel out cut and paste verses that you have no understanding of to try an prove a point – how ridiculous is that? John didm’t even know where those verses came from! Who would waste their time arguing with someone who hash;t even read the passage?!?

        i need say no more – you have put your own case out for everyone to see -they can judge it.


      • “As with John, I can’t believe that you are actually advocating this as a viable option. How about encouraging responsible sex, or better family life, or wide scale adoption. The world has way more wealth than is needed to take care of these kids.”

        And what makes you think we are not advocating for sex education, a better family life, which included Family Planning that is daily being underminded? Forget wide-scale adoption. Children need one-on-one attention nearly 24/7 in the first 5 months of their lives or their brains will atrophy. We do not have the facilities or millions of caregivers to equip one-on-one care for every baby who goes into an orphanage.

        Why don’t you have a talk with those religious folks you send money to who spend billions on proselytizing (for filthy lucre’s sake) and building churches and gody cathedrals, padded pews, and plush living quarters for dopamine gluttons, when they could liquidate, and wipe out starvation and eliminate every preventative disease on the planet. Oh, and forgot to mention, they are pro-birth, too, forbid contraceptives, sex education, equality for women, and of course we can’t forget, “every sperm is sacred:.

        You’re barking up the wrong tree. So again, go have a talk with those who have caused untold harm to humanity. How ’bout it?

        “Religion: It’s given hope to a world torn apart by religion.” ~John Stewart


      • @ LBWOODGATE and others that have posted at me in this thread.

        I am all for caring for kids post beth as well. Our church runs programs for kids excluded from school, we run courses helping long term unemployed get work, we provide meals for those on the street, emergency food for those struggling. And we are not the only ones.

        However it is logically inconsistent to stop regarding something as worth caring for at the entrance to thew mob.

        There is something qualitatively different about a foetus waaaaay before 25 weeks. It has its own unique DNA way before then. The fact that it is reliant on someone else for nourishment does not mean it is not a life.

        The fact that the wonder of evolution of God made a young life dependant on another for development does not mean that it is not a distinct life until it is self sufficient – geez, we’d be killing kids uphill the age of puberty if that were so. This kind of thinking belongs to the Roman empire, where that kind of thing was allowed.


      • John, there was no reply option in your comment below “I’ll look into it”, so I’ll post here. Those particular references in questioned are from Ecclesiasticus which, to the best of my knowledge, was in the original 1611 version of the King James Bible.


      • I hope you know I was just pulling your leg. Couldn’t let that one go, considering the topic, lol. Seriously, you couldn’t have picked a better complimentary word, knowing how much I love gems. 😉 So in all sincerity, thank you! While I’m add it, I meant to write ‘were” not ‘was’ in my first comment.


      • I chuckle watching many atheists argue the abortion issue.

        (1) “Something cannot be considered “alive” until it can “die.”

        (2) “Death is when electroencephalography (EEG) activity ceases.”

        (3) John said, ““life” never emerges in the foetus. Life began on earth 3.8 billion years ago and hasn’t been interrupted since. “Life” does not magically spring forth at conception, or at any phase through the foetuses development. The egg and the sperm are already parts of the living system; a system that began 3.8 billion years ago.”

        So life never emerges, it was always there. But when EEG begins, human fetus life begins.


        Look: “murder” is a legal term. Certainly abortions at all stages are “killing”. The question is, where do we draw a line on calling it “murder” (an emotional and legal word for “bad”): After coitus, after sperm-egg union, after 10^20 divisions, after EEG, after EKG, after breath breathing.

        When Atheists pretend they can argue the point, I laugh. I get the theist argument — “my book, my mullah, my Jesus said so…”.

        We are ALL very uncomfortable with the perplexities of life. And all so certain of our stances.


      • I think you failed to understand, Sab. Life never emerges in the foetus; it was never inorganic and suddenly becomes organic. Do you agree with this? Now, if you were then actually following and comprehending the line of thought you’d see that leaves sustained EEG activity as the only measure for identifying the onset of defined human life. Try not to become confused, as it appears you are, because the same word is used in two different settings.


      • There is nothing uncertain.

        Fetal development remains at an embryonic stage up until the ninth week of gestation, and primitive consciousness doesn’t even begin developing until well after the 21st week. Furthermore, “functional pain perception in preterm neonates probably does not exist before 29 or 30 weeks” [1]

        The CDC reports that approximately 66% of all abortions are performed prior to the 9th week, 92% occur prior to the 13th week, and of the remaining 8%, less than 2% occur after the 20th week (the lone exception being teen girls under 15). [2]

        So these late term abortion concerns theists like to trot out are a moot point in 98% of all cases.


        2. (See Table 22)


      • Bless you, John – you are a champion of equal rights and justice! These are the scriptures that made me despise myself, and I am still recovering.
        To say the Bible is peace and to ignore these scriptures, is to say that abuse should be forgiven and tolerated, because, occasionally, there is kindness. And that’s what I did for many years, trying to justify the horrible parts of the Bible for the little bit of mystical love I felt. It’s what set me up for abuse in all areas of my life, and made me a victim for many years – until I woke up to reality, thank goodness. They aren’t teaching women about self respect and worth in the church, they are teaching women how to be humble, submissive, holy, and how to deny their needs for the sake of other people’s happiness.
        I was once just an empty vessel to be filled – a piece of clay to be molded or smashed – a branch that could be cut off and thrown into the fire; but now I’m all I need, and I shape my destiny (as much as fate allows, because free will is an illusion, too), and I fear no tortuous flames at the end of life, only the flames in this one. Amen.


      • My friend, that is a brilliant, and heartbreaking comment. Why the religious are so fearful of women I cannot say, but the harm it has caused is unmistakable.


      • Here’s one that encapsulates everything quite nicely:

        “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6 NLT

        These are not exactly the words one uses to foster a healthy sense of self-esteem.


      • Well, that was the authors’ intent. However, if you bring in your guilt offering you’ll be granted temporary absolution.


      • Probably not. The going rate for choice grade prime lamb is currently around 180+ USD per head depending on weight.


      • “Why aren’t secular humanists campaigning for the end of abortion if it’s the religious who believe children are “nothing”?”


        Why aren’t pro-lifers fighting for the child after birth rather than killing food stamp programs, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, Head Start, Special Olympics, cuts to Early Childhood, K-12 Education, and Higher Education, etc.

        Most of the states who cuts such programs, mainly in the South, have higher percentages of Bible-believing Christians than in those states where such programs are protected.


  6. What’s needed here is a gosh darned Islamic Apologist. Can’t find one, so I’ll have to fill in. “Dear little girl. In 3 more years I will find you and make you my bride. We will have many years together as long as you keep your face covered completely as to not force 53 year old men to rape you. If that happens, I’ll have you stoned to death, as well as your entire family. I apologize (Get it. I’m an Apologist and I’m apologizing) for the way I smell. My donkey shat on me and I’ve not had time to bath. Remember little girl, remain a virgin until I return for you, or I’ll have you stoned to death for cheating on me. I will also have everyone you’ve ever know stoned to death, and I’ll feed your dog to some poor kids I know. Thank you, and once again, I do apologize.”


  7. I like the idea, but I think it could have been done more honestly. According to religion I am nothing? According to religion I am loved beyond imagining by the bestest supernatural creator in existence. If you’ve got a good imagination, it must be a nice feeling.


  8. The fact of the matter is, you didn’t really even need a comparison chart.

    According to religion I am:

    That is damaging. As for the commenter who says none of that is affirmed in the Bible, I would like to ask if the irony of this child being a girl is lost on you? Are you male or female? I think I could probably guess.


    • The irony of the child being female was lost on me. They could have added “the cause of all humankind’s suffering” on at the bottom, now that you point that out. I still think ‘nothing’ makes it seem OTT, and it would be harder-hitting with just the basics. These bloody New Atheists always take it too far. 😀


      • Heh…I’m a fairly new atheist, not necessarily a New Atheist. 🙂

        Perhaps, maybe ‘less than’ is a bit more appropriate. Females are something. Incubators if nothing else.


      •’re one of those! 😉

        Sometimes I just point out that I’m not necessarily a New Atheist because I really don’t know what that means. 😀 Though I’m given to understand it has something to do with Hitchens and Dawkins; neither of whom I’ve read or listened to at any great length.


      • I think it just means you don’t believe that the god God exists and you won’t keep quiet about it. Old Atheists kept their mouths shut, or it was the rack for them! I can see how this must be an irritating development for Christians.


      • @ VioletWisp

        Though I am not a fan of the term “New Atheists”, but when people use it (theists and atheists alike), I think one common usage is that it means those atheists who belief that in general religion is bad — that all religion, when weighing its positive benefits and negative costs, are always in the whole clearly negative.

        Under such a usage, I am clearly not a New Atheists.
        I don’t think the term is used for those who come out about their atheism.
        Another sense I hear it is those who come out about their atheism and put down aspects of religion — well, I do that, but of course that is not new in any way.


  9. Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words.

    The whole point of the denigration of women (and men) is to weaken our resistance to the power priests wish to yield. If we are “God’s creation” why are we not perfect in every way? Instead we are told from Book 1 of the Bible that we are cursed, flawed, unworthy of God’s company. Why did God put Satan in his Garden if he desired his creation to be obedient? Why did God expose his new creation to such horrible dangers from the Tree? Why does the Bible have two stories of the creation in one of which Adam and Eve are created at the same time and one that gives Adam priority of order (as if that meant anything) yet the misogynists only quote the one and not the other? Why is it we need to modify the grains and fruits and vegetables God gave us if they are perfect in every way for humans to live on? Why are these religionists so fucked up when it comes to their own scripture?

    Is great puzzlement, John!


    • “Instead we are told from Book 1 of the Bible that we are cursed, flawed, unworthy of God’s company.”

      I do hope Clap reads this, and understands the foolishness of his comments…


  10. John,

    According to the Bible, God created the universe and everything in it and proclaimed it, “very good.”

    The Bible also says that man, male and female are created in God’s image.

    It don’t get any better than that.

    Yet according to atheism, man is not just another animal like an amoeba, but a very horrid animal that destroys the entire planet.

    I think the little girl would rather be Christian, specially since science is a result of the Christian worldview and the greatest mass murders in human history were carried out by atheists.


    • Yet the same book claims it all went to crap shortly afterward. Apparently, it wasn’t so “very good” after all.

      BTW, even the good book states that we are but animals:

      “I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 ESV


  11. Brother, I gotta hand it to you. You post a picture of a cute little girl, who by the way, I’m sorry to say, I had to have stoned to death for looking at me funny, and apologists crawl out of the woodwork like earwigs on a back porch in July. They blow apologist smoke out of their collective rectums and attack you for your blatant disregard of the true love shown to women by Yahweh in the Bible and/or Qur’an, neither of which is a bloody love sonnet to females by any stretch of the imagination. Too bad Yahweh and/or Allah didn’t insist we stone the apologists when they get to boisterous, eh? It’s like a circus of fun over here. You never know what to expect exactly. I love it! What an awesome display of condescending equivocation you produced with a cute picture and some generalized, but true, statements about the Bible. Too bad I had to have that little girl stoned, though. Oh well, women, when will they ever know their place?


  12. @JOHN ZANDE :April 24, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    How the property is divided in Brazil after when one dies between sons, daughters, spouse, parents and other relatives etc? What is the law of succession there? Do you think it is fair and equitable?



  13. @ARGUS :April 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    They weren’t Muslims, then?
    They weren’t following teachings of Quran; they were wrong-doers and entitled to what will happen to the wrong-doers.
    The labels gives no benefit to one.



  14. @JOHN ZANDE :April 24, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    “Is there a reason for asking this?”

    The Quran verse [4:12/11] you referenced , and the verses in its context discuss the issue of succession; it is for this that I asked the question:

    [4:8] For men is a share of that which parents and near relations leave; and for women is a share of that which parents and near relations leave, whether it be little or much — a determined share.
    [4:9] And when other relations and orphans and the poor are present at the division of heritage, give them something therefrom and speak to them words of kindness.
    [4:10] And let those fear God who, if they should leave behind them their own weak offspring, would be anxious for them. Let them, therefore, fear Allah and let them say the right word.
    [4:11] Surely, they who devour the property of orphans unjustly, only swallow fire into their bellies, and they shall burn in a blazing fire.
    [4:12] Allah commands you concerning your children: a male shall have as much as the share of two females; but if there be females only, numbering more than two, then they shall have two-thirds of what the deceased leaves; and if there be one, she shall have the half. And his parents shall have each of them a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a child; but if he have no child and his parents be his heirs, then his mother shall have a third; and if he have brothers and sisters, then his mother shall have a sixth, after the payment of any bequests he may have bequeathed or of debt. Your fathers and your children, you know not which of them is nearest to you in benefit. This fixing of portions is from Allah. Surely, Allah is All- Knowing, Wise.
    [4:13] And you shall have half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child, then you shall have a fourth of that which they leave, after the payment of any bequests they may have bequeathed or of debt. And they shall have a fourth of that which you leave, if you have no child; but if you have a child, then they shall have an eighth of that which you leave, after the payment of any bequests you may have bequeathed or of debt. And if there be a man or a woman whose heritage is to be divided and he or she has neither parent nor child, and he or she has a brother or a sister, then each one of them shall have a sixth. But if they be more than that, then they shall be equalsharers in one-third, after the payment of any bequests which may have been bequeathed or of debt, without prejudice to the debt. This is an injunction from Allah, and Allah is All-Knowing, Forbearing.
    [4:14] These are the limits set by Allah; and whoso obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will make him enter Gardens through which streams flow; therein shall they abide; and that is a great triumph.



    • Really Paar. That’s very interesting. Care to explain how the instruction for men to beat women in 4.34 applies to succession rights?

      “As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart; and scourge (beat) them.”


  15. @ LBWOODGATE :April 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm
    “Quran does not judge science.”

    Just people, right?

    Ye; it is the people who judge wrongly because they wrongly understood the teachings of Quran for their own political ends against express teachings.



  16. I am so late to this party…I am several comments in and John, I admire the edge of your wit and clarity. These trolls you have here are so dense they won’t realise until next week thay have been run through and their entrails dragging along behind them.

    It’s like whoosh! Then they come back and comment unaware they have been so skillfully handled. I tip my hat in your direction.

    Great post, that elicited some fantastic replies. I must get back to the comments…


  17. @JOHN ZANDE :April 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm
    “Really Paar. That’s very interesting. Care to explain how the instruction for men to beat women in 4.34 applies to succession rights?”

    I give below the verse [4:35/34] and the verses in the context:

    [4:30] O ye who believe! devour not your property among yourselves by unlawful means, except that you earn by trade with mutual consent. And kill not yourselves. Surely, Allah is Merciful to you.
    [4:31] And whosoever does that by way of transgression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire; and that is easy with Allah.
    [4:32] If you keep away from the more grievous of the things which are forbidden you, We will remove from you your minor evils and admit you to a place of great honour.
    [4:33] And covet not that whereby Allah has made some of you excel others. Men shall have a share of that which they have earned, and women a share of that which they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah has perfect knowledge of all things.
    [4:34] And to every one We have appointed heirs to what the parents and the relations leave, and also those with whom your oaths have ratified a contract. So give them their portion. Surely, Allah watches over all things.
    [4:35] Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth. So virtuous women are those who are obedient, and guard the secrets of their husbands with Allah’s protection. And as for those on whose part you fear disobedience, admonish them and leave them alone in their beds, and chastise them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Surely, Allah is High, Great.
    [4:36] And if you fear a breach between them, then appoint an arbiter from his folk and an orbiter from her folk. If they (the arbiters) desire reconciliation, Allah will effect it between them. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.



  18. @SABIO LANTZ :April 24, 2014 at 11:23 am
    “I know lots of religious folks that don’t think this way at all. I know lots of religions who don’t think this way.
    So if by “Religion” you mean, “the fundamentalists angry Christianity I fight”, I guess I’d agree, but I don’t use “religion” as generally as you. But I guess using a kid in a photo like this is great propaganda — I see religious people do the same.”Unquote

    Well, after all it is New Atheistic propaganda; it neither belongs to science nor to the truthful Religion strictly speaking.



  19. Pingback: Science deals with specific physical or material matters; does not deal with abstract attributes like “beauty” | paarsurrey

  20. Pingback: I love you so much I could….! Really?!? | clapham common tree

      • It is Sabio’s standard approach to commenting. He insinuates himself onto a thread such as this with thinly veiled “Oh I agree with yous!” then soon comes back with one asinine comment after another.
        Eventually ( usually not soon enough) he will bow out, citing the intellectual ( among other faults) inadequacies of all and sundry for his departure.

        He has done this on Nate Owens blow on occasion and certainly more than a couple of times here.
        An atheist (?) unklee.


      • Ah-ha! An atheist Unklee… priceless observation! Although I’d add a few more layers of humourless inanity to Sab. Not a person who exactly comes to mind to invite to a BBQ.


    • I never realised this was such a hot-button topic inside the US. From my experience Catholics and Anglicans don’t hammer home all this “you’re fundamentally flawed” business.

      This faither comment (yes, i’m stealing your term, because it rocks :)) says it all:

      92JazzQueen commented: “We might not be good enough to wash away our own sins but that burden is not for us to bear.”

      This is just so wrong on so many fronts. It really is the antithesis of Humanism, isn’t it? Diametrically opposed to the very assertions and goals put forward by the Enlightenment that we, and we alone, can solve our problems.


      • What can I say? Theologians and advertisers have successfully exploited “pursuit of happiness” and “fundamentally flawed” to their advantage for well over two centuries. It’s a hard habit to break.

        I’m not sure where I picked the word, but the word “faithers” was apparently coined by a “Christian Sci-Fi” author of little renown (at least to me).

        As for 92JazzQueen… she’s the resident troll. By her own account, she was born and raised in a fundamentalist home and now attends a Christian college in northern California.


    • Yeah, Arb, it did get a tad out of control there. Can’t say i know quite how we even got onto the subject, the unusual alignment of the planets perhaps, but there it is… another circus freak show.


      • What is perpetually astonishing to me is the complete lack of understanding of the process of giving birth is all about and the historical context that surrounds the issue.
        Pregnancy is not all sunshine and frakking unicorns. It never has been, and won’t be super amazing great until well into the future.

        Historically the patriarchal narratives that surround pregnancy mystify and marginalize women as bearing an heir, until recently, always trumped the humanity of the person giving birth.

        And then we get the religiously addled adding their nonsense to the fray fapping on about how amazing the fetus is and how precious life is all the while patently erasing women from the equation.

        Excuse me while I go find some lego for the resident religious trolls to step on. 🙂


      • “And then we get the religiously addled adding their nonsense to the fray fapping on about how amazing the fetus is and how precious life is all the while patently erasing women from the equation.”

        Sad but true, Arbourist. You’ve probably heard this quote that has been attributed to Florynce Kennedy, but it was actually a woman taxi driver who said it after overhearing a conversation between Kennedy and another passenger in the cab.

        “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

        I do wish more people knew about the history of childbirth or even cared to know:>> The Disturbing, Shameful History About Childbirth Deaths
        If women get tired and die of bearing, there is no harm in that; let them die, so long as they bear; they are made for that. –Martin Luther (Erl., 20, 84; Weim., X, p. II, 301, 13, Sermon on Marriage, 1522.)


      • @NN

        I do wish more people knew about the history of childbirth or even cared to know

        Now why would the people in charge want to examine the dynamics of oppression? :>

        And here we come to the grist that really churns my mill when it comes to much of the feminism I see today – all about equality and similar flights of fancy.

        How does equality look inside a society that has institutionalized inequality? Fight as much as you’d like for your right to be treated equally as badly; but by ignoring the systemic problems – nothing changes.

        Sorry, a little OT, but seeing example #30948543 of patriarchy in action stirs the vestiges of my second wave proclivities.


      • “How does equality look inside a society that has institutionalized inequality? Fight as much as you’d like for your right to be treated equally as badly; but by ignoring the systemic problems – nothing changes.”

        I couldn’t agree more. Reminded me of this video interview with comedian Russel Brand.


      • @NN

        A brilliant video. 🙂

        It is an analogue for just about every discussion I’ve ever had with people who don’t bother to read outside of the box.

        I feel Brand’s frustrations at being so casually dismissed, because I’ve been there so many times. :/

        The “tut tuting” the looks of incredulity.


        So maddening when it is evident that solutions that are coming from within the system almost always turn out to be yet another pillar that supports the same broken status-quo.


      • John, some people, especially evangelical indoctrinated Americans, have a hard time accepting that any empathy — prosocial behavior they exhibit is not as “filthy rags”. ‘Your righteousness is as filthy rags’. And rarely have I met an evangelical Christian who has genuine self-esteem. That they should only give all credit to their god for any prosocial behavior. Nothing more than mind-control methodology. What does seem apparent, though, is that such belief can lead to clinical depression and hippocampus atrophy.


      • I don’t doubt it for one moment, Victoria. This has actually sparked an idea for a post. I generally prefer dealing more with the larger nonsense of god belief, but i think we have to peel back a little of the Christian mindset that was on display here.


      • I look forward to the post, John. As you may already know, a Duke University study was done on older people and its intent was to learn more about depression. But what they discovered was that those who called themselves “born again” Protestants or Catholics had atrophied hippocampus. This was not the case with non-born again Christians. They believe it’s due to stress hormones which affect the hippocampus.

        I mean, if you think about it, evangelicals are generally concerned about ‘sinning’, missing the rapture, or what ever, and told that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, or that everyone outside your circle is ‘ungodly’ and wanting to tempt you to be “worldly”. Is it any wonder they also tend to have increased gray matter volume in their right amygdala which is associated with fear? I was one of them. Brainwashed. I know from first hand experience and it took me years to rewire my brain and atrophy neural circuitry associated with such beliefs. I also had very low self-esteem when I was a Christian.


  21. Hear, hear. I can only clap and opine vigorously to Victoria’s above comment. Ditto this unbuttoned or undone female.
    And the little girl is flawlessly wonderous.
    Good post.


  22. John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

    “We are nothing without Christ!” They preach it from the pulpit, in reference to that verse…though I’ve often wondered when “you can do nothing” morphed into “you are nothing”. But I’ve heard it often, in more than one church I’ve attended. Non-denominational, Baptist, Methodist. I couldn’t count how many Christians have said to me, “I’m nothing without Jesus!”, with a big smile on their face.

    They are proud to be “nothing”, because being “nothing” means they need saving, and they have a loving savior to do just that – save them from their “nothingness”. They wouldn’t need saving if they were “something” – that would put Jesus out of a job – thus Christians are often proud to affirm their “nothingness”.

    For any who deny that Christianity teaches people they are “nothing”, go to Google images and search “I am nothing without Christ” – see all of the graphics made by Christians proud to be nothing. Do a lyric search for songs with “I am nothing” in them – see how many songs affirm this idea. Christianity tells us we are nothing. The concept is taught in churches, Christian music, Christian homes, the Christian culture as a whole.

    As the church is considered Jesus’ bride, painting the imagery of a relationship, I can’t help but think of a husband repeatedly telling his wife she is nothing without him, until she finally believes it. It’s very disturbing.

    Sorry for the mini-rant, but as a newly deconverted Christian this topic gets a little under my skin. Glad to have stumbled across your blog, though 🙂


    • Rant away, and great to meet you! 🙂

      You’re right: there are quite a few obscene, immoral veins that run through Christianity. The concept of vicarious redemption is perhaps the most abhorrent, and, as you well point out, labelling people as “nothing” is the noxious mechanism deployed by the church to sell an imaginary cure to an imaginary disease.


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