An Atheist and Muslim Debate: Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil?

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and a self-professed atheist, agreed to an Al Jazeera interview with Mehdi Hasan, a Muslim journalist. The interview is highly enlightening. This may be the first time Dawkins has been interviewed by a journalist who is faithful to the second largest religion in the world – Islam.

While this begins as an interview it turns into more of an interrogation and at times a debate between Dawkins, with Hasan taking the position of a theist.

According to Al Jazeera, “Fanaticism, fundamentalism, superstition and ignorance. Religion is getting a bad press these days. Much of the conflict in the world, from the Middle East to Nigeria and Myanmar, is often blamed on religion.”

“But how are things from a different perspective? Defenders of religion claim Adolf Hitler was an atheist. Communism under Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot or Mao Zedong banned religion, but also massacred millions. And science brought incredible and amazing advances, but also pollution and the atomic bomb,” notes Al Jazeera.

During the interview Hasan notes that religion like science can be used for good or evil. Both Dawkins and Hasan agree that politics has a lot to do with how both are perceived and used. Has science become a religion to those like Dawkins?

During the interview Dawkins and Hasan discuss the existence of a mono-theistic God. Dr. William Lane Craig, noted Christian apologist and author of Reasonable Faith, lays out detailed arguments that God does exist in his column “The New Atheism and Five Arguments for God“. Dr. Craig’s moral argument for a God, for example, takes the following form:

  • If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  • Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  • Therefore, God exists.

It is in times of great suffering and turmoil that individuals turn to religion. Many believe we are in those times and religion may be the only thing that will provide us with comfort and salvation. What do you think?

American Public School Students Going Hungry?

The Huffington Post column “Michelle Obama’s Low-Calorie School Lunches Slammed By ‘Hungry’ High Schoolers” reports, “Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative has been the subject of conservative criticism for some time, and now there’s another group joining in on the attack.”

The group that HuffPo is referring to are public school students, whose video titled “We Are Hungry” [watch below] about school lunches has gone viral.

The video beings with the statement – Active teens require between 2,000 and 5,000 calories a day to meet energy and growth needs (“A Guide to Eating for Sports“).

According to Beverly L. Girard, PhD, MBA, RD, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Sarasota County Florida Schools, “President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act on June 4, 1946. Though school food service began long before 1946, the Act authorized the National School Lunch Program. The legislation came in response to claims that many American men had been rejected for World War II military service because of diet-related health problems [recruits were undernourished]. The federally assisted meal program was established as ‘a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities’.”

Upon signing the National School Lunch Program legislation President Truman stated, “Despite our capacity to produce food we have often failed to distribute it as well as we should … Congress has contributed immeasurably both to the welfare of our farmers and the health of our children.”

Have we met, if not surpassed, the initial legislative intent of Congress? Do we need government to be concerned about those volunteering for our military services having diet-related health problems? Do we need to be concerned about the redistribution of food given our nation wide system of grocery store chains? Is government the best determiner of a child’s eating habits? Do taxpayers need to provide welfare for farmers?

Many citizens are questioning governments expanding role in the free and reduced lunch program as amended by the Health and Hunger-Free Act of 2010. The new guidelines — the first major overhaul of school meals in 15 years — mandate public school cafeterias serve less fat and sodium and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Taxpayers are also questioning the growing number of students on free and reduced lunches. Sarasota County, one of the wealthiest counties in Florida, has 50.37% of students in the district currently eligible for free or reduced price meals according to Dr. Girard.

Dr. Girard notes, “The determining body for the revised USDA meal pattern was the Institute of Medicine, chaired by Virginia Stallings, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania.” Why does one institution have such power in determining what and how much children should eat?

The lunch caloric ranges for students are: elementary students – 550-650 calories; middle school students – 600 to 700 calories and high school students – 750 to 850 calories. Dr. Girard states, “If a child eats lunch at school for the 180 days of the school year, they receive about 16.4% of the meals they eat in a year at school. Sarasota school lunches represent adequate portion size and nutritional balance.”

Michelle Obama is concerned about obesity in America. It appears that the free and reduced lunch program’s initial intent to address the diet-related health problems of our draftees is no longer needed. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the need for this federal program?

If obesity is a problem then is there an over redistribution of food in America?

Is this the the American version of Hunger Games?

In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.” ― Leon Trotsky.

Leon Trotsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. He was one of the leaders of the Russian October Revolution in 1917, second only to Vladimir Lenin. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army and People’s Commissar of War. He was also among the first members of the Politburo.

RELATED VIDEO:  “We Are Hungry” done by students from Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs,Kansas.

MOVIE REVIEW: Prometheus An Epic to Darwinism

I enjoy epic movies, particularly epic science fiction movies. Star Wars, Star Trek, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind are all epic science fiction. Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus does not rise to the level of Star Wars, but its visuals are stunning. Many science fiction movies deal with human struggles; Prometheus tries to deal with the greatest question of all: Where did mankind come from?

Ridley comes firmly down on the side of Darwinism. Prometheus is no more than Darwinian propaganda.

The opening scene is of a human-like alien coming to earth where he self-destructs. His DNA then flows into the pristine waters of a new Earth, and from that comes mankind. This scenario is used by atheists to describe the origin of mankind. Some scientists and atheists suggest that lightning struck a primordial soup of chemicals and suddenly life began. Ridley promotes the idea that we came from extraterrestrials. That is the theme of the movie – man’s quest for his alien origin. A fool’s errand if there ever was one, as the movie demonstrates.

The characters are scientists on a quest to a distant galaxy seeking the “engineers” of mankind. What they end up finding is, surprise, the last of a race of extraterrestrials who are bent on killing mankind. At the end the alien species is co-joined with a slimy alien species to create a new alien species – pure Darwinism. Get ready for Prometheus II: Darwin Evolving, the sequel.

Of course Ridley does have one character who clings to a cross given to her by her father. That cross, symbolizing another reasonable explanation for the origin of man, is never fully developed. At the end it is this character who survives, wearing her cross. Ridley does not end his movie on a positive note but rather on a negative note. Because of that, he lost my interest and he devolved into commercialism.

I would like Ridley to address intelligent design by a supreme being – a.k.a. God – in a future movie. Now that would be an epic.

Ridley could have made the argument, that “yes there is a God” and he designed us. There are more rational arguments in favor of intelligent design than not. Perhaps the most powerful argument for the existence of God is offered by William Lane Craig, author of Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics and On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision. Dr. Craig presents the Moral Argument for the existence of a supreme being as:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

Ridley deals with this in his film. Each character is faced with objective moral values and decisions. Objective moral decisions such as: seeking immortality, using science to further nefarious ends, robotics, cloning and even the creation of alien biological weapons of mass destruction. Evil does exist within each of the characters in Prometheus and good does somehow triumph. However, evil is reborn in the form of another alien being, a hybrid portrayed in his original film Aliens.

I would have wished Ridley had delved into a rational and scientific analysis of God as the most likely “engineer” of us all.

For Progressives Science is a One-Way Street named “Settled”

science

The term “settled science” is used by progressives and the media on a routine bases. According to EcoWho.com, “Settled Science is a phrase often encountered in newspapers and press reports, usually associated with climate change reporting. Basically it is used to indicate that the science of climate change is ‘settled’ and therefore further discussion on the point is pointless as the underlying science is so strong as to not require any more discussion.”

“The real problem is that proper science is never ‘settled’ rather it moves and advances as new findings are made, even when what was effected was considered solid fact (like the Earth being flat and the center of the universe)”, states EcoWho.com.

Jennifer Marshall, writer for The Foundry,  in her column, “Why the Liberal Intolerance for New Family Structures Study?” observes, “The author of a new study showing some negative outcomes for young adults whose parents had same-sex relationships is under attack because his findings conflict with what, in some corners, has become conventional wisdom. Apparently, the idea that there is “no difference” between children of same-sex parents and their peers raised in traditional married mother-and-father households has become so entrenched among some advocates that new research presenting a contrasting picture is unwelcome—to put it mildly.” [My emphasis]

For the progressive gay agenda the science is settled. As Jennifer notes, “And these [critics] are the folks who urge us to be tolerant of differences and respect scientific research.”

Bernie Goldberg in his book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, talks about  how in the 1980s the media began reporting on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The narrative was that HIV/AIDS was wide spread in the heterosexual community when then as now the disease is primarily confined to men who have sex with men (MSM) and intravenous drug users. In Florida 70% of known HIV/AIDS cases were caused by MSM according to the Florida Department of Health. This narrative, according to Goldberg, was promoted without scientific evidence or any research. The media message trumps science.

More recently the settled science that being gay is genetically based has been called into question. The best-designed study of sexual-orientation change efforts (SOCE) to date, has just concluded in a follow-up report that some people can indeed move from homosexuality to heterosexuality, and that harm is unlikely to result from such efforts. The original study was published in 2007 by Stanton Jones, Ph.D., of Wheaton College, and Mark Yarhouse, Ph.D., of Regent University, in their book, “Ex-Gays?”. The follow-up study has just appeared in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. In the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, the authors conclude:

“Evidence from the study suggested that change of homosexual orientation appears possible for some and that psychological distress did not increase on average as a result of the involvement in the change process” (Jones & Yarhouse, 2011, p. 404).”

Alan Caruba in his column “The 50th Anniversary of ‘Silent Spring’: A Lethal Legacy“, warns that settled science can have long term negative effects. “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson; a book that is credited with giving rise to the environmental movement in general and, in particular, America’s unfounded fears of pesticides, especially DDT”, writes Alan. Alan states, “Carson kicked off  ‘the precautionary principle’ cited by environmental groups and government agencies that, in effect, leaves the public defenseless against the health threats that Mother Nature provides in the form of insects and rodents known to spread disease, or mold-contaminants such as aflatoxin, many times more toxic than the fumigant that was banned to control it.” Carson’s book was based upon “settled science”, which has since been proven to be false by among others Entomologist J. Gordon Edwards.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “About 3.3 billion people – half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria. In 2010, there were about 216 million malaria cases … People living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable to malaria. In 2010, 90% of all malaria deaths occurred in the WHO African Region, mostly among children under five years of age.” DDT is effective in killing the mosquitoes that spread malaria.

Settled science is an oxymoron as pointed out by EcoWho.com. Science is never settled but for political purposes it can be made to be so.