Earth's daily woes prompt 'off the planet' theories
By - - THE AUSTRALIAN
Added: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 14:51:59 UTC
Thanks to aheggie for the link
In a world of chaos, rational thought must be our priority.
Life is precious and beautiful, and the simple fact it will some day come to an end for each of us is depressing enough, without people going out of their way to exaggerate the doom and gloom. We've long had doomsday and millennial cults of one kind or another, and while religion provides comfort for many, for others it threatens an awful reckoning. At The Australian, we leave matters of spiritual belief for the conscience of the individual but we do unashamedly promote the liberating power of rational thought. It is the triumph of reason that sets humankind apart, that has freed us from superstition, enabled us to prosper, to develop wondrous cultures, to travel and explore from the depths of the oceans to the fringes of the universe. Without the knowledge we have amassed over countless generations, we would live in fear of darkness, cower at a lunar eclipse lest it signal the end of the world or live much shorter lives, dying from preventable or treatable diseases. Science and knowledge have provided us with great advantages, yet some of us seem intent on abandoning that legacy in favour of New Age fatalism or Gaia and Mother Earth spiritualism.
Individual belief is one thing, but when these attitudes distort public debate and our education system, it is time to speak out. Such nonsense has reached a crescendo in the wake of the Japanese tsunami disaster. Yesterday, we mentioned an ABC broadcaster wondering whether the "Earth might be sending us a message", and an emotive piece on the ABC website about the awesome force of nature has triggered responses such as these: "Perhaps if we could live within the balance of nature better"; "This makes me wonder if the world will not violently readjust itself at times when the irritation of human usage grows too great"; and "Why don't we think of living (in) more harmony with nature?"
Chris Chambers and Petroc Sumner -... Comments
Science has an uneasy relationship with journalism, so what can be done by both sides to improve coverage
Will Self - BBC News Magazine 100 Comments
We chase "fast culture" at our peril - unusual words and difficult art are good for us, says Will Self.
Annie Murphy Paul - New York Times 26 Comments
New support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.
Nick Cohen - The Spectator 40 Comments
If you turn on the news tonight and hear of a bomber slaughtering civilians anywhere from Nigeria to the London Underground, I can reassure you of one point: the bombers will not be readers of Richard Dawkins.
Amol Rajan - The Independent 39 Comments
Their assault illustrates the extent to which defenders of religion still dominate our press, the brutal retaliation exacted on clever opponents of faith and the incorrigible stupidity of Sayeeda Warsi's claim about "militant secularism" last week.
Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net 341 Comments
I can’t help wondering at the quality of journalism which sees a scoop in attacking a man for what his five-greats grandfather did.
MORE BY -
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
- - Top Documentary Films Comments
Documentary about ongoing events in Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.
- - URMC Comments
Newer Imaging Technique Brings ‘Glymphatic System’ to Light
- - human rights first Comments
Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”
- - YouTube - townsquare Comments
Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').
- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments
WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August