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Comments by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Richard, yes, well done NASA, but you should enjoy British success at the Olympics a bit more. There's a lot of sport science behind it!

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 21:31:13 UTC | #950464

Go to: Against All Gods

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Listening to Richard Dawkins talking about Fred is like listening to someone claiming to be an expert on biology when all they have read is the Book of British Birds.

Dawkins' understanding of Fred bears no resemblence to the understanding of Fred built up over centuries by sophisticated Fredologians. Fred is not some bloke who designs clouds, as Dawkins seems to imagine with his limited intellect. Fred is clouds. Fred is also "other", transcendent and unknowable (except, of course, by sophisicated Fredologians). It takes years of hard work, dedication and commitment, reciting Cumulonimbus, Cirrostratus, Cirrostratus, Altostratus, etc over and over again in order to go completely bananas...I mean in order to attain the transcendent state that allows the faithful a brief glimpse of Fred.

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:52:26 UTC | #950152

Go to: Do we need objective morals?

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

The problem with the way many people analyse morality is that they look at "right" and "wrong" as stand alone principles without concern for the consequences. "Right" and "wrong" (or "good" and "bad"), if they have any meaning at all, have no different meaning in a moral context than in any other context.

There has to be an objective in mind to classify something as "right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad". The "right" tool for the job is the tool that does the desired job most effectively. A "good" technique at tennis is one that gives you a higher chance of winning a point than a "bad" technique. And so "good" moral behaviour is that which, as Sam Harris puts it, promotes the wellbeing of conscious beings.

Of course, as Harris acknowledges, how you measure the effectiveness of an action in terms of its moral consequences is not always easy or practically possible, but nevertheless there is no other meaningful definition for morality.

The religious idea that humans can't decide what is morally right or wrong, that there must be an "objective" morality from God, is a nonsense for several reasons. Firstly, of course, there's no voice booming down from the sky telling us what is right or wrong, God's message only comes from other humans and there's no evidence to suggest they didn't just make it up themselves. Secondly, there is no concern for the consequences; and if there's no concern for the consequences, God's moral code is just a toss of the coin and it could just as easily be "good" to be nasty as to be helpful to other people. And following from that, if we had no instinctive understanding of morality, if only God was capable of understanding morality and determining a moral code, then we wouldn't even understand the concept that he was trying to convey to us, let alone care about it!

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 10:03:47 UTC | #950098

Go to: Why do we find mountains beautiful?

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

I think what is interesting is that we have a shared sense of beauty, just like we have a shared sense of humour or love of music (not always exactly shared, but you know what I mean).

These are all abstract things and I think that might be a key reason why it is an advantage.

If we were only able to socially interact by way of direct person to person communication, or over material objects, it would make our social interactions very intense and probably create a lot of conflicts within a group. Yet a shared interest in beautiful landscapes, humour, music, etc, allows us to create deep social bonds while our focus is not aimed directly at each other.

Just an idea...

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 21:35:56 UTC | #949124

Go to: Mandatory religious worship in schools

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 23 by CarolineMary

We Brits were brought up to respect the church of England, even if we weren't members of it. I am a product of that system. When I was a kid the rules about a daily act of worship were followed. But it is hard to see anything dangerous in getting together to sing a hymn and listen to a teacher either tell a bible story or preach a bit. Things like 'gods watching you, even at the bus stop so line up nicely. '

I agree that on a superficial level, not much harm may be done by singing hymns etc. But the problem is that it still indoctrinates children to believe that religion is something to be respected without question, something that they carry with them into adulthood. This is precisely what religious organisations aim to do by taking control of education. It gives people a very blinkered view which can cause problems on more serious issues.

For example, I was watching a debate on TV the other day about the court decision in Germany that circumcision of children for religious reasons should be illegal. There was a journalist on the programme who was neither Jewish nor Muslim (presumably she was either a Chrisitan or atheist) but nevertheless she was outraged by the courts decision to interfere in the traditional practices of the Jewish religion.

Now surely there has to be something seriously wrong with someone who makes the effort to go and appear on a TV programme to support the rights of others to mutilate the genitals of a child! Only religion (or unthinking respect for religion) could drive someone to this kind of extraordinary behaviour. I have no qualms in branding such people as suffering from a form of mental illness.

Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:44:09 UTC | #948551

Go to: Mandatory religious worship in schools

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

My sister, who has 3 teenage children in school, recently quizzed me about something she'd seen I'd written on Facebook in a discussion started by the National Secular Society. I explained to her that I was a member of the NSS, and then had to explain to her what secularism was and what we campaigned for. Even though I know she's an atheist, she thought it was very weird that people were worked up about the issue and driven to campaign against religious privilege. The whole "New Atheist" movement and secularism were completely off her radar screen, and she had no interest in learning any more about it.

Further to my post above, last night by sheer coincidence my other sister, who has a child starting school next year, asked me about secuarism (again, she'd seen my comments on Facebook and had no idea what it was). I explained to her and her husband what the NSS campaigns for and about the problems state funded faith schools create with regards to privilege, discrimination, etc.

While my sister and brother-in-law have no firm religious beliefs and don't go to church, and certainly had no counter-argument against my opinions, I could tell they were very reluctant to fully agree with my position. I think like many people they still regard religion as something to be respected and also they have the idea that religion in education is just the way things are - it's not theirs to reason why.

They were also both under the impression that inner city schools have banned children from wearing crosses while allowing Islamic children to wear the burqa. I wonder which newspaper they read? ;)

Then my sister asked me if Muslims are Christians or if they believe in Allah.

It's a long hard slog.

Tue, 03 Jul 2012 14:25:09 UTC | #948501

Go to: Infanticide in higher mammals

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 1 by VrijVlinder

Yes I have also found that aspect difficult to accept. Why kill progeny at all ? The most simple reason can be that the genetics of the new male are superior to the one displaced.

Probably the main reason why males kill the offspring of other males of the same species is that there are limited resources available to the raising of offspring, so if a male gets rid of another male's offspring it enhances the chances of survival for his own offspring. Therefore, males that are adept at doing this will have more offspring that in turn will have similar genes driving them towards the same behaviour and so it continues.

Mon, 02 Jul 2012 10:18:50 UTC | #948451

Go to: Mandatory religious worship in schools

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

e-petition signed.

I do fear, though, that although the vast majority of British parents are not religious, at least not in any organised or committed sense, they really don't care about this issue, and certainly aren't aware of the ideas of secularism or humanism.

My sister, who has 3 teenage children in school, recently quizzed me about something she'd seen I'd written on Facebook in a discussion started by the National Secular Society. I explained to her that I was a member of the NSS, and then had to explain to her what secularism was and what we campaigned for. Even though I know she's an atheist, she thought it was very weird that people were worked up about the issue and driven to campaign against religious privilege. The whole "New Atheist" movement and secularism were completely off her radar screen, and she had no interest in learning any more about it.

It's really hard to see how it's possible to engage the interest of the majority of parents on this issue.

Sun, 01 Jul 2012 21:36:23 UTC | #948411

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 12 by nick keighley Comment 5

by Jumped Up Chimpanzee :

He makes some good points that religions and religionists should not receive any special treatment or privileges, but then seems to conclude under point 14 that employers should not normally have the right to ban employees from wearing religious symbols whilst at work! Why not?

because it does no harm to others

It's got nothing to do with others. It's to do with the employer's company. If the employer feels that a symbol (whether or not it's religious is irrelevant - that's the point) does not present the right image for the company, surely they should be able to prohibit the display of such a symbol. I don't see how anyone is harmed by the banning of any personal symbols whilst they are at work.

However, I'm not proposing that all employers should go ahead and ban all personal items, and I don't think many would wish to. It's every employer's decision. I'm an employer and I don't care if my employees wear religious jewellery. But I think every employer should have the right to do so if they feel it presents the wrong image for them. Nobody is harmed by being asked not to wear a necklace or bracelet at work, regardless of whether or not it is religious.

Sun, 24 Jun 2012 22:40:43 UTC | #948023

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

He makes some good points that religions and religionists should not receive any special treatment or privileges, but then seems to conclude under point 14 that employers should not normally have the right to ban employees from wearing religious symbols whilst at work!

Why not? Surely most people would agree that an employer should have the right to require that its employees do not wear a swastika, if it feels it doesn't represent the company or portray the right image, so why should they not be able to do the same with any religious symbol?

Sun, 24 Jun 2012 08:53:37 UTC | #947991

Go to: Church accused of 'scaremongering'

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 52 by Greyman

It's somewhat similar here in Australia. We have both secular or religious marriage celebrants, but since 1961, any marriage celebrant must be certified and registered by the government. Otherwise a wedding they perform is not legally a marriage.

Despite this, you'll still read letters to the editor espousing the view that the government should keep out of what has "always been a purely religious matter".

It really doesn't make any sense to me why there should be any problem.

Why can't it just be like this:

  • If you want a purely religious wedding and no state involvement, go ahead and do exactly as you wish. Your "marriage" is entirely your business. But bear in mind that if you don't want the state involved, your marriage won't be recognised under the state's law. This may cause you problems with legal issues such as establishing next of kin, etc.

  • If you want a purely secular wedding so that the legal status of your relationship is defined, just have the secular state marriage service.

  • If you want a religious wedding but you also want the state to legally recognise your relationship for legal purposes, have both your religious wedding and also the secular state wedding.

  • Simples.

    Wed, 13 Jun 2012 15:33:24 UTC | #947217

    Go to: Church accused of 'scaremongering'

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    I think the following system, which I believe is more or less as they have in France, makes the most sense.

    Marriage is legally a secular state institution. Anyone who wants their marriage to be legally recognised must have a state service. That covers all legal issues, such as establishing next of kin, inheritance rights, etc.

    If a couple are religious they are at liberty to have a religious wedding too. As the state already legally recognises their marriage, the couple is entirely free to determine the nature of their religious ceremony; it can be conducted anywhere, and be as simple or extravagant as they wish.

    This freedom means it is reasonable that religious organisations should not be obliged to conduct a marriage service for anyone they do not consider compatible with their faith. This should not unduly affect anyone wishing to get married, for they are entirely free to establish their own "church" that is entirely compatible with their beliefs. They have no need to impose themselves upon an organisation that does not entirely agree with their beliefs.

    Everyone's a winner!

    Wed, 13 Jun 2012 09:29:06 UTC | #947168

    Go to: Church accused of 'scaremongering'

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 1 by gos

    But explain to me again how "acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity" (the only part of this list that clearly applies to heterosexual marriage more than homosexual) benefits society...

    Society benefits because without marriage human beings will forget how to procreate, and if homosexuals are allowed to marry then heterosexuals will obviously no longer be able to get married, or will turn homosexual, and the human race will come to an end before God has got round to ending it anyway with the rapture, which will be a bit of an anti-climax and make the Bible look a bit silly because not all the prophesies would be fulfilled, and all the people in Heaven will laugh at God and Jesus, and the Devil will do a little dance, and then nobody will know quite where to go from there...

    Tue, 12 Jun 2012 15:04:51 UTC | #947065

    Go to: Sarah Outen in a typhoon

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 26 by Mark Ribbands

    Has anyone one else noticed how keen sportsmen are always about to go into hospital, are in hospital, or have just left hospital, or otherwise are moaning about some body part which has malfunctioned, usually for the umpteenth time? And cf. how the staff in ‘Health Food’ shops always appear so spectacularly unhealthy.

    The former, yes. The latter, no. Although those heavy hessian shirts and patchwork quilt jackets can make you look a lot fatter than you really are.

    Sun, 10 Jun 2012 10:00:47 UTC | #946713

    Go to: Louisiana lunacy: tens of millions to be spent on faith-based education

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    I really can't think of anything more despicable than deliberately fucking up a child's education.

    So much time, effort and money is wasted trying to stop this mindless assault. There really should be laws brought in to prevent this. If people want to express a view that children should have a religious education, that's one thing, but when they actually try and implement it they should be locked up.

    Sat, 09 Jun 2012 21:55:22 UTC | #946650

    Go to: Sarah Outen in a typhoon

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 13 by nick keighley

    and who pays for it? Helicoptors don't run on fresh air

    In some parts of the world, you have to pay yourself if you get rescued. I received a bill for four thousand Euro after being lifted off an Austrian mountain by helicopter when I injured my back. That was on top of a five hundred Euro bill for medical treatment. Fortunately my insurers paid it with no fuss.

    Make sure you have good insurance!

    Sat, 09 Jun 2012 16:28:13 UTC | #946577

    Go to: Sarah Outen in a typhoon

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 5 by Mark Ribbands

    I’m assuming something of the Devil’s advocate position, but is it acceptable for extreme sports-people to expect others to subsequently endanger themselves in rescue attempts?

    While there are always a few idiots, most people who take part in extreme sports as a serious hobby take a great deal of care by way of training and preparation to reduce the chances of getting into trouble. They also insure themselves to cover rescue and medical costs.

    And many of the people who work for rescue services will be extreme sports enthusiasts themselves. For example, all mountain rescue workers will, obviously, be mountaineers themselves.

    Sat, 09 Jun 2012 08:57:23 UTC | #946529

    Go to: Why We Don't Believe in Science

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    forty-six per cent of adults said they believed that “God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years".

    This is a misleading quote and I wonder how much people are being led towards giving specific answers in these polls.

    Obviously 46% did not to answer in their own words in exactly the same way (i.e. they would not have all specified "10,000 years" given a free choice). I assume they were given 2 options, something like:

    Which of these statements do you think is most accurate in describing human origins?:

    A) God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years

    or

    B) Humans evolved from other species with no guidance from God.

    I suspect that if you were to conduct a poll that asked people to explain human origins and timescales of human history in their own words with no prompting you would get a very diverse set of answers, and a lot more "don't knows".

    Fri, 08 Jun 2012 15:29:36 UTC | #946349

    Go to: Petition to defend Indian rationalist from false accusations

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    This is a really blatant example of the pure nastiness of the Catholic Church. They are totally exposed. There is absolutely nothing to hide behind here. The Pope must be aware of this incident. He can't feign ignorance. This is happening now and it is public knowledge now. The Pope is entirely to blame for any delay in ordering the Mumbai branch of his organisation to retract their complaint.

    Thu, 07 Jun 2012 21:10:21 UTC | #946206

    Go to: Update - Podcast June 5 Interview with Peter Boghossian - "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know"

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 94 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 10 by QuestioningKat

    Note to homosexuals- I am not in the least homophobic but when you are finished with it, I'd like the word 'gay' back as well.

    Liar, if you weren't homophobic sharing the word "gay" would be the same as any other word that has two or more meanings.

    My dad (he's getting on a bit) made me laugh the other day. He actually said that he was annoyed with homosexuals because, and I quote:

    "They have taken the word 'homo' for themselves. 'Homo' means 'man', not 'gay'."

    Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:56:43 UTC | #946203

    Go to: Spanish artist faces prison over 'how to cook Christ' film

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    I assume this "religious feelings" law must only relate to Christianity. Otherwise anyone could claim or counter-claim that their "religious feelings" have been hurt by anything they care to name.

    Surely if this man is convicted in Spain, the decision could be overturned immediately by European Human Rights legislation.

    Thu, 07 Jun 2012 13:31:55 UTC | #946137

    Go to: Religious conversation and the Socratic method

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 1 by road_runner321

    I prefer questions to outright statements, but try to phrase the questions as a means to gather information rather than sounding like you doubt the person's point of view, even though you may. Be amiable, but don't let the conversation be sidetracked.

    Questions provide them with an outlet for voicing their faith to an attentive listener, while allowing you to learn new things by which you can gauge the limits of their understanding, and bringing them up short on inconsistencies. I believe this is called "Socratic irony", using questions, asked perhaps from feigned ignorance, to cause another person to realize something or to insinuate a point. It also involves a degree of self-deprecation or mild flattery to cause the other person to drop his guard somewhat. If you get good enough you can use the questions to steer the conversation into any topic of contention you desire.

    If you want videos, I would suggest old Columbo episodes where he is questioning suspects. Perhaps you'll want to scale it back a bit for regular conversations.

    This technique of asking questions from feigned ignorance (or innocence) sounds very much like the technique used by Louis Theroux in his excellent documentaries investigating extreme or weird lifestyles. Recommended viewing.

    Wed, 06 Jun 2012 16:48:16 UTC | #945912

    Go to: How Humans Became Moral Beings

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 11 by AULhall

    If you reread his previous answers I believe you will find that the 25,000-75,000 year range he is estimating is after the emergence of modern humans, which he estimates at 250,000 years ago. So his actual estimate seems to be that consciousness emerged somewhere between 225,000-175,000 years ago.

    Thanks, I see I misread what he meant there.

    However, I still find it hard to grasp what is meant by this other statement:

    First of all, there could be little doubt that humans had a conscience 45,000 years ago, which is the conservative date that all archaeologists agree on for our having become culturally modern.

    Again, if humans were already living as far apart as South Africa, Europe and Australia, in very different environments and with very tenuous (if any) link between many tribes, what could it mean to say we became culturally modern around this period?

    Tue, 05 Jun 2012 08:02:14 UTC | #945653

    Go to: How Humans Became Moral Beings

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Something as complicated as a conscience probably took longer than that. It has some bells and whistles that are total mysteries, such as blushing with shame. No one has the slightest idea how that evolved. But I would say a few thousand generations, and perhaps between 25,000 and 75,000 years.

    I'm always very puzzled when I hear estimates like this about major and universal human characteristics having evolved in that recent time frame. I believe that the Out of Africa theory that all modern non-African peoples of the world are descended from a very small band who left Africa about 75,000 years ago is still widely accepted. By about 50,000 years ago, some of their descendants had reached Australia. So how could such a major human characteristic as conscience have evolved after this widespread worldwide migration and possibly as recently as 25,000 years ago? To have done so it must either have evolved simultaneously all around the world, or it must have evolved in one tribe and then somehow spread by reproduction throughout the whole worldwide population in a relatively short period of time.

    I'm no scientist or expert on these matters but it just doesn't seem to fit to me at all. Surely all major features such as modern human conscience must have been present well before the Out of Africa migration started to place human populations so far apart from each other and in such dramatically different environments. Surely we couldn't have remained completely linked reproductively during this period, certainly not to the extent that evolved characteristics from Australians could have spread all the way through Asia to South Africa, or vice versa, for example.

    Any opinions or advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Mon, 04 Jun 2012 21:12:05 UTC | #945573

    Go to: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 23 by FastBill

    I find the trend frightening that 46% of Americans believe in Creationism and don't believe that mankind evolved. Don't they realize that there have been hundreds of god and goddesses over the last 6,000 years? There have even been feather gods.

    Well, feathers is a start. What's the Christian god made of?

    Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:19:33 UTC | #945498

    Go to: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    It continues to annoy me enormously that people discuss "God" in this sort of context without ever asking anyone to explain what it is and how it operates. Why is there always this unspoken assumption that everyone knows what they are talking about?

    I wish that after they asked the initial question, they then asked those who answered that God had created humans to explain exactly how God did this. I'm pretty sure that in every case there would have been a long silence followed by a few "ums" and "ers". What else could anyone say? It might make a few of them reflect on the fact that they are making assertions about absolutely nothing at all.

    Sun, 03 Jun 2012 20:43:21 UTC | #945346

    Go to: Sharia Law: neither equal nor free

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 12 by Tony d

    @Comment 8 by Shrinking_Dogma

    The is no crime of causing offence. There is a crime of causing harassment alarm or distress in certain circumstances, or behaving in certain ways within earshot of someone likely to be caused harassment alarm or distress. It is well established that this means genuine harassment alarm or distress - not merely feeling offended or uncomfortable.

    That sounds fine and great but what happens if some religious type becomes alarmed and distressed by my disbelief in their religion.

    If you were harassing them with your comments (e.g. by berating them in the confines of a train), then I think they could have every reason to be alarmed and distressed and you could be breaking the law. The nature of their beliefs and yours are not really relevant. As mentioned by others, it's all about the context. There's a time and a place where you can say exactly what you like, and there are other times and places where people have a right to be left in peace.

    Wed, 30 May 2012 22:13:36 UTC | #944639

    Go to: Jury gives "faith healing" mother prison time in son's death

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Every religious preacher and religious politician shares the full blame for these incidents.

    How can you reconcile on one hand telling people throughout their whole life that God exists, that God looks after you - especially when you put your faith, trust and belief in him - and on the other hand punish people for following that advice?

    Wed, 30 May 2012 08:13:02 UTC | #944410

    Go to: Evolution skeptics will soon be silenced by science: Richard Leakey

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Evolution is already established as a fact beyond all reasonable doubt.

    New evidence isn't going to make the general case for evolution any stronger, it will just provide further insights into the details.

    The thing that stops people accepting the fact of evolution is not the lack of evidence but the indoctrination, dogma and bullying by religion. That's what needs to be tackled.

    Tue, 29 May 2012 14:34:52 UTC | #944228

    Go to: Does Religious Liberty Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

    Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    Comment 9 by Steve Zara

    One aspect of this sort of situation that I have not come across before, and an additional argument in favour of equality, is that the state should not get into arbitrating religious disputes. It's well known that there are religious people who are gay and who believe that their sexual orientation is not a problem for their religion. Now, what happens if a religious same-sex couple gets refused entrance to a hotel by religious owners? If the state should support the religious rights of believers, then which of these believers should the state support? It can't just pick the majority view of the religion as that's clearly unfair. The only fair course of action for the state to take is to consider the situation without taking religion into account, and arbitrate one way or another based on secular considerations.

    That example you give should be a straightforward one for state intervention, because the religious views of both parties are irrelevant to the provision of hotel accommodation, so there is no justification for discrimination. It is in no way to the disadvantage of the hotel management if they have to provide a room for those of a different faith, or of a sexuality, gender or race of which they do not approve.

    The only area in which I think religious people have a right to discriminate is in the appointment of certain roles within actual religious organisations, and only where it would be obviously detrimental to the purpose of the organisation if they appointed someone who did not support their faith.

    Tue, 29 May 2012 13:00:33 UTC | #944212