This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by SheilaC

Go to: Your Brain on Fiction

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by SheilaC

I think the point with fiction is that you get inside other people's heads, in a way that you can't with film. Good fiction anyway.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 20:55:27 UTC | #929095

Go to: Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 98 by SheilaC

Comment 2 by EvilConservative :

The Global Warming debate is wrought with political partisanship, mixed facts with prominent scientists on both sides.

Yes, but the anti-warming scientists aren't climate scientists, aren't nearly so prominent, and very, very few in number. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/despite-rick-perry-consensus-on-climate-change-keeps-strengthening/2011/08/23/gIQAMT3UZJ_blog.html for example.

Which is more likely, 97% of scientists involved in a decades-long, global conspiracy in order to wreck the world economy, or polluters spending a small percentage of their massive profits on disinformation in order to protect said massive profits?

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 18:11:29 UTC | #922139

Go to: Trouble in paradise: Maldives and Islamic extremism

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by SheilaC

Comment 4 by TrickyDicky :

With the rise in religious fundamentalism it's getting hard to find a place to holiday in the sun.

Now the Maldives added to the list of no gos like Egypt, Tunisia, the southern states of the USA ...

The Canary Islands are nice, and very varied -- something for everyone. Beach and booze in southern Tenerife or walking and stargazing on La Palma

Sun, 26 Feb 2012 17:54:37 UTC | #922129

Go to: Writing a new code for life?

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by SheilaC

Carbon and oxygen are pretty common in the universe, so my best guess is that most of the life out there is carbon-based and oxygen-breathing. What I'd really like to know is whether it's similar enough for us to eat it - could our enzymes break it down into something usable? Could earth plants grow in an alien ecosystem?

I'm really hoping they find alien life in my lifetime.

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 17:26:39 UTC | #920797

Go to: The Devil, the internet, Richard Dawkins and God

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 109 by SheilaC

Stephen Bayley was once described as "the second most intelligent man in Britain". This paragraph was probably provided by Stephen Bayley himself - I've provided similar (less swollen headed!) paragraphs to go with writing that I've sold. Mind you, I flatter myself that my writing contains more joined-up thinking. Not difficult.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 23:04:18 UTC | #919046

Go to: RDFRS UK/Ipsos MORI Poll #1: How religious are UK Christians?

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by SheilaC

I remember reading years and years ago about a young Nigerian woman who said that she was both a Christian and a Muslim.

At the time I was a committed Christian, and I thought WTF? It took me a long time to work out that to her, xian/muslim was a badge of identity, not a statement of belief. (And with hindsight, she had more sense than I did at the time.) After all, you can support Leeds United and Chelsea, can't you? It sounds like this is enormously more common than I thought.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 21:11:09 UTC | #917844

Go to: Atheism in America

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by SheilaC

She couldn’t babysit as an atheist, but she could when she was on crack? “Yes.”

That's some seriously mixed up parents.

Mon, 06 Feb 2012 16:18:55 UTC | #915057

Go to: Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by SheilaC

I have the sneaking suspicion that the people who put out the anti-green propaganda despise these people far more than we do.

Sun, 05 Feb 2012 13:44:55 UTC | #914801

Go to: Octopus intellect

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by SheilaC

Spend you life bringing tasty morsels to the Holypus, and after you die you'll be rewarded with 64 sexy female octopuses and endless, toothless sharks to hunt. Fail to feed the Holypus and you'll be endlessly chewed in the mouth of The Shark.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:40:16 UTC | #914012

Go to: Growing use of Sharia by UK Muslims

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 162 by SheilaC

Has anyone ever done a survey and asked women why they're using Sharia courts? Do they know the normal, secular route to divorce (or whatever)? Is the normal route too expensive and slow? Do they believe they'll go to hell if they use normal British courts, or that their husbands will beat them up if they try it? Are they in fear of their lives? Do they believe their word is worth half that of a man's?

We can't help these women until we know why they're sticking their arms in the fire like this. There's no point reassuring them that the police will guarantee their personal safety, if they think they'll burn in hell.

I suspect the results would be damning for Sharia courts, but regardless, I think we need to know. Is this something that the Richard Dawkins Foundation or the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain could organise? I'd bung in a tenner. Either the Sharia courts cooperate, in which case it would be cheap and easy, or they don't in which case we publicise that fact.

Let's get some data.

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 19:57:16 UTC | #909616

Go to: UK government bans creationist schools

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 118 by SheilaC

This is a really good step forwards, but they're going to try to sneak it in anyway.

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 21:44:27 UTC | #907791

Go to: How to make atheism matter

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 103 by SheilaC

I can't help noticing that the whole article is a nice example of theists advising atheists to "shut the fuck up," as Greta Cristina so succinctly puts it.

Fri, 23 Dec 2011 00:07:17 UTC | #902066

Go to: Africa's Witch Children

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by SheilaC

As so often, Greta Christina is absolutely right. Atheists aren't angry because there's something wrong with us. We're angry because there's something right with us. If the sight of little children with horrific scars doesn't make you angry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE

Mon, 12 Dec 2011 19:56:40 UTC | #898343

Go to: Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill, defying British aid threat

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by SheilaC

Last week, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, known for his anti-gay rhetoric, called the prime minister "satanic" for demanding gay rights.

Somehow I don't see myself talking lessons in morality from Mugabe any time soon.

Sun, 04 Dec 2011 21:07:26 UTC | #895660

Go to: UBC study finds believers distrust atheists as much as rapists

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by SheilaC

Not surprising after the other survey's I've seen, but very depressing and downright STOOPID.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 20:07:54 UTC | #894805

Go to: Life on Alien Planets May Not Require a Large Moon After All

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by SheilaC

I was always rather puzzled by the idea that you have to keep the tilt so stable for intelligent life to develop. I can see it would help, but given all the stuff that Earth-based life survives, I wouldn't be all that surprised to hear of a planet with intelligent life migrating on a massive scale, or hybernating, or just really, really good at coping with temperature swings.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 16:54:13 UTC | #894746

Go to: The Debunking Handbook: now freely available for download

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by SheilaC

Brilliant! Thanks.

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 14:11:06 UTC | #894696

Go to: 'You just don't understand my religion' is not good enough

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by SheilaC

I've come tot he conclusion that "ineffable" means "it makes no effing sense."

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 20:16:30 UTC | #888333

Go to: Protest Michigan’s green light on religious bullying

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by SheilaC

Presumably this includes the "deeply held religious belief" that homosexuality is evil.

Reason help gay teens in Michigan! (God won't)

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 21:23:42 UTC | #887682

Go to: Making God Mad

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by SheilaC

If earthquakes are caused by lust, I'm off to Io. (Jupiter's moon, that is.) There must be a permanent orgy going on there!

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 10:46:35 UTC | #885178

Go to: The Language Fossils Buried in Every Cell of Your Body

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by SheilaC

Comment 3 by JoxerTheMighty :

What makes me wonder is how natural selection worked on this. Maybe males with better linguistic skills were able to woo chicks better? :P

Chatting up the ladies probably helped pass on genes, but I think there's also survival value in understanding, "Don't mess with a female mammoth if she's got young with her," or "Watch out for snakes in the long grass down by the river." Not to mention an advantage for your genes in other members of the tribe if you can yell out, "Tiger!" half a second before it becomes visible to everyone else.

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 19:17:47 UTC | #883461

Go to: [UPDATE - BBC link added] 300,000 babies stolen from their parents - and sold for adoption: Haunting BBC documentary exposes 50-year scandal of baby trafficking by the Catholic church in Spain

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 79 by SheilaC

I really want to see this, but I'm in Spain. I hope I'll be able to find it on You Tube or somewhere.

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 19:16:06 UTC | #881908

Go to: Found: The Particular Brain Fold That Helps People Distinguish Between Imagination and Reality

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by SheilaC

It would be fascinating to see if there's a difference in the proportion of people with and without this fold in various religious and political groups.

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 22:01:58 UTC | #878573

Go to: Psychosis isn't always pathological

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by SheilaC

"It would seem that the more out-of-the-ordinary experiences are associated with clinical psychosis, the less chance people have of recognising their desirability, transiency, and psychological benefits, and the more chance they have of detrimental clinical consequences."

Desirability? Look, I'm quite prepared to believe that hearing voices doesn't necessarily mean that you're seriously ill. It might conceivably give you valuable insights into your feelings. But thinking that you're hearing god rather than your own subconscious could lead to making some truly dreadful choices.

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 18:36:16 UTC | #878490

Go to: Politics and the bugnut Christians

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by SheilaC

Let's just hope our politicians keep expanding the group of people they want to serve. Rather than embracing Christian as the magic word of politics, we can move on to the truly magical word: American. And maybe we can even go a step further and make the magic word "humanity."the magic word "humanity."

You know, I don't think that's going to happen. You can't be "in" unless other people are "out". And the more incompetent a politician is, the more s/he needs scapegoats.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 10:34:25 UTC | #877333

Go to: Oregon couple convicted in faith-healing trial

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by SheilaC

Poor little baby.

Medical experts for the prosecution testified that the baby had a 99 percent chance of survival if his parents had sought medical care

and yet:

Defense attorney Mark Cogan said [snip] there was no evidence that medical care would have saved him.

A baby is dead because his parents ignored reality, and event hough they probably loved him, they're still batting reality away.

Headdesk Headdesk Headdesk

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:52:59 UTC | #876648

Go to: Power corrupts, especially when it lacks status

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by SheilaC

This would certainly explain the little shit who gave me such a bad time at Manchester airport security.

I'm not annoyed that they pulled me out of line. This was a flight to the Canary Islands, and I'm sure I didn't have "happy holiday maker" body language" because I was on my home from my father's funeral. I could have done without them taking my odd-looking luggage apart, showing the whole queue my knickers, and ostentatiously checking it for explosives, but if they had any reason to think there might be explosives in there, obviously they had to check.

What gets me is that I made some sort of friendly conversational remark to try to smooth things over a bit. (I've worked with the general public, too, and I wanted to look non-threatening and unaggressive.

He stuck his nose in the air and said, "I can have you thrown off the flight, you know." And smirked.

He did wince a bit when he found the sympathy cards in the bottom of the case, but he didn't say sorry or act any kinder. Just, "All right. On your way."

I could have bloody done without that. But having some sort of explanation makes it a bit less painful.

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 18:11:22 UTC | #875054

Go to: Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 95 by SheilaC

Most people on this site criticize islam for the genuine harm it does. But there are a heck of a lot of people who criticize islam because most muslims have darker skin than the average Daily Mail reader. I think that makes it difficult for muslims with any empathy to criticize each other in public - they feel they're handing ammo to the BNP. (I doubt that psychopathic muslims feel much solidarity with moderate muslims or anybody else.) What these 12,000 people did was difficult, and I don't think we should spit in their eye.

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 17:40:30 UTC | #875048

Go to: Scientists go on trial next week for failure to predict earthquake

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by SheilaC

The developers want a scapegoat to take people's minds off the shoddy buildings, the local politicians want a scapegoat to take people's minds off the enormous delay in providing alternative accommodation, and Berlusconi wants a distraction from the under-age prostitutes thing, and the trial's being held in Aquila where feelings must still be very raw. I have a bad feeling about this.

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 19:31:30 UTC | #872365

Go to: Is the Vatican cooperating fully with the Irish government?

SheilaC's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by SheilaC

Is the Vatican cooperating fully with the Irish government? Is the moon made of green cheese?

Mon, 05 Sep 2011 20:07:30 UTC | #867584