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Comments by Ygern

Go to: Scientific evidence proves why healers see the 'aura' of people

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Ygern

Steven Novella (of Skeptics Guide to the Universe) has already cast some doubt on this story on his site.

Link here

He's a clinical neurologist at Yale, so this is more his area than your average journalist's, and says in summary:

Interesting, but circumstantial. Given the weight of the evidence it seems that the connection between auras and synaesthesia is speculative and based on superficial similarities that are likely coincidental. The new study, if anything, is a deeper look at the question, finding the hypothesis lacking.

Tue, 15 May 2012 18:21:31 UTC | #941657

Go to: Let Them Eat Dirt

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Ygern

I'd be a little more cautious.

This study was conducted on mice, not humans; so this isn't "proof" of anyone's inner convictions about children being kept in overly-sterile environments.

Also, anecdotes of one's own experience are just that: anecdotes. I've got an anecdote too, only my early-life exposure to dirt / animals/ climbing trees etc. in the great outdoors ended me up in hospital after years of puzzled doctors and a variety of medical interventions including surgery. I was unlucky, and my experience doesn't mean anything other than a cautionary tale. But the point is that eating dirt does not automatically guarantee you a healthy immune system.

This study is not advocating that parents should allow their kids unsupervised dirt-eating sessions. Yes, exposure to microbes at an early age may well strengthen the immune systems of some children. The unlucky ones may pick up viruses and parasites that can do life-long damage.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 15:02:59 UTC | #930170

Go to: Westboro Baptist Church to attend Reason Rally with special message for atheists

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Ygern

Comment 10 by mirandaceleste :

Why in the world would anyone invite these awful, bigoted, and hateful media whores/professional trolls to this event? WBC thrives on attention from individuals/groups and on media coverage.


I don't think this is smart or clever. In fact it makes the National Atheist Party look like it is as desperate for any attention it can get too.

Mon, 12 Mar 2012 22:41:53 UTC | #926537

Go to: Science and cinema

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Ygern

I don't think it's true of all films or all video games for that matter. Certainly the bad or misguided scientist is a Hollywood trope since the WW2 era, but a lot of the time I think its just down to truly dire script writing rather than an agenda.

For example, Star Trek Voyager (ostensibly a pro-science series) produced some horribly anti-science episodes, almost certainly because the script writer (and possibly director) was scientifically illiterate.

But there are exceptions: I thought that the scientists in Cameron's otherwise cringe-worthy Avatar were sympathetically depicted. In Fallout 3 (videogame) there are good scientists such as the "Dad" character as well as scientists who have ended up on the wrong side.

On the other hand, religious characters (priests etc) are frequently depicted as bad, evil, insane or manipulative as well.

I think that lazy writers like to use stereotypes that they reckon the audience won't have any trouble understanding. It's not so much an agenda as sheer creative laziness.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 14:04:56 UTC | #919614

Go to: Serious claims belong in a serious scientific paper

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Ygern

Comment 5 by Daisy Skipper

How is this lady a professor at Oxford if she isn't doing research?

Her area is pharmacology.

That doesn't really qualify her to make pronouncements on brain development, autism, dementia and their putative link to computer games.

If she is correct in her hypothesis, she ought to, as Ben Goldacre suggests, publish a paper showing the medical world how she has arrived at these conclusions. It is not okay for her to try out her ideas in newspapers where they will only be judged on whether people agree or disagree with her. What she is doing is not much better than fear-mongering.

Sun, 23 Oct 2011 16:59:17 UTC | #883397

Go to: The Quakers: a religion Richard Dawkins could sign up to

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Ygern

I wouldn't. But I'm not looking for a replacement for religion.

I know some atheists do, if nothing else they miss the community and fellowship they got from the old religion.

Not me.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 19:07:31 UTC | #877533

Go to: Neutral, but respect creationism?

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Ygern

Creationism isn't really even a religious theory about the origins of life. It is a political movement to introduce religion into schools.

It doesn't have any working "theory" to substantiate itself, even its Intelligent Design adherents have no credible theories that advocate anything that could be taught usefully taught in in a science classroom; other than perhaps as an example of how wrong they are.

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 12:15:14 UTC | #876911

Go to: As atheists know, you can be good without God

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Ygern

I can't believe that the first two people on this thread are whinging about the content of this article.

Read the comments over on USA Today. That is why these sorts of articles need to be published.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 16:27:45 UTC | #856641

Go to: Don't segregate menstruating girls in public schools

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Ygern

All of the men here who advocate that the girls (girls who have been trained to believe they must be obedient and submissive and that their bodily functions are unclean) must lie to their superiors, especially their religious superiors are actually missing the point by a mile.

The point is not: Oh, surely they can lie. (and they probably would find it difficult to perpetuate a lie for any length of time, even if they had the nerve to do it - no-one is going to believe that not one of the girls ever has a period over a given length of time).

The point is: they should never be asked in the first place. That is the outrage here.

Saying they "should lie" is like saying more slaves "should have" run away from the plantations.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 11:25:31 UTC | #853450

Go to: Science and truth have been cast aside by our desire for controversy

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Ygern

It is heartening to think that the BBC (and perhaps other media outlets) are re-thinking the idea of how to report science.

I think a lot of its success will depend on educating the public on how the scientific method works, including vital aspects such as why falsification is important as well understanding that the results of one study does not automatically translate into a new scientific law.

Judging from the comments on the Guardian page, a depressingly large number of readers don't understand this at all, to say nothing of the comments by those who appear to be scientifically illiterate or conspiracy theorists of one form or another.

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 11:16:13 UTC | #853443

Go to: Prayer, menstruation and the Toronto School Board

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Ygern

Comment 18 by Saganic Rites :

so the girls can easily turn this to their advantage.

Good grief.

I don't think you have thought this through. Seeing as females menstruate roughly once every 21 to 28 days, what sort of leeway to you think they would get? Do you think that those supervising these rituals - let alone their peers - wouldn't notice a girl claiming to have a period that lasts several weeks? Or one that once past the age of sixteen appears to never have one?

What sort of trouble do you think a girl would get into in an already misogynistic community if someone even suspected that she was using her "uncleanliness" to avoid prayer?

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 14:20:53 UTC | #850166

Go to: Happy Birthday to Richard Dawkins

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 104 by Ygern

A very happy birthday to you, Richard. Your books re-awakend in me my love of science, long forgotten since my childhood. The difference that has made to my life leaves me with a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay, except to say that you have made your mark on the world and it is better for it.

Sat, 26 Mar 2011 15:23:17 UTC | #607430

Go to: Fossils in Meteorites?

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Ygern

It's certainly the strangest looking piece of meteorite. Whatever is responsible for it looking like that will be an interesting discovery.

I'm glad that sensible caution is being shown here, but that probably won't stop the "news-hounds" for a minute.

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 12:34:25 UTC | #599320

Go to: Can it be that when the founding cells of life were formed, someone planned for a rainy day?

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by Ygern

Comment 54 by rookieatheist

But he is also a great writer, and has a way with English beyond anything ...

Did you read his musings on Susan Boyle's pubic hair?

But anyway, I agree he's not stupid - and I never said anything to indicate he was. I don't believe O'Reilly is either. Maybe slightly slimier, true. But just as deliberately out to get a rise from the liberal left.

Sat, 19 Feb 2011 17:11:26 UTC | #593462

Go to: Can it be that when the founding cells of life were formed, someone planned for a rainy day?

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by Ygern

For those of you outside of Ireland, Kevin Myers is the local equivalent of Bill O'Reilly. He does what he does to be deliberately provocative, reactionary and insulting. It makes people respond to his little opinion pieces which would otherwise go unnoticed. He will be thrilled to know he's been noticed beyond the borders of his country.

Sat, 19 Feb 2011 13:38:46 UTC | #593420

Go to: UPDATE: Bangladeshi girl, 14, dies after 100 lashes

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Ygern

Comment 20 by The Berzerker :

He should have said MEN and women, remember men get the same number of lashes, but no one seems to notice.

There was no man lashed to death in this case. Nothing happened to the husband involved in this so-called illicit relationship. Did you notice that?

Fri, 04 Feb 2011 12:38:37 UTC | #587800

Go to: MPs query £1.85m overseas aid spent on Pope visit

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Ygern

Comment 7 by Alan Dente :

"The pope didn't spend this, he probably didn't even know about this"

Can this claim be backed up? Is this the same Pope that probably didn't know about sex abuse cases?

As much as the UK Government seemed to enjoy playing toady during the Pope's visit, I suspect that they don't as of yet consult the Vatican for their consent before transferring funds from one department to another. In this particular case the guilty parties are in England not Rome. They were the ones showing contempt for the British tax-payer this time round.

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 17:15:24 UTC | #587450

Go to: MPs query £1.85m overseas aid spent on Pope visit

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Ygern

Jeez guys, read the article that's right in front of your faces. The pope didn't spend this, he probably didn't even know about this. This one is a piece of UK Government asshattery, specifically DFID's.

How they squared away such an abuse of Aid money with their consciences is beyond me.

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 12:46:29 UTC | #587302

Go to: Mother Teresa’s Legacy is Under a Cloud

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Ygern

Comment 6 by Daz365 :

...hang on didn't Jesus suffer so we didn't have to? Or have I got that wrong?

No. The church teaches that suffering can be viewed as participating in Jesus' suffering on the cross. And seeing as all that suffering is your fault anyway (cos of all your sinning etc) you should be glad to join in the suffering. Some even go so far as to interpret suffering as a blessing, a sign that you are close to God and simply being tested by the devil.

It's this type of rather screwed up masochistic thinking that leads fanatics like Mother Teresa to think that suffering is a virtue and is worth pursuing as a goal in itself.

Sun, 23 Jan 2011 16:13:01 UTC | #582994

Go to: Actress's brother jailed for attacking her

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Ygern

And Baroness Warsi & Giles Fraser think that non-Muslims are responsible for hatred against Muslims.

My heart goes out to women in this situation. It's not only the individuals who resort to physical violence who make their lives a misery; the ones who condone these archaic beliefs are also contributing to making a whole group of women feel afraid to even try and live a normal life.

Sun, 23 Jan 2011 13:06:03 UTC | #582898

Go to: Pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for potentially life-saving drugs

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Ygern

Comment 9 by PZ :

I'm an atheist, pro-life doctor, and my opinion is that this pharmacist was within his rights to refuse treatment. I have also refused to see patients with bleeding complications following an abortion ("kill the killers" I think, but not do)

I suspect that you are just a troll who is lying for effect, but if what you say is true you ought to lose your job.

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 16:03:52 UTC | #578339

Go to: Atheists a dying breed as nature 'favours faithful'

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by Ygern

I'd lay money on a hunch that most, although not all of the atheists posting on this website had one if not two religious parents.

Religion is an idea, you can get rid of it.

Sun, 02 Jan 2011 14:32:00 UTC | #572291

Go to: Playing Catholic politics with US healthcare

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Ygern

@ zengardener

They have no particular problem with people like Hitler or child rapists. They're all ok by Holy Mother Church.

Women messing with their own reproductive systems - that is something that is unforgivable and criminal in the eyes of the church.

Fri, 31 Dec 2010 21:14:23 UTC | #571647

Go to: The Sign of Abuse

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Ygern

I agree and disagree.

I think kids are all too capable of handling the subject of cold-blooded torture - perhaps more easily than adults because they can't or don't until a certain age fully empathise with the suffering of a stranger or non-human. In fact The Blank Slate and other books show us that even adults have only relatively recently come to empathise with other species and non-family humans.

And then there are how many beloved fairy tales have truly gory horror and abuse at their heart: Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel to name only a few. Although Disney sanitised them and edited out most of the blood, they remain oft-repeated tales of child abuse and murder. Kids love them.

On the other hand it is appalling and utterly inappropriate that little children are exposed to instruments of torture and death and are indeed encouraged to wear them around their necks, kiss them (The Veneration of the Cross should only be between consenting adults).

But perhaps the strangest thing is that I am not sure that children fully comprehend the exact gory truth about the cross. They are exposed to this thing at such a young age, it goes largely unmentioned on walls, in church, on rosaries and on jewelery for most of the calendar year that they are largely inured to it; rendered callously indifferent to the hideous suffering by over-exposure and the knowledge that the figure depicted is God, last seen romping around the portals of heaven.

To my mind the damage done is not shocking or upsetting children, it is the almost inevitable numbing of their sensibilities where they can walk past such a thing with barely a glance, let alone a wince.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:20:17 UTC | #570097

Go to: Atheists Excluded from Mayoral Prayer Service

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Ygern

I can't really find any particular sympathy for this. Why would a secular organisation that presumably represents members who are atheists and non-theists want to be included in a prayer ceremony?

The protest would be better aimed if they were investigating why local government was wasting its time by engaging in faith-based activities in the first place.

I have nothing but support for Humanist organisations, but discovering that the one I belonged to was trying to get itself to be included in a prayer ceremony would result in my unsubscribing.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:58:27 UTC | #570091

Go to: Why Prince Charles is too dangerous to be king

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Ygern

Comment 8 by Stevehill :

and has no comprehension of what marriage vows mean, not ideal for a head of the established religion...

That's traditional, surely? Henry VIII comes to mind.

Mon, 20 Dec 2010 11:55:22 UTC | #565940

Go to: Forgive me, spirit of science

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Ygern

Comment 29 by DocWebster :

Ygem, forbidding a child to read the bible is just as wrong as forbidding a child to sing or play with a friend. Y

I am fascinated: where did you get "forbidding" out of what I wrote? Don't put words into my mouth, I said nothing of the sort. I just don't want it promoted.

Thu, 16 Dec 2010 01:13:23 UTC | #563975

Go to: Forgive me, spirit of science

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Ygern

double post, sorry

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 19:33:06 UTC | #563840

Go to: Forgive me, spirit of science

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Ygern

Comment 19 by Layla :

If it's treated as literature it doesn't matter if it's filled with mumbo jumbo!

That's very interesting, but I am not sure that it is true in any other place than the "enlightened West".

In many other countries, literature's content is seized upon as material for debate, as a comment on life.

Take for example works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It's wonderful stuff, although regarded as belonging to the domain of those who have tertiary education in the West. Not so in South America, where a great many non-graduates have read his books and do not regard them as "difficult" and have an opinion on what they may mean and how they are applicable to life in general.

I don't dispute for one second that there are many who can read the bible who can interpret it for what it is; preserving the filter of modern morality. But there are many who can't. Way too many. That is why I am uneasy about this being offered up as superb "literature" to young children.

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 19:32:16 UTC | #563839

Go to: Forgive me, spirit of science

Ygern's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Ygern

Not that I recall.

But I have already said that parts of the King James version of bible are sublime poetry. No disagreement there.

The problem is that as a whole the book is intended to be a moral guide on how to live your life. That aspect is inescapable. And a young reader will find it very hard indeed to separate the intent of the text they are writing from the fact that they don't have to believe it anymore.

If we truly lived in a world where misogyny or homophobia no longer existed then this would simply be an academic exercise which I would support whole-heartedly. But we don't. In 2010 how many people (men & women) died or were threatened with death because of holy books? On this site alone, many such cases were reported.

So, no, I don't want children reading the Holy Bible.

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 18:13:55 UTC | #563792