Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Show from: Feb. 27, 2009

Here's the show script, including one article that didn't get discussed:

Thank you, everyone, for being with us here today. Today’s Godless Wisdom comes to you from: Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles, #502, a webcomic by Neil Swaab.

WOMAN: I just saw the funniest ad this morning!

TEDDY: Ugh. I hate advertising. Its just lies and manipulation used to create a false need for an unnecessary product….Its kind of like religion when you think about it.

WOMAN: What?

TEDDY: Religion is like advertising for god. Even if god exists, nobody needs him—what with free will and all. And yet, religion wants you to believe in him, spend your money on him, and trick you into thinking you can’t live without him…. It’s a racket.

WOMAN: So with that logic that would make Jesus and the other prophets…

TEDDY: Very popular celebrity mascots. You know, like the Energizer Bunny or Spuds McKenzie. Remember him? He was awesome.

WOMAN: Do you ever worry about going to hell?

TEDDY: Now, that’s an example of negative advertising!

The end!

And now for the news!

Some quick notes:

· From the Norwich Bulliten, dated February 26, The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that governments that receive donations of Ten Commandments displays and other monuments for public parks are not compelled to take everything they are offered.

According to wire reports, justices said officials do not violate free speech rights when they reject requests to display monuments. The decision stems from a case in which a small religious group, the Summum, wanted to force Pleasant Grove City, Utah, to place its granite marker in a park that is home to a Ten Commandments monument.

The Summum argued a city can't allow some private donations of displays in its public park and reject others.

The court distinguished the Summum's case from efforts to prevent people from speaking in public parks, which ordinarily would violate the First Amendment.

Any comments on the article?

· Next, compiled from a variety of sources, including thinkprogress.org, the News Channel, and the New York Times. Before I continue I would like to note that my views and opinions expressed by myself and the co-hosts are mine and theirs alone and do not reflect the views of WHRW. Continuing now with the story. Governer Mark Sanford, Republican, of South Carolina, has said that he may not accept the stimulus funds allotted to his state, which total about $8 billion dollars. Sanford offers, not money, to the citizens of his state, but prayers. Billions of dollars in benefits, including unemployment benefits are being refused by the Governor, even though thousands in his state are ailing. The following is a reading of a transcript from a television call-in interview with Sanford.

CALLER: I hope you all are not playing politics with this. People in South Carolina are hurting. You know how unemployment rates are high right now and going up higher. We are running out of money in the unemployment bank — we need money for that, the people that need help. And I’m one of them, I can’t get no help. […]

SANFORD: Well I’d say hello to Charleston because its home and I’d say hello to this fellow this morning and say that my prayers are going to be with him and his family because it sounds like he is in an awfully tough spot.

Callous. Cruel. Republican ideological grandstanding. Deplorable. He’s worried about a future debt when it is our country now that needs help. Sanford claims that it is not a good idea to create more debt which “our grandchildren” will have to pay off. Hogwash. With the state of things now, people are hurting now. We need to help them now.

Comments on this news story?

· Further governmental evil in the developing story of the United Nations’ push to criminalize the defamation of religion. I’ll play you this short clip from Lou Dobbs to give you a sense of the story.

Outrageous. How damn weak is the faith of the faithful? How are you guys affected by this news?

· Next, a bit of science! In an article published in this month’s Science magazine, anthropologists released their discovery of hominid footprints from approximately 1.51-1.53 million years ago in Ileret, Kenya. The foot prints, probably from a Homo ergaster, are from a series of three trails containing between 2 and 7 footprints each. The truly extraordinary part of this is that they are decidedly morphologically different from australopithecine footprints found Laetoli, Tanzania which were dated at 3.75 million years old. The difference shows that between 3.75 million BCE and 1.5 million BCE, hominins evolved what the article describes as an “essentially modern human foot function and style of bipedal locomotion.” As P.Z. Meyers of the Pharyngula blog puts it, “Remember, though, these are 1½ million years old, 250 times older than the age of the earth, according to creationists. That's a lot of wonder and history and evidence to throw away, but they do it anyway.” Come on guys, lets pull it together and accept reality for once! You can find the article by searching for the title in Google. The title is “Early Hominin Foot Morphology based on 1.5 Million Year old Footprints From Ileret, Kenya.”


· I’d like to share a posting from the Pharyngula blog that was posted earlier today. It is titled, “Who is buying all that porn?” PZ Meyers writes:

An analysis of the consumption of internet pornography found that there are only small differences between states, but that there are some patterns. The patterns will not surprise anyone.

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. "The differences here are not so stark," Edelman says.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election - Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

So Republican states gobbled up more nekkid pitchers than Democratic states… but of course, one could argue that it was just the few Democrats in Utah who were slavering most obsessively over porn, while the Republican Mormons were being upright (no, wait, maybe that's the wrong word…) Montana is a conservative state, too, but maybe the ready availability of all those cows helps slake their forbidden lusts.*

What about those good Christians?

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behaviour."

Heh. Now we all know what "values" is a code word for.

· Next, a humorous exchange between Richard Dawkins and Ray Comfort. For those of you who don’t know, Richard Dawkins is one of the big-name spokespersons of atheism worldwide, dubbed by some as the “pope of atheism.” He is most famous for his work, “The god Delusion.” Before I tell you who Ray is, I must express that these words are my opinion only. Ray Comfort is an evangelical Biblical Literalist Christian and a professional buffoon. A well known, incredibly obstinate, fatuous, buffoon. I cannot express how silly this little man is. I can only say that for a better view of his inanity I regularly read his blog at raycomfortfood.blogspot.com to get my daily guffaws in. According to a post at Dawkins’ website, one of Comfort’s representatives came forth to Dawkins offering $10,000 to debate him. Dawkins replied that $10,000 was a miserly sum compared to usual offerings, which, when in front of serious audiences, he usually declines. Dawkins stated that the only sufficient payment would be $100,000 to go directly to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. A beautiful irony in getting Comfort to not only part with an extraordinary amount of money but in doing so to hurt Comfort’s cause and help Dawkins’. Comfort offered $20,000, but Dawkins’ refused again, clarifying that he was not doing it to get rich, but rather to ensure that $100,000 would be unavailable for Comfort to buy “animatronic dinosaurs with saddles, or other similar nonsense” This will definitely be something to watch out for in the coming months. A debate between Dawkins and Comfort would be the hight of true hilarity.

Comments on this potential laugh-fest?

· Next, I’d like to present an op-ed from the February 22 New York Times, by David Blakenhorn and Jonathan Rauch. They offer their article, “A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage.” The article reads as follows:

IN politics, as in marriage, moments come along when sensitive compromise can avert a major conflict down the road. The two of us believe that the issue of same-sex marriage has reached such a point now.

We take very different positions on gay marriage. We have had heated debates on the subject. Nonetheless, we agree that the time is ripe for a deal that could give each side what it most needs in the short run, while moving the debate onto a healthier, calmer track in the years ahead.

It would work like this: Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill.

Whatever our disagreements on the merits of gay marriage, we agree on two facts. First, most gay and lesbian Americans feel they need and deserve the perquisites and protections that accompany legal marriage. Second, many Americans of faith and many religious organizations have strong objections to same-sex unions. Neither of those realities is likely to change any time soon.

Further sharpening the conflict is the potential interaction of same-sex marriage with antidiscrimination laws. The First Amendment may make it unlikely that a church, say, would ever be coerced by law into performing same-sex wedding rites in its sanctuary. But religious organizations are also involved in many activities outside the sanctuary. What if a church auxiliary or charity is told it must grant spousal benefits to a secretary who marries her same-sex partner or else face legal penalties for discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status? What if a faith-based nonprofit is told it will lose its tax-exempt status if it refuses to allow a same-sex wedding on its property?

Cases of this sort are already arising in the courts, and religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage are alarmed. Which brings us to what we think is another important fact: Our national conversation on this issue will be significantly less contentious if religious groups can be confident that they will not be forced to support or facilitate gay marriage.

Gay couples have concerns of their own. Most, of course, want the right to marry, and nothing less. But federal recognition of same-sex marriage — leave aside what you think about the merits — is not likely in the near future. The federal Defense of Marriage Act forbids it. Barack Obama and most other Democratic presidential candidates opposed gay marriage. And most Americans continue to oppose it.

At the same time, federal law links many important perquisites to marital status, including Social Security survivor benefits, tax-free inheritance, spousal immigration rights and protections against mutual incrimination. All of these benefits are currently denied to same-sex couples, even those living in states that permit same-sex marriage or civil unions. But these same benefits could be conferred by federally recognized civil unions.

And while most Americans who favor keeping marriage as it has customarily been would prefer no legal recognition of same-sex unions at either the federal or the state level, we believe that they can live with federal civil unions — provided that no religious groups are forced to accept them as marriages. Many of these people may come to see civil unions as a compassionate compromise. For example, a PBS poll last fall found that 58 percent of white evangelicals under age 30 favor some form of legal same-sex union.

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