All posts filed under: Religion


Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution

In the US there have been many attempts to expunge evolution from the school curriculmor demand that creationism – the idea that all life was uniquely created by God – is given equal treatment in science textbooks. While all these have failed, the government in Turkey has now banned evolution from its national curriculum. US creationists want both views to be presented, to let children decide what to believe. Bids to reject this are wrongly characterised as attempts to shut down debate or free speech – to promote a scientific, atheistic, secular, ideology over a more moral, ethical, commonsense religious worldview. Turkey’s decision goes much further. This isn’t about claiming equal treatment, it’s an outright ban. The government justifies it by claiming evolution is “difficult to understand” and “controversial”. Any controversy however is one manufactured by ultra-religious communities seeking to undermine science. Many concepts in science are more difficult than evolution, yet they still get taught. Creationist arguments Evolution, creationists argue, is just a theory – it’s not proven and so up for debate. Evolutionary …

Skeptic Society Magazine Child Marriage and Religion

Child Marriage and Religion

Last month, academics, advocates, and religious leaders gathered at an event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations during the American Academy of Religion conference to discuss the relationship between religion and child marriage. Although global rates of child marriage are on a downward trajectory, progress in curbing this practice has been far too slow. The United Nations estimates that one in three women aged twenty to twenty-four —almost 70 million women total — married under the age of eighteen. Approximately 23 million were married under the age of fifteen, and some were married as young as eight or nine years old. The implications are dire: child marriage is linked to poor health, curtailed education, violence, and lawlessness, all of which threatens international development, prosperity, and stability. Religion is often blamed for the prevalence of child marriage. Notably, however, the practice is not unique to any one faith; in fact, it occurs across religions and regions. For example, in India, where 40 percent of the world’s known child brides reside, child marriage is prevalent among both …

Skeptic Society Magazine Morocco to Ban Sale of Burqas

Morocco to Ban Sale of Burqas

Although the government did not confirm the ban, media reports said vendors and merchants received notice of the prohibition on the full-body veil. The government of King Mohammed VI may have conceived the ban as a gesture to get that point across. Relatively few Moroccan women wear the burqa, which is much more common in conservative Muslim societies like Afghanistan and Pakistan, but many do wear traditional dresses and head scarves.

Skeptic Society Magazine The Sunni Shia Divide

The Sunni Shia Divide

Sectarian conflict is becoming entrenched in a growing number of Muslim countries and is threatening to fracture Iraq and Syria. Tensions between Sunnis and Shias, exploited by regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, could reshape the future Middle East.

skeptic society Ethics Problem

Ethics Problem

This article is neither a defense of nor an attack against either religion or secularism. It treats them as well established sociological facts and no more than that. I take them as given and argue that a greater moral good can be achieved if the two belief systems find common moral ground in virtue ethics. Moral choices infuse most aspects of our life, whether we know it or not. And a great number of these moral choices are bad ones. This is why our prisons are filled to overflowing, and recidivism is so high at 66%. This is why we have so many war dead and this is why so many die violent deaths at the hands of murderers or radical ideologues. This is also why we have such an inequitable distribution of wealth. This is why cheating is rampant at schools and universities. We maintain large standing armies to protect ourselves from the bad moral choices of others and on occasion we use it to inflict our bad moral choices on others. This is …