Comment: Alcohol with a dash of Hypocrisy

Just came from the cinema and I just love capitalism.

The local government sponsors an advertisement warning young people about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption leading to violence and injury. Then quickly followed two separate advertisements promoting beer and wine alcohol consumption as part of being sexy and attractive.

Alex McCullie

Write: London Buses – Probably No God Message

Times Online: probably no god message
I’ve mentioned the non-God bus message campaign before. Here’s a recent news article update with Richard Dawkins and model photographed with one of the buses (article).

Alex McCullie

News: My Next Atheism Course at CAE

I’m running another public course on ATHEISM, AGNOSTICISM & UNBELIEF in Melbourne, Australia during February and March this year. Again this will be part of CAE’s Lifestyle – Philosophy program. The details are:


Sessions: 6.00PM-7.30PM: 24/02/09 to 24/03/09

Overview: Discuss the opinions of key intellectuals, activists and critics from Ancient Greece, the Enlightenment and 19th century free thinkers to today. What of naturalism, morality, spiritualism, nationalism, religious activism and secular society?

Link: CAE course details and booking

Alex McCullie

News: Christmas Message

A cute Christmas message from the blog, Unreasonable Faith

Alex McCullie

News: Pew Report – I May Go To Heaven

A new Pew report of religious beliefs in the US again shows that many religious people believe eternal life is available to other faiths and even non-faiths. 56% of surveyed believed that people with no religious faith may still have eternal life after death and that even applies to atheists (42% – presumably kicking and screaming)  with white catholics giving atheists the most hope.

So how does one get eternal life? Again, according to the survey it’s by ‘Believing in Jesus’ just ahead of ‘Being a good person’. (full report from Pew Forum

Here’s one extract that’s interesting…

Mainline Protestants who attend religious services at least once a week are also somewhat more likely than their less-observant counterparts to describe theirs as the one, true faith, though large majorities of both groups say many religions can lead to eternal life (75% and 85%, respectively). The religious attendance gap is virtually nonexistent among white Catholics; more than eight-in-ten weekly churchgoers and less-observant Catholics alike say many religions can lead to eternal life (85% and 84%, respectively).

Alex McCullie

PS For the record unaffiliated seems to include atheists, agnostics and no particular religious beliefs

News: Shock – Celebs Make Ridiculous Unscientific Claims

Sense About Science website is promoting their Celebrities and Science Review 2008 listing ridiculous unscientific claims made by celebrities and politicians. The Independent newspaper highlights some amusing findings, such as:

Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate,” said President-elect Obama. “Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it,” he said.

His words were echoed by Mr McCain. “It’s indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what’s causing it,” he said. “There’s strong evidence that indicates it’s got to do with a preservative in the vaccines.”

Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.


Sarah Palin, Mr McCain’s running mate, waded into the mire with her dismissal of some government research projects. “Sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not,” Ms Palin said. But the geneticist Ellen Solomon takes Ms Palin to task for not understanding the importance of studies into fruit flies, which share roughly half their genes with humans. “They have been used for more than a century to understand how genes work, which has implications in, for example, understanding the ageing process,” she said.


Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all espoused the idea that you can detoxify your body with either diet (scientifically unsupportable) or, in the case of Moore, products such as “highly trained medical leeches” which make you bleed. Scientists point out that diet alone cannot remove toxins and that blood itself is not a toxin, and even if it did contain toxins, removing a little bit of it is not going to help.

and finally…

But top prize went to the lifestyle guru Carole Caplin for denouncing a study showing that vitamin supplements offer little or no health benefits as “rubbish” – it is the third year on the run that she has been mentioned in the review. Science author and GP Ben Goldacre pointed out that the study Ms Caplin referred to was the most authoritative yet published. “Carole should understand that research can often produce results which challenge our preconceptions: that is why science is more interesting than just following your nose,” Dr Goldacre said. (full article from The Independent)

Alex McCullie

News: The Myth of Mother Teresa

In Australian newspaper, Courier Mail , Colette Livermore talks about the nasty aspects of Mother Teresa’s mission in India. The public image is of self-sacrificing that brought comfort to thousands of India’s poorest sick. Colete Livermore describes the dark-side of religious faith – a faith that takes precedence over human welfare.

Livermore’s disaffection with Mother Teresa peaked when she clashed with her superiors over a decision not to treat sick children on a holy day.

“A ruling was made that on this recollection day, this day of prayer, children were not to be admitted to the Home for the Children.

“This really sick child came in with stick arms, breathing really fast and dehydrated and I was told he couldn’t stay. I had this internal conflict and eventually the child was admitted but only after I’d had a big fight.

“These sorts of things happened time and time again because there was this rigid obedience and timetable, so I wrote to Calcutta and said: ‘This can’t be right.‘ (full article 16 Dec 2008)

Also Christopher Hitchens published The Missionary Position in 1995 highlighting the appalling treatment decisions and dubious money transactions associated with the Teresa mission.

Alex McCullie

PS. Of course ‘faith before humanity’ belief has an ignominious tradition of violence even as recently as the so-called ’9/11′ attacks on New York.  Perhaps Jesus of Nazareth, the Christian messiah, expressed this belief well with:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Mat 19:29 ESV)

News: Religious Make-up of US Congress

According to the latest Pew report the largest religious groups in the US are represented in roughly the same proportions in the US Congress. There is one exception – Unaffiliated – non-religious, agnostic, atheist.

16.1% of the Unaffiliated US population is represented by 0% of US Congress.

Alex McCullie

News:End Is Nigh in Aussie Politics

The economic crisis has given a whole new philip to apocalyptic doomsayers and they love the Book of Revelations. Here’s one from down-under in the heart of our government.

LABOR MP James Bidgood, the first-time MP under investigation for selling pictures of a protester attempting to set fire to himself outside Parliament House, has declared the global financial crisis an act of God.

Mr Bidgood, who was carpeted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd over his actions yesterday and apologised to parliament, makes the claims in a DVD.

In a speech to a function held in parliament he argues that Christian marches for Jesus in London caused the October 1987 stock market crash.

He also predicts the end of the world and one world monetary system.

“We have to say ‘What would Jesus do?’,” he says.

“In 1987 there was another march for Jesus. That took place in April. And guess what happened in October 1987? The stock market crashed. All property values lost one third of their value and over a million people lost their homes.

“I believe when Christians pray, God does things. I believe what is happening today is as much to do with God in economics bringing judgement.” (Australian 4 Dec 2008)

Alex McCullie

News: Roman Catholic Church and Gays Don’t Mix

Ireland’s Roman Catholic Church wants to appeal against new legislation that provides legal recognition for homosexual partnerships. According to

Cardinal Sean Brady said that as “marriage and the family are of public interest,” it was appropriate for the Church to intervene. (full article 5 Nov 2008)

To me public interest means that the church has every right to make its voice known like any other organisation or individual. Presumably by intervene the church leaders see that they are more equal that others to comment.

Alex McCullie