Saturday, 30 October 2010

Leyton Orient 2 Rochdale 1

Orient climbed to 18th, out of the relegation zone, with a win that really looked beyond them at half-time.

Rochdale played a game of possession football, happy to knock the ball around between each other and wait for openings to present themselves. Orient sat off them far too much, allowing Rochdale time and space, with the result that we spent a lot of time in our own half, watching them pass the ball in defence on the halfway line.

We had little in answer to Rochdale's tactics. McGleish and Chambers were left out, in favour of Jarvis and Smith, neither of whom really contributed all that much. Orient were reduced to hopeful long balls that came to nothing and after going behind just before half-time, we looked devoid of inspiration.

The penalty early in the second half looked like getting us a useful point, though, and I was just thinking that a draw wouldn't be a bad result, when Dawson played a lovely ball into the area for Cox to stroke home the winner.

Although Rochdale piled on the pressure in the last 15 minutes, we held on for the win, Chambers coming on for Cox to shore things up in midfield. All in all, against opponents who looked technically superior, it was a creditable win.

It was nice to see Dawson back, and Cox and Daniels were lively throughout. However, we can't come from behind every match. We've got the players to play a more sophisticated style, we need to gain the confidence to do so without slipping back into our bad old long ball habits.

Leyton Orient

  • 12 Butcher
  • 02 Omozusi
  • 04 Chorley
  • 06 Forbes (yellow card)
  • 07 Cox (Chambers 79)
  • 08 Dawson
  • 13 Daniels
  • 16 Spring
  • 20 Smith
  • 11 Revell (Tehoue 90+5)
  • 14 Jarvis (Walker 59)


  • 01 Jones,
  • 03 Whing,
  • 05 Brown,
  • 19 Mike,
  • 10 Chambers,
  • 18 Tehoue,
  • 25 Walker
  • Chorley (pen) 48
  • Cox 66


  • 01 Lillis
  • 02 Wiseman
  • 03 Widdowson (Thompson 71)
  • 04 Holness
  • 26 Dawson
  • 06 Barry-Murphy (Gray 71)
  • 07 Kennedy
  • 08 Jones
  • 29 Adams (yellow card)
  • 09 Elding (Done 71)
  • 19 O'Grady


  • 21 Edwards,
  • 12 Goodall,
  • 18 Thompson,
  • 28 Flynn,
  • 11 Done,
  • 15 Thompson,
  • 35 Gray
  • O'Grady 45 

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Elf'n'safety gorn mad, I tells yer!

How do you expect to groom the next Phil Taylor like this? Gah!

Crackpot conspiracy theories

I've been having a discussion with a friend on Facebook about a status post he, and other friends of mine, have recently posted.

In a nutshell, the post criticises the UK government for sending £60 million in aid to Pakistan, to help in dealing with the flooding there. It contrasts this with the fact that British soldiers are dying in Afghanistan, apparently from having incorrect equipment.

I checked out some facts and lo and behold, the UK defence budget for 2009 was £36 billion, compared to which £60 million is a drop in the ocean. The tone of the post is disturbingly xenophobic, and I took my friend to task for posting casually racist nonsense to his profile, when I know perfectly well he's not like that at all.

Further on in the conversation, he clarified his views, expounding a number of what I consider to be crackpot ideas, such as "religion destroys spirituality, doctors destroy health, universities destroy knowledge", all apparently in the name of open-mindedness. He even directed me to a video called "The Obama Deception", made by a guy called Alex Jones, which put forward the theory that Obama is a puppet of the New World Order, a secret cabal of super rich banking types who want to take over the world by stealth.

It's one thing to be skeptical, but it's quite another to be so open to alternative views that you get swamped by bullshit. By all means keep an open mind, and listen to a variety of news sources, but there's a point in all areas of debate where you have to say, "this is crap".

I hope my friend will, in time, modify his views a little and become a little more skeptical, in the rational, reason-based sense. At the very least, I anticipate some interesting arguments.

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Homeopathic vaccination

You cannot be serious.  There's a Bangladeshi magazine actually advocating - wait for it - homeopathic vaccinations.
Many say that there are benefits to homeopathic vaccines. One important benefit is that they do not contain Thimerosal, Aluminium, Borax (used to kill ants) and other chemical elements, also, in the studies that have been able to proceed, no child has ever had any severe side effects from the any of the homeopathic vaccinations given.
I sincerely hope there's no-one impressionable reading this. I can barely think of anything more dangerous than injecting your child with
a homeopathic remedy made from diseased tissue, that comes from someone with that disease, and then made into potentised form so that is given in a homeopathic remedy.
I don't feel qualified to actually go into the medical ins and outs of this stupidity, but I know a steaming pile of bullshit when I see it. What the hell are these "doctors" advocating this junk on?
Dr. McCluggage DVM says:
"...we must stop advocating yearly vaccines because of the harm we are doing to the animals we vaccinate. He covered the homeopathic concept of "vaccinosis". Vaccinosis is a disease entity that may be introduced through vaccinating animals or people. Once vaccinosis develops, there is a disturbance in the bodies vital forces that leads to symptoms of chronic disease that can be very difficult (and often impossible) to cure. Dr. McCluggage also stated that there are no good reasons to recommend annual vaccinations for our companion animals."
Vital forces? Are you for real?

These people are playing with children's lives. Please stop.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Festive films and skepticism

Like Tim Minchin, I really like Christmas, and it is a'comin', and with it the usual stodgy diet of festive films.

What gets me about all the depictions of the Santa Claus myth is that the ultimate virtue is usually belief. You can see this in many Xmas films, such as Miracle on 34th Street, where an old man is apparently proved to be Santa. Or The Polar Express, which is a Tom Hanks pet project, and a particularly odious example of the genre to my mind.

I'll stick with the Polar Express, as I'm so familiar with it due to being force-fed it for years by my kids, who, I should point out, loved it.

The boy at the centre of the story starts the movie as a Santa skeptic, if you like. He reads up on the North Pole in encyclopaedias, and has come to the conclusion that Santa doesn't exist.

He's then, however, taken on a magical train ride to the North Pole, where he receives a gift from Santa himself, a bell from Santa's sleigh, and once he wakes up in the morning, the ringing of the bell, which only true believers in Santa can hear, is the only evidence the trip ever took place.

There are a couple of things that disturb me about a story like this. The first thing - it's religion sneaking through the back door. Blind faith is praised over rational thought. The premise of all these movies is - just believe! It's magic! Don't question it, or the magic won't work for you! Isn't that the language the religious use? These movies are teaching kids to suppress any kind of skeptical instinct they might have in favour of mumbo-jumbo.

I don't mean to say that every kid should be hunting down the truth about what they're being told by their parents, and disbelieving everything they're taught. But this is the point of it. The propogation of myths like Santa, and the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, are just extensions of the other Christmas myth, the one involving a virgin and a little donkey. (That's a film script staring you in the face, right there). Just believe. No questions.

The second thing - why do we need a myth of an overweight man dressed in a red suit climbing down our chimneys once a year anyway? What's wrong with our kids knowing that the presents they open on Christmas Day are from the family and friends who love them, and not a fantasy figure. Isn't that more emotionally healthy for them? Shouldn't we be giving our kids truth and kindness, enabling them to grow into intelligent young people, instead of filling their heads with ridiculous myths like these? Isn't it just a bit scary for some kids? Any other time of the year, someone dropping down the chimney would be cause for alarm.

Yes, you're right, this blog post has also become a metaphor for religion. I'll admit that I haven't dispelled my youngest child's ideas about Santa, and probably won't for a while yet (the eldest two have figured it out for themselves). As a society though, we need to take responsibility for our children growing up in a state of strong emotional health, I think.

Bah, humbug. No, Merry Xmas. I think.

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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Orient draw Daggers in FA Cup

And news just in, Orient have drawn Dagenham & Redbridge in the 1st round of the FA Cup, to be played at Victoria Road, scene of probably our most dismal performance so far this season.

Omens on our side? Well, we've beaten the Daggers in both our FA Cup meetings, including that spectacular 5-4 victory in 1992. And Dagenham are currently bottom of League 1, meaning they've got even more incentive than we have to lose the match and "concentrate on the league", as the saying goes. 

Swindon Town 2 Leyton Orient 2

Um, disappointing?

Not necessarily in terms of the result - a 2-2 draw away ain't to be sniffed at. I'm more annoyed that we took the lead twice, and lost it on both occasions. It shows a lack of concentration in the team, and we can't afford slip-ups like that.

I'm writing having yet to see any of the goals, but I'm pleased Matt Spring got on the scoresheet. We don't get many players with true vision down at the Orient, and he's an integral part of the team.

Also, pleased to note that Mpoku started the match after his stunning intervention from the subs bench last week against Hartlepool, and that Cox started as well, as I suggested in last week's post. Clearly Russell Slade's taking notes from me. And I've just noticed that Orient have extended Mpoku's loan from Spurs, which is also excellent news.

Just need that 20-goal-a-season striker now...


  • 01 Lucas
  • 02 Cuthbert
  • 06 Caddis
  • 14 Morrison
  • 15 Amankwaah (O'Brien 69)
  • 21 Sheehan (red card)
  • 07 McGovern
  • 08 Ferry
  • 22 Ritchie (Dossevi 85)
  • 16 Ball (Rose 58)
  • 32 Austin
  • Austin 62
  • Rose 84

  Leyton Orient
  • 12 Butcher
  • 02 Omozusi
  • 04 Chorley (yellow card)
  • 06 Forbes
  • 07 Cox
  • 10 Chambers
  • 13 Daniels
  • 16 Spring (yellow card)
  • 20 Smith
  • 27 M'Poku (Revell 17)
  • 09 McGleish (Walker 90+4)

  • Spring 60
  • Revell 76

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

No, religion is for those who DENY evidence

According to Christian Today, atheism is becoming the new religion.

Carver Yu, President of the China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong, said that “confusing ideologies” were creating emptiness and alienation among people, while indifference to religion was “tightening its grip”.
“Atheism is about to become the new religion,” he said. “Christians must preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ fearlessly because he is the way, the truth and the life. Only he can lead us away from the present state of godlessness.”

No, no, no. Religion is for people who deny evidence in order to cling to the increasingly tattered standard of their outdated faith. Atheism is for people who have looked at the available evidence, and come to the only logical conclusion that there is no god (probably...). Simple enough?

Clearly not for some.

Also taking to the podium was Michael Herbst, researcher in evangelism and church development. He warned that the decline of faith among parents was leading to a whole generation of children in Germany growing up with an “atheist mindset” and the belief that “faith doesn’t matter”.
He noted that the idea of a “singular truth” and monotheism had become unpopular and were widely regarded as dangerous, arrogant and potentially violent.
Good on Germany if it were true, although given Angela Merkel's recent comments on immigration, and the power of the CDU in Germany, methinks you're overegging the pudding a little, Michael. But I do appreciate your thoughts on monotheism, you've hit the nail on the head there, son!

Os Guinness, co-founder of The Trinity Forum, echoed his sentiments. He said that the biblical view of truth had become “obscene to modern minds” and was being taken by many to be exclusive, intolerant and divisive.
“But on a deeper look the biblical view is profound, timely and urgent for the day, even for those who reject it,” he said.
That's exactly how we see it, and a deeper look at the bible only confirms it. It's the ravings of a genocidal lunatic. There are no lessons to be learned there.

He continued: “Shame on those Western Christians who casually neglect or scornfully deny what the scriptures defend and what many brothers and sisters would rather die [for] than deny – that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.”
These people have absolutely no interest in accomodationism. For them, the bible is the literal truth, and anyone who says otherwise is the enemy. They scorn liberal Christians who fail to adhere to their fundamentalist values. You cannot argue with these people. Their minds are made up. And they are dangerous.

Anyone arguing that atheists should tone down their views so as not to offend needs to take a look at what these people really think.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Kids write the funniest things

I love all three of my kids - but as any parent will know, this is regularly tested. They all have their own ways of getting to me, and sometimes you have to remind yourself they're only kids - grrr...

But they make up for it. We went to their parents' evening yesterday, and I spotted, in my eldest daughter's literacy book, a description of her dad. I won't lie, words like "fantastic", "takes me out", "helps me with my homework" were in abundance.

Naturally she was embarrassed at me seeing it, and of course I don't hear any of this at home. But it's moments like that which really make me feel like I'm on the right track.

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Harold Kushner

Now I've had a chance to look up Harold Kushner, I can see he is the type of guy whose idea of a good book includes ethnic cleansing, attempted child murder, and homophobia. I won't be listening to any more pithy one-liners from this guy.

Cool stuff on the Underground, Part 1

I really like this signal at Clapham North station. It's an original London Underground roundel, with a working colour light signal actually built into the structure. Not only that, I strongly suspect that when the new signalling system on the Northern Line goes live, it will become redundant, at which I will liberate it for my back garden. As long as they don't catch me carrying it up the escalator.

I only read one book, but it's a good book, don't you know

Clapham North's Thought of the Day.

Never heard of Harold Kushner, although I will look him up. I'd be more inclined to see life as a process of certainties being slowly eroded. Still, as long as his Good Book doesn't include stoning women to death for refusing to marry their rapist, that's fine with me.

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Monday, 18 October 2010

Help drug addicts, don't sterilise them

I've been thinking about the new charity initiative to sterilise drug addicts for the princely sum of £200. It seems an obvious conclusion that children of drug-addicted paremts will suffer in life, from the physical effects of addiction, as well as the less immediately apparent, but no less serious, consequences of being born into low socio-economic status, and the likelihood of ending up in care.

It occurred to me, though, that the motives of the charity in question are less than altruistic. What they're actually angry about is the burden to society that these children represent. So what do you do? Do you help the afflicted? Give them shelters, therapy, some sort of helping hand towards escaping drug addiction?

Nah. Far too difficult, and expensive. Why bother? Just give them the snip, and boot them out the door. Job done, sod the junkie. How charitable.

And where is the money likely to end up? In the hands of drug dealers, shortly after being exchanged for another hit, as the charity Addaction commented. I think this short-sighted move is exploiting sick people for a selfish motive, and ignores the real issues behind drug addiction. This is a deep-seated social problem, which is not going to disappear with short-term measures such as this, quite apart from the complex issues of liberty that arise.

"It doesn't deal with addicts who are already parents, it doesn't help people recover and it doesn't offer any positive solution," said Addaction's chief executive, Simon Antrobus.

The woman behind it is planning to go to Haiti next, and start sterilising there as well. Surely the hurricane was enough? Shouldn't we be doing something more tangible to help these people?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

No cure for cancer?

The pope has reportedly canonised Australia's first saint. However, the quality of the Guardian's reporting of the event was diminished for me by its unquestioning acceptance of her "healing" of two sufferers of leukaemia and lung cancer, respectively.

Really? Were these people really cured solely by praying to this nun, or was medicine involved in any way? Are there any reported incidents of cancer victims not being cured by the power of prayer? Were these miracles proven by scientific method? Somehow, I doubt it.

It's unhelpful when a paper like the Guardian, which really ought to know better, allows this superstitious nonsense to pass as news.

Haven't got the facility to post links to the article as we're visiting family for the day, but I will once I get back home.

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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Leyton Orient 1 Hartlepool United 0

That was a game of two halves if ever I saw one. At half-time Iwas coontemplateing the worst match I'd seen this season - no creativity, no invention, very few chances, against a Hartlepool team who didn't exactly look to be trying too hard to set the game on fire. But on the introduction of Tehoue and Mpoku early in the second half, Orient looked the more likely to win, and eventually scored from Tehoue's lashed-in shot from about 3 yards out in the last minute of normal time.

I thought Orient missed Dawson's drive and tenacity in midfield - we never seemed to threaten anything from that area, lots of poor touches, especially from Coxy (most unusual) and Omozusi. Chorley took over as captain, which looks like it's encouraged him to believe he's Franz Beckenbauer, as shown by his new-found tendnecy to go on long, loping runs forward with the ball. Apart from that, he was easily our best player in the first half, heading away all balls into the box, and generally being his usual solid self. Lee Butcher also acquitted himself well, in the absence of Jamie Jones.

The dismal first half looked like giving way to a dismal second half, until Mpoku came on and immediately began turning the Hartlepool right-back inside out, and whipping balls into the box on a regular basis. After a few mazy dribbles, they put two men on him, a sign that they couldn't cope with his twists and turns, and eventually resorted to some cynical fouling, giving away a couple of freekicks in dangerous positions.

Even Mpoku's freekick on the right, where he somehow slipped over while striking the ball, still resulted in the corner fromwhich Tehoue scored. All in all, he could do no wrong, and would have thoroughly desrved the man of the match award, even though he was only on the pitch for less than half the game.

Maybe Orient could benefit from a twin attack of Mpoku on the left and Cox on the right - we could certainly use a presence on the right, we never seem to threaten from that side of the pitch. Can't argue with 1-0 though, these were opponents we should always expect to beat.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Legendary football club sold to cigar-totin' Yankee speculator

Well, that appears to be that, then. It seems we won't get the schadenfreude of seeing Liverpool drop into the Championship now.

But the whole parade of foreign billionaires owning British footballing institutions leaves an awful taste in the mouth. I still yearn for the day we follow the example of Germany, where football clubs must be 51% owned by the club members.

No sympathy please, we're British

Meanwhile, Richard Littlejohn of the same paper clearly couldn't give a toss about the whole episode. Well, of course not, they don't even speak English, do they?

I discovered this week that twice as many men have died in accidents on British building sites since 2001 as have been killed in action in Afghanistan. But you won't be seeing a Panorama special on them any day soon.
Unlike the Chilean miners, there won't be any movies made about these unfortunate construction workers, nor any book deals or newspaper serialisations.
Somehow, I don't think Richard's worries about the plight of British construction workers will manifest themselves in action. It would be interesting to find out about the ethnic composition of these victims, presumably of poor working practices, given the preponderance of foreign nationals in the British construction industry, and Littlejohn's well-known pleasant disposition towards immigrants.

According to Littlejohn, they wouldn't have stood a prayer in this country anyway.
Call me callous, but I couldn't help wondering what would have happened if 33 men had been trapped down one of our few remaining British mines.
Under our modern elf 'n' safety culture, the emergency services are actively discouraged from risking their own lives to save others.
Now, working as I do on the railway, an industry that historically has had a shockingly high rate of deaths among workers, I can tell Richard that "elf'n'safety" culture is primarily directed towards preventing accidents. Clearly the best way of saving people trapped down a mine is not to have them in the position to be trapped in the first place.

But of course, Littlejohn isn't with us for reasoned analysis, just the usual knee-jerk reactions. After all, if he really cared about people dying needlessly in the UK, he would be sounding off about the 2,500 people killed on Britain's roads annually, in a downward trend coinciding with the increase on Britain's roads of speed cameras. Instead of spouting rubbish like this.

Chilean miners' rescue roundup

Bit late with this one, meant to write about this one yesterday, but I still need to get it off my chest.

The rescue of the trapped miners in Chile was fantastic news. Not only in the fact of their rescue, but also in the strength and solidarity of the miners and their loved ones, and the ingenuity shown by those in charge of the rescue operation. It's a story of human courage and tenacity, and deserves to be celebrated.

However, some people seem to think there were other forces at work. Bel Mooney, in the Daily Mail (for those outside the UK, Middle Britain's hate-organ of choice) writes that 

God and the Devil were in that mine. But it was God - and the human spirit - that triumphed.
Um, sorry? I think it was fairly well documented that there were 33 miners trapped. I think someone would have noticed if two supernatural beings had been hanging around ghoulishly as well. Actually, according to Mooney, someone did.

One of the miners said: ‘I was with God and the Devil. They fought. God won.’ We may feel remote from the simple, deeply held beliefs of that region, but you do not have to believe in God to be moved by such a powerful statement of the universal struggle.
This not only demonstrates the false consciousness of the religious, believing that God and the Devil were actually present down there, but Mooney's patronising ideas about the far-flung corners of the world where civilisation, so she believes has yet to penetrate. She even finds time to have a little chuckle at the natives' mating habits.

How many men, all over the world, will have shared a rueful fellow feeling with those San Jose miners who have been a little  -what shall I say? - careless with their love lives?

Even the most virtuous of husbands might have read of wives and mistresses, ignorant of each other’s existence, turning up at Camp Hope with assorted offspring and thought: ‘Oops, mate, now you’ll be in trouble’. Maybe a little ‘there but for fortune’ there, too!
Hang on - so there were adulterers down there too? What on earth was God thinking, allowing such blatant sinners to survive? Surely this was the ideal opportunity to show the world exactly what happens to those who disobey the Ten Commandments?
And has she stopped to consider why God was present for this accident, rather than the accidents which claim 34 lives a year, on average, in the mines of Chile since the year 2000? Truly, this God is a capricious and vengeful god, picking and choosing those he wishes to save.

Maybe Bel should register her opinion on this site, where you can vote in a poll to determine who really saved the miners, God or man. Guess who my money's on? (Thanks to Pharyngula for the link.)

Clapham South's Insight of the Day

Looks like somebody's not been getting what they want out of a relationship. Hey, build a bridge and get over it!

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Found this really good demonstration of diving rolls on YouTube. It'll be a while before I scale those heights, I think.

Malawi atheists fight against superstition

Hats off to The Association of Secular Humanism in Malawi, which is fighting for the release of 
dozens of women jailed on allegations of practising witchcraft. The Association of Secular Humanism wants President Bingu wa Mutharika to order the immediate release of 80 women, many of them elderly, sentenced to up to six years imprisonment with hard labour. Most of them were accused of teaching witchcraft to children.

Witchcraft is not currently a crime under Malawian law, however, the government has set up a committee to investigate criminalising the practice.

Recently, Mr Mutharika pardoned Malawi's first openly gay couple after previously sentencing them to 14 years' imprisonment.

That last sentence shows the kind of man the President is. In pardoning the offending couple, President Mutharika said

In all aspects of reasoning, in all aspects of human understanding, these two gay boys were wrong - totally wrong.
However, now that they have been sentenced, I as the president of this country have the powers to pronounce on them and therefore, I have decided that with effect from today, they are pardoned and they will be released.
It's fairly clear from Mutharika's tone, and the hints in the article, that he only let the two go after pressure from countries like the UK and the US, whose aid budgets keep Malawi going, and also keep Mutharika flying to

Canada, Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland, Germany, China, U.S., Cuba and Iran. The president is scheduled to travel to India and Britain before the end of the year.
While the president gallivants around the world on spurious trips, his country suffers fuel rationing, with many businesses suspending operations.

Good luck to the atheists in Malawi, but I hold out little hope for lasting success with figureheads like that.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Nick Clegg looks at a Catholic school for his son

It's crap being an atheist in the public eye. Even your choice of school for your children is used as a stick to beat you with.

Mind you, Nick Clegg hasn't decided to send his son to the London Oratory. At least, not yet. But it's hardly surprising that the Daily Mail want to take every opportunity to criticise him.

What most annoys me about Clegg's atheism is that he doesn't seem to have the courage of his convictions.

‘I’m married to a Catholic and am committed to bringing up my children as Catholics.
‘However, I am not myself an active believer, but the last thing I would do when talking or thinking about religion is approach it with a closed heart or a closed mind.’

So you're an atheist, but you want your children brought up as Catholics and you're still open to the idea of religion? I suspect there's a lot of electoral calculation going on here. I think Clegg really is an atheist, but is playing the game of being open enough to appeal to religious voters. The great British public can't handle too much truth. And that's why he's the leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Evan Harris lost his seat.

Never mind all that. Parents of children in Catholic schools are required to attend church, I believe, and presumably to take Holy Communion. How's that 2,000-year-old corpse tasting, Nick? Need some divine blood to wash it down?

Religion can't handle human sexuality

Found this article in the Washington post, on the relationship between religion and sexuality. If the bible's position on homosexuality is

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
No liberal Christian will convince me that God has created human sexuality and desires as a gift to us all.

People I know personally who believe in gibberish

Talking to some work colleagues the other night, the conversation turned to the supernatural, and I was struck by how much superstition was actually present in  their heads.

Of the four of us, I'm an atheist. One other is a practising Catholic, although mostly for the purpose of getting his kids into the local Catholic school, which is one of the best in the area (best for indoctrinating small children into a hateful ideology? I didn't pursue this point). Another revealed himself to be a believer in all sorts of "spiritual" mumbo-jumbo, and the third related the story of his grandad dying, somehow, to coincide with some other family members' birthdays.

So, of the four of us, that made 25% atheist, and 75% nonsense. This got me thinking - what are the proportions in Britain as a whole? How much twaddle is swimming around in the heads of people we work or socialise with?

I found this survey from the British Humanist Association, which isn't as scary to read as I thought it might be. Just to cherry pick some stats:

  •  63% of people say they are not religious (compared to 33% that do) from the Guardian
  • 36% of people in the 18-34 age group in Britain define themselves as atheist or agnostic, from the Catholic weekly the Tablet
  • Overall 62% of the population never attend any form of service, fromthe British Social Attitudes Survey
  • 65% of young people are not religious. Though religious belief amongst the young has declined by 10% in less than 10 years, moral attitudes have not and fewer young people are racially prejudiced, from a report for the Department for Education.
  • According to the 26th report of the British Social Attitudes Survey published in 2010, 71% of religious people and 92% non-religious (82% in total) believe that a doctor should be allowed to end the life of a patient with an incurable disease.
So, fairly cool. But, according to this article in the Guardian,

Half of British adults do not believe in evolution, with at least 22% preferring the theories of creationism or intelligent design to explain how the world came about, according to a survey.

Still a long way to go, then. But I'm a glass half-full man, anyway.