The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released a(nother) poll about belief (pdf) in America. In this one, the conclusions reached are that people’s loyalty to their particular denomination, and even the beliefs of their denomination, are not sharply delineated, and are in fact somewhat amorphous.
When the moon is in the Seventh House, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, that’s when this atheist, skeptic, critical thinker and, yes, humanist loses it, thinking it would be a good idea to present the eighteenth version of the Humanist Symposium with a zodiacal theme. It’s downright silly but where does it say that humans have to be so serious all the time? No-one with a brain (or at least one that is switched on) gives much credence to astrology, but sometimes it can be fun. So in the spirit of frivolity that comes with spring, let’s peruse the most recent submissions (and a few that were not submitted) to the Symposium from an astrological perspective.
Richard Dawkins unveiled a new documentary recently on British TV, titled The Enemies of Reason. The first installment was shown last week, with the next later this evening (in the UK). Unfortunately, as with The Root of All Evil, we interested viewers across the pond can only see it if we find it on GoogleTube, but, with a computer, there is no problem.
Black Sun, over at the eponymous Black Sun Journal, has graciously posted episode one, “Slaves to Superstition”, which I’ve viewed and thoroughly enjoyed. I am looking forward to the next installment. For one of my regular commentators, there’s even a part where Dawkins has his fortune, or whatever, read by a tarot card reader. Much hilarity ensues! (Kidding. Professor Dawkins is, as always, quite circumspect in his criticism.)
Sometimes we need to be reminded that the process of uncritical thinking is not just relegated to the province of the religious. There is this whole pseudo-science thing that needs to be exposed for what it is – ummm… pseudo-science – chicanery posing as science. It might be fun, it might cause people to look at life in a variety of ways, it my bring out the spiritual side of people, it might even help some people. But it can also be used in nefarious ways, and it leads to the types of mental processes that support the belief in white-bearded men who live in the clouds – not always a good thing. The main question is – is it true?
My modest recommendation is to head on over to Black Sun and view the video and, perhaps, find out.
For some reason I missed, last week, Christopher Hitchens guesting a column on the combined WaPo/Newsweek On Faith site. His topic? Astrology. He compares it to religion, as you might have guessed.
The column was fairly predictable. In fact, he’s said much of it before. But I read this site not so much for the opinions of the guests, but for the comments of the readers. They are usually all over the map, unlike the one sided comments on most other sites. Here’s a couple: Continue reading →