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27 September, 2010

Misinformation and Vaccines

Some people still read these articles and think they have any validity, even after the one study that linked vaccines and autism has been peer reviewed and proven to be false. Despite the fact that no doctor or scientist in the world has been able to duplicate the results of that study or have found any link between autism and vaccines, people still insist on staying ignorant. How many of these mothers refusing to vaccinate their children from horrible things like Polio and Measles even know that the mercury they are railing against isn't even used in vaccines anymore and hasn't been used for years? Very few, I'm sure.

So just a word of warning to those who read the following article:


Go over it with a fine-tuned comb. Notice the fallacies and rhetoric the writer uses to try to persuade parents from getting vaccines under the guise of "informing" her readers. This woman has a BA, nothing else and is not a scientist nor a doctor.

Most telling is this paragraph here, where the writer dangerously tells her readers that measles are "rarely fatal."

If you are concerned, remember that many childhood diseases, such as chicken pox, influenza, and even the measles, are rarely fatal. However, severe autism can be a "death sentence" for a lifetime. Consider your options, do some research, and trust your heart as a loving parent.

The vaccine myth crowd has the same pattern of delusion as the super religious. They hold their beliefs despite any evidence to the contrary, saying, "We know the truth" and forever setting the goal posts to falsifying their irrational beliefs ever further away. Be wary, for yourself and for the next generation.

23 September, 2010

Good Article, But...


I only have a few minutes before I need to get to work, but I just wanted to point this article out.

In it, the writer says, "Unlike many converted atheists, Barker never experienced personal trauma to commence his dramatic change in beliefs."

I'd like to know what the numbers on this are. It seems like a baseless claim and an assumption on the part of the writer. Is there any evidence or any studies that show that atheists generally convert based on traumatic experiences? I would be surprised to find that that is the case, especially in older, more educated atheists.

That is all. off to work.

22 September, 2010

Getting in the Habit of Not Relying on God

I have to get into the habit of not relying on God. I've recently taken a trip to Europe, gotten an apartment in a town miles away from where I live, became engaged and have now landed a part-time job in the field I am in (rather than having to take some retail crap to hold me over).

I'm extremely afraid of flying. I cried three times during four total flights. I was determined not to pray. The second to last flight, from Munich to our Philadelphia layover, we hit turbulence on the way down. The plane literally dipped in the air. Everyone on the plane simultaneously gasped. When we finally rolled to a stop, everyone was clapping. I didn't pray the whole time. I'm trying to break the habit of blaming a God for the bad and hoping in his fickleness that he'll give me the good. I've found that the results of not praying have the same effect as if I had. Statistically, there is no difference.

I applied in July with my now-fiancĂ© for an apartment opening in September. It is sixty miles from where I live, but just down the street from the University of California that he will be attending for his PhD. I have literally slept on couches, lived with friends and family, and rented converted garages that are probably illegal for almost five years. Prior to that, I shared an apartment with my sister. The landlord charged us so much for "cleaning" that he barely gave us any of the deposit back (If I knew then what I know now I would have taken him to court-there was nothing wrong with that place when we left).  Needless to say, I don't have a real or good rental history and that doesn't look good for apartment buildings. Without praying for it, we got the place.

I had an interview on Monday. I really wanted this job. It's in my field and it's a very upstanding place. Walking up to the place before the interview, I kept saying to myself, "I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope they decide to hire me." I made it through without imploring to a Greater Being or Higher Power. They didn't call me Tuesday so I called them today. They want to hire me.

This all happened without God. I didn't need to worry about placating some power outside of myself in order to do my best, attempt hard things, be willing to face rejection and get the job done. If something hadn't gone well, I wouldn't have had to wonder what I did wrong. I wouldn't have to make some excuse for God's absence like, "Oh, he must have something better for me down the road." I wouldn't have to blame anyone who I couldn't see. It's a new feeling, but it's freeing.

16 September, 2010

Facebook Debates

Facebook debates on religion are usually not stimulating enough for those not involved to read the entire thread. It's almost akin to reading the comment thread on icanhazcheezburger. Not exactly a favorite past time. Nonetheless, I've found that some interesting topics do in fact come up sometimes that have nothing to do with the original, provocative or controversial status update, note or comment that got the thread going.

Just yesterday, on my fiancé's facebook, an interesting discussion began after he asked about the point of prayer with an omniscient God. Eventually the discussion somehow digressed to the topic of circumcision. One of his facebook friends who pretty much started the topic by saying that choosing not to circumcise her own son led to the weakening of her belief in God even thanked us for our candidness on the subject.

I find it interesting that some people are surprised at our generation's willingness to talk about controversial subjects. To me, it is as if we are only learning from the mistakes of previous generations by ending the practice of squashing curiosity. So harmful is ignorance to people (abstinence-only sex ed comes to mind as one of the biggest failures of this taboo-respecting practice) our generation seeks to step into the light and critically look at our society in a progressive, learning, and open way.

So, I encourage all to ask away. Ask as if your life depends on it. (Someday it might). Don't be afraid to be curious about your body or the world around you. Think critically about the answers you are given. If you get an answer that doesn't lead to more questions, ask someone else. The search for knowledge shouldn't end with "That's just the way it is" or "God did it." You will be surprised at how much freedom comes with knowledge.