Vox Populi 2 – Education is key

October 2, 2010 § 7 Comments

Welcome to the second of what I hope will be a long series of “Vox Populi” articles on my blog, where I ask for your feedback and thoughts on a given topic. I really do depend heavily on your ideas to help formulate my own, so I decided it was time to give you, the reader, a real chance to say what you think. Hope you enjoy these short topical pieces, and please leave your feedback in the comments.

Topic 2: Education

I’ve talked about education as the key to our continued success on Earth before, and I firmly believe that to be the case. With strong education comes an ability to think critically about the present and the future, and to make decisions based on the wisdom and failures of the past.

Leonardo Da Vinci's Vetruvian Man

Leonardo Da Vinci's Vetruvian Man

However I see a trend in education coming from special interest groups, who feel that their “viewpoint” may be under threat in the education system, and they are demanding that children be taught their viewpoint, regardless of how ludicrous it may be. For example, there is a strong push in the USA in some areas of Australia for young-earth creationism and “Intelligent Design” to be taught as a science alternative to a slow universe evolution. While this holds no water as a viable alternative to the scientifically agreed ideas surrounding the origin of the earth and the universe, schools and the curriculum are under increasing pressure to accept this into the teaching curriculum amid the threats and the berating coming from these groups.

There is also a growing trend from people like the Anti-Vaxxers, who are telling us that vaccination is bad for the children, and yet we are seeing an increase in deaths related to pertussis and the like in areas where vaccination levels are low.

That said, my commitment to education is because of this understanding; with bad education comes bad decisions, and we can ill afford bad decisions in this day and age.  Major problems in our world can be avoided by better education such as population and agriculture, energy efficiency and food distribution, disease management and eradication.

We need to be stronger in our teachings. I see the viewpoint of the creationists as valid in only that it highlights that some variance in cultural upbringing and ignorance can cause people to believe the most unusual things. I’m not saying that the education we have now is by any means un-faslifyable or perfect, but that we can’t fall back on the misunderstandings of human past as a viable alternative is ludicrous.

There are those who deny all the teachings of our modern era as “conspiracy”, but don’t you think someone would notice? I mean someone with a large breadth of learning?

I’d like to hear your opinions on education. I know some of you home school your children because you fear the education system is overly influenced by the minority interests. I know some of you live in areas where vaccination is on the decrease. I know some of you live in areas where overpopulation is a problem. I know some of you have chosen alternative teaching methods such as Steiner, or have been part of it yourself growing up. I want to hear your opinions on the topic of education, the good versus the bad.

Atheist Climber Prominent People Project

September 24, 2010 § 7 Comments

Atheist Climber Blog is turning One year old on October 10! Yay! And I remember like yesterday thinking “Do I have anything to write about? Will anyone care? Will anyone read it?” I just wish I had taken more baby photos!

Well you have all spoken to me by visiting and commenting on my blog. My measure of success has been reflected in the blog stats with over 60,000 page hits, over 100 subscribers, and more than 1500 comments for the 100+ articles and videos I have posted. This far surpasses my expectations and for that I thank you all.

To celebrate, I am in the process of interviewing a selection of prominent figures in humanism, atheism, science and critical thinking. Most of these will be in the form of written interviews, but who knows? I might, down the track, do some video or audio interviews too. This will be dependent on how these interviews are received by my readers.

I don’t want to say too much at this stage, but suffice to say, I already have confirmation from a few very prominent and important people who I’m sure you’d recognise. More information to come. So stay tuned!

The first interview will be published on Atheist Climber Blog’s first birthday, October 10, 2010. So come celebrate with me, and feed your brain with the words of some great thinkers.

Thanks again,
Atheist Climber

We’re All Doomed, Time To Get Positive! (part 2)

September 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

See part 1 here

One thing I didn’t mention in the last article was one of the other negative side-effects of negative thinking. When people think negatively, and believe negatively, they tend to become more insular. The tendency can be to protect ones own family and immediate kin (culture or religious group), and everyone else can fend for themselves. This tendency to fall back into our own ranks doesn’t help anyone except those immediately surrounding us. But this is not the time to be completely selfish. In fact, if anything, selfishness and self interest is going to be our undoing.

It just so happens that today I was sent this TED talk link below. From the page: “Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation’s success by its productivity — instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people.” In this talk, Nic talks of the psychological dangers of negativity in a time when positivity is sorely needed. From the Video:

“For too long, we have peddled a nightmarish visionof what’s going to happen. We have focused on the worst-case scenario. We have focused on the problems. And we have not thought enough about the solutions. We’ve used fear, if you like, to grab people’s attention. And any psychologist will tell you that fear in the organism is linked to flight mechanism. It’s part of the fight and flight mechanism, that when an animal is frightened –think of a deer. A deer freezes very, very still,poised to run away. And I think that’s what we’re doing when we’re asking people to engage with our agenda around environmental degradation and climate change. People are freezing and running away because we’re using fear. And I think the environmental movement has to grow up and start to think about what progress is.”

God says you are a fraud!

September 7, 2010 § 27 Comments

It’s that time of the month again, and Outreach Media have released their new poster, which this time is an interesting one, and on a topic I have been thinking a bit about lately.

It can be forgiven

It can be forgiven - from outreachmedia.org.au

Basically this month’s billboard tells us that we are all forgiven for WHATEVER we do, as long as we take Christ into our hearts. OK, I disagree with this from the outset, but it’s the article that accompanies it that really gets my blood boiling. From the article:

“But the Bible’s opinion is that we’re all bad. For example, Jesus declares that our anger makes us all murderers at heart. Jesus makes it clear that God is only interested in those people who […] are ashamed and appalled at their sin.

“Is that you? Are you quietly dying inside? Is there something you’ve said, thought or done that’s ripping your insides out? Are you struggling to be around people because you feel you don’t deserve their company and they probably know you’re a fraud anyway?”

That’s right, you are a fraud! And don’t you try to pretend otherwise.

What really gets me about this whole attitude that the bible portrays is that firstly, you are corrupt and can ONLY find your way to truth if you put your trust and faith in God and Jesus, and secondly, that it doesn’t matter what you do, if you put your trust and faith in God and Jesus you will be forgiven for whatever you do in life. So many christians try to tell me that this is not what the bible means when it says these things.

What kind of incentive is there to actually take some responsibility for your own actions if you are just going to be forgiven for them when you “give up” everything to Jesus? What sort of incentive is there to be kind to your fellow-man if you can just repent at the last moment, feel some fleeting regret and instantly be forgiven?

And what sort of incentive is there for people to feel good about themselves if they are fraudulent, lying and born sinners? What sort of attitude is this to pass on to our children?

According to this, feel bad about yourself, and do whatever you please but as long as you believe in God and Jesus, you will be rewarded with a beautiful afterlife at God’s side.

I don’t know about you, but I was born right the first time. As were we all. I don’t need a Christian re-birth in heaven to make me perfect, I am perfect with all my human failings.

Sorry am I missing something?

EDIT: Added links to Outreach and the offending article.

RSA Animate – 21st century enlightenment

September 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is another in the series of lectures from the Royal Society of the Arts, in the same vein as the one I posted yesterday, thius one covering off the idea of The Re-Enlightenment. From the page:

“Matthew Taylor explores the meaning of 21st century enlightenment, how the idea might help us meet the challenges we face today, and the role that can be played by organisations such as the RSA.”

RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilisation

September 5, 2010 § 2 Comments

This is a very intersting animation about Empathy and the way it is soft-wired into our brains. Very interesting indeed. Definititely worth watching!

Thinly Veiled Racism

August 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

The upcoming election has skirted around just about every topic I actually hold as important. Sure they need to address topics such as the economy and the security of the nation. This election campaign has been particularly boring and skirts across topics with rhetoric and empty promises. Internet censorship, (where opponents of the filter are accused of being in favour of child pornography as a matter of course), the denial of same-sex marriage are topics that we the public want to have some movement on, but every day we hear the same thing, and so often in language that panders to the Christian and conservative lobbies. Julia Gillard, for instance,  is a self-proclaimed atheist, and yet continues to promise money to things like the School Chaplaincy Scheme. Tony Abbott is a fervent believer, and he often spouts sexism and ideals from the middle ages, so I won’t bother to talk too much about him.

But one particular political football that both sides are guilty of kicking about is that of asylum seekers. The politicians know that they can play this card to leverage off the xenophobic ideas that the media have fed people since the 9/11 attacks and the Bali bombings, and the message is clear. “Australia is in danger of being overrun, we must stop these people, because they might be terrorists.” This is a thinly veiled racist attitude dressed up as political astuteness.

And all the attention is on the boats, when illegal immigrants mostly arrive by aeroplane. Anyway, it’s a blog piece in itself, but I thought this campaign from Get Up was a really good explanation of the fear-mongering and misinformation we have been fed throughout this campaign about refugees coming into Australia.

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Further Reading about this election and the “promises”
Why are we robbing our littlies to preach Paul? by Leslie Cannold, August 16, The National Times

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