Secularists Lured to Paganism

first_imgIf man is hopelessly religious, what happens when society’s scientific elites teach that religion is groundless?  G. K. Chesterton once said, “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”  The new atheists claim to base their beliefs on scientific evidence.  They have no need for religious teachings or rituals.  Is it not strange, then, to see the attraction of secularists to movements that give the appearance of new religious forms?  Is there something innate in human nature that cries out for the sense of ultimate purpose and connection to the divine that religions have traditionally provided?  Three recent examples of near-cult experiences may be illuminating. Church of TED:  On the BBC News, Jane Wakefield talked about a new cult emerging around the popular technology show, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), “a non-profit organisation dedicated to ideas worth spreading.”  In “Worshiping at the Church of TED,” Wakefield said that the TEDGlobal Conference “has become something of a cult for its followers – appropriately known as TEDsters.”  One idea felt worth spreading was to clothe the dead in mushroom suits as “an altogether more organic way of dying.” TEDGlobal conferences are an eclectic mix of speeches, hi-tech demonstrations, performance art and calls for fixing society.  “Meanwhile philosopher Alain de Botton talked about the need for religion 2.0 – with one particularly enthusiastic Tedster suggesting later that TED itself could be the new church.”   Wakefield criticized the closed nature of the conferences, then said, “But TEDsters, as befits members of a cult, hold little truck with criticism. They embrace the week-long event as an oasis of intellectual and emotionally stimulation [sic].”  The “mix of intellect and emotion” TED offers seems to satisfy a basic need in some people: “There is also a sense of being part of a huge social experiment.”  Participants wear badges in colors that reflect their mood, whether challenged, inspired, or bored. Church of Wildness:  New Scientist reported on the “Wilderness Festival 2011” that ended last weekend.  Cathy Tollet described it as “an event promising to feed all the senses with theatre, debates, parties, music and good food.”  While held outdoors, Wilderness Festival 2011 was not so much about wilderness as wildness: “the festival aims to reconnect revellers with all things wild.”  And wild is an apt word.  A look at a BBC News photo gallery shows some pretty wild folks with glazed-and-dazed faces, pagan costumes, a masked ball, rock theater and lots of raised hands.  The official Wilderness Festival website talks about a late-night party “where the wild things are,” an urban voodoo machine, the wilderness spa, a midnight seance, a naked conga dance in the woods, and other ways to abandon restraint and focus on self-absorption.  Conservation of wilderness seems a remote theme, as the festival’s YouTube video, a phantasmagoria of flipped-out patrons indulging themselves, shows. Church of Self:  What can atheist fans of Richard Dawkins do for inner fulfillment?  They can go watch The Selfish Gene, a musical playing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show.  Mairi Macleod reviewed the performance for New Scientist.  Written by a Dawkins fan named Jonathan Salway, The Selfish Gene, “70 minutes of catchy songs, innuendo and laughs as well as science,” tries to show how your family and friends, even when outwardly caring and nurturing, are really just acting out their evolutionary selfish selves.  Macleod was delighted.  “What a fun introduction this would be for budding biology students, to whet their appetites and show how biology can answer those tricky life questions – such as how long do you wait before you sleep with your boyfriend?  Does it pay to cheat?”  The answer is clear: sure it does.  How could one do anything else?  Opening song: We Are Machines Made By Our Genes. Something is wrong with the musical.  It has a moral escape hatch.  “And, as befits a musical comedy, there is an optimistic upbeat ending. It suggests, as Dawkins’s book does, that there is a process through which humanity can save itself from its own selfishness,” she ended her review.  “Memes are what means we are not just machines made by our genes.”  Trouble is, this moral escape hatch is rusty, as she herself said: “For cutting-edge evolutionary biologists, or for that matter for regular readers of New Scientist, the theory depicted in the show might feel slightly dated, with its talk of memes rather than culture evolution or multilevel selection.”  Macleod left it unanswered whether those newer memes of culture evolution and multilevel selection, presumably as undirected and purposeless as natural selection, can help humanity save itself from its own selfishness.  And if in the end we are “not just machines,” what part of us is not mechanical?  Is there something beyond that recognizes selfishness as bad?  Why would evolved humanity even want to save itself from what the evolutionary process produced?  Is there a cry in the subtext for a spiritual reality to fill a deep immaterial need? The apostle John said that God gives light to every human being who enters the world, but they do not comprehend it (John 1:1-13).  The apostle Paul identified that starting point of light as the knowledge of God through creation (Romans 1:18-23). John went on to describe the greater light that became manifest in Christ, who created all things, when the logos became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14-18), calling us back to the Father and providing the way through His death and resurrection if we will receive Him (John 1:12).  Try as they might to snuff it out with science, philosophy and emotional abandonment, everything people do only reinforces the recognition of light that has come into the world, and men prefer darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.  One has to love truth to come to the light (John 3:1-21). A void gnaws within that only the true God can fill.  One must avoid a void, but coming to God for fulfillment is scary: it means giving up oneself to a God who is Lord of all.  Since misery loves company, and sterile science is pointless, the self-lovers flock to counterfeit religious experiences that promise some kind of stuffing for the void.  Charlatans abound to sell their idols of the tribe, marketplace, and cave.  When the festival is over, when the rock music and booze has worn off, when the musical ends with no answers for why we should save ourselves from selfishness, what then?  Will it make the buyer eager to put on the mushroom suit?  Even asking the question presupposes the answer.  We are not machines made by our genes; our genes are machines made by an all-wise Creator for us.  We were made by and for our Creator, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Him.  Here’s the road back to the light (Romans 3:10-26, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:7-8, Romans 10:8-13).(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Anthropologists and Psychologists Under Fire for Flawed Methods

first_imgPoor sampling and other errors may undermine many things scientists think they know about mankind.In a special edition, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked into growing complaints about psychology and anthropology. Here are what some of the papers had to say:Broadening horizons: Sample diversity and socioecological theory are essential to the future of psychological science (Michael D. Gurven, PNAS). “The present lack of sample diversity and ecological theory in psychological science fundamentally limits generalizability and obstructs scientific progress.”Should social scientists be distanced from or engaged with the people they study? (Nzinga et al, PNAS). Anthropologists have thought they need to maintain their distance from the subjects they study. “More broadly, we argue that social and educational sciences need skepticism, interestedness, and engagement, not distancing.”Pressing questions in the study of psychological and behavioral diversity (Hruschka et al, PNAS). This paper begins with a damning quote for the whole field of psychology. Reading this is like shock treatment:Extreme biased sampling of research participants and the neglect of their cultural context are increasingly recognized as threats to the generalizability of much of what we know about human thought and behavior. In addition to reinforcing narrow views of what it means to be human, these parochial research practices have also shaped the methodological core of the human sciences by favoring tasks that are tailored to the skills, motivations, and social expectations of a very rarefied set of humanity. Despite decades of calls for reform, there is little evidence that increasing awareness of this threat has led to changes in practice or publishing.Daniel Hruschka continues his diatribe on The Conversation, saying, “You can’t characterize human nature if studies overlook 85 percent of people on Earth.” How influential has this fake science been on society? He says in plain English,Over the last century, behavioral researchers have revealed the biases and prejudices that shape how people see the world and the carrots and sticks that influence our daily actions. Their discoveries have filled psychology textbooks and inspired generations of students. They’ve also informed how businesses manage their employees, how educators develop new curricula and how political campaigns persuade and motivate voters.But a growing body of research has raised concerns that many of these discoveries suffer from severe biases of their own. Specifically, the vast majority of what we know about human psychology and behavior comes from studies conducted with a narrow slice of humanity – college students, middle-class respondents living near universities and highly educated residents of wealthy, industrialized and democratic nations.More than 90% of the studies that supposedly tell us about human beings come from just 15% of the people on the planet. That’s WEIRD: “Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic.”Toward a psychology of Homo sapiens: Making psychological science more representative of the human population (Rad et al, PNAS). How generalizable are published conclusions when “most research published in our leading journals has relied on sampling WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) populations”? There’s trouble in psychology departments. “To take us forward, we offer a set of concrete proposals for authors, journal editors, and reviewers that may lead to a psychological science that is more representative of the human condition.”An abundance of developmental anomalies and abnormalities in Pleistocene people (Erik Trinkaus, PNAS). And yet they go on; Erik Trinkaus proceeds to describe people he never met, because they were all dead long ago.Polygenic adaptation and convergent evolution on growth and cardiac genetic pathways in African and Asian rainforest hunter-gatherers (Bergey et al, PNAS). This group treats distinguished human beings of the Pygmy description as their lab rats.Cultural impediments to learning to cooperate: An experimental study of high- and low-caste men in rural India (Brooks et al, PNAS). This team uses caste members of India as their lab rats. “The results overturn earlier findings….” Maybe the roles should be reversed, since scientists can’t get it right. Let the caste members use the scientists as their lab rats.Current Biology issued this paper questioning earlier studies:Human Cooperation: The Hunter-Gatherer Puzzle (Joseph Heinrich, Current Biology). “A new study among the Hadza, one of the few surviving foraging populations, challenges popular approaches to cooperation while suggesting a central role for cultural transmission.”Psychologists have a WEIRD understanding of humanity. Physician, heal thyself. Even beyond the WEIRD people they study, these social scientists often use rigged games to tweak responses from people in unrealistic situations. How reliable is that?To understand people, start with the Manufacturer’s manual.(Visited 488 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Mother, daughter crushed to death

first_imgA woman and her daughter were crushed to death by an oncoming train near Mathura in the early hours of Saturday after they fell from the Trivandrum Express while chasing a thief who stole one of their bags, the police said.Jogender Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Railways, Agra region, said that Meena Devi, 45, and Manisha,21, who hail from Durgapur in West Bengal, jumped out of the moving train when they discovered that a thief had stolen their bag which had cash and identity cards. While the thief escaped, the mother and daughter were crushed by the Sampark Kranti Express that passed on the adjacent track.“The incident happened in S2 coach near the Vrindavan city station and it seems the thief pulled the chain before jumping off the train. Meena was found dead on the spot while Manisha died during treatment in Vrindavan.” Meena’s son Akash, 23, slept through the whole incident and was woken up by fellow passengers. “Akash told us that the family had boarded the train at Hazrat Nizamuddin. They were going to Kota to get Manisha admitted for medical coaching. He also told us that the bag that has been stolen had around ₹4000, two mobile phones, and some crucial documents,” said Mr Kumar.Inspector transferredThe SP has transferred inspector Rajesh Kumar Dubey, the GRP in-charge of the Mathura station, to the Police Lines and a departmental inquiry has been ordered for dereliction of duty.last_img read more

Announcing the TVO Short Doc Contest 2018 Calling all Ontarians to share

first_imgTwitter Bell Fibe TV SD 209 Shaw Direct SD 353 BlackBerry World On air: iTunes YouTube TORONTO, April 9, 2018 – TVO Short Doc Contest 2018 is calling all Ontarians to enter their short documentaries by July 15, 2018 for a chance to win great prizes. The theme for this year’s contest is DIY Docs, and it encourages all residents of Ontario to submit their video stories and share their perspective on a subject they feel passionate about. No previous documentary making experience is required. Facebook Rogers channel 2 Online: “TVO’s Short Doc Contest is a meaningful way to share compelling stories with a wide audience. It also offers an important opportunity for aspiring Ontario filmmakers to jumpstart their careers,” says Hannah Sung, TVO Manager, Digital Video. “We want people to be curious, ask questions, and offer a unique perspective.”Participants are invited to enter original short documentaries up to 4 minutes and 45 seconds in length. During the entry period, TVO will share documentary filmmaking tips and best practices through several inspirational videos at and on TVO’s social media channels. This series of videos will feature award-winning filmmakers Charles Officer (Unarmed Verses), Min Sook Lee (Migrant Dreams), and Lewis Gordon (the first-place winner of TVO’s Short Docs Contest 2017). The first video, “What is a documentary?”, explores the surprisingly elastic definition of what constitutes a documentary film. Subsequent videos will include tips on shooting and interviewing. Cable ch. 2 (may vary in some areas) Bell Fibe TV HD 1209 Bell Mobile TV Contest Schedule:Now through July 15, 2018 – Submit short documentaries at 16 to August 26, 2018 – Judging panel selects the finalists.August 27 to September 19, 2018 – Public voting for the People’s Choice Award at 20, 2018 – Winners announced.Prizing:The exciting line-up of prizes includes cash, Hot Docs Festival passes, a Twitter Canada workshop, as well as memberships for TIFF and the Documentary Organization of Canada:First prize: $2000 in cash, a pass to the Hot Docs Festival in 2019, a one-year membership to the Documentary Organization of Canada, and a pitch session with TVO’s Executive Producer of Documentaries, Jane Jankovic.Second prize: $1000 in cash, a best practices workshop at Twitter Canada, and a one-year membership to TIFF for two people.Third prize: $500 in cash and two tickets to the Canadian Film Centre’s annual BBQ fundraiser during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.Best “short short”:  New this year, this prize recognizes the best “short, short” doc which is 90 seconds in length or under. The winner will receive $500 in cash and a pass to the Hot Docs Festival in 2019.The People’s Choice Award: As voted on by the public, this winner will receive $1000 in cash, one year of free admission to all programming at the DOC Institute, and a professional consultation with a DOC Institute board member.All winners will receive a one-year Hot Docs Cinema bronze membership, and finalists will have their documentaries showcased on The top winners will see their documentaries air on TVO.Judging:All submissions are screened by a panel of judges including: distinguished documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin; 2017 TVO Short Doc Contest first-prize winner, Lewis Gordon; award-winning short documentary filmmaker and interactive storyteller Shasha Nakhai; and Linda Fong, independent production officer at TVO.For more information on the TVO Short Doc Contest 2018, visit, and follow us @tvodocs on Twitter and Facebook using #TVOShortDoc.About TVOAs the technological extension of Ontario’s public education system, TVO’s vision is to create a better world through the power of learning. TVO provides learning opportunities for Ontarians through innovative educational products, in-depth current affairs, thought-provoking documentaries, and award-winning TVOkids resources both inside and outside the classroom. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit to find TVO Google Play Advertisement Twitter Shaw Direct HD 39 Bell TV 265 Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more

Police Records Noticed Update

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, October 1, 2017 – Providenciales – We are pleased to update the public that the police records office on Providenciales will be open with some restrictions from Monday 2nd October 2017.   New applications for Police Records will be accepted on the following days:Monday 2nd, Wednesday 4th and Friday 6th October 2017 between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm.   However applications will only be accepted where the police record is required for travel or any other reason within 14 days of the application date.Applicants will have to prove by way of an airline ticket or other documentation that the police record is required within the 14 day period.   Please be advised that due to the restricted service that we are able to provide, applications will take seven (7) working days (This includes the day of application) to process.There were a number of records that were applied for prior to Hurricane Irma and these will be ready for collection in the following manner:Persons with last name beginning with A to M collect on Tuesday 3rd October 2017.Persons with last name N to Z pick-up on Thursday 5th October 2017.Acting Commissioner of Police Mr. Botting said, “I am pleased that the Police Records will be opening from Monday of next week.   Due to damages to our IT infrastructure caused by Hurricane Irma we have faced significant challenges in getting the Police Records office up and running.    I am aware of the frustration and difficulties that have caused the community and the recovery of the service has remained a priority for us.   I am grateful for the patience and the support that community have given us.   Although there are limitations to the service we will be able to provide next week, we hope to improve on the time-scales that we can currently work to and further information will be issued next week.   The above does not apply for Police Records applied for on Grand Turk.   At this time, there’s no new applications or pick-ups on Grand Turk for records, we will update you once this becomes possible.”Press Release: RTCIPF Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more