Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Evil Spirts - a get out of Jail free card.

The Daily Mangle has a reputation for spinning stories to read so that they are totally unrepresentative of the facts but if this story is true then I am mystified about the way our justice system works;

A woman was convicted of unlawful wounding when she dressed in dark clothes, gloves and a home-made balaclava and attacked her mother, repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife inflicting serious face and arm injuries.

Surprisingly even after going all Michael Myers psychiatrists ruled the culprit has no mental illness, even though she claimed she was acting on the instructions of evil spirits. She must still be considered a danger to society since a psychiatrist who assessed her said she was still a risk because she believed the spirits could possess her again and she has no control over them.

So what sentence did the judge give this violently dangerous criminal?

He he accepted the defendant had strong beliefs in witchcraft and thought she was possessed by the spirit of her dead grandmother at the time of the attack and sentenced her to just a 12-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work!

This didn't happen in some African country where even belief in witchcraft by the authorities is commonplace, but in Leicester England.

How can someone's supernatural beliefs be a mitigating reason for sentencing a potentially dangerous person?

Surely if such beliefs are still held and can be used to justify violence they should increase any sentence, perhaps indefinitely.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Rape victims share responsibility for the crime!

Roger Helmer, my MEP, is certainly a liability to any political party. He has been the subject of a noteworthy post by me before. Not to mention his little gem from twitter.

He has now voiced his support for Ken Clarke's and his troubles when he mentioned sentencing for rape - and with friends like Helmer who needs people stirring up more trouble. He managed to put both his rather large feet into an even bigger mouth with his tactless and disgusting comments.

Like any crime, those guilty of rape can have a range of sentences dependent on actual circumstances. Ken Clark has now gone to great lengths to tell people that was to what he was referring, but what he certainly did not say was that some rape victims shared responsibility for the crime!

It takes a complete ass like Helmer for that sort of  appalling remark. I can only imagine that if someone with a T-shirt or badge that said 'Kill Me' was killed by a psychopathic serial killer, Helmer would believe that the victim shared the responsibility for their own murder.

I'll ask again what I asked in my previous post -Who voted for this idiot?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Carry on Camping

Well I'm still here and so apparently is everyone else. Perhaps the Rapture did happen and all the righteous people did get into heaven?

It's very easy to mock because anyone with a spot of critical thinking knew what the outcome was going to be at 6pm on the 21 May 2010 but there were supposedly thousands who truly believed End Times would start then and some were foolish enough to give up jobs, possessions and money in preparation for the event.

Harold Camping, doomsday prophet and fleecer of the gullible, has fallen silent after this prediction didn’t come true with no statement as yet being issued since the end of the world did not start on Saturday. The real good news is that it seems this particular group of followers doesn't seem inclined to get to heaven by their own means and bring some others along.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Atheists have better sex lives

Apparently Atheists have 'better sex lives than followers of religion who are plagued with guilt'

It must be true it was in the Daily Mangle;

The article concludes;
"'Our data shows that people feel very guilty about their sexual behaviour when they are religious, but that does not stop them: it just makes them feel bad.

'Of course, they have to return to their religion to get forgiveness. It's like the church gives you the disease, then offers you a fake cure.'"

Another report on this research can be found here.

The research appears to have been done exclusively in the US, and I assume that it concentrated more on the monotheistic religious types - remember the Kamasutra? 

Americans do seem to have way more hangups about sex, probably because the religious in the US are generally more fundamental, however so do 'good' Catholics in my experience and I suspect that it has a lot to do with their strong stance against contraception. Though it is also my experience, I'm proud to say, that they are much more likely to invoke God's name during intercourse.

Pope issues new guidelines on child abuse

When I first read about this I found it a very positive thing,

But now I'm a bit confused as to whether this goes far enough. The first report I came across says;

"Pope Benedict XVI has asked the bishops across the world to fight child abuse by reporting such incidents to the local police.

In his letter to bishops, he said, "Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law." He suggested the bishops to take immediate steps to address assaults against minorities and asked them to follow local laws while reporting the crime."

Bishops being told to report incidents to thier local police sounds like just the thing that should have always have happened and could be a great step in protecting children. Now any sexual predators in the churches ranks will have no one to hide behind, there can be no cover ups or claims of cover ups.

But the second report is much more reserved;
"Bishops are told to cooperate with police but they are not required to report allegations to the authorities if local law does not require it."

Of course if nothing illegal has occurred according to local laws there is little point in reporting it to the police but that is not what this says.

How many authorities legally require that allegations be reported? Shouldn't all allegations against childern that may, upon investigation by the civil authorities, result in possible legal action on behalf of the children be reported? Not just report them if there is a law that requires them too? Shouldn't this have always happened in any case as anything less would be an illegal act?

Perhaps something has been lost in translation or perhaps these new guidelines are meaningless just as survivor groups are saying.

What a Twit!

A premiership footballer is now taking legal action against Twitter because some of its users have revealed his name even though the British courts granted an injunction to stop his name and details of his sexual exploits from being published.

Come on, anyone one truly interested can find out the players name from google and a number of foreign media sites. Besides, isn't taking legal action against a company that just provides a type of communication service like trying to take legal action against a telephone company because of something one of it's users said or against a paper supplier because of what someone printed on the pages?

It seems that they want Twitter to reveal who posted the information. I'm not much of a legal expert but doesn't this type of injunction only apply to organisations who could profit from such information? Does this player really think an individual making assertions or even just speculating is worth the effort?

Things are even more complicated because the injunction only applies in Britain and Twitter is a US company - that is where the legal action has been taken. If this player really believes such a legal challenge will have the outcome he wants he is an idiot who is clearly being fleeced by his lawyer.

So who is it? Pick any England star at random - Terry, Rooney, Gerrard, A Cole, or Crouch, and even if you are wrong it makes little difference, they have all player away.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Where did all the snow go?

I felt like linking to this news article for the stunning pictures as much as anything else.

Apparently a the Polar bear was photographed in the Arctic Hudson Bay area in Canada and at this time of year there would normally be snow not flowers but the article claims that the pictures  show the effect that climate change is having on our planet.

But another interesting thing is that this article appeared on the Daily Mail site, better known as the Daily Mangle for it's awful coverage of science including the MMR/Autism issue and of course Climate Change. In fact it's columns and articles have been some of media's strongest in the denial of
the science of anthropogenic global warming. 

So I'm not exactly sure what happened here with an article that actually states that climate change is having such a noticeable impact. I have no idea if these unusual and beautiful pictures are the result of climate change, just a localised weather event or even a total misreporting of the situation - it is the Daily Mangle after all, because true to the newspapers form, there is little in the way of actual science or references to check. 

Still you just have to read some of the comments to realise the shock and outrage of the usual Daily Mangle readership at the idea that not only is climate change occurring, it is noticeable and a problem to boot. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The End is Nigh - Yes really!

The Christian Rapture will take place on May 21, 2011 and that the end of the world will take place five months later on October 21, 2011. Around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the world's population) will be raptured. As for the remainder of the human population, those who are not saved will simply cease to be conscious rather than spend eternity in Hell. Those who were "unsaved" and died prior to May 21 will not be affected by or experience the Rapture or the end of the world.

That all kicks of this Saturday folks and I'm disgusted that the newspapers and media have not more widely reported this it will have a major global impact.

Harold Camping

All this is happening according to Harold Egbert Camping a Christian radio presenter. To be fair he did previously predict that the Rapture would occur in September 1994 and that God would completely destroy the Earth and the universe, but everyone is entitled to at least one mistake.

To be honest I'm not too worried about 3% of the worlds being Raptured on Saturday. I'm going to a party and knowing my friends I suspect that most of them will still be there!

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Vortex

It is a fair assumption that I have little time for religious dogma but as the argument goes religious people are (often) motivated to do good things. I will be first to accept that doing right, even for the wrong reasons, is still doing right.

When it comes to the science of climate change many of the mainstream religious groups recognise how it’s effects will adversely impact the poorest peoples in the world, the biggest of this group is the Catholic Church which made a recent statement;

"We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses. We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home. By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life. We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish."

They should be applauded for this. But like many religious views espoused by the clergy, some of the congregation manage to directly disagree while still convincing themselves that they are still among the most faithful.

One such character I would suggest in this case is a guy called Michael Voris a presenter and more of an Internet TV network called Real Catholic TV which often features it segments on Youtube called to Vortex.

Some claims from Mr Voris’ Bio;

  • Seminarian at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York;
  • News producer and reporter for Fox 2 in Detroit;
  • Won four Emmys in broadcast news;
  • Frequent host on Michigan Catholic Radio network;
  • And has an ecclesiastical degree.

If true he sounds quite credible and not your "lunatic fringe". But I still don't know if he has official or even unofficial support from clergy.

Real Catholic TV describes itself as;
"A new and exciting Internet television network focusing on AUTHENTIC Catholic programing. It's all about spreading the faith, giving people what they deserve...the truth...and saving souls. The site will include a wide variety of programming such as daily news segments which will cover what's up in the Catholic world and the political world. There will also be daily saints and history, and then more in depth shows such as the OTHER View, a Christian Music Show, and a gardening show. So tune in a get REAL! "

And the Youtube segments in general do seem to support this but some go right off the rails in an American Right Wing Fundamentalist Wacko kind of way.

Several videos look at the problem of climate change, two of which are called;

Climate Change Hoax;

 Climate Change Scam;

  Both these go totally against the Vatican's actual position on Climate Change.

Does anyone know how officially supported Real Catholic TV is? Even if it isn't, should some official church representatives have a word about what must amount to heresy in official eyes or doesn't the church do that kind of thing any more?

Thanks to a poster on the BBC message boards I have some answers.

A review from what appears to be a more mainstream Catholic view is here;

 "RealCatholicTV was formed in early 2008 by lay Catholics with extensive experience in commercial broadcast television.
The website offers Catholic programming including, daily news, daily political commentary, daily features on saints and history as well as regular episodes on morality, movie reviews, entertainment, apologetics, and much more.
The site provides content through a video player that allows users to view, send, and download content regardless of their computing platform with no plug-ins required. All viewers have free access to home page content – daily news and commentary (current events and politics) from the Catholic perspective, messages directly from Catholic bishops to the faithful, program previews, and more.
The site provides a good deal of material for free, but the $10.00 a month membership charge is well worth it for the extra programming that is available.
RealCatholicTV is particularly concerned with the inroads of secularism into the Church, and users should be aware that a great many of the programs attempt to expose ecclesiastical shortcomings, with considerable criticism of Church leaders.
The site opened with the support of various bishops in the U.S., though as its programming has become increasingly critical of the Church, some bishops have withdrawn their support.
While thoroughly approving many of the fine videos made available through this site, recommends caution for two reasons: An apparent animus against the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, contrary to the clear mind of the Church; and a tendency to over-simply complex cultural, ecclesiastical and theological problems, leading sometimes to the assertion of mere opinion as the "real Catholic" position."
 It seems that while the official church had high hopes for such a TV station, and still recommends many of the  items, it also recommends caution, especially when any videos might actually criticise its leaders. I don't find this very satisfactory because it allows people to cherry pick bits that fit with their views and in the cases cited above they are more political than moral.