Arquivo da tag: Fundamentalismo

Wyoming is 1st state to reject science standards (AP)

By BOB MOEN

May 8, 2014 6:24 PM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming, the nation’s top coal-producing state, is the first to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components.

The Wyoming Board of Education decided recently that the Next Generation Science Standards need more review after questions were raised about the treatment of man-made global warming.

Board President Ron Micheli said the review will look into whether “we can’t get some standards that are Wyoming standards and standards we all can be proud of.”

Others see the decision as a blow to science education in Wyoming.

“The science standards are acknowledged to be the best to prepare our kids for the future, and they are evidence based, peer reviewed, etc. Why would we want anything less for Wyoming?” Marguerite Herman, a proponent of the standards, said.

Twelve states have adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013 with the goal of improving science education, and Wyoming is the first to reject them, Chad Colby, spokesman for Achieve, one of the organizations that helped write the standards.

“The standards are what students should be expected to know at the end of each grade, but how a teacher teaches them is still up to the local districts and the states, and even the teachers in most cases,” Colby said.

But the global warming and evolution components have created pushback around the country.

Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, said teaching “one view of what is not settled science about global warming” is just one of a number of problems with the standards.

“I think Wyoming can do far better,” Edmonds said.

Wyoming produces almost 40 percent of the nation’s coal, with much of it used by power plants to provide electricity around the nation. Minerals taxes on coal provided $1 billion to the state and local governments in 2012 and coal mining supports some 6,900 jobs in the state.

Burning coal to generate electricity produces large amounts of CO2, which is considered a heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. Most scientists recognize that man-made CO2 emissions contribute to global warming. However, the degree to which it can be blamed for global warming is in dispute among some scientists.

Gov. Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a “war on coal” and has said that he’s skeptical about man-made climate change.

This past winter, state lawmakers approved budget wording that sought to stop adoption of the standards.

“Wyoming is certainly unique in having legislators and the governor making comments about perceived impacts on the fossil fuel industry of kids learning climate science, and unique in acting on that one objection to prohibit consideration of the package of standards, of which climate science is a small component,” said John Friedrich, a member of the national organization Climate Parents, which supports the standards.

Friedrich and Colby noted that oil and gas industry giants Exxon Mobile and Chevron support the standards.

Opponents argue the standards incorrectly assert that man-made emissions are the main cause of global warming and shouldn’t be taught in a state that derives much of its school funding from the energy industry.

“I think those concepts should be taught in science; I just think they should be taught as theory and not as scientific fact,” state Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, said.

Paul Bruno, an eighth-grade California science teacher who reviewed the standards for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, said the climate-change components can cause confusion because they are difficult to navigate.

The Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, gave the standards a “C” grade.

While the standards overall are “mediocre,” Bruno said they are being “a little bit unfairly impugned on more controversial topics like climate change or evolution.”

The standards for high school assert that models predict human activity is contributing to climate change, but leave an “appropriate amount of uncertainty” and note that it’s important to factor in costs, reliability and other issues when considering global warming solutions, he said.

“And so I think it’s fair to say that the Next Generation Standards at least make gestures in the direction of wanting to accommodate those potentially skeptical viewpoints, particularly when it comes to things like energy production,” Bruno said.

Anúncios

Umbanda e candomblé não são religiões, diz juiz federal (FSP)

FABIO BRISOLLA

DO RIO

16/05/2014 19h34

Uma tentativa do Ministério Público Federal (MPF) de retirar do Youtube uma série de vídeos com ofensas à umbanda e ao candomblé resultou em uma decisão polêmica: a Justiça optou por manter a exibição das imagens e ainda salientou que “as manifestações religiosas afro-brasileiras” não podem ser classificadas como religião.

Em decisão de 28 de abril de 2014, o juiz Eugênio Rosa de Araújo, titular da 17ª Vara Federal, afirmou que as crenças afro-brasileiras “não contêm os traços necessários de uma religião”. De acordo com o magistrado, as características essenciais a uma religião seriam a existência de um texto base (como a Bíblia ou Alcorão), de uma estrutura hierárquica e de um Deus a ser venerado.

“Se o Juiz tivesse simplesmente negado que havia ofensa nos vídeos já seria uma decisão lamentável. Mas ele foi além. Em poucas linhas, resolveu ditar o que seria ou não uma religião, o que nos pareceu um absurdo”, disse à Folha o procurador Jaime Mitropoulos, que apresentou um recurso contra a decisão da 17ª Vara Federal.

Procurado pela Folha, o juiz Eugênio Rosa de Araújo preferiu não falar sobre a decisão.

Nos vídeos denunciados pelo MPF, pastores evangélicos associam praticantes de umbanda a uma legião de demônios. Também fazem comparação semelhante com o culto aos orixás característico do Candomblé.

A ação do MPF teve origem em uma denúncia da Associação Nacional de Mídia Afro, que pedia a exclusão dos vídeos citados do Youtube pelas ofensas disseminadas contra as religiões com raízes africanas.

No início de 2014, o MPF chegou a recomendar que a representação do Google no Brasil deletasse os vídeos. Entretanto, segundo a Procuradoria, a empresa se negou a atender a orientação. A partir daí, o caso foi encaminhado à Justiça.

Scott Atran: ” the best predictor (in the sense of a regression analysis) of willingness to commit an act of jihadi violence is if one belongs to an action-oriented social network, such as a neighborhood help group or even a sports team”

Here He Goes Again: Sam Harris’s Falsehoods

Sam Harris

Here He Goes Again: Sam Harris’s Falsehoods (This View of Life)

POST: JUNE 13, 2013 1:05 PM
AUTHOR: SCOTT ATRAN         SOURCE: TVOL EXCLUSIVE

Sam Harris posted a recent blog about my views on Jihadis that is unbecoming of serious intellectual debate, if not ugly. He claims that I told him following a “preening and delusional lecture” that “no one [connected with suicide bombing] believes in paradise.” What I actually said to him (as I have to many others) was exactly what every leader of a jihadi group I interviewed told me, namely, that anyone seeking to become a martyr in order to obtain virgins in paradise would be rejected outright. I also said (and have written several articles and a book laying out the evidence) that although ideology is important, the best predictor (in the sense of a regression analysis) of willingness to commit an act of jihadi violence is if one belongs to an action-oriented social network, such as a neighborhood help group or even a sports team (see Atran, TALKING TO THE ENEMY, Penguin, 2010).

Harris’s views on religion ignore the considerable progress in cognitive studies on the subject over the last two decades, which show that core religious beliefs do not have fixed propositional content (Atran & Norenzayan, “Religion’s Evolutionary Landscape,” BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, 2004). Indeed, religious beliefs, in being absurd (whether or not they are recognized as such), cannot even be processed as comprehensible because their semantic content is contradictory (for example, a bodiless but physically powerful and sentient being, a deity that is one in three, etc). It is precisely the ineffable nature of core religious beliefs that accounts, in part, for their social and political adaptability over time in helping to bond and sustain groups (Atran & Ginges, “Religious and Sacred Imperatives in Human Conflict,” SCIENCE, 2012). In fact, it is the ecstasy-provoking rituals that Harris describes as being associated with such beliefs which renders them immune to the logical and empirical scrutiny that ordinarily accompanies belief verification (see Atran & Henrich, “The Evolution of Religion,” BIOLOGICAL THEORY, 2010).

Harris’s generalizations of his own fMRIs on belief change among a few dozen college students as supportive of his views of religion as simply false beliefs are underwhelming. As Pat Churchland surmised: “There is not one single example in [Harris’s work] of what we have learned from neuroscience that should impact our moral judgments regarding a particular issue. There may EXIST examples, but he does not provide any.” (personal communication 2/24/11; see also the fMRI work by our neuroeconomics team lead by Greg Berns in the theme issue on “The Biology of Conflict,” PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY, 2012).

Context-free declarations about whether Islam, or any religion, is inherently compatible or incompatible with extreme political violence – or Democracy or any other contemporary political doctrine for that matter — is senseless. People make religious belief – whether Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and so forth – compatible with violence or non-violence according to how they interpret their religious beliefs. And how people interpret religious injunctions (e.g., the Ten Commandments), as well as transcendental aspects of political ideologies, almost invariably changes over time. For example, on the eve of the Second World War, political and Church leaders in Fascist Italy and Spain claimed that Catholicism and Democracy were inherently incompatible, and many Calvinist and Lutheran Protestants believed that God blessed the authoritarian regime. As Martin Luther proclaimed, “if the Emperor calls me, God calls me” – a sentiment that Luther, like many early Christians, believed was sanctified by Jesus’s injunction to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Nevertheless, the principles of modern liberal democracy first took root and grew to full strength in The European Christian and Colonial heartland. As Benjamin Franklin expressed it in his proposal for the motto of the new American Republic: “ Rebellion against Tyranny is Obedience to God.” Or, as the Coordinating Council of Yemeni Revolution for Change put it, an Islam of “basic human rights, equality, justice, freedom of speech, freedom of demonstration, and freedom of dreams!” (National Yemen, “The Facts As They Are,” Youth Revolutionary Council Addresses International Community, April 25, 2011).

That there is a cruel and repugnantly violent contemporary current in Islam, there is no doubt. Factions of the Christian identity movement, the Tamil Tiger interpretation of Hinduism as necessitating suicide attacks against Buddhist enemies, Imperial Japan’s interpretation of Zen Buddhism as a call to a war of extermination against the Chinese, all have produced cruel and barbarous behavior that has adversely affected millions of people. But Harris’s take on such matters is so scientifically uninformed and mendacious as to be a menace to those who seek a practical and reasoned way out of the morass of obscurantism.

As a final note, I should also mention that I am a lead investigator on several multiyear, multidisciplinary field-based science projects sponsored by the Department of Defense, including “Motivation, Ideology, and the Social Process in Radicalization,” aspects of which are taught to military personnel from general officers down. And I am recurrently asked to give briefings on these subjects to the White House, Congress and allied governments. I know of no comparable demands or operational interest among the political, defense or intelligence agencies of the U.S. and its allies for Harris’s musings on religious ecstasy. In Harris’s strange worldview, which is admittedly popular among many who believe that reason’s mission is to end religion to save the species, failure to apply those musings to stop religiously-directed violence across the globe may well be a another sign of the “crazy” ideas that he regularly ascribes to those who refuse his truth.

Here is what Harris wrote:

I have long struggled to understand how smart, well-educated liberals can fail to perceive the unique dangers of Islam. In The End of Faith, I argued that such people don’t know what it’s like to really believe in God or Paradise—and hence imagine that no one else actually does. The symptoms of this blindness can be quite shocking. For instance, I once ran into the anthropologist Scott Atran after he had delivered one of his preening and delusional lectures on the origins of jihadist terrorism. According to Atran, people who decapitate journalists, filmmakers, and aid workers to cries of “Alahu akbar!” or blow themselves up in crowds of innocents are led to misbehave this way not because of their deeply held beliefs about jihad and martyrdom but because of their experience of male bonding in soccer clubs and barbershops. (Really.) So I asked Atran directly:

“Are you saying that no Muslim suicide bomber has ever blown himself up with the expectation of getting into Paradise?”

“Yes,” he said, “that’s what I’m saying. No one believes in Paradise.”

At a moment like this, it is impossible to know whether one is in the presence of mental illness or a terminal case of intellectual dishonesty. Atran’s belief—apparently shared by many people—is so at odds with what can be reasonably understood from the statements and actions of jihadists that it admits of no response. The notion that no one believes in Paradise is far crazier than a belief in Paradise.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/islam-and-the-misuses-of-ecstasy

Scott Atran is an American and French anthropologist who is a Director of Research in Anthropology at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University in England, Presidential Scholar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and also holds offices at the University of Michigan. He has studied and written about terrorism, violence and religion, and has done fieldwork with terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists, as well as political leaders.