Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Religion on the march:

March 28
Washington Post
Pharmacists' Rights at Front Of New Debate

Because of Beliefs, Some Refuse To Fill Birth Control Prescriptions
Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

PBS News Hour
Correspondent Jeffrey Brown investigates how some biology teachers are handling the hot button debate over the theory of evolution, creationism and intelligent design.
... evolution is under attack, as a national debate led mostly by religious conservatives, fuels questions about what children should be taught.
March 29
New York Times
Wearing Their Beliefs on Their Chests
... eligious themes and imagery - portraits of saints, fragments of scripture - ... have migrated in recent months from billboards and bumper stickers to baseball caps, T-shirts, flip-flops and even designer clothing

New York Times
Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible
[A man] was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict
In a [3-to-2] ruling, Colorado's highest court on Monday upheld a lower court's decision throwing out the sentence ...
The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom. "The biblical passages the jurors discussed constituted either a part of the jurors' moral and religious precepts or their general knowledge, and thus were relevant to their court-sanctioned moral assessment," the minority wrote.
In our view, the attacks on evolution and science in general (yes, even geology and astronomy is being challenged), presents a major threat to this nation's economic health and security. Evolution and geology and astronomy are, when you get down to it, a manifestation of reasoning by inference:
1 a   The act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.
When you discard inference, you are headed towards a new Dark Ages.


I have an idea for the whole ID nonsense. Let's tell them that we'll teach ID in all schools across the United States under one condition: They have to conduct an experiment that holds up to scientific scrutiny.

Just one. If it wants to be considered on par with evolution, a theory which has had numerous experiments in support of it which have held up successfully to scientific scrutiny, then it should be able to come up with at least one.

Unfortunately, just as with most of my other ideas, the media has to be doing their job for it to actually work.

By Blogger thehim, at 3/29/2005 6:41 PM  

Ah, but they'll just say, "Experiment? Maybe you need an experiment to prove you didn't come from monkeys, but I know it's ridiculous. Humans are too advanced and complex to have been just a 'dice game'. Were you around to see the 'Big Bang'? Sheesh."

And the problem is that that line of "reasoning" works on most people.

By Anonymous Occulize, at 3/29/2005 10:01 PM  

I don't agree that these items are identical in nature or threat to our rationalist democracy.

Clearly, outlawing the teaching of evolution and/or requiring teaching ID is a threat, and I would oppose it utterly.

But what's the matter with Jesus as a fashion statement? Even more so, they're wearing saints -- doesn't that show some subtlety? If someone can wear a Metallica T-shirt, I don't see what's so wrong with Catherine of Siena.

Now the pharmacist thing is troubling. Certainly their confiscating a prescription should be illegal. But their right not to fill a prescription that they "disagree with" does deny them some ethical expression. I'm uncomfortable with those who say that the prescribing physician should trump all other practitioners.

It's not at all impossible to manage this issue: require signage, collect information about patterns and use market pressure on pharmacies, etc. Best of all, I would like to see the development of professional norms through their professional organizations. One of our bigger social problems is the decline of professional responsibility and autonomy in the face of de-skilling, management, and restrictive legislation.

In the final case, using the Bible in the jury room, I'm 100% opposed to the court's decision. Amendment #1 outlaws the establishment of religion as a state power, but guarantees its free exercise. One juror wants to discuss a case in the light of the Bible, and another wants to discuss it in terms of the history of law. Jurors are going to be coming into the room with all sorts of ideas drawn from all sorts of sources. As long as the Bible is not enforced as the only or predominant source, there is nothing wrong going on. It's the multiplicity of sources of authority that preserves democracy, not the outlawing of ones we fear. Individuals in a democracy are empowered to balance those sources as they see them, applying them differently to different situations. This provides robustness and dynamism. Bottom line, we can't struggle successfully against the abuse of religious authority by denying its appropriate use.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/30/2005 4:44 AM  

Let us not forget that the last time religion got in bed with a world superpower, the result was known as the Dark Ages.

The group that goes by the undeserved moniker "Christian right" these days possess the most fantastic, lunatic set of beliefs imaginable. They have absolutely nothing whatever in common with those of Him who they claim to worship, and their love of the irrational has been adopted by the politicians they help elect.

By Blogger Democracy Lover, at 3/30/2005 11:38 AM  

I don't understand how a health professional can, in all good conscience, just say they won't perform their job anymore. I mean, the pill is not a recent development. They knew this going through school.

It would be like if I, as a teacher, said that the concept of "pi" is against my religion, so I'm just not going to teach it.

I can't imagine my principal, or my district, or my parents would be happy about that.

By Anonymous Uncle Mike, at 3/30/2005 11:35 PM  

I haven't thought out the pharmacy question and the courtroom question yet, but I do have a reasonable take on evolution here:

By Blogger granny, at 3/31/2005 2:33 PM  

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By Blogger harvey, at 10/04/2005 7:53 AM  

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