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US: Virginia school removes 8-year-old for ‘non-Biblical’ gender expression

  • Valksy

    Fundie christians – Jihadis. Two sides of the same coin (unsurprising, since they worship the same damned toxic thing, despite their incessant, tedious and often bloodthirsty squabbles).

    Anything that drives another nail into the coffin of Abrahamic faith is fine by me, and the more radical and extremist they are seen to be in the modern connected world, the more it turns people off their dogmatic christofascist misogynistic magical nonsense. And nothing of value will be lost.

  • Tom (Winnipeg)

    If Christ wore robes down to his ankles, why aren’t these so-called Christian male buffoons dressing likewise? Aren’t they afraid of burning eternally in the lake of fire?

    • DZ

      Maybe because robes are so similar to dresses to them that they’re afraid of being mistaken for expressing an alternative gender identity?

    • Joe McDougall

      God knows (haha!) what these fools make of the pope with his fancy hats, frocks and shoes!

      • Tim

        They seem like the sort of Christians who would consider him to be the antichrist…

    • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

      Because that would make them look like the Taliban… oh wait.

  • dtnorth

    Clearly the child must be stoned to death.

    It says so in the scriptures!

    How dare this spawn of hell question the church.

    How dare he question his betters.

    How dare he know how his own body feels.

    It breaks my heart every time I read stories like these knowing them to be commonalities rather than rarities.

    And all caused by religion.

    The ignorant belief in some entity that gives an “F”

    Surely enough is enough and religious “believers” should be removed from society as harmful to the common good.

  • p

    You know it is really getting to me with these schools. Schools these days seem to be bigger bullies than actual bullies. Over the past few months I have read that we have lost three beautiful children to homophobic bullying and the schools have done nothing except feel sorry for themselves and moan about the fact for that they cannot change anything because its too late. We now have schools trying to keep ‘differences’ out of sight and out of mind by banning boys from having any connection with My Little Pony and preventing young girls from having short hair and dressing to masculine as it is seen un-biblical, even though the child feels more comfy. These kids are our future and we do not need establishments enforcing false fallacies. These casuistries are out of date in 2014. How can we teach young people about acceptance when we see institutions enforcing segregation any way. We need to act now to stop this ever ending cycle which creates hatred and phobia through people been uneducated.Litigation should be enforced before we loose any more innocents and hurting the young braves who choose to be different. Dissociation of differences should be exterminated through policy and law.

    • dtnorth

      Nobody chooses to be different.

      They just are whatever they are.

      The issue is with those who wish to dismiss or not understand difference, and use their bibble / religion as an excuse to spout hatred due to there failure to understand that humanity does not come from in one block template.

      • p

        Yes I agree, I mean with what I posted I meant what others ‘perceive’. people should be treated equally without a doubt we are all human after all

  • CheGuerva

    Are they stuck in the 1950’s?? Both girls and boys wear pants and I see many girls with bob haircuts. It’s actually becoming rare to see females in dresses these days, except for formal or festive occasions. I suspect if she had a stereotypical feminine physique (e.g. slender build, blond hair) and “girly” hobbies there wouldn’t be any objections. No wonder we’re lagging behind other developed countries in STEM.

  • Don_Harrison

    How crazy

  • Colin

    Grandparents Doris and Carroll you got it. All she will need is love, respect and your support. You are an asset to your community and I hope your community supports you.
    I’m not religious myself but still do not believe the school acted correctly. Human decency and respect tells me that not religion.

  • Colin

    Diversity is good for humanity…all of us….. inclusive

  • scallywag

    Because one can always trust the Church to appropriate ‘correct’ gender scripts or else….

    Because a woman’s place is always behind that of a man….

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2014/03/sunnie-kahle-8-year-old-tomboy-kicked-school-short-hair/

  • Dermot Mac Flannchaidh

    I’m so sure the Bible called for women to wear long hair. (That was sarcasm.) Especially considering Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women typically shave their hair bald and the men have a stigma against hair trimming.

  • Helge Vladimir Tiller

    I hardly believe what I read here ! Is this true ? Could only occur in The US. Not even in Russia !

    • Helge Vladimir Tiller

      Discrimination like this is forbidden by law in Norway! Even religious , private schools can not implement “religious rules” and dress codes like this actual School in Virginia.

      • DZ

        Sadly there’s still pressure to conform though, both at school and outside it.

    • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

      No, far worse happens in Russia.

      Rather than someone ejected for wearing something or cutting their hair in a particular way, in Russia people are beaten in the streets, gay venues are shot at and the inhabitants gassed by far-right goons, men dressed in military clothing beat people in front of cameras for daring to express an opinion, and the police are conveniently nowhere to be found!

  • Peter Duncan

    These alleged Christians need to read the Bible, all of it, not just the bits that confirm their prejudices. Christ said ” suffer the little children to come to me, forbid them not.” No where did he say I don’t want to see little girls with short hair.

  • TomSatsuma

    What the Bible says about how to wear your hair?

    I REALLY don’t think they want to open that can of worms…

  • Truth

    Clearly a decision by religious, brainwashed, homophobic bigots.

  • Tom

    She’s had a very valuable lesson: just how dumb many adults really are.
    Useful thing to learn early in life, encourages use of multiple sources of information and then one’s own brain rather than simply believing what one is told.

  • CathyShade

    This is because, no one ever said ” LOVE thy Neighbour”, ooooops, wait……. wasn’t that no2 of “The Ten Comandments”!!?

  • Arr U. Gaetü

    Seriously. Is anyone surprised?

    Bearded-white-guy-in-the-cloud worshipers refuse to see the movie “Noah” because it is not an accurate portrayal of Noah in the Bible. If they think the Bible is accurate, then why don’t they teach their students…

    
- “Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed.” (Leviticus 20:9)
    
- “If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake.” (Leviticus 21:9)
    
- “If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die.” (Leviticus 20:10).

    – “Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death.” (Leviticus 20:27)

    – “Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community.” (Leviticus 24:14-16)
    
- “Anyone who dreams or prophesizes anything that is against God, or anyone who tries to turn you from God, is to be put to death.” (Deuteronomy 13:5)

    – “If anyone, even your own family suggests worshipping another God, kill them.” (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)

    – “Kill anyone with a different religion.” (Deuteronomy 17:2-7)



    We’re obviously missing out on a lot of Bible-based homicidal fun.
    In addition, there would be a whole new market based on eliminating the minimum wage and selling your annoying children into slavery. Rather than wasting money on their college, you can make money to help the costs of repainting their room and renting it out.

    – “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you.” (Leviticus 25:44-46) [Would this make Northern Ireland one huge Irish-British slave flea market? I’m in the US, could I trade 2 Mexicans for 1 Canadian?]

    – “You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you.” (Deuteronomy 23:15) [Slavery has “finders keepers”?]

    – “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.” (Exodus 21:7) [Here, I may be in trouble. I’d keep the male slaves bound up in the dungeon for my personal pleasures, and send the girls out to make money on the streets.]

    I’m starting to like this God of theirs. We’d have much more fun on the weekends by having public executions and slave auctions.

    For additional ideas how to use the Bible for conversations with Christians, you must watch this clip from Season 2, Episode 3, of the “West Wing”… http://youtu.be/DSXJzybEeJM

  • Deanna Simmons

    I am confused… an eight-year-old who wants to wear pants is expressing a “sexual” identity? Isn’t that the same logic that pedophiles use when they insist that a eight year old in a dress is being sexual?

    • DZ

      Gender identity, not sexual identity.

      • Deanna Simmons

        I know…I just find the Bible argument stupid in general, but much more so for children…

      • Richard Harrold

        Sorry? I had female friends who wore trousers and had more interest in what we think of as male pursuits than dolls, dresses and makeup. Guess what, none of them turned out to be lesbian or transgender. Equally, I have long, lush hair and a penchant for pink clothes – and guess what? I’m a confident, comfortable heterosexual male without any questions over my gender identity (which is one reason why I cannot understand homophobia, as I don’t feel threatened by homosexuality in any way, despite it being as far as possible from my own inclination). What you wear, what your interests are and your sexuality/gender identity may be linked in some cases, but you cannot stereotype one based on the other.

        • DZ

          You misunderstood, what I ment was that the school thought Sunnie’s choice of clothes and hairstyle was not conforming with what they mean is correct gender expression for a female. I was just pointing out that the case was about gender expression and not sexual expression.

          • Richard Harrold

            I don’t see it as being necessarily related to gender expression in any way…

          • DZ

            Why?

          • Richard Harrold

            Because this is a CHILD we’re talking about. Kids have different interests and sartorial inclinations. It doesn’t necessarily link to gender identity in any way. I always liked the colour pink, pink clothes, and grew my hair long. I didn’t turn out to be a trans woman or a gay man, just a comfortable, secure, liberal straight male who doesn’t give a monkey’s if you’re any one or more of LGBTQ. I think far too much meaning is being read into this case.

          • DZ

            I’m NOT saying that she’s gonna be lesbian or trans because she have short hair and dresses as she do. She might be straigh, she might be lesbian, maybe she’s bi? Or maybe trans? What the hell do I know? I don’t know her, I don’t know if she’s queer or not and I refuse to make any assumptions about it based on her clothing style. People should be able to dress as they like, do as they like and behave as they like without having it linked to gender identity or sexual identity. I wish for today’s gender norms to go to hell and stay there so we can live without blue “boy toys”, pink “girl toys”, women dressed masculine automatically viewed as lesbian, etc. etc. I think you get the point.

            But the SCHOOL in this article does not share that view. They have strict gender norms and that’s why they removed Sunnie. They see her as a girl that’s not dressing accordingly to how they think girls should dress.

          • Richard Harrold

            Oh, quite. She could be any of those, we just don’t know. I just dislike leaping to conclusions. The gender norms of today are arguably the invention of marketing men within the last thirty years, which seems odd given the progress made toward women’s equality in education and the workplace since then. And yeah, the school is clearly staffed by rednecks who need to be taken with their restrictive gender norms.

          • DZ

            I find this conversation funny since I’m agreeing with you on all this gender talk and have been from the start. You’re a cool guy.

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

    Hmm, it’s fascinating to see a school in the “Land of the free” acting like the Taliban.

    I wonder if the fed are gonna put this croup of crazy cult followers on a watch list? I think they deserve to be when they start attacking kids for how they look in exactly the same way the Taliban attacks kids for how they dress, how they act and what they think.

  • Halou

    Ha, for a given definition of “school”. Somewhere you go to get dumber?
    It’s a good thing that she is going to another place where she can actually develop herself and become more than just a baby factory for jebus.

  • Richard Jones

    I am sad to see such regular dissing of faith and religion whenever a religious leader says or does something foolish or stupid. They only get in the news because they have been outrageous in some way. What you don’t see is the millions of Christian and other believers working with non-believers to try to make the world a better place. Particular beliefs in themselves are not of course innate, but spirituality is and that is why most people around the world in different cultures through history have looked for some meaning in life. The Richard Dawkins view of Christianity is a straw man caricature which most thinking Christians don’t believe in either. If you leave aside the fundamentalists of any faith, and some religious leaders who in my view wrongly believe they have to maintain old-fashioned views on various social or sexual issues, I think you would find the majority of Christians and Jews, and probably a number of Muslims too, not to mention a whole host of other religions, don’t give a toss about sexuality. It’s the visible (or audible) minority which gives faith and religion a bad name. But remember it was the Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ time who had him executed because he challenged their authority. That’s the rub and the nub of it. Jesus’ teaching was a challenge and still is.

    • white squirrel

      such regular dissing of faith and religion whenever a religious leader says or does something
      foolish or stupid.
      such as claiming ‘god’ exists for example, or that this non existant entity is misogynist and homophobic

      • Richard Jones

        You said it. I don’t believe God is misogynist or homophobic and those who say he is are indeed foolish.

        • ukvillafan

          The bible is entirely misogynistic and god wrote the bible – or did he make a mistake?

          • DZ

            The bible is a collection of stories collected over many, many years and translated probably more than once. Saying that God wrote it is just wrong.

          • ukvillafan

            If you had taken the trouble to read my comment in context it is fairly obvious that I am countering a pro-Christian argument that god is not misogynistic by pointing out that the bible IS misogynistic AND according to Christianity at least divinely inspired if not the inerrant word of god. (Any Christian claiming otherwise is, in reality, denying a fundamental building block of the faith out of a desperate need to cherry-pick.) god’s misogyny is expressed overtly in the bible.

            Obviously, I would have thought, I am not claiming the bible is ACTUALLY the word of god, but others do.

          • DZ

            You can’t judge a whole religion by one single, old book with translation errors that’s written in times were thing’s different from today.

      • Richard Harrold

        Speaking as a lapsed Catholic who these days leans towards agnosticism, I have to say I’m with Mr Jones on this one. I have no time for those who seek to tar all religious folk with the same brush, as per Richard Dawkins with his straw-man caricature of Abrahamic religious belief. My argument to those who insist that there cannot be such a thing as a deity is this: yes, it seems like a somewhat improbable concept, but then so is the infinitely large universe, which is still somehow expanding, at an ever-accelerating rate (and the rate of acceleration is itself accelerating!), into – WHAT?! There is far more to this universe than any of us mere mortals will ever fully understand. The incredible advances in human knowledge in the last century have served (as much as for any other purpose) simply to underline how little we really know. I think there is goodness and sense to be found in most/all of the world’s major religions, if one can filter out the stuff which is either irrelevant or allegory and not take it all too literally, even if one does not subscribe to the view of a creator deity.

        For what it’s worth, most of the gay folk I know are devout Anglicans (including two who are ordained priests)…

        • Richard Jones

          Thank you, Mr Harrold. Even many scientists acknowledge that while science tries to explain the “how” of the world, it cannot explain the “why”, which goes into much deeper territory – the meaning I mentioned yesterday. And btw I’m a gay Anglican priest myself, which is why this is important to me.

          • VP

            That’s an utterly fatuous piece of equivocation and you know it. There is no valid sense in which the “how” and the “why” of existence are different at a physical level – the observed patterns which nature makes account for existence in totality. Gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear force and so forth are just as adequate answers to “why” as they are to “how”.

            “Why” is a question that only applies distinctly in intra-human relations. The distinction in this case presupposes intelligent agency, and that arises from evolutionary processes late in the universe.

            There is nothing “deeper” than the universe itself. Indeed, your childish desire for something more than exists is actually a much shallower approach to the universe. Instead of accepting the vastness and grandeur and unfamiliar complexity of nature as revealed by science, you heark back to the comforting and familiar notion that there are people behind it all, people that you can interact with on a social level. That you can somehow read everything in terms of social interactions, because that’s what our ape brains have evolved to be good at. Well it simply isn’t so.

            And meaning is something personal and subjective that we invent for ourselves. It’s an intra-mental phenomenon whose only substrate in the universe is the matter of our brains. And surely that’s more than enough? Doesn’t it cheapen the meaning you come up with for your life to pretend it’s somehow external to you? That it’s somehow tied to the capricious whims of an inhuman sky-tyrant?

          • Richard Harrold

            You’re setting up here the infamous Dawkins straw-man caricature of the Abrahamic God just so you can knock it down. Most religious folk do not see their chosen deity as being a capricious, whim-prone tyrant, certainly. This is why I could never be, or get on with, an atheist – it’s this continual urgent need to demolish others’ beliefs when atheism itself is as much a belief without evidence as any other religion. Why can’t you just be content to admit we don’t know and leave others to do what they will? You’d be the first to protest, I’m sure, if any aspect of your private life was interfered with or banned by any external individual or organisation – so why are you so hell-bent on interfering in others’ private, spiritual lives like this?

          • VP

            An kind of unelected authority figure whose authority stems from their own power is a tyrant. That’s the definition of the word. The tyrant can be as benign as you like – it’s still a tyrant. And your imaginary friend is a tyrant, however fluffy you imagine his slippers to be.

            But whether tyrant or no, it still doesn’t exist.

            Atheism, unlike religion, is entirely consistent with the evidence of reality. It’s simply the observation that none of these peculiar sky-tyrant things you speak of actually exists. Just as the observation that I can’t fly is backed up by evidence, and the observation that there are no elephants in my cupboard is backed up by evidence, the observation that the monsters of archaic myth are just stories is also backed up by evidence.

            And I can’t be “content to admit that we don’t know” because we do, in fact, know. We know with as much certainty as we know anything, because there is absolutely no evidence of gods whatsoever – indeed, nobody has even come up with a precise and testable definition of one so we can even begin collecting evidence. If people run around claiming earnestly that Great Britain is three inches wide, I am not content to admit we don’t know its dimensions – because we do. It angers me when people like you pretend that our hard-won knowledge and understanding is just opinion and vagueness. Your sloppy thinking and desire to equivocate makes a mockery of the enterprise of human understanding. You hold up the crude guesses of bronze-age goatherds and medieval mystics as somehow equivalent to testable scientific knowledge because you can’t hack that your precious convictions have been rubbished and debunked. It makes me angry, because humanity is better than that.

            The nature of reality is not a private thing. It’s an objective fact we share, and when discussing it publicly there are standards of evidence and argument and rationality we must abide by. You came to a public forum for discussion – if you didn’t want your notions challenged, you should have stayed away.

            And don’t think I didn’t notice your pathetic weaselly trick there – nobody is saying that your private thoughts are going to be banned or criminalised. You can think stupid thoughts all you want. What you can’t do, though, is bring those stupid thoughts out in public and expect not to be called out on them. You can’t expect special treatment. You can’t expect us to be polite and deferential and pretend that you have a point when you don’t. The marketplace of ideas is an unforgiving place – that’s how it weeds out the bad ones – and your calls for indulgence are just one more indication that your ideas can’t stand up to rational scrutiny.

          • DZ

            Atheism is disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. It is possible to be atheist and religious.

          • Richard Harrold

            Indeed. Atheism is as much a belief system as any religion. Theists go to church – atheists go to the National Secular Society and its ilk!

          • DZ

            Actually, atheism is supposedly accepted within some religions and spiritual beliefs, like Buddhism, some Neopagan movements, hinduism and some others I can’t remember.

            I don’t think I’ve heard about the National Secular Society before.

          • Richard Harrold

            Buddhism isn’t a religion as such but a spiritual philosophy, isn’t it? Hinduism seems to be polytheistic. I can’t comment on neopaganism!

          • DZ

            That’s why I said ‘religions and spiritual beliefs’. I can no longer remember why Atheism could be accepted within Hinduism, but there was some reason. Neopaganism is kinda more like a group of religions and spiritual beliefs, so it’s hard to comment on unless one talk about a spesific movement or group within it.

          • Richard Jones

            Hi, I threw a bit of a rock in the pond when I challenged some dinosaur views about faith and religion. The reaction has been predictable but interesting. No response yet from VP to my suggestion he read John Polkinghorne. A religion is actually any set of beliefs which binds you (Latin ligo means bind) into a system by which you live. Thank you (DZ and Richard Harrold) for your comments. I will also now bow out of this conversation (shouting-match) unless there are more provocative comments requiring some riposte.

          • Richard Jones
          • DZ

            In that case I only have one last thing to tell you. Thank you for being one of those that try to keep a serious discussion instead of letting it derail into a petty insult and name calling match.

          • VP

            Sigh.. that old canard again. Atheism is not a religion, in the same way that bald is not a hair colour, not collecting stamps is not a hobby and walking is not a transport vehicle. The only reason religious people like to pretend that it is is in order to claim that their nonsensical beliefs can be put on the same level as the reasoned and evidenced conclusions of others. To try to drag those of us with wit enough to see the irrational stupidity of all religions back into the stinking morass of wishful thinking that they inhabit.

            Atheism is a conclusion about the nature of reality – and an inescapable one, given the overwhelming lack of evidence for the existence of gods. If not believing in gods is a religion, so is not believing in phlogiston, not believing in crystal spheres and not believing in the miasma theory of disease. None of these things is a systematic belief system, a dogma, a creed, a set of tenets and precepts one adheres to through faith. They’re what you find out when you examine the evidence.

            Indeed, not being religious is precisely about not being bound to authority or dogma or prescribed conclusions. It’s about not being constrained, bound back onto something as the Latin root in re- ligare would suggest. It is the very acme and fundament of science and rationality – to fit one’s assent only tentatively and provisionally according to the evidence of reality, and to be ready to change one’s mind should more or better evidence emerge.

            The true dinosaurs are the religious. Their conclusions don’t change with evidence, and their firm, systemic, hidebound certainties are anathema to true inquiry. Indeed, the notion that faith and reason are compatible is a deeply medieval one, scoured entirely away by centuries of scientific progress and religious stagnation. We excuse it in medieval people because their science was scant and uncertain, but in moderns it is a sad throwback to things we have very much grown out of.

          • Richard Harrold

            I never said atheism was a religion, but it emphatically IS a dogmatic belief without evidence. The reality is that there is a hell of a lot of stuff in the universe about which, a century ago, we were completely ignorant, and the more we’ve discovered, the more we realise how little we know. The concepts involved are often pretty mind-boggling. However unlikely the existence of a deity may be (and, aside from some historical accounts of what Jesus supposedly did, and it seems that his existence is well-proven, there IS a sore lack of extra-scriptural evidence), ultimately we cannot absolutely disprove it. To quote Sir Patrick Moore, “We just DON’T KNOW”. I’m not prepared to rule it out entirely simply because I don’t believe in it myself.

            I suggest you have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science#Living and consider approaching some of the individuals on that list to justify their faith. I’d be very interested to see the responses.

          • DZ

            You got a few things wrong here. Atheism is the disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or deities. The word originated from the greek word atheos which mean “without god(s)”. Atheism by itself is not a religion, but it have been accepted within some religious and spiritual beliefs.
            Furthermore, the definition of religion is not “to believe in one or more gods” as many people seem to think. There’s many definitions of religion, but not one that doesn’t exclude people from the category, so I can’t really give you a definition on that word.
            Ever heard the word ‘irreligion’ before? Irreligion is the lack of, indifference to, rejection of or hostility towards religious belief.

            My point is that atheism is not the same as irreligion.

        • VP

          You simply cannot compare the fuzzy, fatuous and entirely unevidenced folk notion of gods with the scientific conclusions of modern physics. Our modern understanding of cosmology comes from a rigorous, strenuously-tested, mathematically modeled, measurable and observable set of data. We only know what we do of inflation cosmology and the scale of the universe because we have followed vast amounts of evidence to these conclusions. Gods, on the other hand, have no evidence behind them at all. Not one whit. Nothing. They’re pure neolithic fantasy. Indeed, nobody has ever come up with a definition of the things that is clear and precise enough to even admit of evidence for the testing – there can be no evidence for such vagueness and hand-wavy nonsense.

          And yes, we are beginning to glimpse ever grander vistas of the universe and appreciate the limited scale of our current understanding. But that doesn’t mean you get to insert the crude goblins and ghosts and fairies of our ancestors’ imagining into the picture. The more we know of the true nature of the universe the sillier and more pathetically parochial your religious myths of gods and monsters become – the obvious products of our limited human imaginations and fears.

          As for morality – yes, you can filter out some moral notions from the pap and pablum of religious thought. But to do so you have to use a developed moral sense to see what is actually moral and what needs discarding. Morality does not come from religious dogma, it comes from human solidarity, instinct, social agreement and empathy. All religions ever do is steal, parasitise, dress up and falsely claim to own the moral notions of society. Much better to leave the stolid mass of dross entirely and just apply yourself to morality without any of the nasty and pointless baggage.

          • Richard Harrold

            I wouldn’t say there is NO evidence of the existence of some form of deity or a more abstract force of creation, only that the evidence is at best highly circumstantial. There have been instances (including one with people I know) where apparently terminal illnesses have disappeared or been recovered from after a great deal of prayer (and where the medics have had no rational explanation or comeback). I think that miracles do happen and that there is something or someone looking after us (though the various disasters which befall the world do rather shake one’s belief in that), but it is impossible to either prove or disprove its existence and it is impossible to provide an exact definition of that creative force. Needless to say, the point where I part company with some religious folk is where they deny well-established facts and well-tested theories of science simply because those theories and facts contradict their chosen holy book, or take suicidally stupid risks because they know God will look after them and are content to die by any means at any time, as God is all-knowing and has planned it all – that sort of attitude is madness. I take the view that sensible religious faith in no way conflicts with or contradicts science.

          • VP

            Absolute rubbish. You’re just trying to dodge the issue.

            Until you come up with a precise and testable definition of what a deity is and how it affects the world, you cannot say there is evidence for one. An “abstract force of creation” is not a hypothesis, it’s just vague words that can mean all sorts of things. It’s not just that nobody else knows what you’re talking about, YOU don’t know what you’re talking about either.

            Which is why science and religious faith are utterly incompatible. Science is about defining, testing, finding evidence and sharpening conclusions irrespective of how you feel about them. If you’re not able to do that, you’re not doing science and not approaching closer to the truth. Religious faith is about waffling, equivocation, obfuscation and saying things that make you feel nice. They’re completely at odds as ways of approaching the world.

            Spontaneous remission of illness happens all the time. It’s well documented. “Miracles” are not. That’s just crude wishful thinking.

            Just because you’re not one of the extremists, that doesn’t make your more moderate form of faith right or respectable. You might not live there, but you’re still halfway to crazy-town.

          • Richard Jones

            I will be brief because you seem to have made up your mind and I don’t think you want to listen to alternative views. But try reading John Polkinghorne KBE FRS, past President and now Fellow of Queen’s College Cambridge, former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University. Try, for example, “Science and Religion in Quest of Truth” (SPCK, 2011), on which the New Scientist magazine comments: “For particle physicist John Polkinghorne – the only ordained member of the Royal Society – science and theology are not at loggerheads. They are instead attempts to formulate coherent and adequate accounts of the phenomena within their purview … Polkinghorne’s argument for the proposition that God is real is cogent and his evidence is elegant.” And that is from New Scientist. The science-religion antithesis debate has evolved since Darwin’s time, as one might expect, except not everyone has realised it.

          • VP

            That a small handful of people who do science also hold some nutty religious beliefs is not evidence that the two modes of thinking are compatible. Cognitive dissonance is all too common in human psychology – indeed, it is to be expected given our haphazardly evolved mental architecture. I have read a large number of religious people’s craven attempts to pretend they are intellectually respectable, thank you very much, and like all of them that odious pseud Polkinghorne’s blather is utterly trite and unconvincing – which is why the vast, vast majority of scientists are not religious. You’d rather expect a priest who also does science to foam at the mouth in such a way in a pathetic attempt to reconcile his profession (science) with his madness (religion). What comes out is not pretty.

            You simply cannot get away from the fact that science is a real branch of knowledge – about evidence and testing – while theology is a kind of masturbatory fan-fiction activity about obfuscation, special pleading and making things up to justify inherited notions. Theology does not use evidence, does not make hypotheses and test them, does not change its mind.

            Theology does not produce real conclusions. Let us take a look at some of its findings shall we? According to theology there is either one god (islam), or three (christianity), or billions (hinduism), or none at all (buddhism). This god (or one of them) is either triune (or isn’t), may or may not have come to earth once as a human (or several times as various animals), and will come back at some unspecified time in the future (or won’t) to judge all mankind (or just an elect segment of it) on how well they’ve done in following instructions (or not, but rather whether their names were picked from the phone book of predestination). These instructions include whether people eat pork (jews and muslims) or beef (hindus) or any meat (jains) or anything that reproduces sexually (cathars), whether they have sex in certain ways (or not), whether they love or hate the right people and / or whether they believe a very specific version of one story or another (or not). Once the god has decided it will send the ones it likes to heaven (via purgatory, or not if that doesn’t exist), or to hell (or not if that doesn’t exist), or reincarnate them (either endlessly or with the ultimate goal of nirvana, if that exists), or none of the above because it’s all just a metaphor for being good in this life. Since many thousands of years of theological speculation have comprehensively failed to answer these, the most fundamental questions of the oevre – or even make any progress whatsoever on them – what are we to make of its validity as a discipline? While science has made vast real and tangible progress in the last centuries, theology is just the same soggy mess of post-hoc justifications for tribalistic opinion and wishful thinking that it was millennia ago.

            New Scientist, by the way, is a cheap popular magazine. Try respected journals like Nature and the Lancet if you want real science. You know, the stuff done by people who don’t think magic goblins and grumpy sky-tyrants pull all the strings to reality.

          • Richard Jones

            VP, your invective undermines – indeed explodes – everything you say. You have a very distorted view of faith (btw Christians do NOT believe in three gods). I won’t respond any further to your opinionated crap because you have closed your mind and clearly I can’t open it.

          • Richard Harrold

            I’m not at all religious myself, actually, just vaguely aware of some kind of spiritual sphere. Spontaneous remission of illnesses that leave all the trained medics completely baffled – let’s hear your explanation for the cause thereof. Many eminent scientists are also devoutly religious, as it happens. I’m not going to argue this one with you any further.

          • VP

            If by “spiritual” you mean “psychological” then we have no quarrel. Human psychology is rich and fascinating, particularly its irrationalities. if, however, you mean some force or power other than the inner workings of our brains then I would ask what evidence you have for this new dimension of reality, and why you have not presented it to the Nobel committee and claimed your place as the most renowned scientist since Einstein.

            Spontaneous remission of illnesses thought incurable is remarkably easily explained – medics don’t know everything about human physiology and epidemiology. If they did then medical science would have stopped. Which is more plausible, eh? That humans don’t understand everything there is to know about medicine yet, or that there’s an invisible ghost wizard sticking his nose in every once in a while?

            And, as I said, the small handful of religious scientists is evidence of human cognitive dissonance, not of the compatibility of the two phenomena. There are some economists who believe in astrology – does that make those two things compatible? There are serial killers who donate money to charity – does that mean the two are logically reconcilable?

    • Colin

      For me people who need gods need help…take control of your own life and death and enjoy the journey. I’m an ordinary guy, have a fantastic ordinary life. When my time is up I’ll be a little sad to go as this planet is incredible but will make way for the next inhabitants. I marvel every day at people and nature. I’ve had my fair share of life’s knocks like everyone else. Most taught me something.

      No god there…..it can be done

      • Richard Jones

        I fear it’s the fallacy of people who don’t believe in something beyond themselves to think they can control their own lives. Can you really? Will you control everything that happens to you tomorrow? Will you control your own death?

        • Colin

          I started with nothing. I am financially independant. I support others. I travel the world at my pace learning and seeking to understand life and people. Other people teach me daily. I’m the luckiest man on this planet but luck played no part. Opportunity met drive. I believe in empowering others and helping them take control of their lives. I am an ordinary man, worked hard, but I believe in myself and therefore push to succeed if thats the right word. I did not start that way however but learned from others and chose to live empowered.

          I have no problem taking my own life if I get cancer or something major. I am prepared and will etc written. Those who love me have been told just pay someone local to dispose of my body. No sweat. Why would I? I will not be a burden to others. I am too busy living to spend time thinking about gods that no-one can prove every existed. God’s cause wars…why would I wish to think about that? A life examined I have and love it.

          I ask you what stops you doing the same? I want my life for everyone if it’s appealing to them.

        • VP

          Everyone believes in things beyond themselves. Other people, other animals, the world we live in, the wider universe… that’s quite a lot of things beyond ourselves that we have real, tangible evidence for. We may not have total control over all of them, but they’re real enough and can be influenced to some degree at least by studying them and working out how they work and what affects them.

          Which is something that cannot be done by imagining a coterie of monsters and goblins that demonstrably don’t exist and then asking those to sort out your life for you…

  • white squirrel

    so is this school going to ban girls undergoing chemo therapy for childhood cancer?

  • James Campbell

    Groan …. This is yet another occasion when i want to go and lie down in a dark room away from the malign ignorance of the mentally deranged, who obviously read the Bible upside down. By this ‘logic’ jeans, trainers, motor bikes, baseball caps, school blazers, bicycles and television are not ‘Biblical’. I would like to search their homes, wardrobes and garages to see what they have which the inhabitants of the middle East did not have 2000 years ago. Expecting these morons to understand gender identity and sexuality is like expecting a two year old to understand geometry (or anyone to understand what some translations of the old testament really say (and I am a Christian ….)

  • Bikerman

    Love those grandparents. What lovely nurturing people! The child will do far better away from the poisonous messages of a small minded religious school

  • H I

    What are these “so called parents” teaching their kids, that’s its ok to exclude those that are different, discriminate. Did Christ exclude Mary Magdalene, no he did not. This tomboy should be sought out and brought back into the flock and accepted with all her differences and judge not by her looks, but by the content of their character. I hope the school and parents are not judge as they have judged others, when their time comes.

  • Mike

    By the beautiful breasts of Aphrodite and the Winged Heels of Hermes what are these people on for Zeus’ sake!!!

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