Monday, June 23, 2008

Intelligent people 'less likely to believe in God'

The correlation is undoubted but the reason why is the interesting part. That more intelligent people are far more likely to be exposed to the Leftist and anti-religious attitudes that prevail in the academy is certainly a large part of the explanation. But why is the academy Leftist? It was not always so. The great universities were mostly religious organizations originally. It is the influence of Leftism. From the French revolution on, Leftists have always resented any authority other than themselves

Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the "intellectual elite" considered themselves atheists than the national average. A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.

But the conclusions - in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence - have been branded "simplistic" by critics. Professor Lynn, who has provoked controversy in the past with research linking intelligence to race and sex, said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else. A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 per cent believed in God - at a time when 68.5 per cent of the general UK population described themselves as believers. A separate poll in the 90s found only seven per cent of members of the American National Academy of Sciences believed in God.

Professor Lynn said most primary school children believed in God, but as they entered adolescence - and their intelligence increased - many started to have doubts. He told Times Higher Education magazine: "Why should fewer academics believe in God than the general population? I believe it is simply a matter of the IQ. Academics have higher IQs than the general population. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God." He said religious belief had declined across 137 developed nations in the 20th century at the same time as people became more intelligent.

But Professor Gordon Lynch, director of the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at Birkbeck College, London, said it failed to take account of a complex range of social, economic and historical factors. "Linking religious belief and intelligence in this way could reflect a dangerous trend, developing a simplistic characterisation of religion as primitive, which - while we are trying to deal with very complex issues of religious and cultural pluralism - is perhaps not the most helpful response," he said.

Dr Alistair McFadyen, senior lecturer in Christian theology at Leeds University, said the conclusion had "a slight tinge of Western cultural imperialism as well as an anti-religious sentiment".

Dr David Hardman, principal lecturer in learning development at London Metropolitan University, said: "It is very difficult to conduct true experiments that would explicate a causal relationship between IQ and religious belief. Nonetheless, there is evidence from other domains that higher levels of intelligence are associated with a greater ability - or perhaps willingness - to question and overturn strongly felt institutions."


Judge overturns attack on Gideons

A federal court has declared a Florida law banning representatives of the Gideons from handing out Bibles within 500 feet of any school in the state unconstitutional because it is vague and actually "encourages arbitrary enforcement." The ruling in a case brought by the Alliance Defense Fund comes from U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore and addresses an incident that developed Jan. 19, 2007, at Key Largo School, run by Principal Annette Martinson.

The law actually prohibits anyone without "legitimate business" from being within 500 feet of schools in the state and specifies "each principal or designee of each public or private school in this state shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency to prohibit any person from loitering in the school safety zone who does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone or any other authorization, or license to enter or remain in the school safety zone or does not otherwise have invitee status in the designated safety zone."

The issue arose because of team of Gideons, known for paying all of their own expenses out of pocket while raising all of their own funds and giving away Bibles, had been distributing the Scriptures at Key Largo School. The Gideons' procedure is to notify local police departments two weeks before their distribution date, give school administrators notice and have participants stand on a public bike path or sidewalk and avoid stepping on school grounds. But WND reported earlier when two members of the Gideons organization were charged for handing out Bibles there, and when a judge dismissed those counts.

Ernest Simpson and Anthony Mirto had been taken into custody by a sheriff's deputy and charged with trespassing after the principal of Key Largo School, Martinson, complained they were handing out Bibles. The initial counts were dismissed at the request of the ADF shortly after the law firm got involved, but then authorities filed a second round of counts, under a different law - this state law that prohibits anyone from being within 500 feet of any school property, including on public sidewalks and streets, without having either "legitimate business" or permission.

The lawsuit at hand then was filed on behalf of Gideon Thomas Gray, who was not arrested with Simpson and Mirto but arrived when they called to report trouble with a particular deputy sheriff. "Gray approached Officer [John] Perez and asked what the charges were. Officer Perez was highly agitated and said that Gray would know in 48 hours when he received the report," the judge said.

Gray contacted another deputy through whom he'd arranged for the distribution. "Gray then called Deputy [Ralph] Williams and asked for his assistance . Deputy Williams indicated that he would e-mail Officer Perez . Gray told Officer Perez that he had an e-mail in his car from another officer stating that the Gideons have a right to distribute Bibles from the public bike path/sidewalk, but Officer Perez indicated that he did not care," the judge wrote.

The ADF reported the two Gideons who were arrested were "placed in a Monroe County patrol car. A police officer mocked the two men, saying they could 'pray to Jesus all the way to jail.'" The ADF, after seeing that the charges against Simpon and Mirto were dismissed, filed the action on behalf of Gray, who said he feared arrest if he exercised his right to distribute Bibles.

The federal judge found that the state definition of a school safety zone, in the Key Largo School location, would include a public bike path and walkway abutting U.S. Highway 1, the highway itself and businesses including a pet motel, a gas station, a restaurant and a plumbing business. "Given the wide range of non-exempt persons and the various types of areas within the school safety zone, such as sidewalks, residential houses and streets, businesses, parking lots, etc., construing 'legitimate purpose' to mean any purpose which is connected with the operation of the school would result in an application so broad that it would likely infringe of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights," the judge said. He ordered the state never again enforce that particular law.

"Christians shouldn't be penalized for expressing their beliefs," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. "Arresting or threatening to arrest Christians simply because they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights in a public place is unconstitutional. The court was right in its assessment that the particular law used against these members of the Gideons does not pass constitutional muster."

In a statement at the outset of the case to WND, Becky Herrin, of the public information office in the Monroe County sheriff's office, stated as a fact that the defendants in the case did trespass. She later declined additional comment. "A copy of our police report (see attached) . clearly states that the people in question were arrested for trespassing on school property - not on a public sidewalk. In fact, they were given the opportunity to step off school property and onto public property, and they could have continued with their activities if they had done so. They chose instead to remain, against repeated warnings, on school property so deputies were forced to arrest them," Herrin said in a statement to WND. But the attached report forwarded to WND revealed the two were arrested while in their vehicle parked near, but not on, school property.


Human Rights Harassment against Catholic Magazine Costs $20,000, So Far

A monthly Canadian Catholic magazine of news, analysis and opinion has been burdened by $20,000 in legal costs in the process of defending itself against a campaign of harassment - including a human rights complaint - launched by homosexualist activists.

Fr. Alphonse de Valk, the editor of Catholic Insight (CI) magazine, spoke to today about the expensive and drawn-out harassment and human rights complaint that have been leveled against the magazine for the last year and a half.

CI is currently the subject of a complaint which was filed against the magazine in February 2007 by Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Centre of Edmonton. The complaint, a copy of which has obtained, is made up of a series of brief quotations, without citation or context, which Wells pulled from articles purportedly appearing on Catholic Insight's website. Wells argues that he has "reasonable grounds to believe" that these quotations prove CI is publishing "hate messages" that "are likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of their sexual orientation."

The quotations, lumped together, with only dashes and ellipses used to distinguish one from the next, are grouped under nine headings, each of which is one of Well's reasons for believing Catholic Insight is guilty of "hate speech." These include the accusation that CI has portrayed homosexuals "as preying upon children," as being the cause "for the current problems in society and the world," and as being "dangerous or violent by nature," amongst other things.

De Valk denies that the magazine at any point published hate speech. Wells, says de Valk, pulled out-of-context quotations from a total of 16 of 108 articles that CI has printed on the homosexualist issue since 1993. These articles dealt with the ongoing push within the public sphere to normalize homosexuality and, in particular, to legalize homosexual "marriage."

"Our articles were a combination of statements by doctors of the physical defects of the homosexual lifestyle, statements of the Church about the kind of lifestyle, news reports, what had been done by this judge or that judge, and then of course general analysis of the drive by the homosexual group, the activists among them that is. That's what Wells came forward with. And we defended it, saying we have a right to defend sanity, the teaching of the Church and reason."

Fifteen months after the human rights complaint was filed, CI is still awaiting a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Commission on whether the matter will proceed beyond the investigation stage. In the meantime the magazine has already racked up $20,000 in legal fees, with no end in sight. Wells, on the other hand, has had all his legal fees covered by the state.

De Valk says that not only does he agree with Mark Steyn that, when it comes to human rights commissions, "the process is the punishment," but he believes the system is "hopeless" and leaves a significant portion of Canadians who hold traditional values "in terror." This is especially the case, says de Valk, since the various adjudicators who have been put in charge of the commissions, "all seem to come from one crowd." "They're all people who no longer believe in truth, who believe that hatred is whenever you make me feel uncomfortable. They all have the concept of hatred and comfort mixed up. They no longer believe in the reason of law, the rationale of law, and they certainly don't believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition."

As a consequence, he observed, every single hate speech complaint that has been made against a Christian or conservative has resulted in a conviction. For this reason, he says, it is time to step up the push for the elimination of or the restructuring of the human rights commissions which, de Valk says, have become the tool of a very small minority of radical activists, and which are therefore "threatening the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion of a good number of Canadians."

De Valk cited in particular the recent case of Steve Boissoin, an Alberta pastor who was hauled before a human rights commission for having written a letter to the editor in a local newspaper defending Christian teaching on homosexuality. Only last week Boissoin was ordered to apologize to the complainant in his case, to pay him a significant sum of money, and to never speak or write about homosexuality again. De Valk called the Boissoin ruling, "an outrageous ruling by an outrageous commission peopled by outrageous administrators."

The editor of CI says that he is not hopeful that his magazine will win the case against it. "There's no reason why we should be [hopeful]. We have an iron-clad case if you go by truth. But if you don't go by truth, then everything is up in the air."

De Valk says that the recent actions of the Human Rights Commissions are simply the latest manifestation of a "process that has been going on in Canada for the last 40 years, beginning with the birth control, and the divorce legislation in 1968-69 and especially the abortion legislation in 69.

"Canadian law," says de Valk, "which before was still within the context of a Christian culture, is now being emptied out of Christian culture. Instead, it is being replaced with the darkness of atheism. And atheism doesn't believe that there is truth. And if there's no truth, well, then your opinion is as good as anyone else's. That's why we have the legislation allowing the killing of unborn babies. And now we have all the other things, one after the other. Divorce by demand. And then homosexual marriage being introduced into Canadian law, and replacing the old Judeo-Christian version of voluntary union of one man and one woman for life - that has been thrown out and replaced with the union between two people. If parliament can do that then they could decide that marriage could be between five people, or any other combination, whatever comes into their heads."

In addition to the human rights complaint, the magazine has also had to engage legal counsel to deal with frivolous and unsuccessful actions launched by a homosexually "married" Toronto resident and disgruntled former Catholic seminarian, who wrote in an August 21, 2007 posting on the website with respect to opposing religious institutions, "As long as the disruption is non-violent and it is proportionate to the provocation, then I think that it may be acceptable. It may not be legal, it may not be pretty, but it may be morally acceptable in some cases."

This individual's campaign of "disruption" against Catholic Insight has included attempting to strip the magazine of its funding under Heritage Canada's Publications Assistance Program and filing a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

In the meantime, concludes de Valk, supporters of CI and free speech in Canada, "Can write their members of parliament, their provincial members, and spread the word that these commissions must be revised, must be changed. "Just as the Ontario government allowed the Ontario Human Rights commission to make this ruling about Christian Horizons, which is completely unacceptable; just as the Alberta government gave its permission to make this absurd ruling about Reverend Boissoin; and just as the B.C. government allowed this tribunal with Mark Steyn to go forward last week - these governments must be held responsible. So people must agitate and make it an issue throughout the country. The hate laws should be revised by the federal government. Supporters can write their own members of parliament and start putting political pressure to have this very threatening law changed."


More photography paranoia

This also happens in England but it is even crazier in Australia. You can display nude pictures of little girls as "art" but cannot photograph your own children. Beat that!

Parents are furious after being banned from taking photographs of their children at weekend sporting events. They say the Bill Henson affair has made sports clubs paranoid about allowing them to photograph their children. Henson was cleared after police seized naked photographs of a 13- year-old girl from an art gallery.

Netball, basketball, rugby league, AFL, cricket, soccer and baseball clubs have imposed rules to prevent photos of young players being taken without the consent of all parents and coaches. NSW's Macarthur junior baseball league president Maud Goldfinch said parents had to sign a form confirming they would not take photographs without permission. Ms Goldfinch said that as a parent, she did not agree with the policy, which deprived children of happy sporting memories. "A lot of parents don't agree with what's going on. "They're quite upset by not being able to take photos of their children - they see it as an invasion of their privacy. "The Bill Henson (saga) brought it to a head. It's made people more aware ... and it brings debate around the topic."

Parents also need to give permission before photographs are uploaded to the club's website. One father said he was made to feel like a pedophile while photographing his eight-year-old daughter on the netball court. Michael Bianchino lodged a complaint with the Hills District Netball Association after it forbade him to photograph his daughter, Mia, during an under-nine match at Pennant Hills Park on May 31. "The way I was treated, I was made to feel like a pedophile," Mr Bianchino said. "I just said: 'I'm taking photos of my daughter - if anyone has a problem with their child being in the image, let me know."'

Club president Jennie Thompson repeatedly refused to comment on the incident, but said the club's policy was that parents could take photographs only after seeking permission. "Our stance and our club's stance is that we ask people to obtain permission prior to taking photographs of junior players," she said.

Cherrybrook United Netball Club president Debbie Whittle said it was hard to get permission from every parent, so few photographs were taken. "You want to get these memories for your children to keep. "It's an important part of their childhood, and you're limited because of all these rulings about getting permission," she said.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: