Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Catholic hospitals prefer death over abortion

Posted in Preliator pro Causa by Skepdude on May 17, 2010

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Here’s another example shining some light on how the primarily religious label of “pro-life” is an anvil-sized oxymoron. Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., was part of an ethics committee late last year when they had to make a tough decision regarding the fate of one of their patients. The person in question was a young pregnant woman who was stricken with a serious case of pulmonary hypertension, a potentially deadly condition only exacerbated by her 11-week pregnancy. The only medically (and ethically) responsible decision to make was to abort the fetus and save the mother’s life. The ethics committee agreed, Sister McBride included; the procedure was carried out, and the patient lived. The doctors did their job and a patient walked out, minus a fetus, but alive.

However, in the world of Catholicism, no good deed goes unpunished, especially when such good deeds necessarily violate precious dogma. Bishop Thomas Olmsted, head of the local diocese, declared that Sister McBride was “automatically excommunicated” for her agreement with the ethics committee’s decision to terminate the life-threatening pregnancy. The good nun was also subsequently demoted (though it’s unclear if this is also Bishop Olmsted’s doing, though it’s certainly expected he had a hand in it).

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

He was “concerned” when the hospital asserted that an abortion was necessary to save the mother’s life? Because, apparently, as a non-medically informed peddler of ancient superstitions and oppressive dogma, his opinion about life-saving medical procedures are supposed to matter at all?

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A completely demented ruling on religious proselytization in a high school classroom

Posted in Preliator pro Causa by Skepdude on March 2, 2010

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First, take a look at these photos:

Faith banner in public school math classroom: “In God We Trust / One Nation Under God / God Bless America / God Shed His Grace On Thee”
Faith banner in public school math classroom: “All Men Are Created Equal / They Are Endowed By Their CREATOR”

Okay, standard preachy Christian rubbish. Nothing exactly new or interesting, by itself.

But … guess where these banners are located? As hinted by the geometric pie (or whatever that blue divided thingy is called), the posters about calculus and the overall “educative”-like feel of the surroundings, this is actually in … a public mathematics classroom, hung by Bradley Johnson, a math teacher at Westview High School in the Poway Unified School District in California. Because, obviously, what students want to see as they enter a supposedly secular public math class is their very Christian teacher’s public declaration of faith, as opposed to, say, anything that’s actually useful.

As you can imagine, anyone who’s aware of this little thing called the Establishment Clause – ie. Separation of Church and State – can tell you in just how many ways this violates the law. So, naturally, the Poway school district came down on Johnson and forced him to remove the banners. (Note the irony of the term “forced”, seeing as those banners should never have been present in the classroom in the first place.)

Naturally, lawsuits were filed. Because, you know, forcing a teacher at a secular institution of education to remove his proselytizing rubbish from his public classroom surely fits so well with “oppressing his religious freedom!” and all that. But, here’s the true punch to the story: the verdict.

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I wonder what Creationists will make of this?

Posted in Preliator pro Causa by Skepdude on September 14, 2009

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Get this: a Chinese woman was recently scared halfway to death upon discovering a strange creature hanging from its talons to the wall of her bedroom, in the middle of the night. What was it; a bat? Some lizard?

Close – a snake. With a leg.

Snake with a leg growing out of its body

Sure, this is neat in itself – who’s ever heard of a snake growing a leg? The most common mutation observed in snakes is a second head (twice the creepiness for most, I’m sure). But what this is, is also clear evidence for evolution. Snakes evolved from previously legged species; occasionally, random genetic mutations can activate genetic markers (indicators for where to grow legs, teeth, skin or feathers, tails, etc. – just about anything) that had been switched off along the species’s evolutionary course. That is the case with this particular individual.

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