Friday, April 30, 2010

Burqas Banned

So Belgium has taken the first steps to ban the burqa. This is a good first step: next the niqab has to go. The reality is that these have no place in any society or religion, and have been imposed simply as a means to subjugate women, something with which even Egypt's Grand Imaam agrees. He only requires women to wear the hijab, but I suppose controlling women and making decisions and decrees on their behalf is only to be expected from a leader of a religion based on the teachings of a pedophile. Let's take the next logical step and ban the hijab, chador, khimar, shayla, in fact any mandated clothing, since these forms of dress have a single purpose which has no relation whatsoever to paying respect to their god, but exist solely to control and isolate women.

However it's not only Islam that is at fault here. Most, if not all, religions have a special place for women, and it's certainly not among the leaders. Christians, and particularly Catholicism, that organization with a corporate policy of concealing child-rape, demand that women wear head gear/not show their legs/not wear trousers/etc depending on the circumstances. Hindus claim that the sari is the only appropriately modest form of dress for women, conveniently forgetting that this particular form of dress was worn topless until the Victorians imposed their concepts of modesty on Kerala in the late 19th century. It's a pattern that is repeated ad nauseum.

Isn't it incredible that an omnipotent being, who has to keep an eye on our entire universe and any other universes, has decided that one particular sex of one particular mammal on one particular planet in one particular galaxy, should wear funny clothes.

A bigot? Moi?

It's interesting that Lord Carey should take up this unfair dismissal case, although it's hardly surprising. You gotta love the idea of him being surprised that anyone could call a homophobe a "bigot" - is he really that far removed from reality? However, I am delighted that the courts have decided that the right to express one's religious beliefs (read: prejudices) does not trump the rights of ordinary people. What a concept - I only wish this were applied universally.

Carey, in his usual forgiving and all-inclusive manner, also said that judges should stand down from Court of Appeal hearings involving religious rights to make way for judges with a proven understanding of religious issues, presumably a proven understanding that just happens to coincide with his narrow-minded view of humanity, and not a proven understanding that discrimination is wrong.

However, this paragon of empathy for his fellow man has a little history of expressing his bigotry, so today's expression of support for what can only be described as discriminatory treatment of a gay couple shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone.

Perhaps some day he might actually espouse the teachings of Christianity, and adopt the ethics of an atheist. I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Atheist Blogroll

The Fishywiki blog has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Response from Pepsi

And the response to my mail is ....
Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Pepsi-Cola regarding the Pepsi Refresh Project. We're very excited about this promotion and we hope you are too! Throughout 2010, Pepsi is giving away millions of dollars in grants to fund great ideas that help refresh our neighborhoods, communities, and country.

If you have a question or comment regarding this program, please call 1-800-768-2784 and a representative will be able to assist you.

I also would suggest that you visit for more information.

Thank you again for contacting us. We're thrilled to offer this program and wish you the best of luck in your goal to refresh our country. Together, we can all do a lot of good.

Consumer Relations

Actually, I'm neither surprised at the canned response nor am I concerned. What would make me very concerned is if they actually helped finance what is clearly a political movement based on bad science.

Edward Jenner was right: Pepsi shouldn't undermine his work.

Pepsi are currently running a laudable programme to fund various grassroot organizations. However, there is a downside - not all the proposed recipients are all they claim to be. I just sent this off to Pepsi:
I'm rather concerned that an anti-science and anti-vaccination organization is lobbying for funds from PepsiCo (, and appears to have large popular backing.

While on the surface, it appears that Generation Rescue has the welfare of children as its primary goal, it also opposes vaccination as part of its agenda. I'm certain that we all sympathize with the predicament of any parent with an autistic child, but all the evidence, without exception, indicates that this condition is not caused by any vaccination.

I believe that it would be entirely inappropriate for Pepsi to be associated with this organization, not only because it would tarnish the good name of your company (just imagine the parodies on The Onion!), but also because it would legitimize the stance of an organization which is in denial of all the facts and which, because of its anti-vaccination stance, is undermining the health of the population in general.

The main problem I have with these anti-vaccine folk is that they don't understand the harm they're doing: they believe that because others vaccinate their kids, the fact that they do not has no effect, but they forget about (or, more likely, are unaware of) the herd effect and how they are compromising the health of those around them.

For Pepsi to support this organization, fronted by the eminent scientist, Jenny McCarthy (oh, wait: she's not a scientist, she's a Playboy Playmate of the Month and winner of a Pigasus Award), would be an insult to the scientific community, a support to the bad science of these poor deluded folk, and would make the company appear quite lacking in judgement.

Don't do it, Pepsi!