Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Witch: "Your rules don't apply to me."

Add one more account to "What's the harm?"

A Geelong, Australian woman is stopped by a traffic officer for using a cell phone while driving. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Until the officer asked for her ID:
"When asked to produce her driver's licence, De Avalon replied that she did not have one," Sen-Constable Lamb said. "When asked why not, she said, 'I'm a being from another world and don't require one.' When asked to state her name and address De Avalon replied, 'I have a universal name that is not recognised here'."
Eilish De Avalon claims to be a witch, and feels that traffic laws don't apply to her. Ordinarily, this would be laughed off as she's taken away to receive mental health counseling, but in this case, the story took a dangerous turn:

"De Avalon began to wind her window up and Sen-Const Logan reached through in an attempt to remove the keys from her ignition. She continued to wind the window up pinning the officer's right arm to the door frame. She then drove off dragging him along with her."

The officer was dragged beside the car, which reached speeds up to 60 km/hour before he could get the keys. He received injuries to his arm and chest and will need surgery to repair the damage, and of course he's lucky he wasn't killed.

Her sentencing will occur on August 6th.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Arab convicted of rape by deception?

From the news of the weird:

An Israeli woman in Jerusalem meets a man, supposedly because of an interest in his motorcycle. They have consensual sex that same day. Later she discovers that he was not Israeli, as she thought, but actually Arab.

So she went to the police and claimed he raped her.

Sabbar Kashur, an Israeli Arab, was initially charged with rape and indecent assault. But Kashur claims he never pretended to be Jewish. "If I were Jewish, they wouldn't have even questioned me."

The charges were later changed to "rape by deception" and Kashur was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

The judge presiding over the case, Zvi Segal, apparently can read the woman's mind:
"If she had not thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious relationship, she would not have co-operated."

And the judge has quite the juvenile understanding of male/female relationships:
"The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price - the sanctity of their bodies and souls.

Let this be a lesson to young men wishing to meet women in Jerusalem. You better have a blood sample, a paternity test, and a fact-checked resume ready before letting a woman speak to you, lest she later decide that you duped her into being a dupe.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Where are the atheist billionaires?"

Billionaire businessman Warren Buffet just donated another $1.93 billion to five charitable foundations, another step in his 2006 commitment to donate 99 percent of his enormous wealth to charity.

The majority of the funds went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a secular charity working to alleviate education and health issues around the world.

Warren Buffett identifies himself as 'agnostic.'

"He did not subscribe to his family's religion. Even at a young age he was too mathematical, too logical, to make the leap of faith. He adopted his father's ethical underpinnings, but not his belief in an unseen divinity." --from Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, by Roger Lowenstein (Doubleday, 1995), page 13.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Muslim apostate hanged after admitting he was atheist

Here's another maddening story of the state of religious tolerance in our world:

A YOUNG Muslim, who had been investigated by his employers at Male International Airport in the Maldives for apostasy, was found hanged from the airport’s control tower yesterday.

The death of Ismail Mohamed Didi, a 25 year-old air traffic controller, prompted deep concern on the Islamic website Raajjeislam which  reported that Ismail “was a person inclined to atheism” and had:

Declared his atheism to his friends.

In two emails sent to an international humanitarian organisation on June 23 and 25, Ismail admitted he was an atheist and desperately requested assistance for a UK asylum application. He claimed to have received several anonymous threats on June  22.

Genocide: Good or Bad? It depends!

Israeli psychologist George Tamarin conducted a survey among 1000 Israeli school-children ages eight to fourteen. He presented to them the biblical story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, where Joshua commanded Israeli soldiers to slaughter all men, women, children, infants, and animals in the city, and to bring all gold and silver into the Israeli treasury.

The children were then asked a single moral question: Do you think Joshua and the Israeli soldiers acted rightly? The results were interesting. 66% of the children expressed total approval, 8 percent expressed partial approval, and 26% expressed total disapproval. Contrary to expectations, there was no difference in the answers between male and female children.

Those who expressed total approval typically gave religious reasons for their answer:

In my opinion Joshua and the Sons of Israel acted well, and here are the reasons: God promised them this land, and gave them permission to conquer. If they would not have acted in this manner or killed anyone, then there would be the danger that the Sons of Israel would have assimilated among the Goyim.

In my opinion Joshua was right when he did it, one reason being that God commanded him to exterminate the people so that the tribes of Israel will not be able to assimilate amongst them and learn their bad ways.

Joshua did good because the people who inhabited the land were of a different religion, and when Joshua killed them he wiped their religion from the earth.

Even some of those who expressed total disapproval did so for backhanded religious reasons. One girl wrote that even entering the land to perform the conquest ran grave risks:

I think it is bad, since the Arabs are impure and if one enters an impure land one will also become impure and share their curse.

Two others expressed disapproval because the Israelites slaughtered the animals as well, and those could have been kept as more loot.

What really makes this study interesting is that Tamarin also ran a control experiment. He presented the same story to 168 other school-children, except he substituted any mention of "Joshua" with "General Lin" and of "Israel" with "a Chinese kingdom 3,000 years ago." When asked the same question of approval, this time the results were reversed. Only 7% expressed approval, 18% gave partial approval, and 75% disapproved. As Richard Dawkins writes:

"In other words, when their loyalty to Judaism was removed from the calculation, the majority of the children agreed with the moral judgments that most modern humans would share. Joshua's action was a deed of barbaric genocide. But it all looks different from a religious point of view. And the difference starts early in life. It was religion that made the difference between children condemning genocide and condoning it." The God Delusion, p. 255