Has anyone else noticed a sudden increase in Jehovah’s Witnesses on the streets of Britain in recent months? I keep seeing them handing out their Watchtower magazines and “What does the Bible really say?” booklets everywhere lately.
Last month, I was mildly curious and accepted one of the offered magazines. (This, along with my cheerful, “ooh, yes please!” seemed to produce a response in the offerer similar to a mild electric shock.) The reason for my interest was the cover story and its headline, “Is Satan real?” According to Betteridge’s Law of Newspaper Headlines, if an article’s headline is framed as a question, the answer is invariably “no”. However, Watchtower violated that rule, because it turned out, much to my surprise, that the answer is “yes”.
It was reported yesterday that a woman in Sudan has been sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy – leaving the Muslim faith – after she married a Christian man.
It’s appalling and obscene, but unfortunately not very shocking. Sharia is absolutely clear on death as the punishment for apostasy, and surveys show worryingly high percentages of Muslims living in the UK – not ‘extremists’ but the supposedly moderate bulk of believers – agree with it.
When it’s from a faith school, and the exam boards have redacted all questions about evolution from the exams, in order to respect religious sensitivities.
Unfortunately, it’s not a joke.
Here’s the article from the Sunday Times (paywall) which broke the story about exam board OCR removing questions about evolution from the science GCSE papers at Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School, a Jewish faith school in Hackney. And here’s a freely available summary of the story from the BBC.
My friend John Bevan sent me a link to this video by Greg Craven, and asked me to comment on it, so here you go.
In the video, which has been around for several years and has several million views (by which I mean to point out that this contribution is superfluous), Craven gives his analysis of the climate change debate. Using a simple logical tool, he seems to cut straight through all the controversy over whether and to what extent climate change is man-made and preventable, to an incontrovertible conclusion about what we must do: act now to prevent it.
For me, 20 is the most sympathetic of the 22 creationists. As far as we can tell, she’s not a victim of paralysing fear like 2 or 3, a credulous automaton like 12 or 18, nor the sad product of a broken education system like 9 or 10.
All we know about her is two things:
1. She subscribes to the idea of unthinking wonder.