A Skeptical Faith In Humanity

(Formally whyilostmyfaith)

Hi.
I am a twenty something biology student from England, and I am an agnostic-atheist/feminist/liberal cis-male.

This blog started as an atheism blog, where I wrote posts on my reasons for losing my Christian faith, but since then my interests have broadend, and I now talk about a range of things that interest me. Expect posts on atheism, feminism, equality, politics and science, and whatever else I feel is important.

I try to write original texts posts when I have the energy, these can be found through the links above.

Any questions or criticisms on my posts are welcome. I shall write answers to any and all queries, arguments and statements that are sent my way.

I have a funny/fandom/personal blog at beguiled-again.tumblr.com I am way more active on there and it's awesome you should totally check it out.

beguiled-again:

Here, have a rant about something that’s annoying me right now:

Last year Tom Daley (19 year old British Olympic diver and now celebrity) announced in a YouTube video that he was dating a man, and was very happy. In the video he also stated that he still fancied girls. People were happy for him. Yay.

Then, a couple of weeks ago the British papers exploded with the story that Tom Daley has come out as gay, with headlines like “Tom Daley: ‘I’m a gay man now’”. Every article had a heavy focus on the fact that he no longer identified as bisexual (despite the fact that Tom has never used the term himself), and even using phrases like “he admitted he’s no longer bisexual”. The story spread everywhere, even on PinkNews, and was even trending on Facebook.  

Well when you look at the source for all these articles it comes from a single video clip. He’s on a panel show and host (and asshole) Keith Lemon turns to him, apropos of nothing, and says “So you’re a gay man now”, to which Tom awkwardly replies “I, uhh…”. 

That’s it. That’s the whole story. That’s the event that spurred an entire nation of news outlets to shout about how he no longer considers himself bisexual, that he has decide to come out as gay.They pounced on a single vague syllable, uttered uncomfortably on a light-hearted panel show, and made it out like he had just held a press conference. That was all the evidence they needed to make a huge story about his dramatic change of stance over his sexuality.

"I, uhh…"

The only story I’m getting from this is that the media, even within the LGBTQ community, is desperate to erase bisexuality [even though Tom has never identified as such]. ‘It’s not a legitimate orientation; it’s just a phase people go through, it’s either a way of experimenting when we’re young, or it’s a term for people not yet ready to admit homosexuality’. They are desperate to slap the ‘gay’ label on Tom, and shove the possibility of bisexuality out the door. Because apparently the idea of bisexuality is too confusing or scary to even consider. They leapt on this story as though they had been lying in wait for it, waiting for the moment they could rub his homosexuality in our faces and shout ‘I told you so! I told you he was gay really!”. Their eagerness to publish this story, based on no evidence, says it all.

And I just don’t get it. What is it about bisexuality (and associated orientations) that makes people do this? Is it so different or weird? Is it such a hard concept to grasp? Does the media think that people will get too confused if they are forced to consider more than two sexual orientations?

Bisexuality is a legitimate orientation. Bisexual people exist, and have functional relationships. And until news outlets and media stop trying to push everyone into their ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ boxes this will never be properly accepted. 

/rant over

skepticallyhopeful:

So I’ve decided to stop posting on this blog completely, and move all activity to my other blog. When this blog started I used it to publish my thoughts on atheism and religion, and I was delighted that my writings were so well received. Since then I have talked about more diverse topics like science and feminism, and these have also been very well received. I would like to continue writing about these things, but I don’t write often enough to justify keeping this blog running. However I do want to thank all the followers I have on this blog, it’s more than I ever imagined I would get, especially considering how rarely I post new things. You’re all awesome and I love you.

From now on I shall continue to be very active on tumblr, but only on my other blog. I shall continue to include posts about atheism, science and feminism, just as I have here, only they will be mixed in with the pretty pictures, travel photos, artwork, funny posts, fandom posts, and personal posts that I currently post on my other blog.

So yeah, come over to my other blog where it’s way cooler and you can see my face and there’s currently a totally awesome photo of my painted nails on the first page.

DO IT.

(via skepticallyhopeful)

skepticallyhopeful:

So I’ve decided to stop posting on this blog completely, and move all activity to my other blog. When this blog started I used it to publish my thoughts on atheism and religion, and I was delighted that my writings were so well received. Since then I have talked about more diverse topics like science and feminism, and these have also been very well received. I would like to continue writing about these things, but I don’t write often enough to justify keeping this blog running. However I do want to thank all the followers I have on this blog, it’s more than I ever imagined I would get, especially considering how rarely I post new things. You’re all awesome and I love you.

From now on I shall continue to be very active on tumblr, but only on my other blog. I shall continue to include posts about atheism, science and feminism, just as I have here, only they will be mixed in with the pretty pictures, travel photos, artwork, funny posts, fandom posts, and personal posts that I currently post on my other blog.

So yeah, come over to my other blog where it’s way cooler and you can see my face and there’s currently a totally awesome photo of my painted nails on the first page.

DO IT.

Aww, it had a good run :) I’ll follow your other blog. Keep being awesome!
Thank you so much! I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved on this blog, I just feel its time to move on. (not that I’m moving far)

So I’ve decided to stop posting on this blog completely, and move all activity to my other blog. When this blog started I used it to publish my thoughts on atheism and religion, and I was delighted that my writings were so well received. Since then I have talked about more diverse topics like science and feminism, and these have also been very well received. I would like to continue writing about these things, but I don’t write often enough to justify keeping this blog running. However I do want to thank all the followers I have on this blog, it’s more than I ever imagined I would get, especially considering how rarely I post new things. You’re all awesome and I love you.

From now on I shall continue to be very active on tumblr, but only on my other blog. I shall continue to include posts about atheism, science and feminism, just as I have here, only they will be mixed in with the pretty pictures, travel photos, artwork, funny posts, fandom posts, and personal posts that I currently post on my other blog.

So yeah, come over to my other blog where it’s way cooler and you can see my face and there’s currently a totally awesome photo of my painted nails on the first page.

DO IT.

“The bottom line is that saying there are differences in male and female brains is just not true. There is pretty compelling evidence that any differences are tiny and are the result of environment not biology,” said Prof Rippon.

“You can’t pick up a brain and say ‘that’s a girls brain, or that’s a boys brain’ in the same way you can with the skeleton. They look the same.”

Prof Rippon points to earlier studies that showed the brains of London black cab drivers physically changed after they had acquired The Knowledge – an encyclopaedic recall of the capital’s streets.
She believes differences in male and female brains are due to similar cultural stimuli. A women’s brain may therefore become ‘wired’ for multi-tasking simply because society expects that of her and so she uses that part of her brain more often. The brain adapts in the same way as a muscle gets larger with extra use.

“What often isn’t picked up on is how plastic and permeable the brain is. It is changing throughout out lifetime

“The world is full of stereotypical attitudes and unconscious bias. It is full of the drip, drip, drip of the gendered environment.”

Prof Rippon believes that gender differences appear early in western societies and are based on traditional stereotypes of how boys and girls should behave and which toys they should play with.

Men and Women Do Not Have Different Brains, Claims Neuroscientist (via featherframe)

THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING.  Glad to see even more research to back it up, though.  ;-)

(via teachthemhowtothink)

Asker Anonymous Asks:
So you're going to be teaching biology to ninth graders?
skepticallyhopeful skepticallyhopeful Said:

Yep! (I had to google what ninth graders were). I’ll be teaching everything from sixth to twelfth grade (only the English version, so years 7 to 13). I’ll actually be teaching science as a whole for the lower years, and biology and physics for ninth and tenth grade (GCSE). And, if I’m lucky, just be teaching biology to the eldest two years.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
One thing I would change is the fact the they push kids forward. When I was in kindergarten I had trouble reading and speaking. The school didn't care, and said they wouldn't hold me back because they would loose funding. Luckily my mom made me redo kindergarten in a different school.
skepticallyhopeful skepticallyhopeful Said:

Yes! This is a really good point. A huge number of the problems with education is the way schools are so focused on funding and their appearance that the students themselves suffer. They want good grades, and kids that go into good schools, just so the school looks better. And kids being held back reflects badly on them, even if the students need it. This isn’t really just the fault of the schools though, it’s the fault of how the education system works. If headteachers don’t focus on these things they don’t get enough money to actually have a functioning school. So yeah, you’re very right. Thanks for the comment!

Asker Anonymous Asks:
If you could change or modify the American school system what would you do?
skepticallyhopeful skepticallyhopeful Said:

Thanks for this, it’s a really brilliant question! Although unfortunately I’m not really qualified to answer it, seeing as I don’t know much about the American school system, having never been through it. All I know about it I’ve learnt through TV shows and tumblr, so I can’t really comment on which aspects work which don’t.

Speaking very generally, I think education should have less focus on homework and standardised testing. I also think there should be less focus on memorisation and knowledge recall, and more on applying knowledge, critical thinking, and inspiring interest in acquiring knowledge. I’m afraid without knowing anything about how American education works I can’t be any more specific than that.

Oh, and it should be free. All of it should be free.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Are gm foods good for the environment? Also, do you think it's wise to genetically modify all foods?
skepticallyhopeful skepticallyhopeful Said:

There’s not really a straight answer to the first question. I mean GM is a technology, it’s not inherently good or bad for the environment, it depends on how it’s used. There are many ways in which its use can be good for the environment. As I’ve mentioned earlier it can dramatically reduce the need for pesticides. It can also result in growing larger quantities of food in smaller areas. This is hugely beneficial for the environment, and in parts of the world this has significantly decreased the rate of deforestation (which in my opinion is one of the biggest threats to the environment we currently face). However, like I said before there can be downsides, in particular the increased use of herbicides on the Roundup Ready crop. What it comes down to is how the technology is used, rather than the technology itself. This is why I keep repeating the importance of monitoring what companies like Monsanto get up to, and what they try to get away with in their pursuit of more money.

I don’t really understand your second question. I mean there’s no point in genetically modifying foods if there’s no reason to. And GM’ing a food isn’t like a blanket process that you could just apply to everything. Each GM food is specifically designed for a certain purpose. Some modification is so plants can be grown in different climates than their natural ones, some is to increase yield, some is to make food more nutritious, like in the case of Golden Rice. Food is modified to counter specific problems, not just for the sake of it. But hypothetically I have no issue with a far flung future where every food has been modified in some way. Generally GM is no different from the selective breeding that has been carried out for millennia. (However, if all crops were replaced with GM foods, there  would be a great deal of importance in preserving samples of all current crop species and varieties in seed banks or similar, so that they could be grown again in the future. Although this isn’t really connected to GM)

Thanks for the questions! Feel free to keep them coming.