Join the Dark Side: It May Save your Life

A report in New Scientist shows that the Goth Subculture may actually help kids who self harm or have suicidal thoughts:

Researchers at University of Glasgow found that while most self-harmers started the practice at age 12 to 13, they did not become goths until they were a couple of years older, on average.

“One common suggestion is they may be copying subcultural icons or peers [when they self-harm], but our study found that more young people reported self-harm before, rather than after, becoming a goth. This suggests that young people with a tendency to self-harm are attracted to the goth subculture,” says Robert Young, who led the study.

“Rather than posing a risk, it’s also possible that by belonging to the goth subculture, young people are gaining valuable social and emotional support from their peers.”

The tone is cautious, as befitting a scientific journal but it’s a little too over cautious in some respects, for obvious reasons. Quick on the heals of a study showing that prayer is a load of crap, we have one showing the dreaded Satanic Goth Subculture actually may provide a safer, supportive environment for sensitive kids. What next, a study showing masturbation is good for you?

This study comes as no surprise to me, The Goth subculture allows people with rarified interests to meet like-minded folk, in a non judgemental environment.* Goths are a fairly open minded bunch, and even if you’re one of those RPG playing social outcasts, we still tolerate you. We may not talk to you or invite you to the Marilyn Manson concert with us, but neither will we beat the crap out of you simply for being different.

Link via Boing Boing.

* My wife and I met at a Goth Night at a local gay club, so, it’s really a sub culture two-for-one. Who says the gays are undermining marriage?

Georgia- Like Kansas, Only Dumber

Not satisfied to let Kansas or South Dakota hog all the crazy lime light, Georgia may use the Bible as a textbook:

In the late 1700s, Congress thought enough of the Bible as a textbook that it printed 40,000 copies. But the bold effort here in Georgia to use the Bible in today’s secular curricula may be about presenting it as a moral code rather than a foundation to better understand the biblical allusions in literature, critics say.

“Behind this is the tension around the country about how to go about doing a Bible elective, and a lot is at stake,” says Charles Haynes, director of the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va.

The Bible is already being used as a course study in as many as 1,000 American high schools, according to the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools in Greensboro, N.C. The US Supreme Court allows it as long as it’s presented objectively, and not taught as fact. But the Georgia legislature’s unprecedented decision to wade into what is usually a school district initiative has created concerns.

You think? Womder what all the Jewish and Muslim kids think about having the Bible as a textbook? who cares, right? if they believed int he right God, this wouldn’t be a problem, am I right?

We are so moving out of this fucking state before the kids are born.

Link via Bookslut.

I’m Your Boogy Man

Via PZ Myers, a new study that shows atheists are even more feared and hated than Homosexuals and Muslims:

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past– they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy– and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens– they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”

This line: “Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public,” really jumped out at me. It’s knee jerk reaction at its most base. “We don’t know who you are, what you believe and couldn’t pick you out of a crowd but we sure as hell don’t like you.”

Which is odd, seeing as how atheists don’t throw bombs into abortion clinics (That would be Christians) strap bombs to their chests and detonate restaurants (Muslims and Jews), hijack planes and crash them into buildings (Muslims), trample people to death in a religious ceremony (Hindus), throw acid in the face of woman who turn you down for a date (Muslims, Hindus), or ritually scar young men (every religion believes in the utterly useless procedure, circumcision*). We atheists just question you’re fairy tale-derived “wisdom” and want a concrete explanation for why things work. And for that we are even more distrusted than Sadr (Muslim Cleric), Robertson (batshit crazy Fundamentalist) and Hitler (German Catholic)?

It’s a funny world.

A Saturday Afternoon ID Rant Does a Body Good

I haven’t ranted about the ID crowd in a while, mostly because PZ Myers pretty much has that area covered and in a way that is deeper and more informed than I ever could be. But I was just reading John Roger’s own little rant and decided I just have to put in my two cents.

This anti-ID rant braught to you by the makers of Bibles and people with vapid little minds who think, gosh and golly gee willikers, we just don’t know the really real truth, you know, so let’s all take Pascal’s Wager and sleep off this nagging doubt, because after a rousing prayer service followed by a sunrise omlet at Denny’s everything is so much clearer.

The thing is, to a great extent we do know what the truth of the matter is, regarding evolution and cosmology. Claiming otherwise is just lazy if you’re, say, a mail carrier or a Baseball player and disingenuous if you’re a school teacher or politician.

Believing that the sun sets because some god wills it and that we were hatched out of a cosmic egg six thousand years ago and all the facts to the contrary are tests of the divine chicken is the purview of the primitive mind. It�s OK to believe that nonsense if your wardrobe consists of a single filthy loin cloth and you hunt for your dinner in a jungle.

But if you live in a society that has penicillin and nuclear reactors and satellites and reasonably reliable cell phone service, than you do not get the luxury of feigning ignorance because it makes you feel all fuzzy and warm inside. And you especially do not get to fake ignorance just so you can justify being a belligerent son of a bitch who thinks he gets to make decisions about women�s bodies and which tribe of brown people half a world away lives or dies.

Being the most advanced civilization on the planet comes with a price, namely, having to be reasonably well informed on most matters scientific, or at least knowing someone who is and talking with them regularly, especially if you have designs on a public office, even if it is just dog catcher general.

it’s the 21st century, people. We may not have hover cars and moon bases but damn it, we do have access to more knowledge about the inner workings of the universe than any people who came before and pretending that whatever old superstitious beliefs worked for Great Granddad will work for us is beyond ridiculous, it’s criminally negligent, as the War in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina aftermath both proved. Pretending that prayer works may win you elections but it’s a lousy foreign policy and even worse Federal disaster plan.

Right on, Rushdie!

Middle East Times:

PARIS — The recent violence surrounding the publication in the West of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed illustrate the danger of Islamic “totalitarianism”, Salman Rushdie and a group of other writers have said in a statement.Rushdie, French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy and exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen were among those putting their names to the statement, to be published on Wednesday in the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, one of several French newspapers that reprinted the Mohammed cartoons.

“After having overcome fascism, Nazism and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global threat: Islamism,” they wrote. “We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.”

They added that the clashes over the caricatures “revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. The struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field.

“It is not a clash of civilizations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.”

“Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present.”

Now we just need one of these against Christian Evangelicals and we’ll be all set.

Link via Bookslut.