Prison, Faith, and Statistics

A look at the faith of prisoners looking for pen pals on blackandpink.org

 

It is often claimed that the US prison population is made up primarily (est. 74%) of people who ascribe to the Christian faith. I personally always felt this statistic to be a bit grandiose, even for the US.

 

When I came across the website blackandpink.org which offers people the opportunity to be a pen pal to people in prison I noticed that they allow you to select who you will correspond with based on a number of filters including race, gender, and religion.

 

I thought it might be a fun exercise to try filtering all potential pen pals by the 10 faiths listed.  Here’s how it turned out.
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Abortion: What Does Science Say on the Matter?

Well, as we all know, abortion is a pretty contentious topic in the United States. It also faces its strongest opposition from religious groups. Considering how we atheists do not believe in God and need to rationally conclude morality for ourselves; we cannot rely on religious moral pronouncements about abortion, but need to come to our own conclusions. Philosophically, there are many different moral stances framing the issue that atheists can take, but we can also apply science to the issue to come to reasonable conclusions. Being essentially a utilitarian, as I have made clear in previous articles, this is my take on the abortion issue. I see the abortion issue as having two different priorities that we need to balance: the life of the fetus and the mother’s right to her own body.

To me, a fetus most certainly is a human life, but we must be careful how we define and frame this issue. Some people see the killing of all human life to be bad, while I obviously disagree in this particular circumstance. It has been said by people who are pro-choice, particularly those not of a religious variety, that life does not begin, but that it continues. A fertilized egg is formed from living components from the mother and the father, and this gives a fertilized egg a distinct set of human DNA, which then grows into a fully born human. In a vacuum, it could be argued by some that this life should not be destroyed, but obviously this fertilization process does not happen within a vacuum. It typically happens in a fully grown, or nearly fully grown human female. This woman has her own priorities and concerns, and these should not be discounted simply because a fetus or an embryo or a fertilized egg is a human life. We must look at how the two priorities between the mother’s concerns and the life of the fetus should be weighed against each other.
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Abortion and Education: A love Hate Story of Faith and Consequences

Before I begin, I bid you, take a breath, in then out. Let the preconceptions and rigid guard you came in with down. I am not here to criticize, debunk, disprove, or solve the endless argument for the beginning of life. This metaphysical and moderately circular argument, life and when it begins, has been here since before I was, and will be here well after I have left. What I wish to consider is a world where that black and white definition is unimportant, where the abortion question has been relegated to the dustbins of a society past.

I wish to talk about consequences, specifically future predictions of the reactions that might result from a series of decisions. Without regulating sexuality, banning abortion, or mandating birth control for all citizens how could we reduce the unwanted or surprise pregnancy, and with it the possible request for an abortion? How could we create a self policing population that actively chooses to avoid scenarios where the results could be the creation of human lives, whilst protecting the natural and very human instinct to copulate?
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