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St Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Arizona was a Catholic-affiliated institution, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has just made a major strategic error: they have stripped the hospital of its affiliation.

There are two reasons this was a bad idea for the church. One is that it exposes them as callous, evil bastards who don't care for their patients as much as they do their invisible, nonexistent souls. The reason the church took this action is that doctors there performed an emergency abortion on a woman who was 11 weeks pregnant and dying. The choice was to stand by and do nothing while watching the mother and fetus die, or abort and treat woman and let her live. The Catholic Church believes the doctors should have taken no action and allowed her to die.

A parody for my birding friends.

If ever there were an oxymoron it is this phrase: "scientific heresy." I understand it may be used at times as a bit of poetic license, a metaphor for a new and seemingly outrageous (but scientific) idea, but I despise it none-the-less. The phrase is more often used as a direct or implied criticism of science and scientists, and generates deliberate confusion.

Last week on SkepticBlog Michael Shermer wrote a nice post about JFK assassination conspiracies, and not surprisingly a couple of conspiracy advocates showed up in the comments. While reading through their arguments I was struck by how consistent the tactics and tone of conspiracy theorists tends to be. They are heavy on sarcasm, ridicule, and condescension, and like to call anyone who disagrees with them "gullible."

Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers - often implicitly - assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these "standard subjects" are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified?

You may have seen this before.


Does one line appear longer to you than the other. If you're WEIRD then the second appears longer, but for other societies it's not true the lines appear the same. It may be because we live in a carpentered society, one filled with right angles, or perhaps there is something else at work here. I can't provide the paper but if you have institutional access to the paper give it a read it's fascinating.



The Catholic church proves again it isn't pro-life but anti-choice. This latest episode follows their condemnation of doctors who performed an abortion on a 9 year old girl who was raped by her stepfather.

The Catholic hospitals get no funding from the church and gets a lot of their funding from taxpayers. However Christians love to give themselves huge credit for their hospitals. So hospitals aren't placed around so much for healing, but for propaganda purposes.

When I heard this story on NPR, I was incensed, then a little glad that I'm not Catholic. Still, oi! Letting the mother die on some off-chance that an 11-week old fetus could survive, without a parent just to be "pro-life." Disgusting.

Golly gee, think that maybe the woman might be better off having a healthy birth next time?

Hmm -I was born in Evansville's St. Mary's many many moons ago, but my folks were Methodists.

The thing that worries me is the possibility that there are Catholic hospitals out there who actually do pay attention to scumbags like the bishop in this case; the moral choice here isn't even close!

15 years ago, my brother died in a Catholic hospital after being deprived of oxygen (in an out-patient context) for so long that his brain was gone. The nurses and doctors were totally realistic - no bullshit, no asinine Schiavo-like drama. Hopefully, its the church with the problems, and not many of the people who actually care for people.


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