Atheists Don’t Trust Atheists

first_imgIf atheists think they can be just as moral as religious people, see what they think of other atheists.Phys.org launched a surprising headline, “Atheists thought immoral, even by fellow atheists: study.” The first paragraph says, “A unusual [sic] social study has revealed that atheists are more easily suspected of vile deeds than Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists—strikingly, even by fellow atheists, researchers said Monday.” The survey of 3,000 volunteers from 13 countries, published in Nature Human Behavior, showed that most people view religion as a “moral safeguard.” Atheism is broadly perceived as “potentially morally depraved and dangerous.” Some of this may be unjustified bias, but countering that, “It is striking that even atheists appear to hold the same intuitive anti-atheist bias,” said Will Gervais, psychologist at the University of Kentucky. Only Finland and New Zealand failed to show this trend.Bob Holmes at New Scientist (a strongly atheist science news site in the UK) is not ready to accept these results. “Are atheists really morally depraved? The idea defies logic,” his headline reads. He takes apart the survey, giving his speculations on why participants responded the way they did. It’s partly upbringing, partly anti-atheist bias, and part under-representation of atheists in the population, especially among teachers. But then he gives away the store:One reason may be that the basis of religious morality is obvious. But it isn’t clear – even to themselves – where atheists get their moral guidance. Widespread atheism is also a relatively new phenomenon. Even today, most atheists were raised in religious homes and thus bring a lot of implicit religious baggage to matters of morality, says Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist at Pitzer College in California. As societies become more secular, this influence is likely to fade away within a few generations.Holmes thinks, without empirical evidence, that the longer a society is atheist, the less anti-atheist bias it will have. “Let’s hope his work helps debunk the belief that you cannot be good without god,” he concludes.But wait! Holmes never answered the question of where atheists get their moral guidance. Why? Because there is none! And he also never answered the question of where atheists get their logic. His headline claimed the survey’s finding “defies logic,” presupposing he knows what logic is. OK Bob, how do you get logic out of particles in motion? Holmes certainly understands logic, but the only way he gets it is by freeloading off of religion, particularly the kind of religion that values truth and reason (the Judeo-Christian tradition, not the other choices, some of which see reason as an obstacle to faith, and reality as an illusion). Hear how this works in Nancy Pearcey’s podcast on ID the Future, “Freeloading off of religion”.We do have some empirical evidence of how atheists practice morality. It’s called Darwin’s Century—the 20th Century—with its atheistic communist slaughterhouses that killed over a hundred million of their own citizens. No wonder people have a bias against atheist morality. It’s justified.Recommended Resource: How Darwinism Corrodes Morality by Jerry Bergman. Jesus said that you will know a man by his fruits. Well, look at the ugly fruits of Darwinism! Bergman is also working on another book about how Darwinism is the Doorway to Atheism, with dozens of case studies he has collected. Darwinism; Atheism; the two have a common ancestor.(Visited 577 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Absa trials ‘tap-and-go’ payment cards

first_img23 September 2011Absa and Integrated Fare Collection Services, a DigiCore subsidiary, are working on an integrated transit payment solution South Africa’s public transport sector, including the taxi industry, with a pilot project currently underway in the Western Cape.The new “tap-and-go” payment cards will provide transit owners and commuters with a simple and efficient way to manage payments for transport services. The two companies are already exploring opportunities with associations in other provinces.The cards will use global card standards, namely MasterCard Paypass and Visa Paywave, and are designed to work seamlessly across a number of modes of public transport as they are brought online.“The tap-and-go payment method will also allow commuters and other consumers to conveniently pay for low value purchases in retail outlets,” said Absa Card’s Simon Just in a statement this week. “So, a customer can move from a taxi to a bus to a grocer using the same card on the same day.“As of 2012, commuters will even be able to have this payment option on their normal bank cards.”National transport infrastructure upgradesAs part of national transport infrastructure upgrades, the Department of Transport and local transport authorities have been driving new card-based approaches to fare collection, with the aim of providing commuters with speed, simplicity and convenience when they travel.These will require commuters to tap a prepaid card against readers to pay their transport fares as they enter public vehicles.“Although adoption of this trendsetting service will be gradual, it is gaining momentum,” said Just. “A few major city bus operators and key retailers are starting to roll out tap-and-go payments, and the bank will make it possible for its customers to obtain Absa tap-and-go cards from selected Absa branches as from November 2011.”No PIN or signature requiredTap-and-Go transactions will be limited to R200 per day and users will be able to load a maximum of R1 500 on the card at any time, while the total monthly transaction limit is R3 000.“This is in line with the special exemption from the provisions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, which makes for ease of issuing of contactless cards to under-banked consumers,” Just explained.Commuters will be able to load funds onto their cards from a bank account or with cash at a transit or station kiosk, vending machines, ATMs or selected merchants.Customers can then make purchases with their contactless card until the pre-loaded balance is used up by simply agreeing to the amount and tapping the card against a reader. No PIN or signature is required.Secure alternative to cashFor public transport operators, the new fare collection system reduces pilferage, provides a more secure alternative to cash and paper tickets and significantly enhances overall efficiencies – while also making a difference in the everyday life of the commuter.DigiCore’s Integrated Fare Collection Services (IFCS) has developed a robust fare collection solution called Tap-i-Fare for transit operators, which uses advanced route planning, GPS and vehicle tracking technology, to calculate fares and ensure that commuters are charged correctly for their journey.IFCS managing director Pierre Bruwer said that even though the system was up and running, there was still much work to do with taxi associations and other stakeholders in order to finalise the operating model and roll-out plans.“We have engaged a number of taxi owners, operators and associations,” he said. “They appreciate the benefits of the new approach to rapid transit payments.“We are confident that it will be embraced in the way that government has intended.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Burger named SA Rugby Player of 2011

first_img4 November 2011Springbok flank Schalk Burger was named South African Rugby Player of the Year for a second time, while Currie Cup champions the MTN Golden Lions picked up a hat-trick of awards, at the 2011 SA Rugby Awards.The awards ceremony took place at Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City on Thursday evening, and the golden locks of Burger matched the award he received for his performances for the Stormers, who made it into the Super Rugby playoffs, and for the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup.Two-time winnerBurger previously won the award in 2004 and becomes only the fifth player to win it more than once, following in the footsteps of Naas Botha (who won it four times), Uli Schmidt, Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez (who all won it twice).He was voted as Player of the Year by South Africa’s accredited rugby media, ahead of Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie and Victor Matfield.Burger’s award was the finale of a star-studded night during which 16 awards were won for rugby excellence across all age groups and competitions in 16 categories.Golden Lions’ successThe Golden Lions scooped three awards after beating The Sharks in the Absa Currie Cup final last weekend to win their first title since 1999. They were named Absa Team of the Year; their coach, John Mitchell, the Absa Coach of the Year; and their captain, Josh Strauss, Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.Springbok fullback Pat Lambie (21) was named the Absa Young Player of the Year, building on the fine impression he made in his debut season of 2010 by excelling at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.SA under-20 captain Arno Botha was named the SA Under-20 Player of the Year after some sterling performances at the Junior World Championships in Italy earlier this year.Easy decisionCecil Afrika, who was recently named the World Sevens Player of the Year after he topped both the top points and try scoring lists during the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series, walked away with the award for Springbok Sevens Player of the Year in one of the easiest decisions of the night.The South African Rugby Players Association (Sarpa) Players’ Player of the Year Award, voted on by the players themselves, went to Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis.The Supersport Try of the Year was awarded to Springbok Sevens flyer Sibusiso Sithole for his tournament-winning score in the final of the Edinburgh Sevens against Australia.TributeThe South African Rugby Union (Saru) also paid tribute to two retiring Springboks legends: John Smit, who has already left South African to take up a contract with English club Saracens, and Victor Matfield, both played their last tests for the Boks in the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup.There were also rewards for Toyota Cheetahs’ scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius (Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year), who will represent Australia’s Waratahs next season, Regent Boland Cavaliers flyhalf Elgar Watts (Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year) and DHL Western Province flyhalf Lionel Cronje (Vodacom Cup Player of the Year).Craig Joubert, who refereed the Rugby World Cup final, and became the first referee to take charge of matches in every single round of a singler World Cup competition unsurprisingly won the Marriot Referee Award.Significant and satisfyingOregan Hoskins, President of Saru, said that the 2011 season was one of the more significant and satisfying seasons in recent years.“On field success of our national and provincial teams will always be of paramount importance, but I believe we have enjoyed a special year in the history of our rugby, perhaps a watershed year,” said Hoskins.“That’s because our Springbok team has been embraced by all South Africans in a way I have never experienced before. 2011 was the year that fans from all backgrounds stood behind the Boks from the moment the squad was announced. In the past, that kind of affection was dependent on the delivery of a trophy.”AWARD WINNERSSaru Rugby Player of the YearSchalk BurgerAbsa Young Player of the YearPat LambieAbsa Team of the YearMTN Golden LionsAbsa Coach of the YearJohn Mitchell (MTN Golden Lions)Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the YearSarel Pretorius (Toyota Cheetahs)Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the YearJosh Strauss (MTN Golden Lions)Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the YearElgar Watts (Regent Boland Cavaliers)Vodacom Cup Player of the YearLionel Cronje (DHL WP)Sarpa Players’ Player of the YearBismarck du PlessisSpringbok Sevens Player of the YearCecil AfrikaSupersport Try of the YearSibusiso Sithole (Springbok Sevens vs Australia in the final of the Edinburgh Sevens)SA Under-20 Player of the YearArno BothaCoca-Cola Craven Week Player of the TournamentJan Serfontein (Free State)Marriott Referee AwardCraig JoubertWomen’s Achiever of the YearCebisa KulaSaru National Club Championship Player of the TournamentJustin Wheeler (University of Johannesburg)SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Rooibos takes the fight to diabetes

first_imgRooibos tea is available in the usual amber, or oxidised variety, as well as the green or unoxidised form. (Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more free images, visit the image library) The annual World Diabetes Day aims to raise awareness of the condition and what can be done to treat and prevent it.(Image: International Diabetes Foundation) MEDIA CONTACTS • Keegan Hall  Marketing and PR, Diabetes South Africa  +27 11 886 3765 RELATED ARTICLES • Tackling the silent five • SA’s second health train rolls out • World Cancer Day marked in SA • Research says rooibos beats stress • Research to boost rooibos exports Janine ErasmusWorld Diabetes Day, held annually in November, aims to raise global awareness of the disease and what can be done, in many cases, to prevent it. A team of South African researchers has released results of a promising study that involves the beneficial effect of rooibos on blood sugar levels.The rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis), a member of the legume family and indigenous to South Africa, is known for its health-boosting properties. Rooibos is usually made into a tea – or more correctly, a tisane, as it is a non-caffeinated beverage – that has various healthful effects ranging from antioxidant properties to a calming effect and a good night’s sleep.Scientific studies with animals and to a lesser degree, with humans, have shown that rooibos can also restore immune function and generally improve the immune system. In a UK study, rare poison dart frogs that were reared from tadpoles in a rooibos-infused liquid became resistant to fungal infection. This is because the antioxidants in rooibos have anti-fungal properties as well, according to the frog research team.Now new evidence has emerged that rooibos can combat diabetes in rats and, with more research, possibly humans. Results of the study were published on 19 October in the online version of Phytomedicine journal, under the title Acute assessment of an aspalathin-enriched green rooibos extract with hypoglycemic potential.The study was a joint effort between the Diabetes Discovery Platform from South Africa’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Agricultural Research Council’s (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij Institute, with the help of the National Research Foundation.“Although we have started off with small animals,” says team leader Dr Johan Louw of the MRC, “the next step is to take our research to human patients – provided we can secure funding.”Louw explains that, as the research models are designed to simulate what is seen in humans, he is confident that the team will be able to duplicate the rat results. He clarifies that people with diabetes type one, which is controlled with insulin, won’t see a benefit but that type two patients, who control their condition largely through diet, will.“Our focus as scientists is the promotion of healthy lifestyles and a healthier population, not just in South Africa but all over the world – so don’t hesitate to drink that cup of rooibos as part of a good diet,” he says. “Obviously you can’t do anything about your age or your family history, but there are certain factors that you have control over, such as your eating habits or your level of activity.”World Diabetes Day is an initiative of the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organisation. The date, 14 November, celebrates the birthday of Canadian Nobel laureate Frederick Banting, who is credited with the life-saving discovery of insulin, along with his colleague Charles Best.Rooibos health benefitsThe diabetes study was carried out with extracts of green rooibos, prepared by Prof Lizette Joubert of the ARC and analysed by the MRC. Green rooibos is the unoxidised version of the amber-coloured tea available widely in South African shops and increasingly around the world.“Rooibos has many compounds, which have different effects at different concentrations, but the two we are interested in for this study are aspalathin, which is found exclusively in rooibos, and rutin,” says Louw. “The extracts were enriched with the two compounds. On its own, rutin has no effect while aspalathin has a slight effect, but when they are combined the results are remarkable.”The South African Rooibos Council reports that green rooibos has higher levels of antioxidants – one of which is aspalathin – than normal rooibos, but that both are proven to be beneficial.Monitored over a period of six hours, the two test compounds together succeeded in lowering the blood glucose level of the rats. In humans this could have the same effect as drugs that are currently available.“We are the first in the world to show this effect from rooibos extract,” said Louw.” Rooibos has no side effects for most people and drinking it can only have a positive effect.”For the millions of South Africans who have the condition, this is good news.The Rooibos Council is involved with several MRC projects as a funder. They include the impact of rooibos on weight loss; the role of rooibos in preventing tissue damage during exercise; the influence of rooibos on the biosynthesis of cortisol, known as the stress hormone; and an investigation into the cancer prevention properties of the plant.Raising awarenessThe two organisational founders of World Diabetes Day have set the theme for the annual event as Diabetes education and prevention for five consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013.Diabetes will affect 439-million people around the world by 2030, according to the World Health Organisation. Currently some 6.5-million South Africans have diabetes, although experts feel that number may be under-reported.The disease develops when the body does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that enables cells to absorb glucose from the blood and convert it into energy.Insulin is produced in the pancreas, and diabetes arises when production is halted or is slowed, or the body becomes resistant to the insulin that is produced. The condition falls into two main categories – types one and two – although there are other smaller categories such as gestational diabetes which can sometimes occur during pregnancy.Diabetes type one is a result of non- or under-production of insulin, while type two occurs when the body becomes resistant to the hormone. The first type can only be treated with insulin administration while the second can be managed through diet and exercise, and with extra medication when necessary.Symptoms include weight loss, thirst, frequent urination and fatigue coupled with blurry vision, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, recurring infections of the skin, mouth and bladder, and wounds that are slow to heal.Testing can be done on blood or urine samples at a clinic, doctor or pharmacy. However, healthy living can prevent a multitude of conditions, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes type two.In South Africa there are various events to mark World Diabetes Day, although they may not happen on the actual day. In Alexandra township, east of Johannesburg, people will come together at the Alexandra Stadium on 17 November for a fun run, educational activities, talks by experts, and tests.On 14 November 2011 Johannesburg’s Nelson Mandela Bridge, which is illuminated with colour-changing LEDs, lit up in blue as a mark of solidarity and support for those who wrestle with diabetes.last_img read more

Cricket’s two hottest teams set for battle

first_img11 February 2014The two hottest teams in test cricket, South Africa and Australia, do battle from Wednesday at SuperSport Park in Centurion, in the first of three tests. The Proteas are ranked number one in the world, while the Aussies are coming off a rampant 5-0 whitewash of England.While South Africa have won successive series Down Under, they have not yet beaten Australia at home since the Proteas were readmitted to world cricket in 1992.‘Motivation’At SuperSport Park on Monday, star batsman Hashim Amla spoke about the Proteas’ home record against Australia. “There is probably some motivation, but in another aspect I don’t think we want to play too much on it,” he said.“In the last few series that we have played against Australia, we have had success, so hopefully we can translate the success into a home series win.”Seeking a return to formWhen the teams last met at the WACA in Perth in December 2012, Amla struck a superb, man of the match-winning 196 in South Africa’s second innings to help the Proteas to a series-clinching 309 run victory. After a poor series against India, he is ranked fourth in the test batting rankings, but will be aiming to return to his established form, especially in the absence of Jacques Kallis.AB de Villiers, meanwhile, returns to the team after being sidelined because of surgery on a hand. He, too, will look to pick up where he left off. De Villiers is currently the number one test batsman in the world.Same approach“We have played against Australia quite a few times over the last few years and against the same bowling attack. I don’t think it will be any different for us in the way we approach this test series,” Amla said of the challenge awaiting the Proteas.“The guys have been going about their business preparing as well as they can.”Number fourOne of the biggest changes to the South African team will not involve a new player, but a new position in the batting line-up, with Faf du Plessis taking over the important number four spot from the great Jacques Kallis.Batting lower down the order, Du Plessis, in only 11 tests, has been superb, scoring 782 runs at an average of 60.15. Already he has played two memorable century knocks, one to save the second test against Australia the last time the teams met in Australia, and the other that almost won South Africa the first test against India earlier this year, when the Proteas were chasing a massive 458 for victory.The question that needs to be answered is whether or not he can be an attacking force higher up the order, if attack is what is needed.Combined what that, how will the all-round contribution of Kallis be accounted for in the bowling attack?ConditionsFor Amla, the conditions will play a vital role in the outcome of the first test. “I think conditions will be the deciding factor,” Amla said. “Regardless of the conditions, every batsman tries to occupy the crease and score as many runs as possible. Both teams are quite attacking, but by the same token conditions will play a large role in deciding how the game goes forward.”last_img read more