-The annual “freedom of thought” report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, an advocacy umbrella group that represents and seeks to protect non-religious people, details laws and practices around the world that punish or restrict atheism. The group presented the report to the United Nations today.
The report tracks, among other things, which countries have laws explicitly targeting atheists. There are not many, but the states that forbid non-religiousness – typically as part of “anti-blasphemy” legislation – include seven nations where atheism is punishable by death. All seven establish Islam as the state religion. Though that list includes some dictatorships, the country that appears to most frequently condemn atheists to death for their beliefs is actually a democracy, if a frail one: Pakistan. Others include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, the West African state of Mauritania, and the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. These countries are colored red on the above map.-
Actual death sentences are rare, but obviously such blasphemy or heretic laws, have a tremendous oppressive effect on religious freedom and intellectual freedom. So I guess one should be grateful that we live in a country where being atheists will likely get you some death threats, will automatically disqualify you from elected office ( there have been some rare exceptions), may get you fired and keep you from getting a job ( though employers are generally clever enough to cite other reasons).
We’re all peepee heads now, From Urine to Neurons
-Chinese scientists have found a way to transform cells from human urine into neural progenitor cells that can become several different types of functioning brain cell. Published this week (December 9) in Nature Methods, the research offers a quicker and relatively easy way to generate neurons and glial cells that will be useful for studying neurodegenerative conditions, like Alzheimer’s, and for testing related therapies.-
I have my fingers crossed about breakthroughs in neruodegenerative diseases related to aging. I have issues with getting old, but none of them matches the dread of being severely cognitively impaired.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet “St Louis Blues”