American Bible-Thumper Travels To Scandinavia, Freaks Out After Discovering How Secular They Are

Nov 18, 2014

[cbc_video id=”51561″ volume=”30″ width=”640″ aspect_ratio=”16×9″ autoplay=”0″ controls=”1″]

 

By Jameson Parker

A Georgia-based pastor had his mind blown when he took a recent trip to Scandinavia and discovered, to his horror, that nobody hated gay people or believed God created the Earth in a week.

Pastor Marty McLain, who describes his religious belief as deriving from a literal interpretation of the Bible, was given the opportunity to see how secular Scandinavia is by a documentary series called The Norden. The concept is simple: find narrow-minded Americans and throw them into countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark and watch them have panic attacks. It actually sounds like a lot of fun.

McLain wanted to use his time in the north to explore how Scandinavians worship God. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that most of them don’t.

McLain, who’s favorite expression is “wow,” is wowed a lot. Almost no one he talks to on the street seems interested in God. One guy puts it bluntly: “If there is no god, why should I believe in him?” Ouch.


 

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130 comments on “American Bible-Thumper Travels To Scandinavia, Freaks Out After Discovering How Secular They Are

  • WOW and LOL

    I written before in this forum about how in my view, America has been left behind by the rest of the world. Civilization has moved on and America is still stuck in the 1950’s. This video is yet another piece of evidence in support of that hypothesis. There was very little in the responses from the Scandinavians that would be out of place in Australia.



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  • Full 25 minute program.

    Does not live up to the hyperbolic headline and text. Pastor McClain is neither freaked-out or horrified (well, a bit at what the two Danes had to say).



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  • Priceless! I would have paid money to be a fly on the wall…….What’s really amazing is assuming they were “Christians”. And he didn’t check it out on this thing we call the “internet”?



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  • As an American, I’m insulted…….Not about your comments…….About this nutball coming to Europe and acting like a moron. No wonder the rest of the world think we are morons……….



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  • Hi David, American deserves a lot of the derision we receive. Large parts of the country are arrogant, selfish, and culturally isolated. But we’re not a country of Marty McLain’s. I live in Texas and even here, that guy would be looked at as a zealot.

    Being religious fruit cakes is not craved into our dna. Look up the Great Awakening . They needed a religious awaking because at that time, even after hundreds of years into our foundation, people weren’t paying that much attention to religion. Woodrow Wilson said in 1912 that every educated person accepted evolution. And I don’t think it was the 50d’s where we stopped. During that decade we had started down the wrong path but we had the epoch changing “Sputnik moment”. After that the U.S. turned back to science because we realized it was in our self interest. During the next decade of the Sixties we got movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey showing our ape ancestors and the famous Time Magazine front page cover “Is God dead ?”

    In the early seventies my mother’s parents moved from Houston to the tiny town of Livingston, Texas, and let me tell you, the culture shock was enormous. But even in that backwater in the 70d’s they we’re taught real science. They were taught about evolution. I grew up in that same town twenty years later and I wasn’t. What changed? Reagan

    Reagan and his advisers had a plan, to turn one half of the government into a theocracy and it worked. And it didn’t matter that the majority of the country didn’t feel that way. With pervasive low voter turn out these dedicated relgious voter put the Republicans over the top. Even though they never kept they’re promises to the trusting religious flock, it didn’t matter. They managed to frame the process as either voting for them, Jesus’ party, our the Dems, Darwin’s party. For the first time in almost three decades the most trusted leaders of the country started aggressively preaching a “If it feels good believe it” national policy and I think you can trace all of our present problems back to that moment.



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  • This indicates the reason the god delusion persists in the southern USA is peer pressure.
    Ideally we would have two measures, what people REALLY believe and what they claim to the world.

    One way to mock the fear Christians use to control others is to make similar threats that are slightly crazier.



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  • Thanks, Bonnie. He’s a nice man but utterly flummoxed, I suspect, how a society can work without religious moral dogma at its core. I wish the vox pops had been balanced with some revelation of the comparative moral achievements of the two regions. Are not the Scandiwegians Good though Godless, Pastor?

    The keystone to his reduced cognitions is childhood indoctrination. A mind arcing up when young, turned, and brought low again.



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  • 12
    JeffVader67 says:

    Would this be the same secular Sweden that’s found among the growing Islamic communities in Malmo? I’ve heard that city described as the rape capital of Europe. If that is true it must give the UK city of Rotherham a run for its money.



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  • Having worked in the North of the USA (IT contracting) in the late 90’s and taking a holiday at the end of my contract – we toured the southern states!!! We found it like another planet – we even convinced a bunch of the locals in an Alabama Diner that we didn’t have Wednesdays in North West England – we only had a six day week (Four day working week) – they believed every word!
    Oh and the bin-lid sized cheeseburger and fries – fed both me and my mate easily and we could both shift a lot of food in those days!!!



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  • His belief stems from literal interpretation of the bible. That says it all.

    nearly 2000 years later………….. he finds most people know its humbug. Shock, horror! No one believes in God and he hasn’t shafted them one teensy weensy bit much less destroyed them.

    Now if he believed the bible literally. Deuteronomy will tell him what to do next.



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  • Not only are this pastor’s beliefs a delusion, but he’s deluding himself if he actually believes that he’s living his life according to a literal interpretation of the bible. If he were he would be obliged to stone his children to death for disobedience, or for not observing the Sabbath, or for taking the lords name in vain. This pastor is guided by the same moral and ethical guidelines as everyone else in Western Civilization and has been brainwashed into thinking that these are exclusively Christian values.



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  • The decreasing church attendance and increasing numbers of those who claim a personal god is a trend that speaks to the fact that this is all that religion really is or should be anyway. Right now what we are seeing is a generation of old church ladies working their fingers to the bone selling cold plates to fix the leaky roof and make sure that their ‘man of god’ lives in comfort while wondering where all the young people are. Their numbers are dwindling and reverence for a male dominated hierarchy is fading into history. As hard as that male hierarchy tries to save itself by taking selfies with the poor, professing love for those they deem to be damned to hell, threatening death to apostates and oppressing women, the new generation will not be told what to believe in or who to love. They will choose to reject institutions of guilt, fear, misery, abuse, bigotry and oppression. Being brought up with the belief that a god is everywhere anyway, they will choose to worship their gods in the privacy of their own minds and houses. Eventually they will accept the non-existence of life after death and realize that what progress has been made with science and human rights and environmental awareness has been accomplished through our innate morality, not by the presence of any god and absolutely despite the shackles of religious dogma.



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  • Country, nothing. He could have his entire world view smacked down by visiting a largely Catholic town in America.

    This is the problem with these people. They spend their whole lives in some backwater that’s not only backwards but homogeneous. Everyone in town goes to the one local church, and socialized in the same group. The people that are different are treated as pariahs.

    The pastors are even worse because they’ve immersed themselves in their loony religion and they think themselves as morally superior. Occasionally they get out of town – so they can meet up with other people just like themselves. And they start to think that the whole world is like that except for a bunch of heathens in New York or LA, places they’ve only heard of from TV. Which they don’t watch much of, because it spreads lies about the hedonistic ways of Hollywood.



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  • What, are you kidding? He’s on a missionary quest to spread the word of God to the uncivilized corners of the globe!

    It kind of reminds me of the trips to Brazil that one of my uncles takes, as if somehow he’s the first one to ever go there with a Bible in his hand.



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  • While Reagan did have a hand in energizing these nutballs (like so many of the horrible legacies of Reagan with which we are still living), he didn’t create them. If there wasn’t a strong strain of religiosity in this country, none of his efforts would have worked. As illustrated in this video, we still have a country where those who consider religion important to them to be about 65%, vs. around 20% for Northern Europe. This is just one indicator that the US IS as backwards as this video makes us seem, even if we do have a good number of rational people living here.



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  • Nobody truly believes in god anymore. In America, it is simply a tradition and wishful thinking. Notice that the saddest day in a christian’s life is a loved ones funeral? This is because they know they will never see that person again.



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  • You’re calling Scandinavia uncivilised? I’m pretty sure they understand the concept, they just don’t believe – is that uncilvilised? I would say no.

    Unless you’re being sarcastic – I can’t tell!



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  • At a rate of 63 per 100,000 citizens the rape ratio to population in Sweden as whole is high, yes, but what that has to do with Atheism or any belief system or religion is beyond me, and a straw man argument.

    Also citing Rotherham sounds alarm bells for me. Rotherham is a small town next to the much larger city of Sheffield in England. The historic child abuse cases there are linked with Asian men, yes, but whether they are white, black, yellow, purple, Muslim Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or whatever is nothing to do with religion either. It is because the perpetrators of such heinous acts are, for want of a better phrase inhuman monsters. Singling out a religious minority in what is regarded (unfortunately) as a Christian country is not the argument any humanist or atheist should use. I suspect that you would not regard yourself as either of the latter two.



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  • 26
    Light Wave says:

    You cant argue with the Humanist guy…he said “I believe in Humanity we have no need for a god”….
    If there was such a thing…..things written in the bible are the words of scribes and not any God….only people can write….they can lie as well….the words came from their corrupt minds and not from any gods…..Scandinavian culture has existed for at least 17,000 years and likely much earlier when people began reindeer hunting and herding….its a wise ancient culture….



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  • 28
    TwoReplies says:

    Guarantee you that he’s now dead set in saying that Scandinavians are going to hell.

    Side note, I LOVE the quote:
    If there is no god, why should I believe in him?
    Knowing all the hate and vile bigotry in the bible, I’d add to it:
    If there is no god, why should I believe in him?
    If there IS a god, why would I believe in him?




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  • 33
    ldn_sw11 says:

    Yes I agree with David Allen, America and I would add, the Middle East, have all been left behind by the rest of the world to remain trapped in tight mental loops of flawed faith based reasoning. It is sad to see America sit amongst impoverished Arab countries in published 2014 surveys about racial, religious and sexual intolerance.

    The Age of Enlightenment bypassed American whilst Europe’s patchwork quilt of nations have grown to respect each other’s diversity developing secular societies of tolerance and equality. Hopefully one day America (and Pastor McLain) will ask themselves if faith is a reliable process of reasoning, but sadly I doubt it in my lifetime.



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  • This is why people like him typically go to 3rd world nations where the majority of citizens do not have access to secular education and science.



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  • ldn_sw11 Nov 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Hopefully one day America (and Pastor McLain) will ask themselves if faith is a reliable process of reasoning, but sadly I doubt it in my lifetime.

    You may have noticed on other threads that I refer to “faith thinking”!
    It should never be confused with “evidenced reasoning” no matter how had theists try to cause this confusion.

    Here is a Vatican attempt at explaining how “TRrroooo” scientific reasoning and methodology, is really dogma based circular “faith thinking”!

    159. Faith and science:“… methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”
    (Vatican II GS 36:1)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Catholic_teaching_and_evolution



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  • 39
    Haffner says:

    America (USA) is the blossom of The Enlightenment. it got corrupted when the scum of europe came through Ellis Island.

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    we as a nation have been paying the price for that ever since.



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  • This isn’t the first time it happens tbh.

    The arabian countries used to be the intelectual center of the world, but ever since they let religion rule over their countries in a fundamentalist way they were sent back to the stone age.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about this in this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASmQmYX-71Q

    This religious BS going on in the US is a serious threat to the whole country and it shouldn’t be ignored, it’s dragging what used to be the #1 country in the world at almost everything to 3rd world country levels, it’s already facing 3rd world country problems with crime and the number of arrested citizens, education is below most of the european countries among other things, it’s saving grace is it’s accumulated wealth but that won’t last forever either.



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  • That’s simplistic and unfair ldn_sw11. The US was THE FIRST Enlightenment created state and the first secular state. Its misfortune was to be populated by religious refugees fleeing there because of their lack of persecution opportunities in Europe. The founding fathers being enlightened individuals did not pander to the superstitious populism of their constituents. Those constituents have been fighting back ever since.



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  • 46
    JESSICA says:

    I love so much about this, but the phrase ‘freak out’ bothered me enough to register an account to register a complaint ;D

    Seriously though—he didn’t freak out…I just don’t want my bastions of reason and rationale to go all click-bait on me. For the love of good!

    xo
    jess



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  • Paulo Nov 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    it’s already facing 3rd world country problems with crime and the number of arrested citizens, education is below most of the european countries among other things, it’s saving grace is it’s accumulated wealth but that won’t last forever either.

    Its war-mongering, faith-thinking, innumerate leaders, have been working on speeding up that process!
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-wars-in-afghanistan-iraq-to-cost-6-trillion/5350789



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  • 48
    Michelle says:

    Ancient and Wise might be a bit of a stretch. The danes were christianed around the year 1000. 80% of the population are members of the state Church, but only about 20% are practising their religion. Our community is based on Christian values in a humanist form.



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  • Michelle Nov 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Ancient and Wise might be a bit of a stretch. The danes were christianed around the year 1000.

    Xtianity got a foot in the door when Xtian princes would not do business with non-Xtians, so the Vikings decided becoming Xtians was good for trade! The Vikings initially accepted Xtanity alongside other gods, (as the Romans had done before them) – but that is not a place Xtanity is prepared to accept if it can gain power!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/religion_01.shtml
    Another more or less formal convention applied to trade, since Christians were not really supposed to trade with pagans. Although a full conversion does not seem to have been demanded of all Scandinavian traders, the custom of ‘primsigning’ (first-signing) was introduced. This was a halfway step, falling short of baptism, but indicating some willingness to accept Christianity, and this was often deemed to be enough to allow trading.



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  • I particularly liked a couple of the interviewees’ responses.

    “In short I have no need of a God'”

    Reminds me of Laplace and Napoleon.

    “… well, it doesn’t feel that modern or scientific.”

    (About his non-belief).

    The woo monger could only manage “wow”s !



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  • Maybe – just maybe – Pastor McLain might have had his eyes opened just a little bit. I don’t think anybody expects him to suddenly see the light, that he doesn’t have to live in the darkness of religion and superstition anymore. He has too much invested in his faith; it’s his job, it defines his social standing in the community and so forth. But perhaps there’s a glimmer of realization somewhere in his flummoxed expression that has him questioning his faith, ever so slightly and in the tiniest of voices.

    I’d be curious to see a follow-up piece in, say, a year, to see what impact his Scandinavian trip had on him.



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  • Indeed most religions seem to be misogynistic to some degree. I think we have to be careful, not to not offend, but we can’t generalise all Muslim men as potential child rapists. Before I get jumped on by others rightly saying “No one has did that”, let me be clear. I live in Sheffield, I have Muslim friends, who like me are loving father’s. They are as disgusted as me a white atheist about what went on. However they are also worried they have a new stick to be beaten with because of who and what they are, and what is worse their fears are not unfounded. Hence my “Alarm bells”.



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  • Jessica – I did precisely the same thing for the same reason! The RDF editors should know better. Also, I believe we should not be referring to our misguided brothers and sisters as “bible-thumpers”. We need to be and stay above such language. …just my $.02.



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  • Do you think Europe is civilised? It’s not. Britain has over 80 Sharia Courts (89, if remembered correctly). And the fact that Europe is doing nothing to help a humanitarian crisis on its borders (Ukraine) or the fact it is complacent with 20% unemployment in Spain shows a lack of civility.



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  • Civilization has moved on and America is still stuck in the 1950′s.

    That’s why Britain has 85 sharia courts.

    Or open use of heroine in Athens.

    Or anti-semitic attacks in France, Brussels, and Germany.

    35% of young Muslims in Britain believe suicide bombings are justified (24% overall).
    42% of young Muslims in France believe suicide bombings are justified (35% overall).
    22% of young Muslims in Germany believe suicide bombings are justified.(13% overall).
    29% of young Muslims in Spain believe suicide bombings are justified.(25% overall). source

    But there are no European companies on this list.Because, you know technology and science both help civilization move forward.

    It seems Europe is stuck in the past too. And the rest of the world is just as bad.



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  • 59
    Light Wave says:

    Think way way earlier than that like I just stated clearly 17,000 years ago…..Meaning they have never had a need for a god….at least not when they had shamanistic hunter and herder practices



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  • What’s the solution, and why should we care?

    Second question first. The US generates more scientific papers than most of the rest of the world. Their military technology is now probably two generations ahead of their serious competitors and still a generation ahead of their “friends”.

    But an overwhelming proportion of their population believe things a large proportion of the population of Europe were probably sceptical about in the “Dark Ages”.

    Does it matter when a “Tea Party” president comes along and gets control of the “Red Button”, deciding to launch an attack on “friends”, Muslim countries and other “unbelievers” because of some weird mystical belief.

    How do you fix it? How DO you fix it? How did the most technologically advanced nation on the planet make it so a large proportion of their population leave school unable to read a tabloid newspaper, unable to think critically when their local preacher tells them “God” sent the fairies at the bottom of the garden because they dared to think “He” might not exist. And believe it. How DO you fix it?



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  • You need to be careful about these statistics, rape often goes unreported especially in societies where sex in general is considered shameful. In societies with a healthier attitude to sexuality rapes may well be reported more often (which is good). So an apparent rise in rape rates may in fact not be a rise in rape, but a rise in reporting. I suspect we know very little about the true extent of rape, child abuse etc. in many nations for these reasons.



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  • Education? Hmm. That is interesting.

    Crime? What type of crime? Robbery? Rape? Assault? You’re probably going to say murder – even though it’s a rare crime, especially with a rate less than 5 per 100,000. But overall crime? Take a look.

    “but that won’t last forever either.” – What do you mean? Q3 GDP growth rate is 3.5% – above Europe’s 0.2%.



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  • 67
    Jeffrey says:

    Funny that the only guys that I have seen named in these sex abuse cases are Muslim, in fact they all appear to be Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. It’s not religious or racial stereotyping when the perpetrators are all Muslim. Your political correctness is insulting to all non-muslim Asians.
    Same goes for the “Trojan Horse” project in Islamic schools, it’s no good labelling these episodes as an Asian immigrant problem, when it’s actually a Muslim immigrant problem.
    I also have Muslim friends who are appalled by this, but that doesn’t alter the fact that these acts are carried out by Muslims, an the communities in which they operate keep silent on a matter out of fear or complacency.



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  • I hope it is simply the beginning of a long death gurgle. It may be wishful thinking but it’s possible in the face of mounting evidence against stale and dangerous religious beliefs and failed arguments about the supernatural flavor of the century.



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  • 69
    Carissa says:

    What’s US unemployment? How many US Muslims hold extremist views? What percentage of US Muslims are prominent within ISIS? Regardless, Scandinavia (i.e. The topic of the video) is not uncivilized.



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  • Hahaha. ..as an American who has lived abroad for 18 years, I agree with you too. He is a worst case stereotype that is bad publicity for better traveled Americans.



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  • 72
    Katy Cordeth says:

    I’m not sure if this an edgar allan or not. The original Americans—not to be confused with Native Americans, or ‘Redskins’ to give them their proper name—were from Europe, too; England to be precise.

    When specifically did this corruption set in, Haffner?



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  • craig

    While Reagan did have a hand in energizing these nutballs (like so many of the horrible legacies of Reagan with which we are still living), he didn’t create them.

    Can’t argue with you there. And they get out the vote. There is a unfortunate bumper sticker I see from time to time that reads “I’m in the NRA and I vote”. I can’t help but to think that if voter turn out was 95 percent instead of 40, the U.S. would be a different country (at least that’s my hope). Maybe then we could set a national educational curriculum instead of what we have now. A system where each individual teacher literally gets to teach whatever they feel like teaching. That’s one of the major roots of the problem here.



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  • 77
    Katy Cordeth says:

    That’s extraordinary. Pastor McLain does seem to have lost a bit of weight since he called those ladies in the video bitches. He shaved his beard too.



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  • All Scandinavian countries are better than USA at everything that matters. Standard of living is higher. Life expectancy is higher. Womens right are higher. Less crime. Less drugs. Less pollution. Less poverty. Less idiots. Less religion. The list goes on and on and on.



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  • Tom Nov 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Global Research is a conspiracy nut job website. Not reliable at all.

    You are right it is a poor choice of link, which I should have checked more carefully, although their figure is quoted by other reputable sources!

    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/publications/impact-newsletter/archives/summer-2013/the-costs-of-the-iraq-and-afghanistan-wars
    The United States has already spent close to $2 trillion on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But those expenditures — on combat operations, reconstruction, and other direct costs of war — are only a fraction of what the wars will eventually cost the country, according to research by Linda Bilmes, Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy. The final figure, Bilmes calculates, will be $4 trillion.

    Bilmes focuses as well on the costs of borrowing money to pay for the wars. “The U.S. has already borrowed some $2 trillion to finance the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the associated defense build-up — a major component of the $9 trillion U.S. debt accrued since 2001,” she writes. Any accounting of other macroeconomic costs associated with the wars, such as the impact of higher oil prices on aggregate demand, would easily bring the total to $6 trillion.



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  • Tom Nov 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    But there are no European companies on this list. Because, you know technology and science both help civilization move forward.

    From your link – The list is limited to companies with annual revenues exceeding 50 billion USD.

    There is no evidence that only very large companies are the sole innovators of science or technology! Very often they just buy up innovative developments or components from smaller companies.

    Cherry-picking data, does not make a case!



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  • Thanks, Tom.

    Pretty damning for the US there on those major crimes. That incarceration rate just hints at the shocking truth 25% of all the worlds prisoners are American citizens. (I needed to contrast the huge number of youngsters locked up in the US with those in Finland….one fifteen year old was their number at the time.)

    Clearly gun ownership does rein in the burglary somewhat. And that terrible rape figure for Sweden is just because they take the problem seriously and account each act of rape (eg by a husband) as a crime and not the repeats as the same crime. I believe unprotected sex is counted a rape crime also.

    So much that could have gone in to that document of other social ills, eg teen pregnancy and abortion rates. Those Scandinavian kids seem so mature and responsible.

    I say these things with regret myself. The UK doesn’t shine on the social indicators the way Scadiwegia does. We are gradually tipping to the right and a US type selfish/punitive type model.



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  • 85
    Christian says:

    To Ryan,

    So I will start with framing who I am .. frenchman, did grad school at Tulane in the mid 80’s..
    Butting in to offer a bit of support..
    The fruit loop in the video does not representing America.. I studied and worked in the States only to find that America is very diverse..
    I get very annoyed with over-reaching statements of how stupid and un-cultured Americans are from many of my friends whom have never set foot in the US, let alone work or study there.
    Even in the bible belt there are men/women of progress and/or “normal” people, what is sad is that I did notice that coming back 25 years later, those “normal” people were not vocal with their ideas, or the defence of science, because they did not want to engage nor offend others.. It did saddened me that what was the majority of the people I met ( a biased sample obviously) did not feel the need to defend their correct convictions and object to excess religiosity around them..
    Mobilisation is lacking and to a certain extend it needs the same groundswell movement as the 60’s..
    ones..
    Cheers



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  • @Tom

    Civilization has moved on and America is still stuck in the 1950′s.

    What you’ve highlighted is that human stupidity is world wide. The difference is, that American stupidity is stuck back in the 1950’s, mostly based on religion that the rest of the world has discarded. The stupidity you highlight, is modern stupidity, still with a religious bent, but clearly stupid.

    If I could click my fingers, and remove all traces of religion from the planet, we would still be able to post lists of human stupidity, because most of humanity, don’t make evidence based decisions.

    The only advantage time gives, is that there is a race between the stupidities highlighted and the advance of rational thinking. Picture it as two graph lines. Currently stupidity is far above the rational line. But the rational line is trending up, as we slowly replace stupidity with rationality. The big question is whether the rational line will overtake the stupidity line before we go extinct.



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  • He could have his entire world view smacked down by visiting a largely Catholic town in America.

    No kidding. I was raised Catholic in a majority Catholic neighborhood and these people were the butt of our jokes. I have always supported church vs state probably knowing that as a (former) Catholic, I was not in the same standing as Protestants.

    Travel is important because it allows you to see outside of your day-to-day life and expand your views. Unfortunately, it’s expensive and the vicarious travel of the internet doesn’t cut it. Yet, in under an hour drive south, I can go from “blue” to “red.” It’s strange how this happens. I’d rather be in Ikea country.



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  • I have long extolled the virtues of Scandinavia …probably ad nausium truth be told. The thing that impresses me more than anything is their effort towards equity. I’m also impressed by the quiet way they go about conducting their affairs, without beating their own drum and imposing their will on all and sundry.

    I would like to agree with David R Allen, in saying that this is the same in Australia, but I don’t
    think we’re there yet. I can’t see another atheist female being voted in as Prime Minister for a while. We do have a completely
    secular medical system, however. One can guarantee that no deities are going to be invoked by any member of a medical team unless initiated by the patient.
    Edit: at any stage of treatment; even at the very end of the road!



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  • Hello, I shall try again to post…

    Last attempt simply just vanished!!!
    Must have been a god who didn’t want me to post?

    Great interview…
    Thank you for this..

    I wonder if it is possible to have a similar dialogue with a Baptist?
    Over the years I have found my (ex) friends and family members to be quite stubborn on the issue of religion..

    Thanx again, Rolly



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  • Ohhh and one other thing?

    Can the “Comment box” be located at the top of this forum?
    Or is the intention for contributors to read through Before Submitting?

    Thanx



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  • The above post was intended to be placed with the interview with the young Muslim woman…

    weird..
    The gods must be playing tricks!!!!

    Its all ok..In the end I enjoyed this above documentary too..

    Rolly



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  • Community and the way you were brought up has probably the biggest influence. One way to get at the heart of what people believe is to break down beliefs to smaller details. How many really think there is a heaven? Among those individuals, what percentage think that heaven provides everyone with a mansion vs. the lack of material items like food, shelter, etc.? How many people believe heaven is ethereal like floating in clouds? How many think that they will be separated from those they disliked on earth vs. those who think that the other person will change? If this is what they are working towards, maybe the absurdity will snap some sense into them. I don’t know. I think people will change when a couple more generations die out.



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  • You have to remember that prisons are a for profit business here and there are powerful lobbying agencies trying all the time for stiffer penalties for crimes (mostly drug crimes).

    You have all kinds of benign sounding groups like The Partnership for a Drug Free America pushing for longer prison sentences but when you look at who actually funds then, it’s usually prison groups or in the case of Partnership, powerful pharmaceutical companies. They’re sending generations of people into prison merely to stamp out competition. I think if we could convince people here that maybe the free market isn’t the best answer for every problem, the prison situation might improve a little bit.



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  • I wonder what this guy thinks of non-protestant Christians. If he were to pay a visit to Vatican City, or for that matter, Salt Lake City, the resulting man-on-the-street interviews would certainly be a hoot.



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  • Just a comment too on growth rates, Tom. The EC is actually an act of economic compassion, though much maligned and obscured. It is an act of sharing risk to help your neighbour for a longer term goal of stable prosperity all round. As when Germany united, the East was treated with generosity and given parity with its Ost Marks. The East got the investments in favour of the West and a united Germany stagnated whilst an economic fairness was built into their country to very great effect now. A similar attempt is being made in the EC as a whole. The US is happily spending its shale gas. The countries of Europe have a bit more of a plan.



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  • 104
    Jarkko says:

    I guess that documentary showed a pretty good and healthy way of how to convert fundamentalists to a atheist or atleast a bit less fundamental.

    Although the questions asked by that pastor were important for atleast him but still after he said his own opinion no one attacked him in any way. No one told him that you are retard, braindead, stupid or anything.

    If producers of YLE would send an atheist to bible belt of america they would have to give atleast some heavy duty bulletproof vests so he or she could survive all those shots from .410 shotguns.

    In the end american atheists are as much fundamental as their christian brothers. You need to confront every non-atheist in every way and tell them that you are a moron if you believe in god in order to be a good atheist in america. Also you have to be atheist in a same way as the other atheists are or you can’t be part of their flock. That might sound funny as you can be atheist only by not believing into god and it doesn’t automatically involve that you must also have some moral sense and opinions as the others but still you are not atheist as the others if your mind is not an exact copy of them.

    I think that Mr. Dawkins should watch that episode and think about the mentality of how to disagree with others. No one would or should listen to a guy who has just told that you are a retarded moron since you disagree with him no matter what was in question.

    Rally for Freedom was a Perfect example of how to get together with people who are like minded and then build a wall around you.



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  • In the end american atheists are as much fundamental as their christian brothers.

    Arrant nonsense. As an atheist I have disagreed with every other atheist here. They too could make a similar claim. Only one single thing is held in common, disbelief. The varieties of moral and political disposition ensure that there are schisms of schisms all the way down to the individual.



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  • In the end american atheists are as much fundamental as their christian brothers. You need to confront every non-atheist in every way and tell them that you are a moron if you believe in god in order to be a good atheist in america. Also you have to be atheist in a same way as the other atheists are or you can’t be part of their flock.

    You poor poor person. You are just regurgitating the propaganda you have been fed. I hear this all the time and it is so obviously wrong, that anyone with a shred of intelligence would be embarrassed to post it.

    Read what Phil Rimmer said. Apart from a non belief in god, anything else is fair game, and we go at it hammer and tongs. Watch Phil’s eyebrows quiver as I type the word “Capitalism”.

    A non belief in god does not command you to do anything. Personally I couldn’t care what you believed, as long as you do no harm to others. But spend a few moments reading in this forum and unless you are blind or brainwashed, you will see evil piled upon evil in the name of religion.

    Think for yourself Jarkko, instead of being a parrot on the shoulder of your priest.



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  • Jarkko Nov 20, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I guess that documentary showed a pretty good and healthy way of how to convert fundamentalists to a atheist or atleast a bit less fundamental.

    Not really! It was the audience who could see the stupid incredulity and narrow mindedness of the fundamentalist.

    Although the questions asked by that pastor were important for at least him but still after he said his own opinion no one attacked him in any way. No one told him that you are retard, braindead, stupid or anything.

    An interviewer does not want to have an interviewee clam up, if they want his views openly expressed to an audience.
    Trying to personally enlighten them is a different process.

    If producers of YLE would send an atheist to bible belt of america they would have to give atleast some heavy duty bulletproof vests so he or she could survive all those shots from .410 shotguns.

    That is the difference between an inclusive secular state and a bigoted theocratic community.

    In the end american atheists are as much fundamental as their christian brothers.

    That is nonsense! Fundamentalist dogmatic circular “faith-thinking”, bears no resemblance to evidenced reasoning.

    You need to confront every non-atheist in every way and tell them that you are a moron if you believe in god in order to be a good atheist in america.

    This is also nonsense, but when you encounter the know-it-all mentally retarded, whose indoctrinated, fallacious, childish, thinking, has never reached adult rational capability, objectivity recognises their condition. What is the best approach in dealing with them, and their asserted nonsense, depends on circumstances.

    Also you have to be atheist in a same way as the other atheists are or you can’t be part of their flock.

    This can only be a view of someone who has never seen atheists or Humanists debate issues. Atheists have a whole range of political and philosophical view-points.

    That might sound funny as you can be atheist only by not believing into god

    It is a common misconception of theists that atheists are people who deny THEIR pet god, when in fact atheists simply do not believe any gods are credible, and that gods are (as distinct from believers in gods), irrelevant to their lives. Theists apparently have no problem disbelieving the existence of the thousands of other peoples’ gods.

    and it doesn’t automatically involve that you must also have some moral sense and opinions as the others but still you are not atheist as the others if your mind is not an exact copy of them.

    Free thinkers work out their own answers which are therefore diverse.
    It is the theist dogma slaves, who are unthinking clones of their creeds.

    I think that Mr. Dawkins should watch that episode and think about the mentality of how to disagree with others. No one would or should listen to a guy who has just told that you are a retarded moron since you disagree with him no matter what was in question.

    It sounds like you have never actually listened to him! Could you quote where RD ever called anyone a “retarded moron” to their face?

    Rally for Freedom was a Perfect example of how to get together with people who are like minded and then build a wall around you.

    You really don’t have ANY idea what rational free-thinking, Humanism, or atheism is, and so simply project a reversed image of the failures and assumptions, of theological group-think, and attribute it to atheists.



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  • Nitya Nov 19, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I have long extolled the virtues of Scandinavia …probably ad nausium truth be told. The thing that impresses me more than anything is their effort towards equity. I’m also impressed by the quiet way they go about conducting their affairs, without beating their own drum and imposing their will on all and sundry.

    I have not visited Scandinavia, but many from there come to the east coast of England as tourists or on shopping trips.

    My son and his partner visited rural Norway and were surprised by the trust village people placed in their neighbours.
    Apparently when one of the residents had first arrived from England, (he explained to my son), he had locked his car, and was asked, “Why do you do that? Do you think we are all thieves?
    People also leave their mountain huts unlocked, and have a visitors book, where people caught by bad weather can sign in before using the supplies while staying there.



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  • Tom Nov 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Also the bastion of the most successful airport on earth.

    “Biggest”, does not mean “most successful”! – Particularly with airports, – decentralisation to a series of smaller airports, gives less congestion and a better service!



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  • 110
    bonnie says:

    …1950’s, mostly based on religion…

    Billy Graham Crusades – reruns are currently televised. Son Franklin is heir apparent.



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  • Watch Phil’s eyebrows quiver as I type the word “Capitalism”.

    I’m afraid I shall have to disagree with you there, David. One was raised only. I count myself an enthusiastic capitalist, maybe just a bit revisionist about the definition of “the market”.

    But I think I just made your point again..



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  • Johnt16, being an American, you still believe that you are number one at everything, which is not the case.

    You state that the majority of scientific papers come from the US, like that is something to be impressed by. Does that majority mean they are all correct? Or that Americans are all-knowing super-beings?! No. In fact, there is no perfect scientific paper or academic journal. For each paper or journal making a point, there’s usually several (at least) with a contradictory or alternate view. If you write a paper or journal thinking it’ll be completely flawless then you aren’t a true scientist or upstanding member of the academic world.

    You also make a point about the US being way ahead of even your allies in terms of military advancements, like it matters in a world where the vast majority are striving to avoid war for the sake of humanity. Well, you actually aren’t that advanced. Your personnel are badly trained morons who shout "oorah" while shooting your allies by mistake. Most of your advancements have come from huge amounts of funding because you’ve thrown cash at military improvements wildly. And finally, your most revolutionary advancements in this area have been created and developed by Europeans. The nuclear bomb…a German who escaped to America (I wonder why the US was so eager to accept him with open arms). The jet engine…a Brit. Weaponised rockets, which became missiles…a German.

    Finally, you owe modern life as you know it to the industrial revolution…stared in Manchester, UK and spread through Europe like wildfire where further advancements happened. No matter what the US does, Europe will always be many years ahead.

    Edited by moderator to bring within the site’s Terms of Use, which can be found via a link at the foot of each page.



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  • johnt16 Nov 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    .
    The US generates more scientific papers than most of the rest of the world.

    While there are vast numbers of scientific papers published, the statistics from various sources generally, and in this example, don’t support your claim!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909426/
    For particular fields, however, other databases provide more complete coverage. Table 1 in the Appendix of the report presents publication numbers for USA and a number of other countries derived from Chemical Abstracts, Compendex, Inspec and PASCAL for the period 1987–2001. Publications have been assigned to publishing centre or country on the basis of the institutional address for the first author listed in the article. The values for the world can be obtained from the table by addition. According to Chemical Abstracts for 23.0% of the publications the first author was from USA. The values found were for Compendex 25.1%, for Inspec 22.7% and for PASCAL 29.0%. For comparison, the share for USA according to SCI is 30.5% (National Science Foundation 2006). This indicates that SCI is biased towards publications from USA to a higher degree than the other databases.



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  • Pastor Marty McLain would be laughable if he were nothing more than a man from a small minority in the US. Sadly he seems to represent many Americans.

    .

    I was really troubled when I learned just how many citizens of the US think the earth is only 10,000 years old or younger – 42 per cent, according to a Gallup poll. This isn’t good news for the rest of the world.

    .

    Look at the might of the US. Even though there are five Americans for every citizen in the UK, for example, their national defence budget is 12 times larger than Britain’s.

    .

    The US armed forces are so powerful that I bet most other militaries in the world would collapse under an attack by the US Navy alone. Minus their nukes. Maybe not even the whole of the navy, maybe just the combined total of its catering divisions. In fact if they asked only the pastry chefs among them to fight, they’d whoop some ass by themselves. This should worry us a little.

    .

    Come 2016 religious Americans like Marty McLain could elect another overtly religious person as president. That head of state always has the potential to take rash faith-based decisions that would make those of us in the rest of the world rue his power.

    .

    The United States of Jesus seems to have unparalleled influence around the globe. I mean – without meaning to resuscitate the arguments about the legitimacy of the war in Iraq – I think it’s interesting to look at the aftermath of 9/11.

    .

    What a sorry state of affairs we had on this planet when one Western country had so much clout that it was able to drag other democracies into a conflict against a particular Arab nation, even though the hijackers who destroyed the Twin Towers, and so many lives, were overwhelmingly from a different one. Remember what George W said? “Either you’re with us or you’re with the enemy. There’s no in between.” So we signed up. And who voted Bush into office?

    .

    People like the pastor in the video have sharper teeth than they know, which worries me. Marty McLain is not just a figure of fun whose naivety and distance from home makes us laugh. He’s more than simply some religious American version of Ricky Gervais’s friend Karl Pilkington. He’s also someone to be concerned about. He’s one of those people whose creepy love for an imaginary friend in the sky could have bad affects on the rest of us. He’s part of that disturbing 42 per cent.



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  • phil rimmer Nov 20, 2014 at 4:15 am

    The varieties of moral and political disposition ensure that there are schisms of schisms all the way down to the individual.

    One thing the video showed, was that not only did the pastor, know nothing of atheism or Humanism, or the nature of (dogma) “free thought”, but as the same-sex marriage clip showed, he was ignorant of the views of other Christian denominations. As for his grasp of the viewpoints of the world’s other RELIGIONS? – Zilch would be a likely estimate!



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  • Such an innocent of the ways and thoughts of the world! Even Christian thought.

    I wonder what he would make of the work of Swedish Christian film maker Lukas Moodysson

    Some very frisky material is his ouvre.

    (Some sweet films too. “We are the best” honestly reflecting the atheist landscape of Sweden and only a bit icky about the goody two shoes nature of a Christian family… But these are Christians you can live with. Morals quite unfritzed)



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  • 117
    Harald says:

    This is not true, Duck. Norway is most wealthy among the Scandinavian countries, but it would barely squeeze in amongst the top 10 US states measured by gdp per capita. There are several states with considerably higher gdp per capita than Norway, and the gap in purchasing power is even more significant.

    Comparing Norway with the entire US is like bundling Greece with Norway when comparing Norway as a European nation with the US.

    Further, if you have a regular university degree and decent job you are economically more well off in the US, thus you will be able to attain higher standards of living.

    And without going into too many details in regards to the other claims you make, let’s do one example; health care is expensive in Norway. Some seem to think this is free, but you can get a very decent private health insurance in the US for the same mandatory amount you are deducted through your paycheck for public health in Norway. But you can pass the Norwegian health queues, you can get treatment for serious ailments which they do not treat in Norway, and you can go to private clinics rahter than the shitty state hospitals in Norway.

    Regards from a Norwegian having worked in the US for a few years. I’m back in Norway now, and whereas this is in many ways is a spectacular country I am a lot ‘poorer’ then when I worked in the US (or UK for that matter). Scandinavia is nowhere near the claims you make.



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  • Harald Nov 20, 2014 at 11:13 am

    And without going into too many details in regards to the other claims you make, let’s do one example; health care is expensive in Norway. Some seem to think this is free, but you can get a very decent private health insurance in the US for the same mandatory amount you are deducted through your paycheck for public health in Norway. But you can pass the Norwegian health queues, you can get treatment for serious ailments which they do not treat in Norway, and you can go to private clinics rahter than the shitty state hospitals in Norway.

    I do not have comparative figures for Norway, but Sweden and Denmark were both rated by the OECD as having superior health care to the USA at less than half the price!

    The costs in the USA are about double those of most OECD countries with a greater proportion spent on superficial customer service rather than on the serious medicine. ( See link below)

    http://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/04/26/cost-of-health-care-by-country-national-geographic/



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  • While I in no way dispute that US researchers contribute significantly to the pool of scientific papers out there, other replies here bring that claim into perspective. However, one other issue that has not yet been raised is that of LANGUAGE of publication. The US is certainly home to a great number of published ENGLISH speaking journals out there, but when you look at other English speaking countries worldwide, you find that academia generally is flooded with English research journals from the UK, Canada, India, Australia, etc. as well. As a result, the rising dominance of English in academic publishing over the past 40 years has caused other countries to publish academic journals in English too, so we are left with the unremarkable result that the United States merely has the largest publishing industry in the business of English language academic publishng worldwide — but only compared to other English speaking counties. That’s no more remarkable than claiming that Denmark leads the world in the publication of Danish-language academic journals, or that Russia leads the world in the publication of Russian journals.

    Again, no one is attempting to trivialise US contributions to published research papers, but a more meaningful path — before anyone claims “we’re number one!!” — might be to assess of ALL the research articles published in credible academic publications in ALL languages worldwide, to determine how many were actually written by U.S. nationals conducting their research in the US.



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  • I’ve visited all countries in Scandinavia bar Norway ( supposedly the best of them all). Some people ( you know who you are 🙂 ) find the uniformity of living standards boring. I really like to see people living well.
    I find it very telling that the high moral standards shown by the locals, come without the religious baggage.



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  • Nitya

    Ryan. Sounds like legalized slavery to me.

    I’m not sure if the prison situation here is a active conspiracy to keep minorities down or if they’re just looked upon as “easy pickin’s”, since in many cases they don’t have the cash to acquire the legal means to avoid jail time.

    In any case the disproportionate conviction and incarceration rates in drug cases do result in a kind of Jim Crow situation where once these people do get out of jail, even if they become “model citizens”, they can’t vote and they have to advertise the fact that they were once a convicted felony on all future job applications.



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  • Nitya Nov 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve visited all countries in Scandinavia bar Norway

    I don’t think any of my family apart from one of my sons (to Norway, Finland and Estonia), and my brother (to Sweden), has visited Scandinavia or the Baltic states. – At least not since our Viking ancestors came to England! – But they are just across the North Sea!
    BTW: For those in the USA who are finding snow is a problem, the Estonian railways run through 9 feet of snow, and the Baltic ferries to Finland run on time – providing the sea ice is no more than about 18inches thick!



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  • You’ve nearly got it! This is a very reliable place to start. On the deep and secure foundations of knowing that we don’t know, we can have the most certainty about what we do know as we observe, test, corroborate, learn….and build.



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  • 126
    Petteri says:

    Regardless of that said before on the comments I find it really disturbing, that my uncle, who moved to United States thirty years back has become so blind to what and how the US act deploying the Global Police policy and what kind of insights he now have the geopolitical situation in northern Europe. Thirty years of subjective views on the news has built him into true American. I’d compare it to brain-washing. That is not, what I suspected to happen, but it has.

    If it was not for the oil supply of Arab and muslim countries in the near East, the need to barge in to promote “domocracy” into that area wouldn’t exist. And that in a country, paying 3 dollars a gallon of gasoline, where as most EU countries pay 1.5 euros and more per litre.

    I find it very intresting, that there is a need to “protect” home soil by bombing and military actions thousands of miles away from the country. And go nuts, when something really happens on home turf. Isn’t that, what the Americans ask for intervening into affairs in different countries?

    Every nation has it’s soft spots, no doubt. What I think is American’s, it is the patriotism and common knowledge on different countries in the World. If a “superior” individual does not know of anything else, but his own back yard, there is not much, he would not believe, what an official authority tells about odd things on the other side of the oceans to be.



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  • My foundations are definitely deep and secure…in 400 AD a reasonable genius could possibly have a good portion of mans-scientific-knowledge inside his noggin…..Now in 2014 your genius is somewhat specialised and his ignorance has become frightening as mans knowledge expands at a far more than logarithmic scale!!!



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  • 128
    Light Wave says:

    Scandinavians have long traditions of Nature reverence which is not to be confused with nature worship….I have a few Scandinavians in my ancestral tree….wonder if they are mostly genetically susceptible to being rational atheists…..I would think so….If some of them later took up religion …they wore it like a forced identity coat – that they took off at the door of their homes and kept who they were on the inside the same and maintained ancient nature traditions as always….



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  • M27Holts Nov 19, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Having worked in the North of the USA (IT contracting) in the late 90′s and taking a holiday at the end of my contract – we toured the southern states!!! We found it like another planet

    My daughter worked in Manhattan, and did a tour of the Southern States at the end of her contract, before returning to England! That was like visiting TWO other planets!



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