Scientology, Orson Scott Card, and the 'Writers of the Future' contest

Disgusted! That's how I feel. During my reading up on ways to break into the field of science fiction I have discovered some repulsive connections that should be brought to light!

Perhaps the foremost writing contest for amateur and aspiring authors of speculative fiction is the 'Writers of the Future' contest. I learned about this contest in Orson Scott Card's how-to manual 'How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy.' Many people will instantly recognize Orson Scott Card's name as the author behind 'Ender's Game' and related novels. He is quite literally a juggernaut in the world of Science Fiction, having won BOTH the Hugo and Nebula awards back-to-back. (sorta like the Grand Slam of sci-fi)

In his manual Card plugs the 'Writer's of the Future' contest as the place to start for amateur writers of sci-fi. Intrigued, I googled the contest name and found their website. To my visceral disgust I discovered that the true, official name of the contest is NOT 'Writers of the Future' as printed in Card's book, but rather 'L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future.' Being fully involved in the campaign to expose and oppose the Cult of $cientology as an evil fascist organization I was immediately sickened by the connection, and the subtle subterfuge that had brought me to a website connected with the most virulent cult around. But then I started to poke about the website, fascinated. Check it out yourself:

The most striking thing about both the contest itself, and the website that promotes it, is how it has managed to successfully elicit the support of a wide range of the "who's who" in science fiction, and interwoven their support and testimonials for THE CONTEST with support and promotion of L. Ron Hubbard, his career and his ideas. By lending their name to the contest, the very pinnacle of the Science Fiction elites - names such as Ann McAffrey, Terry Brooks, Neil Gaiman, and Robert J. Sawyer - have allowed themselves to be used by Scientology to bolster the reputation of L. Ron Hubbard. It is a transparent ploy to promote the Cult by promoting the founder.

Further more, I have discovered that the contest itself is owned and operated by a business subsidiary of the Cult... er... Church of Scientology. That means, to me, that the sales and proceeds of the anthology go into Scientology coffers. Every emerging author who submits and wins an award will have their work printed inside a book emblazoned with L. Ron Hubbard's name, the proceeds from sales of which will go to the Scientology war chest for spreading and promoting their fascist evil cult. The prize money is very high, so the monetary inducements are strong. Even I was tempted to submit to the contest, until I read the Wikipedia entry which made clear the connection between the contest and the Cult.

The next thing that I wondered was whether these literary giants were part of the Cult. This seems unlikely, but perhaps someone should ask them directly. But in the end their direct membership in the cult is irrelevant. Their good names and reputations are being overtly exploited to lend support to Scientology. They are choosing to associate themselves with Scientology and the Cult founder, and in so doing accept upon themselves responsibility for the Cult's growth and power, and by extension the moral ramifications of this fascist organization. That moral responsibility needs to be brought home to these individuals in no uncertain terms.

Having discovered this repulsive link, and having been at least partially involved in the worldwide protests against $cientology that were spearheaded by Anonymous, a couple things occurred to me:

1. A campaign of shame needs to be launched against the literary giants of science fiction who have allowed their name to be used to support and promote L. Ron Hubbard and his evil cult.

2. A campaign of awareness-raising needs to be launched within the science-fiction community concerning the connection between Scientology and the 'L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future' contest, so that emerging and amateur writers are not duped into supporting a fascist cult with their work.

I for one will not buy another book by Orson Scott Card, Anne McAffrey, Neil Gaiman, and Robert J. Sawyer until they withdraw their support for the contest and explicitly repudiate the Cult. Anyone who accepts money from the Cult of Scientology is accepting BLOOD MONEY. Anyone who supports the activities of the Cult assume moral responsibility for the Cult's behaviour. A worldwide boycott against these authors is the first step in undermining this insidious cult's power base in the literary world.

Please spread the word about the connection between Scientology, Orson Scott Card, Anne McAffrey, Neil Gaiman, Robert J. Sawyer and others through the 'Writers of the Future' contest.

Religious Discrimination is Good

Discrimination. With the possible exception of “paedophile”, few pejoratives are as emotionally loaded and irrationally employed. To be targeted with this label produces guilt by accusation, with precious little engagement of rational faculties. Yet the fact is that discrimination is not only everywhere, it is most often a profoundly GOOD thing. It is only mis-discrimination that produces the negative attitudes that have erroneously become synonymous with the base term. Somewhere along the way in the past 50 years this logical non-sequitur started our western culture down the rationally incoherent slippery slope that has lead to our current state of stifling political correctness around such topics.

In a democratic system the electorate constitutes the sovereign lawmaker. Political correctness not only suppresses open and honest academic discourse, it also stifles the ability of the general electorate to freely propose and debate a variety of competing legal positions. In such a democracy we hold certain fundamental principles. One of them is the equality of rights, also expressed as equality before the law. “Discrimination” as commonly employed is then any situation where those rights are impinged upon without cause or justification.

For instance, it was formerly held that women and “Indians” (a term who’s ridiculousness stood revealed when real Indians from India began showing up on the west coast) were legally unfit to vote because they (allegedly) lacked the mental capacity. Over time both of these views were exposed as ludicrous nonsense, but the key point is in the details of the reasoning.

Discrimination against “Indians” and women was unfounded discrimination. The rationale for the discrimination was shown to be utterly baseless, and for this reason both morally and legally repugnant. However lets carefully note two other classes of persons in our society: children and Downs syndrome individuals. Both are denied the vote and many other legal rights, and the justification given is for largely the same reasons initially given for such denial applying to “Indians” and women. This too is discrimination. Is it morally, ethically or legally wrong? Certainly not. The key difference is that in one case the justification is true, and in the other it is false.

Frequently within the political discourse of today we see this vital distinction conflated, and nowhere more noticeably and to the greater detriment of society than in our public conversation concerning the merits of religion.

When Danish cartoonists publish drawings that satire the violent nature of Islam the immediate reaction of many is to accuse them of discrimination. Is it discrimination? Of course it is. But so what? That is the wrong question to ask. The correct question ought to be: “Is it JUSTIFIED discrimination?” The mere fact that Muslims the world over reacted to the cartoons with violence, and now assassination attempts, self-evidently demonstrates the very point that the cartoonist was drawing attention to. There were no assassination attempts against John Cleese when Monty Python made “The Life of Brian.” The inescapable fact is that all religions are not equal. Some religions contain intrinsic doctrines of hatred and violence, while others teach peace and tolerance. Making this discrimination is becoming an increasing matter of security and survival, but our irrational reactionary response to the mere hint of “discrimination” places such vital discourse outside of the mainstream. This must change.

Anyone who thinks that Islam or Hinduism are religions of peace simply have not read the relevant holy texts. The Koran dictates that “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you may dislike it” (2:216) and “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you.” (9:123). The inescapable conclusion of the Bhagavad Gita is that a divinely ordained cast system (dharma) dictates the moral duty of a certain class (the Kshatriya or warrior class) to wage violent warfare against their enemies, even if they are kin. These are transparently not doctrines of peace. Anyone who thinks that the teachings of Islam and Hinduism are as non-violent as Buddhism, Jainism, the Shakers, Quakers and the Amish is either deluded, ignorant, or stupid.

Of course the pro-social or anti-social consequences of a particular doctrine in no way indicate the truth or falsity of the doctrine. However they do speak volumes about how tolerant the rest of us can and should be of such doctrines. Few people argue that we should be tolerant of NAZI ideology, however equally few people have a problem with tolerating belief in Santa Clause, despite the manifest falsity of both belief systems. It is time that – as a secular society – we recognize that some religious doctrines are more like the former, while others are more like the later. Jihadist Islam clearly falls within the first class, and the Amish clearly fall within the latter. Intolerance and discrimination between the two is not only desirable, it is necessary if global society is going to survive the 21st century.

Humanism is Hope

“What is humanism?” As the founder of a humanist group I am frequently asked this question. The answer is complicated because there are many internal debates within the philosophy of humanism itself – a chief characteristic that makes humanism so robust. Undaunted by this pitfall, here is my current best attempt at a short description.

Simply put, humanism is a philosophy of hope, derived from eternal human striving to make our lives richer and the world a better place. But humanists insist on real hope, not the fantasy or self-delusion of religion and mysticism. This hope flows out of a sober and rational examination of the world and our place in it, including a realistic understanding of human frailty and weakness in conjunction with the inherent inclemency of the wider universe in which we have carved a tenuous toe-hold.

Knowledge is a slippery and difficult thing to attain, and human brains are profoundly prone towards error. Rigorous skepticism as a means of finding truth through the progressive “weeding out” of viable alternatives is the only reliable method by which humans can approximate a truthful representation of the world. This process has a well known name: science. Humanists embrace this rational path to knowledge as a universal acid to dissolve away bad ideas in literally all aspects of life – politics, philosophy, art, social relationships, architecture, medicine, and morality.

If humanists have anything that can be called faith, it is the conviction that human potential is unbounded, limited only by our imagination and creative genius. The hope for a better future for ourselves and the world at large can only be achieved through the dedicated and diligent investigation of the world around us, free from dogma, authoritarianism and infused with a healthy self-criticism. However this is not the blind, self-delusional faith of religion and dogma. It is based upon the demonstrated success of the human species to progressively improve the collective prospects of life through the application of human reason and scientific principles.

In the final analysis humans are responsible to ourselves and each other for the lives we live and the world we create. Ultimately, and in a very real sense, the world is what we make it. We suffer the consequences of ignorance or inaction, and we reap the rewards of flourishing genius and wise forethought.

Belief systems that are demonstrably false or rationally dubious – such as religion, the supernatural, or “alternative” therapies – have consequences that are either directly harmful (ie. Jihad; restricting abortion; the supposed sinfulness of condom use) or they displace better ideas and are thus indirectly harmful through lost opportunities to do better (ie. limiting stem cell research on the ridiculously mindless belief that a blastocyst has a soul).

Our continued survival and prosperity powerfully depends upon our own ability to understand, predict and control the world around us. The future hinges on the necessity to reject bad ideas and amass an ever improving repertoire of reliable knowledge. There are no guarantees that what has worked in the past can be relied on in the future, and like the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, the only safeguard we have against destruction is proactive eternal vigilance and self-betterment.

Humanism, then, is a comprehensive world-view that embraces the scientific path to knowledge in all areas and derives hope for a better tomorrow from the application of ever-growing human capacities for self-fulfillment on an individual, societal and global level.

A Critical Examination of the Values of the Prophet Muhammad

Many have suggested that the Danish cartoons lampooning Muhammad should not have been printed – and should not be reprinted – out of respect to the Islamic religion. Such views are deeply misguided and threaten the most fundamental institutions of enlightened democracy.

Free speech is not merely some hollow, mindless ideology to be cast aside in the name of “not hurting feelings,” but represents the vital political right to criticise and challenge authority – be it political, secular or religious authority. Those who are most “offended” by these cartoons are the same people who routinely engage in the most violent and derogatory attacks against points-of-view divergent from their own, threatening – and frequently enacting – violent retribution against anyone who challenges their mediaeval dogmas. They cultivate an aura of fear intended to oppress and silence their critics. The satirical critique expressed within the Danish cartoons are not only legitimate forms of political expression, they also level well-taken criticism at the founder of Islam, a political leader whose values are fundamentally inconsistent with the values that underpin western democratic society.

Islam is not just an innocuous religion. It is a comprehensive political system that can not be separated from the religious dogma that underpins it. Muhammad was not merely a spiritual mystic who founded a religion, as is the case with the Buddha or Jesus. He was also a ruthlessly Machiavellian political ruler and military commander. Both Jesus and the Buddha renounced political power. Muhammad, on the other hand, founded a political dynasty that is inseparable from his religious ideology. In a free democracy all political systems are open to critique, criticism and debate regardless of whether they derive their ideological foundation from economic theory, rational philosophy or metaphysical mysticism. Islam is in dire need of close intellectual scrutiny!

Muslims hold up Muhammad as the supreme role-model. Given the dramatic importance that the Islamic political paradigm plays in the world today (at least one Islamic nation possess nuclear weapons, with others clamouring to join the nuclear club) it is vitally important for those who value tolerance, liberty and democracy to examine the value-system that this man displayed during his life. In many parts of the world where Islam holds sway it is a capital offence to “blaspheme” the Prophet. Luckily those of us who live in a liberal democracy have the right to challenge all value systems without being killed by the state, and if we take a moment to scrutinize the values and actions of Mohammad we quickly discover that he is not a benign pacifist like the Buddha or Jesus. Instead we discover a historical figure who could in good faith be described as a violent megalomaniac conqueror comparable with Genghis Kahn, Napoleon Bonaparte or Joseph Stalin, with values that most of us would find reprehensible and whose actions would today constitute war crimes. Here is a brief sampling:

• In 622 CE Muhammad married Aisha at age 6 or 7, and had sex with her at age 9. Aisha was one of 11 wives. Most people today would consider sex with a 9 year old girl rape, sexual abuse or paedophilia.
• In 622-624 CE Muhammad lead his followers in raids against civilian merchant caravans from Mecca, killing innocent merchants unconnected with his political quarrel in Mecca and stealing from others to prop up his exiled political regime based in Medina. He employed violence to impose his revolutionary political projects, and his caravan raids precipitated a war between Mecca and Medina.
• In the ensuing war, in 627 CE he ordered the slaughter of every adult male member of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe, whose leaders refused to submit to his leadership during the Battle of the Trench; between 600-900 men were beheaded by his order and the women and children awarded as spoils of war. Similar actions within the former Yugoslavia are today labelled ethnic cleansing and genocide.
• From 622 CE until his death in 632 he aggressively invaded his neighbours, killing and subjugating those who refused to submit to his rule. Such actions by a head of state today would rightly be considered a threat to global peace and security.

Some have suggested, rightly or wrongly, that Muhammad was an outlaw thief and pirate, that he was a misogynist paedophile, or that he was a military conqueror and genocidal war criminal. These are disputable value judgments. What can not be disputed, however, is that the questions raised are valid points of political debate. The charges levelled against Mohammad are anachronistic value judgments, to be sure; if Mohammad’s values were relegated to history then this would be a valid retort. But today’s Islam has not abandoned his values – they remain front and centre of a political paradigm rooted firmly in the 7th century. From Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Algeria to Iran, Afghanistan to Chechnya, New York to London to Bali to Madrid – modern Islam is bent upon foisting the values of Muhammad upon the world. The Islam of today stagnantly clings to a mediaeval world-view, adhering to the violent role-model of the Prophet. If Muhammad is the model of behaviour for Islam it should come as no surprise that faithful Muslims adopt the methods and values of their beloved Prophet. This is precisely the criticism of Islam conveyed by the Danish cartoonists – and it is entirely valid.

There were no riots or deaths corresponding to the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian or The DaVinci Code. The widespread violent response to the Danish cartoons (dramatically less “blasphemous” towards Muhammad than either movie) once again reveals Islam as a radical, reactionary, violent and medieval ideology that threatens the most fundamental principles of tolerance, democracy and freedom of thought and speech. It does so not just hidden within the totalitarian confines of far-off theocracies, but reaches into the heart of western democracy to threaten our most cherished political rights and institutions by exporting values of violence and hatred into our midst.
Those who suggest that liberal democracies should “tolerate” the violent political ideology of Islam are profoundly ignorant of the inherent intolerance at its root. It is past time that enlightened thinkers shed the veil of politeness and denounce Islam for what it so obviously is: a political ideology rooted in violent metaphysical dogma with a tradition that is inherently inconsistent with democracy, freedom, peace and tolerance.

For a deeper discussion of the violence inherent in Islam please see:
Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason, (particularly chapter 4)

For more information about the life of Muhammad please visit:

For more information about the cartoon controversy please visit:


Violence and Hatred at the Root of Islam

Should the Koran be defined as “hate speech” under Canada’s hate crime legislation? Does the Koran incite hatred and violence against identifiable groups? Muslim apologists and religious “moderates” would have us believe that Islam is a “religion of peace” and dismiss criticism as mere “Islamophobia”. Such arguments are ridiculous and display stunning ignorance of the hatred and incitement to violence that litters the Koran. The word ‘Islam’ is properly translated as ‘submission’ not ‘peace’. The only ‘peace’ Islam offers unbelievers, pagans and apostates is the peace that Hitler offered the French in 1940 – the ‘peace’ of abject slavery.
But is the Koran hate speech? Section 318 and 319 of the criminal code of Canada bans the incitement of hatred against an “identifiable group,” defined in s. 318 as “any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

“319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of” an offence.

Bearing this legal definition in mind lets see what the Koran actually says. Even a casual perusal reveals that the Koran is dripping with incitement of hatred and violence against Jews, Christians, pagans, women, atheists, apostates (former Muslims who have renounced the faith) and pretty well anyone else who is a non-Muslim. But don’t take my word, read from the Koran for yourself….

“This Book is not to be doubted. (2:1)
“Those that deny Our revelations We will burn in fire. No sooner will their skins be consumed than We shall give them other skins, so that they may truly taste the scourge. Surely Allah is mighty and wise. (4:56)
“Believers, do not choose the infidels rather than the faithful for your friends. (4:145)
“Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. (5:51)
“You will find that the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews and pagans. (5:82)
“The Jews say: ‘Allah’s hand is chained.’ May their own hands be chained! May they be cursed for what they say! (5:64)
“Had the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] accepted the Faith, it would surely have been better for them. Some are true believers, but most of them are evil-doers. (3:111)
“Men have a status above women. (2:228)
“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please. (2:224)
“Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. surely Allah is high, supreme. (4:34)
“Do not befriend [apostates] until they have fled their homes in the cause of Allah. If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them. (4:90)
“The true believers fight for the cause of Allah, but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan. (4:76)
“Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers. (2:98)
“Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. (9:123)
“Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you may dislike it. (2:216)
“The unbelievers are your inveterate foe. (4:101)
“Idolatry is more grievous than bloodshed. (2:192)
“Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme. (2:193)

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. (8:12)"
Now, tell me again how Islam is the religion of "peace?" Casually open a copy of the Koran and randomly flip pages – I dare you. The only thing saving Muslim Mullahs from prison under Canadian hate laws is section 319(3) of the criminal code, a clause that specifically exempts religion as a hate crime. However this exemption does nothing to mitigate the obvious conclusion that if not for 319(3) the Koran would constitute hate speech.
But why is religion entitled to special status? Why is it illegal to incite hatred and violence against Jews or Women in a classroom (as with Keegstra) but perfectly legal in a Mosque? On what rational basis are the teachings of the Koran morally distinguishable from Mein Kampf or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Is it not time that rational men and women fight the intolerance and violence that oozes from the Koran and challenge Islam for the violent, racist, misogynist, dark-age savagery that it so obviously is?
Further Reading:
the Koran; the Hadith; Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Why I Am Not A Muslim, by Ibn Warraq.


Ok folks, Sam is without doubt the beacon guiding our path, and this amazing keynote address to the Atheist Alliance International conference will show you why. Sam goes into the lions den, and in the process stands head and shoulders above the other "New Atheists" even as he rejects the title of "Atheist".

Main Lecture:


In the Q&A we have an amazing sight when Dan Dennett stands up and defends Sam and still asks an insightful question. Here you also see in stark terms how many "atheists" can be just as dogmatic as fundamentalists, and why that is argument enough to not identify with the word. Keep this debate in mind the next time someone calls Carpe Diem the "atheist club"!! ;)

Playing God

Today, Thursday, October 23, 2007 I exceeded my natural lifespan. Had the year been 1907 rather than 2007 my abscessed appendix would have ruptured, and I would have died shortly thereafter.

During my stay at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria I was truly awestruck on a personal and visceral level by what I already knew on an abstract and theoretical level – the human beings who work to keep others alive in our health care system and associated support and research endeavours represent the highest pinnacle of our great golden age of human civilization. It is well known that their work frequently takes a toll on their emotional, social and family lives, but there is scarcely a single person among us who does not owe their own life to these champions of human dignity. We owe them our deepest reverence.

It is for this reason that when I hear morons and idiots malign advances in biomedical research as “playing God” I have to suppress a shudder at the medieval barbarity of their ignorance. I beseech all who read this to fearlessly and forcefully challenge such asinine specimens of non-thinking wherever they occur! The only solution that such fools have for my appendicitis – a certain death sentence for almost all of human history – is to blame the victim for not being sufficiently pious and try to save my soul for the fabricated “next” life. While in my case impiety is most assuredly a true charge, the causal connection between impiety and disease is clearly false. Here I remain, successfully living a happy life in defiance of an omnipotent God’s alleged punishment.

By contrast how many pious clergy have succumb to appendicitis? What does this say about the “intelligent design” of the human intestine? No better example then the appendix exists for how the human body was designed by a gradual process of piecemeal evolution, with no planning of forethought and riddled with potentially fatal and clearly sub-optimal features. Those who argue that biological creatures “are so well designed that only God could have done it” are going beyond arguing to ignorance and inventing a new logical fallacy: the argument to wilful stupidity. God certainly must work in mysterious ways to have designed the appendix… or simply be mind-numbingly incompetent in his error-prone role of galactic puppet master in training.

When these same nuts who spout nonsense about “playing God” or “intelligent design” also obstruct stem cell research, for instance, it makes me wonder how many people will die in the intervening period of time between when stem cell therapies come to fruition and when they MIGHT have come to fruition BUT DID NOT because of such asinine exercises in Dark Age “thinking.” If a stem cell based cure for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or Multiple Sclerosis is delayed even a year because of such people this would represents a twisted crime against humanity, and yet another example of why I am not merely an atheist but an anti-theist.

As Christopher Hitchens says, “religion poisons everything” and does incalculable harm in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. The belief system responsible must be held accountable for the harm it does. We must move beyond being tolerant and respectful of religion, for it is currently high amongst the most destructive and harmful forces on the planet. Sam Harris is fond of pointing out that just as the KKK is today rightly maligned as both ridiculous and extremely harmful, it was once treated with considerable social respect in the American south. In a similar way religion ought to be mocked and ridiculed until the absurd stupidity of religious claims is laid bare and can no longer hide behind the veneer of societal respect. When it comes to harmful ideas we need to practice “conversational intolerance.” Those who foist barbarous beliefs upon their neighbours must be held accountable for the consequences of those beliefs, and the rest of us must stop tolerating or respecting them just as we do not tolerate those who espouse Nazism or racism. Those who warn against “playing God” must be high on our priority list for the conversational intolerance of Sam Harris.

The simple fact is that any old surgeon in a modern hospital is far more deserving of the right to “play God” than any of the genocidal, misogynistic bastards vying for supremacy among our mid-eastern spawned scourge of despotic monotheistic deities. Why? Here are the Happy Heretic’s top 20 reasons why doctors are better qualified at “playing God” than Yahweh, Jehovah, or Allah:

Your average doctor…

20. rejects cannibalism – be it literal (Catholic) or symbolic (Protestant) – as a valid or efficacious treatment for saving people from suffering.
19. prescribes drugs and treatments that work for verifiable medical conditions, not prayers and rosaries designed to exercise thought control of victimless “sins” confessed in secret.
18. will diagnose someone hearing voices in their head as mentally disordered and commit them to hospital, not take someone hearing voices telling them to murder their child and promote them as a paragon of virtue. (ie. Abraham)
17. encourages second opinions, rather than stoning, for those who disagree with their assessment. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
16. never threatens to taketh away what they giveth, even if you don’t pay your bill. (may not apply in the U.S.A.)
15. makes rational decisions based on inductive logic and observational evidence, not based on petty, psychological character flaws such as jealousy, possessiveness, ego, vainglory, rage or vindictiveness derived from low-self esteem.
14. seeks to halt genocide, not incite it.
13. will treat anyone – friend or foe – and doesn’t pick favourites between who they will or will not save on the basis of race, belief or loyalty.
12. isn’t perfect, but statistically if you want to be healed your best bet is at least one order-of-magnitude improved if you visit a doctor rather than pray.
11. seeks to alleviate or prevent plagues, not cause them.
10. treats women as human beings equal to any other, not as chattel. (Koran 4:34)
9. treats homosexuals as human beings equal to any other, not as abominations deserving death
8. doesn’t punish patients who disobey doctor’s orders by killing their firstborn infant sons.
7. chooses actions based on the consequences of a given set of circumstances, not arbitrary inflexible laws.
6. uses their abilities to alleviate suffering, not to inflict it as a tool to enforce obedience. (Koran 4:56)
5. seeks to promote good behaviour for its own sake, not on the basis of arbitrary rewards or punishments.
4. unquestionably and unconditionally helps those in need, rather than claiming to love everyone unconditionally on the condition that they do his bidding in abject slavery.
3. doesn’t go around trying to steal all other doctor’s patients and pretending competitors don’t exist, even while referring to such rivals by name.
2. knows the correct value of pi.
1. is real.

As Dan Dennett says, “thank goodness” for the knowledge and scientific skills of human doctors, and for all the organs of science, medicine and biomedical research. Human standards of morality have long since surpassed those of the barbaric, bronze-age Abrahamic religions. May our standards of healing likewise continue along the accelerating march towards conquering death itself, when humans will become truly immortal and banish the ridiculous gods of our intellectual infancy to the graveyard of history alongside other bad ideas such as alchemy, astrology, phrenology and dousing.