Rob Knop of Galactic Interactions has posted that he is closing down his blog. I will miss his contributions to teaching an astronomy newbie like me about some of the coolest discoveries in the field. I will also miss reading his perspective on other issues that so often made me think more deeply about the issue. Farewell Rob and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
There is some consolation in knowing that Phil will still be giving me great information on astronomy and that I now have room to add someone else to my RSS reader and Blogroll.
Who should I add? That’s a tough decision, there are more excellent blogs out there than I can possibly keep up with. While my inclination was to add a science blog to replace the science blog that is gone, PZ pointed me to a post today that really struck a cord with me.
The blogger who I’m adding is Greta Christina who I have read other excellent posts by in the past including this excellent post that was part of the recent Skeptics Circle. Another earlier post, Short Memories: AIDS Denialism and Vaccine Resistance, had also impressed me with her thoughtful writing and humor.
The post from Greta that I read today, Atheists and Anger, I found very informative.
I get angry when advice columnists tell their troubled letter-writers to talk to their priest or minister or rabbi… when there is absolutely no legal requirement that a religious leader have any sort of training in counseling or therapy.
And I get angry when religious leaders offer counseling and advice to troubled people — sex advice, relationship advice, advice on depression and stress, etc. — not based on any evidence about what actually does and does not work in people’s brains and lives, but on the basis of what their religious doctrine tells them God wants for us.
This really struck a chord with me because my Dad felt the same way as Greta and taught me to see the truth in this position. As I’ve written previously, my Dad was an American Baptist Minister the sect of Baptists who teach the absolute necessity of complete freedom of religion and equal rights with tolerance for all (ref. Roger Williams, Martin Luther King Jr.). He always taught everyone that mental and physical illness need to be addressed by medical and mental health professionals not religious professionals. In fact he told me that both times he moved on to new churches it was mainly due to church members too often trying to use him as a free substitute for mental health professionals. My Dad felt his proper role was to give advice on issues of faith and anyone who asked for help with non-faith issues he tried as hard as possible to get them to go to an appropriate professional.