A Random Post for Random Times
"After two centuries, could this be twilight for the Enlightenment project and the beginning of a new age of unreason?"
-from Beyond Belief 2006
Beyond Belief is an examination of what religion is in the world, as told by scientists. (Well, it makes as much sense as a Papal summit on evolution.) What's interesting is the level of willingness to play politics with science, what can only be considered extremism in dealing with religion. Sure, there is some justification to paniced feelings when you see people actually believing (and paying for) this idiocy, but still.
Why this emotional response is happening is obvious: there have been constant, relentless attacks on science and education for the past twenty-five years, increasing in ferocity and insistence for the past five. There have been attacks on evolution, geology, paleontology, anthropology, biology... in short, anything which could be viewed as a threat to organised religion.
So now there's a blowback, and I can't say it's a great idea: several mistakes are made at the meet (check out the excellent comment by one of the speakers Scott Atran here; the other comments aren't much, I'm afraid), but I can understand the frustration that must be felt by the scientists who are constantly seeing progress not only derided, but declared heretical and evil by people who have no idea what the progress even is.
(Side note: of the speaker's books, I'd reccommend Ramachandran's stuff to anyone.)
But is going on the offense, outright attacking religion, the best approach? Is the politicising of scientists a good idea? Is doing so really necessary for science to defend itself on the political field?
It's a circumstance where both the people attacking religion and those attacking science believe they are acting for the benifity of all humanity; and as we all know, the battle cry of "Save the Children!" does not lend itself well to any kind of rational thought.
Still, interesting stuff. Getting through all the speeches takes a while, though.
I know, it's late. But still, when I saw that one of the biggest criticisms of new Perpetual Party Leader Stephane Dion was that "he lacked charisma", I had to wonder: compared to whom, exactly? The Plastic Man himself?
If this game were won on charisma, the 80's Porn Star would have taken the last election in a landslide.
Gay marriage had another debate in Canada. Or rather, a debate (for an hour or so) then a vote on whether to debate gay marriage in Canada. It got beat like the Gimp and put to pasture, which everyone expected, and it would have been virtually impossible to enforce a reversal in the law anyways, so why was it brought up in the first place? Because PM Plastic Man said he would. In his own words after the vote:
"We made a promise to have a free vote on this issue; we kept that promise, and obviously the vote was decisive and obviously we'll accept the democratic result of the people's representatives."
The question remains if the opponents of same-sex marriage think he promised to have a free vote on gay marriage or on the debate. Charles McVety (you know - the guy who believes Ted Haggard was gay because of enviromentalism) had this comment:
"The people of Canada are not going to let this go, because marriage is too important an institution to just let it evaporate because of the emotions of a few people in Parliament."
How about the emotions of the majority of Canadians, then?
Oh, and I've figured out the sex and sexuality of God, but that's for another post.
If the universe is 6,000 years old (or so), how exactly do we end up with a lump here on Earth that could be 4.5 billion years old? Just asking.
And, for your perusal, 2500 science jokes. No, I don't get more than a quarter of them, either.
**Now with BONUS working link!**
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who don't!
My sidecar's still not ready. I'd be more pissed about it if I had the money to insure it, so no biggie there.
One thing I am pissed about is that two dealerships I despise have the contracts for my favorite motorcycle company. The third option is about 8 hours travel away - each direction.
In the tradition of Shining, here's a preview of Mary Poppins that just might be a little touch misleading... But it is more in keeping with the original book than the movie is, I suppose!