It's the start of the Year of the Dog. If you're planning 15 days or so of celebrations - best of luck!
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Monday, January 09, 2006
Unintentional irony abounds in Richard Dawkins' tirade against faith.
This week and next, the controversial evolutionary biologist and holder of the Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford argues that faith is the root of all evil. There is a struggle, he says, between "reason and science" on one hand, and "faith and unreason" on the other. Faith is apparently "irrational". Not just "not about reason", but actively against reason. Always and fundamentally, it seems.
There is "no good reason" to believe in God, he asserts. To demonstrate the unreasonableness of faith, he points out a couple of Catholicism's odder dogmas. To show that the universe is purely materialistic, he asserts it to be obvious.
Dr Dawkins tells us that science advances testable hypotheses, challenges and tests them, and discards them if they don't fit. Its truth is provisional. On the other hand, he says "Science" has proved Evolution beyond challenge, and only irrational believers could doubt it - although he fails to describe, for example, how "natural selection" is falsifiable.
Faith is a continuum of motivation that includes both harmless-seeming believers and fundamentalist terrorists, so it's dangerous. Dr Dawkins fails to conceive of any continuum that includes both him and Nazi scientists like Dr Mengele or modern germ warfare scientists. So science can't be at all dangerous.
Cut to Jerusalem. Deeply held faith is "responsible" for the conflict in the Middle East - the implication being that faith must be wrong.
Next week: how faith is like a virus, and God is vindictive.
This has nothing to do with reason and logic - it's an emotional outburst against believers and their faith, from Richard Dawkins, Prophet of Scientific Materialism.
The greatest irony is that this piece of rhetoric counts towards Channel 4's Religious Broadcasting and Public Service "quota".
All the news coverage about Ming the Merciless and his role in Charles Kennedy's downfall made me thing about other examples of the truly pathological spelling of names we have in English. As well as Menzies, pronounced ming-iss (it is actually Scottish, but never mind), we have:
- Featherstonehaugh (fan-shaw)
- Cholmondeley (chum-ly)
- Boho (Bo)
- Boa Island (also Bo)
Friday, January 06, 2006
Holidays are great. We all need a break from time to time. The new year seems like a good time to think about what is important, and what is just habit - time to take stock.
Then it's back to work and, if we're not careful, back into the same old routine.
Here goes 2006!