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Comments by Veronique

Go to: Lawrence Krauss at the Reason Rally Wash. DC 3/24/2012

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Veronique

Comment 13 by Stafford Gordon

I agree. Lawrence is on his way up as a public figure and has a good way of describing science and the failings and dangers of religious belief.

And Carto - please may I add my voice to Phil's. Settle down and start mapping out the skeleton of the book you are going to write.

"The Intellectual Decline, Fall and Reincarnation Of Classical Civilisation." - I quite like that too:-).

But do start soon, won't you!

Cheers

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:54:26 UTC | #932159

Go to: Sean Faircloth & Richard Dawkins address the American Atheists Convention

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Comment 18 by Dwegner

Never happen. RD cooked his knightly goose by declaiming as an atheist.

And then a militant one to boot! Great stuff but no knighthood.

Who cares!

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 18:36:56 UTC | #930987

Go to: Sean Faircloth & Richard Dawkins address the American Atheists Convention

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Comment 4 by George Lennan Good grief. The cult of Dawkins is finally here.

Oh noes!! I have finally discovered I am a JS Bach cultist.

Oh dear!! And I still listen to Bach with joy. I must be lost to rationality because of my love for Bach!!

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 18:31:01 UTC | #930984

Go to: Councils win prayer 'rights' as ministers fast track Localism Act powers

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Veronique

'In late 2010, Sir Alan Sugar criticised Pickles; referring to him as "another pointless politician doing yet another menial administrative job that could be done by anyone that has been educated in any vague sort of half coherent English".'

(Wikipedia's Pickles entry)

His last job was as Chairman of the Conservative Party. He was succeeded by Baroness Warsi. She may well succeed him in his current job as he is kicked upstairs or moved sideways out of the way.

Then we would have the current Minister without a Portfolio taking on the Portfolio for Communities and Local Government.

Wonderful. Let's all watch the demise of the Conservatives with a cheering glass of champagne (or several - it may take a while):-)

I don't think this prayer issue is finalised yet. It would be interesting in any case to see how many Local Government Councils take no notice of the regulation signed into law and keep on not having prayers in their formal business papers.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 10:50:37 UTC | #919155

Go to: Women cane morality police

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Veronique

Well, Richard. Quite frankly, women are the only ones that can solve the Islam problem. Statistically there are more of them:-)

I too love it when the underdogs stand up and bare their teeth (or canes).

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 09:45:46 UTC | #907209

Go to: Ringing in 2012 with…antivaccine propaganda?

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Veronique

In Australia there is the Australian Vaccine Network run by an imported American Meryl Dorey.

There has been a hue and cry from medical authorities about it. I have blogged, everyone has blogged. A baby died because it was too young to be vaccinated and caught whooping cough from an un-vaccinated section of the community that believes Dorey et al.

There is another organisation called Stop the Australian Vaccine Network with some dedicated members who have a web site and an fb page.

AVN has had its charity status removed and its web site is constantly monitored for mis-information that Dorey writes.

One of the problems with an irresponsible and misguided section of communities is their irresponsibility puts communities at risk.

When you think of all the effort that has gone into ridding the world of childhood diseases and TB, small pox etc, it really is enough to make you want to hang these people out to dry.

It requires vigilance, a knowledge of the law and money. Combatting poster drives is expensive. Gorski and Goldacre and others haven't got the resources by themselves. Remember Wakefield? He fooled The Lancet and it took years to get him struck off the medical practitioner's register in the UK.

And the crap that he peddled still has currency among the lunatic fringe and the ramifications spread into the wider communities.

It is part of the anti-science push, the woo woo drips, the universe-will-look after-me mentality. One has to wonder at the shallowness of the gene pool.

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 10:17:58 UTC | #903499

Go to: God Sent Christopher Hitchens to Hell Because He Loved Him

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cf- Comment 3

I couldn't agree more. I have enormous difficulty equating religious belief of any sort with humanity and the normal compassion that attends being human.

The mental machinations that Fischer has to go through to keep thinking that his god is a loving god is extraordinary.

That he holds to the biblical statement that his god puts unbelievers in the fiercest and most horrible conceptual place while loving them is quite the most bizarre mental aberration.

How does he live with himself??

Sun, 18 Dec 2011 14:34:56 UTC | #900614

Go to: In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

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Comment 408 by Quine

Thanks Quine.

I watched them with possibly less equanimity or graciousness. But then I have been distracted all day.

Thank you V

Sat, 17 Dec 2011 18:44:14 UTC | #900381

Go to: Christopher Hitchens obituaries

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by Veronique

This is a sad day indeed. Being prepared for it doesn't reduce the ache and sense of loss for a remarkable polemicist, essayist and avowed atheist.

His voice is silenced but he was a prolific writer and his final collection of essays Arguably will be a solace to those of us who revered his writings if not his politics:-)

His final book, Arguably, will grace many a bed side table for years to come. It is already on mine. Plus a drink.

RIP Hitch. You did not go gently into that goodnight. You did well.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 12:29:45 UTC | #899718

Go to: Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Veronique

Why can't they just adapt to reality instead of hiding under variously coloured bed warmers?

I suppose that they have added some colour at least to the bed warmers may mean the colours will run together in the washing machine. Maybe after a few washes the bed warmers will look manky and be thrown out!! Well, one can hope!!

So, maybe it's a start.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 18:05:37 UTC | #894148

Go to: Epilogue - The Case of the Pope

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Veronique

I don't know Stafford

I read in while the Pope was here (I was in France at the time) and found it very angry making but the book itself is beautifully laid out in numbered para graphs.

I didn't get as apoplectic as Logicel though. She was beside herself with anger as she read about more and more of the RC's revolting practices and cover ups.

But then, I didn't suffer through a Catholic upbringing. Indeed I suffered no religious indoctrination (or attempted indoctrination) at all.

All my adult life, I have been grateful for my parents' refusal to buy into the prevailing religious culture of any society.

Robertson is good and, like Mrkimbo I wish Ratzinger had been nicked as he stepped off the plane.

Wed, 23 Nov 2011 11:17:31 UTC | #892541

Go to: Epilogue - The Case of the Pope

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Comment 4 by Andrew B

Wonderful. I just love it. Makes me smile and want to watch the movie all over again and I can't tell you how often I have watched it.

Great stuff!!

Wed, 23 Nov 2011 11:07:49 UTC | #892536

Go to: [UPDATE - BBC link added] 300,000 babies stolen from their parents - and sold for adoption: Haunting BBC documentary exposes 50-year scandal of baby trafficking by the Catholic church in Spain

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 82 by Veronique

Having watched the 'slightly more reputable BBC', I have to say that my mind has not been changed and that the RC church is still culpable to the nth degree.

The DM is known to be what it is - but in this case, it is reporting something that has some legs. Unusual but there you go!!

Cheers V

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 21:09:38 UTC | #881943

Go to: Bishop Indicted; Charge Is Failing to Report Abuse

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Comment 26 by Chris Boccia

Defence is the noun, defense is the verb. OK? Clear? I ruddy hope so.

Likewise the spelling and usage of licence and license.

Sheesh V

Edit Sorry - not trying to be a grammar nazi - but if you want to argue get it right!

I am already a food nazi - 'cause I like onions and think white plastic bread sucks!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 19:00:29 UTC | #881901

Go to: [UPDATE - BBC link added] 300,000 babies stolen from their parents - and sold for adoption: Haunting BBC documentary exposes 50-year scandal of baby trafficking by the Catholic church in Spain

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Veronique

Thanks Michael for your posts.

The numbers ARE unimportant. Some poster has come up with 16 sold babies per day. So what? Are you all assuming only one hospital? 16 hospitals in Spain means 1 baby a day. Not much to manage by the good nuns of the majority Catholic run hospitals that were in Spain. There are many more than 16 hospitals in Spain!!!

Yes, the same thing happened in Australia and in so many other places - and it is still going on. It is the Roman Catholic bloody church keeping its numbers up and selling the religion for god via babies into good catholic families.

Sheesh. I loathe and detest the Roman Catholic Church and all its grubby dealings. Don't split hairs over numbers for pity's sake. Spain has just funded (in May) Catholic Youth Day or whatever it is called to the tune of millions paid by Spaniards, against the stated wishes of a large minority in Spain while it is in the throes of the GFC.

Maybe this is all serendipitous or maybe it has been orchestrated and the timing is right. Or maybe whatever.

It is outrageous regardless of the numbers published. Outrageous!! I will be watching the BBC tonight at 9pm.

Angry (again!!) V

Tue, 18 Oct 2011 17:17:59 UTC | #881886

Go to: The Magic of Reality (FT review)

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Comment 6 by StephenH

“... and created Eve, so that he didn't have to be so lonely?” Hahahaha. Poor Adam hadn’t come across a good practical book called Positive Solitude. That would have helped him – but only wasted his genetic material. Hahaha.

Apples are fine especially in a crumble, baked and smothered in cream! Yum. That taught me to appreciate the bounty available in our world for our consumption. How wonderful a world we live in!

Didn’t teach me about mitochondria and what power houses they are and just how many of them there are in any one cell. And how without them we wouldn't be here as complex organisms. That's only a start - anyone here can tell I am reading Nick Lane's book on Power, Sex, Suicide. Engrossing!!! I am so transparent! Hahaha.

Blimey. And the religites want me to believe in a ‘gross and clumsy’ magic written by people who didn't know Jack Schidtt about anything much except how to get food into their mouths and build shelters and boats (not their fault; they just jumped the gun a few centuries too early and didn't like living with uncertainty). Of course their explanations couldn't possibly come close to the amazing ‘fineness and exactitude’ of evolutionary biochemistry.

Sorry religites (it is now the 21st Century duh!!), you don’t even come near to cutting the mustard. You just ain’t got nothing to tempt me. Back to apples again. Hahaha.

All my best to all of us V

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 15:31:04 UTC | #877147

Go to: Italian sparrow joins family as a new species

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Yay, I really enjoy things like speciation and this isn't even island speciation. These birds live in the same habitat environment as their distinctly different Spanish neighbours.

Just wonderful to know that evolutionary principles are alive and well in our world. How unusual and how totally unexpected, hahahahaha. (That was a joke!)

I can't say Aztek, but I am not surprised that creationists can't come up with anything that could remotely answer this:-).

At least, this little bird is a real and recognizable animal. I sort of understood that the creationists couldn't quite come to terms with evolving bacteria and viruses. But this!!! You bet this will throw a spanner in their works.

Pleased am I!!

Cheers V

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 16:46:54 UTC | #873177

Go to: Italy scientists on trial over L'Aquila earthquake

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Veronique

Same here. Phil has nailed it.

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 16:34:49 UTC | #873170

Go to: The worst misconceptions parents of some unvaccinated children hold

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Comment 9 by keymaker

Here you go again, km, baby. I am starting to think you must be young. The Wakefield affair is notorious, you need to apprise yourself of the history of the MMR and the despicable Wakefield and the anti-vaxers world wide.

The distress these people have caused is legion.

V

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 23:00:57 UTC | #853310

Go to: Hitchens on the Catholic Church

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by Veronique

Well, Keymaker,

I guess you have, by now, worked out that to come onto an RD thread of this nature without having done your homework, leaves you vulnerable to attack.

And so it should. One of the things I have always liked about RD and Grayling, the Hitch and Dennett et al, is that by and large logic, critical thinking and above all, research and a clue to whatever it may be that you think you know something about, is paramount in discussion.

At this stage km, baby - may I also call you baby? - you rate a big, fat F.

Never mind - consider this and the previous comments as constructive criticism that will help to lead you to better and higher methodology. Otherwise you may, in future, be ignored.

My best V

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 22:53:22 UTC | #853308

Go to: All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm

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Comment 13 by Alan4discussion :

Here is a set of maps showing human migrations, temperature graphs indicating sea-level changes affecting migrations, and text explaining some of these. (It is also linked on earlier discussions but is useful in considering the geography and the time line.

http://essayweb.net/history/ancient/prehistory.shtml

Like Michael, I can only say, thank you for that link. Truly useful. Just what I needed.

Cheers V

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 19:34:58 UTC | #852313

Go to: Exhibit Unravels Mysteries of Ancient Chinese Temples Through History, Science

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Comment 7 by scottishgeologist

Thank you for mentioning the BBC programme. I hadn't seen it but found it on BBC2 iPlayer.

I couldn't stop watching it. Utterly engaging. What a different view of Afghanistan. The years have taken an enormous toll on the country and its people.

You can see where their sense of irrepressibility comes from. A strong people, a harsh country - impossible to subdue. Maybe for a while, not for long.

Thanks and cheers V

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 10:16:18 UTC | #849837

Go to: "The £9,000 tuition fees cap won't last – we're biting the bullet first"

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 120 by Veronique

OMG. What a bunch of wankers you guys are.

Get a life all of you. When you talk some sense come back. Until then go away. Or better still, get an education.

FFS - Michael. Time to start posting elsewhere, mate. This lot don't even know what you are talking about.

Sheesh. That's it for me. Sorry, RD. Gotta get outta here. Waste of precious time.

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:17:07 UTC | #638570

Go to: Separation of Church and School

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Veronique

I don't have a problem with cults hiring school buildings when they aren't in use.

They must be made to pay the going square metre rental rates and they can only use an area that is open. No classrooms with the students' work on the walls. The assembly area only; the hall or whatever common room there is.

They have to sign a contract of occupancy stating this otherwise they don't get a look in. The contract should forbid the leaving of literature or any material whatsoever and deny contact with students of the school.

It's the privilege that cults of all stripes expect and get that has to be stopped. The school presumably could use rental income in offsetting its own costs, after all.

I don't know much about education and facilities in the US. They seem to be very parochially managed.

Bloody sneaky little evangelists with their holier than thou behaviour masking their manic need to proselytise.

I am glad I am so old that these things can't affect me or my family directly. Whew!

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 16:58:11 UTC | #637991

Go to: "The £9,000 tuition fees cap won't last – we're biting the bullet first"

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 99 by Veronique

I am surprised no one has picked up on ozkrenskie’s comment 88. His back-of-the-envelope maths should put paid to the charge of money-grabbing at least. I will be very surprised if Grayling et al can expect a dividend for years. Remember the shares are private and unable to be traded. Whoever has put money into this knows his money is there forever. Better to think of it as a bequest.

ozkrenskie also points out something that Anonymous Activist could heed. You are angry at the wrong group and for the wrong reason. BTW you could learn html – it’s free and not difficult to master. It could be more useful for you to apply for representation of government education committees within the local government structures.

I very much doubt that Grayling et al have NO input into education per se in the UK. Education is their field, after all. They contribute not detract from the education debate in this country.

Someone, on the other thread I think, pointed out that in Sweden tertiary education – well, all education – is free. That is to the user, of course. Those who pay the taxes actually pay for that education and according to a quick google search Swedes pay 48.3% taxes. Then there’s VAT and a host of other (including church!) taxes and excises. Commonly touted as the highest in the developed world with taxation revenue at 50% ofGDP. UK is 36% and Australia is 32% for the same period.

Governments hate raising tax rates and crib wherever they can. So, yes, there is some point to the charge that privately funded education facilities could be playing into government hands. Cameron and Osborne are millionaires and have never had ‘proper’ jobs. They are unable to read the electorate and are tackling finance and expenditure badly. Railing against Grayling and Dawkins doesn’t cut the mustard with me.

I cannot see a problem with a privately funded HE establishment for about 2,000 students in a total (2010) HE students roll of 2½ million here in the UK. There may be more private HE starters but they certainly won’t have much, if any impact.

Open University here in the UK is not free. Courses can cost up to GBP£500. The OU has a terrific reputation and graduate placement record.

Michael, Bond Uni in Q’ld with 2,600 undergrads and 1,300 postgrads hasn’t had much impact (except in key performance indicators – not at all bad, in my view) and is still developing its coursework and qualifications. It is a not-for-profit Uni as will Grayling Hall end up. These things happen. NCH could well develop and change as did Bond Uni and eventually be granted university status.

Moreover, while ever Cameron et al push for publicly funded (in part) faith/ community schools expecting the communities to cough up dosh, then public education will have to keep fighting for grant monies. It means the expenditure cake is not being cut properly.

Education has to fight for funding and still will while ever governments (especially here in the UK) spend money on defence (imagine no Tridents = GBP£76 to 130 billion freed up for education) than on educating its youth.

Cheers V

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 10:14:32 UTC | #637863

Go to: "The £9,000 tuition fees cap won't last – we're biting the bullet first"

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by Veronique

Ah well, the dust seems to be settling and a bit more information is coming to the fore to combat those who knee jerked out of left field when NCH was announced.

I agree with BenS ... what is the difference. The days of free HE are over and the days of getting jobs merely because you have had an elite education are over. Doesn't mean you should hanker for a mediocre education though.

Yes, in the ideal world ... that’s over too. Too many people, a small public purse and lots of fingers trying to pull out the increasingly meagre contents for health, baby boomer pensions, affordable housing and public this, that and t’other. As a good society we want to be able to fund these and education as well. It’s back to too many of us yet again. And that will only get worse, I am afraid.

I have never thought that a tertiary education should be geared to the world of commerce, but it is increasingly so almost in inverse relationship to the availability of those jobs. From the 1980s on, HE became more a job training exercise.

NCH – I like Grayling Hall much better – is not a new thing. However it will offer a core, compulsory unit set of science literacy, logic and critical thinking, ethics and business literacy for Humanities’ students. Not before time, I think.

No one is begging anyone to pay £18,000 a year to go to NCH. Some will and some won’t be slightest bit interested regardless of the fee or scholarship structure. If students try to beat down the doors of NCH to attend a College that has some well known named Scientists, Philosophers, Historians etc. for that sole reason then they deserve to rejected together with their cash in favour of the student who hasn’t the funds but shows the ability.

Those who do attend NCH will, in all probability, leave with a lot more than they came in with and hopefully they will all get jobs. But I seriously doubt it. The job market just isn’t there.

The naysayers have been quick to slate Grayling and, of course, RD for his involvement. So much of the criticism is an overarching concern with the money that the investors may make. I mean, really, get a grip.

Ajs261 – I should point out that when I went to Uni in the 1960s and 70s, some 10% or less of secondary school leavers accompanied me. Now the intake is about 38% to 45%. The same first year drop-out rate applies, maybe more. The same mediocre students get the same mediocre degrees and there are more types of mediocre degrees (Grayling is too kind) and less graduates are able to use their qualifications to garner work because there isn’t the same job market, jobs or employers.

So, maybe Grayling is offering a Humanities education, with some essential core units too long missing in the Humanities, for education’s sake. What a novel idea.

I wish Grayling et al the best. I hope NCH survives and produces graduates of note. There, how more positive can I be!

Stevehill makes the points I would, no need to repeat them.

Sat, 11 Jun 2011 18:24:13 UTC | #637268

Go to: Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers in conversation

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Comment 3 by rod-the-farmer

Very nice. :-)

Wed, 18 May 2011 19:15:28 UTC | #628111

Go to: Tardigrades: Water bears in space

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Veronique

Yes Erica cute as a button (only smaller, hahahaha).

Wasn't too impressed with the toys though. I want one for my desk looking exactly like it should.

I found this though:

http://helenium.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/tardigrades/#comment-423

We need a craftsperson!!!

Cheers V

Wed, 18 May 2011 18:33:44 UTC | #628089

Go to: Derren Brown takes on faith healers in new show

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Yes, Randi has been doing this for years. So did some of the smarter ancient Greeks warn about the dangers of being sucked into god belief. That hasn’t stopped the proliferation of religious sects and godheads of one sort or another.

The more Randis and Derren Browns there are out there being able to convince media magnates that they are ‘good’ copy and that means reaching TV and live audiences, the better.

Again and again and again. That’s what is needed. Let’s face it, we can be very thick. We can believe rubbish because we are thick. We need to be told by debunkers all the time. So, yes, Yorker and I will be watching Brown as we have done with Randi – again and again and again.

Cheers

V

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 11:59:39 UTC | #619165

Go to: Do atheists need their own bible?

Veronique's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Veronique

Atheists don't need a bible, absolutely not. What a silly notion.

Grayling's book is a delight in itself. He is an excellent writer, distiller of cogent thought and has a literary ability that most of us don't have.

His writings over the years have always been a lovely and absorbing read for me and many others (obviously). This one is no different. If anything the layout and pithiness of his well ordered material is even better.

I downloaded it to my Kindle and am reading with a smile on my face and an appreciation of a writing style and content that suits me right down to the ground.

A deeply satisfying read by an educated and intelligent man - head and shoulders above the desert dwellers who tried cobble together an impossibly inadequate story with so many loose ends, the sweater unravels all by itself. Give me a smart, focussed and compassionate writer any day.

Classy bloke, the Grayling. And I am very glad he can and does write.

Cheers V

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 22:43:24 UTC | #613074