This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by Anvil

Go to: Translating the British

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by Anvil

Comment 26 by phil rimmer

Enjoyed reading that. Cheers, Phil.

Anvil.

Mon, 13 Aug 2012 16:09:24 UTC | #950749

Go to: Translating the British

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Anvil

Quite liked the closing ceremony, too.

Especially the Spice Women and What Direction. Fab and down with the kids!

Good to see Freddie looking so well.

Anvil.

Mon, 13 Aug 2012 13:06:44 UTC | #950746

Go to: Translating the British

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Anvil

Comment 28 by kaiserkriss

Anvil, I think you miss my point...

No, jcw, I got your point in its entirety - I simply disagree with it.

...and I suggest you might be caught up in exactly what I was criticizing- a national fervour of feel good and superiority to the rest of the world.

See, this is what I can't understand here?

Did we see the same show?

I can follow your observation of a large group of people feeling good. That is my observation, too. What I can't understand is this superiority to the rest of the world that you speak of?

Where was that?

I thought the whole ceremony was particularly lacking in chauvinism and I delighted in seeing an incredibly diverse culture being reminded of its good points: art, literature, fairness, music, humour, and collective endeavour.

As for being caught up in all this jingoism, what can I say? I'm a fairly un-reconstructed marxist and internationalist who spent a large proportion of his childhood being spat in the face by british troops at border crossings. I felt the flem hit my face as I typed that. My cynicism at most actions of the british state is fairly hard to overcome.

That said, I'll call a spade a spade, and tell it like I see it.

The show was more about celebrating and pointing out differences between Brits and the rest of the world vs an inclusive production pointing out and focusing on the things we all have in common and should ultimately bring us all closer together.

What like? Like literature? Comedy? Universal health care? The internet? The whole show culminates with Tim Berners Lee sat in front of a monitor, tweeting to the world "This is for everyone". I clapped at an inanimate screen.

Every culture has its quirks and idiosyncrasies- that is not uniquely British, but the ability to laugh at oneself and those quirks is very British- admirable and worth emulating and sharing with the rest of the world.

Which is exactly what they did, didn't they?

Just because a country hosts an event like the Olympics, does it give it the right to pound ones chest in a fit of nationalism?

No. It doesn't. I agree.

They all do it and I cringe every time I see it and I think its the wrong approach.

Again, did we watch the same show? I never saw this in London.

It would be truly unique, forward thinking and rational to make one of these ceremonies world inclusive, to include the best things on the planet- show ideals worth emulating, something as simple as rational thought, simple scientific truths, evolution, the literal brotherhood of man (e.g. 200k years common ancestor), something to really think about. Would it be controversial? Probably, but it would also be educational, and food for thought versus a fluff piece forgotten in a couple of weeks.

Obviously there is little, and much, to disagree with in the above paragraph, most of it already said. Ideas worth emulating? It seems you saw none, were I saw many, hence your piece of fluff forgotten in a couple of weeks will remain with me for a long time to come.

That is something I would have expected from the Brits at these Olympics, a leadership role in rational though and the sciences. Expecting something like that from Rio or Saudi Arabia, or some other lesser developed country couldn't be expected.jcw

Leadership. When you get leadership from states in these affairs you tend to end up with Beijing.

When you get leadership from states in these affairs you tend to end up with a slightly overweight child with slightly imperfect teeth hidden away in a box as her beautiful voice is mimed to by a more photogenic, more acceptable child.

As it happened, in London, a right-wing tory government told a city run by a right-wing tory administration to get an organising commitee led by another right-wing tory to give a prominent brit with a successful cv in the arts to spend £29 million on whatever he wanted.

That is exactly what he did.

At a time of austerity, swingeing cuts in public services and back-door privatisation of health care provision - as the rich get the poorest to pay for the failings of the richest - it was interesting to see the forced smiles of many a right wing politician, post-ceremony.

One, Aidan Burley, before the whip was heard to crack, called it "leftist multicultural rubbish".

Of course they quickly jumped from the gravy-train to the bandwagon the moment the cameras swung their way, but both Boyle's genius and genies are out of the bottle:

The British have been told, reminded, by Boyle, that they are a nation who believe in fairness, justice, fair-play and generosity, and are welcoming to people who are not of these shores.

Would what happened to those children in Beijing have happened in London?

No.

He has shown, reminded, the British that 'being in this together' actually means something, that selflessness is a greater virtue than selfishness, (nearly 300,000 people applied to volunteer to help run these games) and though Queenies leap from that helicopter may have given the priviledge of monarchy a few more years, his lindy-hopping nurses have added armour to an institution that is, and should be, a beacon to a civilised world.

There are many things wrong with these occasions - I don't believe Danny Boyle's opening ceremony to be one of them.

One day I'll buy him a large Jameson's and tell how I laughed and cried in equal measure.

Anvil.

Mon, 13 Aug 2012 12:17:55 UTC | #950742

Go to: Translating the British

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Anvil

Comment 18 by kaiserkriss

(...) As for the opening Ceremony- spectacular indeed and well orchestrated, but also a bit historically revisionist with all the bad bits conveniently left out. Too much of a tribal celebration to stir up the masses in a fervour of nationalism, rather than a more subtle celebration of culture, sports and the arts

Have to disagree with you there.

I had no intention of watching it but then sat down and watched it on the Monday on iPlayer.

Boyle gave us his image of the making of Britain: Bo Peep's idylic, poetic, mythic, rural scene shattered into oblivion by the industrial revolution, and the Olympic Rings - echoing the UK's place in the world today - forged on the oppression of the working class.

This was positively marxist, wasn't it?

Then came what he see's as Britains gifts to the world: Shakespear, the NHS and the Welfare State - from the cradle to the grave - Rock Music, Punk, Film, Childrens Literature, and Comedy.

It hardly stirs up the masses to a fervour of nationalism to point out to the world that you're a bit odd, a bit daft, and have a humour that is self-deprecating, does it?

I grew up in an era of brilliant outdoor theatre from great community theatre companies like Welfare State International - I don't think they could have done any better than Boyle did - even with £29 million.

I bet he is sat at home, a large whisky in hand, feeling rather smug thinking 'go on, Rio, follow that!'

I would be had I produced that ceremony.

Anvil.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 23:48:55 UTC | #950702

Go to: Translating the British

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Anvil

Yup. Agree with all of the above.

Then just watched Mo Farah and the Jamaican 4x100 Relay Team.

Screamed at the telly throughout both.

Anvil.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 22:27:00 UTC | #950698

Go to: Translating the British

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Anvil

I must admit to having suspended my normal cynicism for the duration. I was sailing in Loch Ness a few weeks back and fortuitously ended up in Fort Augustus for the Torch Relay, it was a real community experience. Heartwarming.

Then came the Opening Ceremony - normally shite, yeah - it was gobsmacking, and with not one mention of a sponsor to give me that 'farmed' feeling I normally get on these occasions - I'm still refusing to buy the 'Official Fucking Beer' of the World Cup, by the way!

I also share the objections to these slimeball tories taking the credit for what seems like a globally popular event - whilst they, in the very same breath, draw up plans to get the meek to pay inheritance tax - but all that said, I've thoroughly enjoyed this Olympics.

I've mainly watched it on the telly, but was lucky enough to be at St James Park for the Brasil - Honduras game. The match itself was ruined by overly zealous (or just plain bad) refereeing, but I still felt I was partaking in something.

Of the Games themselves my favourite bit was Bradley Wiggins victory - great bloke! Also loved Piers Morgan getting his come-uppance during his attempt at self-promotion:

Wiggins took gold in the time trial last week, but that was not enough to keep Morgan happy: he supposedly tweeted the cycling hero with the following message: “I was very disappointed @bradwiggins didn’t sing the anthem either. Show some respect to our Monarch please!”

The 'fake' Twitter exchangeA tweet from a fan (@mrcolmquinn) responding in defence of Wiggins’ (and initially mistaken as a response from the Tour de France winner), was retweeted profusely, retorting: “@piersmorgan I was disappointed when you didn’t go to jail for insider trading or phone hacking, but you know, each to his own."

The jpeg of the exchange has caused a stir, prompting debate about how important it is for winning athletes to sing the national anthem and highlighting how strongly people feel about patriotism and national success at the Olympics.

Morgan has been campaigning for athletes to proudly sing their anthems, whichever nation they represent, and is donating money to charity when gold medal winners impress him with their singing.

Wiggins is yet to officially respond.

Priceless! (or is that phrase copyrighted?) A charity would have benefitted if only Wiggins had appealed, in baritone no doubt, to an invisible man to protect the health of a supremely priviledged woman who has health-care coming out of her arse!

Which reminds me: the only downside has been watching numerous athletes appealing to in advance, or thanking after the event, various deities.

The most sickening was after last nights 5000m:

Meseret Defar had just run the race of her life. It was truly amazing. Breathless, and in tears, she then pulled from her sports-bra a small plastic bag imprinted on which was the image of the madonna and child. She fell to her knees and sucked the plastic bag to her face. She held it to the camera and screamed, then holding it aloft, she thanked the heavens before shoving said plastic bag back into her bra.

My concern aside that Meseret may get a nasty rash, I was quite upset that the Virgin Mary - undoubtedly egged on by her bastard offspring - had conspired to make all those other runners lose.

How unsporting!

Anvil.

[Slightly edited by moderator]

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 16:55:10 UTC | #950684

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 141 by Anvil

Comment 132 by irate_atheist

Jump to comment 131 by Anvil -

Here, for example, I don't believe yourself, Amos, or Irate have gained anything from these exchanges.

Oh, I have. A reminder of how wilfully ignorant, over-reactive and pathetically infantile so many people are.

A young student bursts into tears in a science class when confronted with a scientific fact and a teacher responds by not mentioning this fact in case further affront is caused to this young persons unevidenced belief.

This raises the question should this young persons right and freedom to believe in this unevidenced belief (and noone here will deny her this right and freedom) deny others their right and freedom to acquire knowledge that allows them a clearer image of reality - of truth.

Someone is free to be an idiot. Others should be free to point out that they are being an idiot.

Yes, I agree - but only if that is where you wish to end the debate.

Or maybe if you think she is not an idiot, even though she holds on to demonstrably idiotic beliefs, would you concur that her upbringing has been demonstrably abusive?

Nope, as I said, above, I think she is being an idiot. I just wouldn't have used that particular word knowing it would derail an otherwise interesting debate that would have - could have - included defining 'knowledge', 'knowing', contingency', 'certitude', 'truth', 'parental abuse', 'science', and the like.

When everyone shouts the only thing that anyone hears is fuck all.

Anyway, I'm off to lay some concrete.

Anvil.

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:48:03 UTC | #950601

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 131 by Anvil

Comment 128 by YA

You ignoramous. I believe in science. You're just reciting from your little bit knowledged.

Ya, if you think a poster is being ignorant, responding in a like fashion only ends in exchanging slights when you could be exchanging knowledge.

Calm down.

Stop being emotional.

Make your point.

I'm sure the description of you that your friend gave is accurate and you are reacting this way because you perceive an attack on yourself.

I think your point was that Dawkins was both harsh, and rude, and in print, and that this was both unnecessary and, to a degree, unkind.

I agree.

I should point out that the words he, and others on this thread, have used are exactly the words that came to my mind. I simply would not have spoken them in public or used them in print.

I think we should think carefully before putting things in the public domain. They often divert ones energies away from the issue at hand. Here, for example, I don't believe yourself, Amos, or Irate have gained anything from these exchanges.

The original point has been lost.

Let us re-state it so the thread can move on:

A young student bursts into tears in a science class when confronted with a scientific fact and a teacher responds by not mentioning this fact in case further affront is caused to this young persons unevidenced belief.

This raises the question should this young persons right and freedom to believe in this unevidenced belief (and noone here will deny her this right and freedom) deny others their right and freedom to acquire knowledge that allows them a clearer image of reality - of truth.

What is your position on this?

Anvil.

ps: If you cut and paste someones post into your 'New Comment' box you can blockquote it whilst it is still selected by clicking on the 'quotation marks' on the top bar of the 'New Comment' box.

You can also paste their post into you 'New Comment' box and then (whilst it is still selected) click 'Ctrl' + 'Period'. Hope this helps.

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 13:53:13 UTC | #950591

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 102 by Anvil

Returned to late to corect my speling and gramma.

Apologies

Anvil.

Thu, 09 Aug 2012 13:17:09 UTC | #950550

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 87 by Anvil

Comment 82 by larriji

Wow . . . Some of the comments here demonstrate, like Richard Dawkins, a definite intolerance for the freedom to believe either in either a religion, or God.

I would have thought that most people on this site - including Richard Dawkins - would support your freedom to believe in gods, goblins, faeries, unicorns, or whatever you so wish. It is simply that your freedom to believe in unevidenced whatever should not impair others from the aquisition of knowledge.

By the way, Some of the comments here may well demonstrate intolerance in one form or another, but then you have a cut & paste facility to call out those individuals should you wish to do so rather than use the phrase 'some of the comments here' incorrectly when you really mean most, or all.

Say what you mean - mean what you say.

It seems that Dawkins and others like him (...)

What do you mean here? Do you mean white people? People of late middle-age? English people? Or do you mean people who do not believe in your specific god or, indeed, in any gods?

Perhaps you mean people who would rather ask the question 'how', rather than 'why'?

Anyway, you continue, 'Dawkins and others like him ...'

... have absolutely no memory of any kind of positive impact that the Christian faith has had in England or any other nation for that matter.

How could it not have an impact? Both positive and negative? This was a period of absolutism. Few were allowed to ask 'how'. The many were simply to be told 'why'.

I will agree with you though, absolutism, like dictatorships and all other tyrannies, can, and does, have positive impacts on society.

Anybody who knows scientific experimentation and discovery in 19th century England should also know that Michael Faraday was perhaps one of the greatest in history of England and the world.

Absolutely. Many of us here would say he is one of the founding fathers of experimentation. A true hero of the enlightenment, a shining star in a coming age of reason. A man who was to change this world forever in ways unimagined. A man who unsatisfied with being told 'why', decided to ask 'how'.

He was also a devoted member of his church and preached many sermons.

What would be unusual about this? He lived in a christian nation in christian europe?

Let me ask you something: do you think that Faraday, sat at the back of a lecture at the Royal Institution, or reading through the philosophical transactions of the Royal Society, would break down in tears upon learning that Benjamin Franklin had discovered that lightening destroying churches was an act of nature and not an act of a god?

No, indeed he would have consumed himself in the rush to grab a kite and a key - the how of experimentation, of contingent knowledge, of science - not the why of an angry god.

The freedoms that we have as a nation were first pushed by Christians in England. Freedom of the press, to publish the Bible. Freedom to preach any sermon other than what was approved by the church.

They could hardly have been pushed by Hindu's, could they?

The translation of the Bible into English - ordained by King James - was perhaps one of the greatest acts of learning in Western civilization.

Why do you think anyone on this site would disagree with this statement? Of course I'm sure your knowledge of this also extends to the fact that the publication of this bible was also one of the greatest acts of propaganda in Western civilisation. It had little to do with bringing a god or gods to the populace - they already had them.

And yet, if you ask any atheist, like Dawkins, they would probably think it was not worth the effort - or that it was a bad thing.

Again, another sweeping, and incorrect, statement. I believe Dawkins is widely known as seeing the KJV as a stunning example of both art and literature of the day.

In concluding, let me ask you this: do you believe that your right and freedom to believe in an unevidenced whatever should impede the right, and freedom, of others to aquire knowledge - gained through a methodolgy inspired by giants such as Faraday - that allows them a clearer image of reality - of truth?

Do you?

Anvil.

Thu, 09 Aug 2012 11:09:15 UTC | #950533

Go to: Where We Split from Sharks: Common Ancestor Comes Into Focus

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Anvil

This is a test...

Anvil.

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 11:27:50 UTC | #947838

Go to: Where We Split from Sharks: Common Ancestor Comes Into Focus

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Anvil

Comment 12 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 11 by Dakota2

Do some research....ya never know, ya might even learn something...ya could start HERE.

Imaginative little circle. Artsy Fartsy. Any of it actually been proved?

Only all of it!

Nope, don't think so. No wonder you call yourself Ignorant!

Humans rode vegetarian sharks in the not too distant past and had them as pets. This has been proved!

They were created by a good magic man who lives on a cloud with a wand (he doesn't live with a wand, he just owns one) - this has actually been proved!

Sharks now eat man (admittedly mainly Australians) because man upsets good magic man who lives on a cloud with a wand for learning things like reading and writing.

This has all been proved and has been written down in a book that can be read which proves that good magic man who lives on a cloud with a wand understands irony.

Do you really believe that organisms can change over geological time due to natural selection? Why? Why would you do this when a far simpler - and proven - explanation is that a good magic man who lives on a cloud with a wand did it?

Think hard on this question. The good magic man will kill you and hurt you for getting it wrong.

Anvil.

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 16:36:55 UTC | #947591

Go to: A Moment of Science

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Anvil

Just posted an image of Venus in phase ( taken from an iphone ) on the new beta site

Link Text

Anvil

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 16:11:00 UTC | #947587

Go to: A Moment of Science

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Anvil

Yeah, Graxan, your 'Here he goes again!' could come from (in no particular order) my partner, my kids, or my dogs.

I often feel the pressure of my partners foot, under the table at dinner parties, telling me to shut up - at least I think it's my partners foot?

I also think that my closest friends must mimic me in my absence, opening a large dirty overcoat in a public toilet, "Wanna' see some photos of the transit of Venus?"

My brother was at some adventure convention in Flagstaff, Arizona last month - home of the Lowell Observatory. He phoned me from there. I can't remember much, if anything, of his trip. I can, however, remember bleeding his ears about the work of Slipher (and of course, Hubble) on red-shift, and how the observatory at Flagstaff helped discover the beginning of time!

All at smart-phone rates from the UK!

And to think all he wanted to talk about was the new KTM 1290cc Super Duke!

Ah well...

Anvil.

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:46:31 UTC | #947577

Go to: A Moment of Science

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Anvil

Yeah, me too. And coming from a catholic background my eyesight gets blurry when I see the word 'naked'!

Still it might be an idea to source some easy experiments that prove this or that - like splitting light into the visible spectrum through a prism - although this requires a prism?

Brownian Motion?

Doppler Effect?

Anvil.

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:20:34 UTC | #947574

Go to: A Moment of Science

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Anvil

Comment 12 by blitz442

Comment 11 by Anvil

Yup, Blitz, sorry, that's exactly what I mean. A heliocentric theory correctly predicts the phases as observed.

Observations that the Ptolemaic system would not allow.

I was, by the way, amazed that a phone camera could show this, but apparently people with really keen eyesight can see the phases with the naked eye!

I've still got the shot I took from my own phone on that day. It still never ceases to amaze me and I take every opportunity to show it to all and sundry.

I got up at 5am for the transit but it was overcast here in northern England - doh!

Anvil.

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 13:55:27 UTC | #947566

Go to: A Moment of Science

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Anvil

I've a 6" newtonian telescope.

I too was amazed at being able to see the discs of Saturn (blurry though they may be) and three of the many moons of Jupiter (my partner says 'two' and that I have a scouse tendency to exaggeration) - but the real big buzz for me was the exceptionally clear views of the phases of Venus.

It's a few years back, now, but I remember it distinctly. I'd just been reading about Galileo who'd followed the phases (1610?) with one of the first telescopes.

Proof that the earth was not the center of the Universe!

Proof that the Ptolemaic system was wrong!

It took me ages to find out where Venus was, but I did, and after that, clear night after clear night, I too followed followed her phases - just as Galileo had done! Wow! I was seeing just what Galileo had seen - proof that the Earth was not the center of the Universe!

It literaly took years for the buzz to subside. I felt I was walking around with a secret. A knowledge of reality that most others were not aware of.

A short while ago - a few months before the transit - I was accosted by a fellow (and rather aged) dog-walker who pointed out an incredibly bright star on the horizon at sunset.

I mentioned it was the planet Venus and that it looked so bright because nearly 30% of it was reflecting the light of the Sun - almost like seeing a beautiful half-moon. Venus in phase.

"...and proof that the Earth is not the center of the Universe."

"Sorry?" he said.

I explained, briefly, but to his growing astonishment, about Galileo etc'. He expressed an earnest desire to obtain a telescope so he could see this galilean proof for himself.

I took his iPhone off him. Took a photo of Venus, and opened up the digital zoom to display Venus in phase - proof that the Earth is not the center of the Universe.

He thanked me profusely and shook my hand with a firmness that mocked his advanced years. He then walked off muttering to himself and smiling broadly, stopping every now and again to point his camera skywards. More proof of his discovery.

The buzz was back. I'd passed on my secret. I felt great.

Anvil.

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 12:38:39 UTC | #947556

Go to: The Dawkins Challenge

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by Anvil

Comment 16 by Steve Zara :

There is no need for a specialised vocabulary of faith. Everyday words will do, such as delusion, deception, evasion, and confusion. In articles like this we see the desperation of those who support crackpot beliefs as they try and put up a smokescreen of theology to defend the ridiculous.

Pretty much says it all.

Four words to describe Theology: 'Cack In - Cack out'.

Anvil.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:00:10 UTC | #947376

Go to: How to safely watch the transit of Venus on Tuesday

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Anvil

Just gone midnight in Newcastle. Can't see the moon. Cloudy and raining. Doh!

No glue in my russian built bins, Michael. The very thought!

Got to be up anyway, heading up to Inverness, sailing for a week. Couple of days looking for the monster, then back out to the North Sea. Can't wait. Forecast sez rain and squalls, still can't wait.

Enjoy your week, folks

Anvil.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 23:21:35 UTC | #945777

Go to: South Korea surrenders to creationist demands

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Anvil

"... a survey of trainee teachers in the country concluded that religious belief was not a strong determinant of their acceptance of evolution3.

Yeah, sure. My belief in the Magic Man has nothing to do with my non-acceptance of evolution.

It also found that 40% of biology teachers agreed with the statement that “much of the scientific community doubts if evolution occurs”; and half disagreed that “modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes”.

Further confirmation of confirmation bias.

This from the abstract of the survey of trainee teachers:

Gender was significantly related to Korean teachers’ evolution content knowledge and acceptance of evolution, with female Christian biology teachers displaying the lowest values on all measures. Korean science teachers’ understandings of nature of science were significantly related to their acceptance and understanding of evolution; this relationship appears to transcend cultural boundaries. Our new data on Korean teachers, combined with studies from more than 20 other nations, expose the global nature of science teacher ambivalence or antipathy toward evolutionary knowledge.

This sentence is quite gobsmacking, isn't it.

Anvil.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 16:42:21 UTC | #945713

Go to: How to safely watch the transit of Venus on Tuesday

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Anvil

What's the chances of it being a clear morning in Northern England?

Still, I've stuck the binoculars on a tripod ready. Gotta' be up a 5am, doh!

By the way, followed a coupla' links from the OP which suggested a telescope would be better than binoculars. Didn't mention not to try this with a newtonian - the heat generated will bugger your mirror, I reckon. Just a thought as I've no intention of trying it with mine.

Anvil.

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 11:52:33 UTC | #945674

Go to: Falling from Faith: When Pastors Stop Believing

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Anvil

'No adult has an answer to life's ultimate questions that cannot be challenged, but some abandon their faith in the illusion that the struggle can be avoided, or that certainty is available somewhere else. Others confuse the descriptive power of science with explanatory power. Science is a powerful tool and it can account for the causal associations between the natural forces at work in our world. But it is limited in its ability to explain why those forces exist or why they necessarily interact the way they do.'

This was the paragraph that did it for me. I was going to go through it, line by line, but I really can't be bothered.

88 words of utter bollocks to say 'That's magic, folks!'

Anvil.

Sat, 02 Jun 2012 16:44:43 UTC | #945205

Go to: Sixty Years of British Science Innovation

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Anvil

And Sir Clive Henry Bunting for the Bunting String.

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 17:14:20 UTC | #945016

Go to: Sixty Years of British Science Innovation

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Anvil

Comment 17 by gr8hands

Sinister Weasel, I believe the laser was a U.S. invention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser#History

Pedant!

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 16:24:29 UTC | #945006

Go to: Evolution skeptics will soon be silenced by science: Richard Leakey

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by Anvil

Comment 73 by cholsy

I am sorry, I crossed the line. I realise this is a sensitive subject,

It's not a sensitive subject, Cholsy. You don't have to apologise, here. You're just not allowed to preach or proselytise.

I live and breathe the bible so I can't see myself being disciplined enough not to quote it.

You can quote it. The words of the bible aren't banned here, Cholsy, we've all read it. You just can't quote it as evidence in an argument in the sense that you can't say, 'No, look, it's true, it says so here in chapter and verse.' because that does not make it true, does it?

We - most of us at any rate - come from where you are now. I've no wish for that statement to sound patronising, merely to point out that we're not devils with horns, but normal people who stopped believing in the various gods that we grew up with.

I know it's difficult to understand but I am truly content with the knowledge I've acquired.

I do find it difficult to understand not wanting to gain greater knowledge, I must admit?

On the basis of what I've learnt, I believe in mutual respect, love to conquer evil, truth (believe it or not), taking care of our planet, of treating others better than you would yourself, of peace not war, of a clear purpose to life and of a creator who hates to see us suffer and won't for much longer...

No-one here would argue about most of the above. It's what most, if not all, of us think, here, too.

The argument we would give you is regarding how we ascertain exactly what is truth, and what is not.

Is there a way to achieve a better approximation of the truth than we have at present?

Than we have had in the past?

I feel there is. We owe it to ourselves to at least explore this.

I believe the universe is very old, as is the earth...and that the bible is an amazing book, once you clear the air and start to put the pieces together.

How old do you think the universe is? How old do you think the earth is? These aren't trick questions, Cholsy, just a way of finding out where we stand in order to continue to talk. For example: I believe the bible was written - for the sake of argument - between 2000 & 3000 years ago. I believe the earth is 4.6/7 billion years old. I believe the universe is 13.7 billion years old.

I believe all of the above because science provides me with robust models that show me falsifiable evidence that this is so.

Still, that said, this belief is contingent, conditional, tentative.

I used to believe, like the great Fred Hoyle, that the universe was a 'steady state' universe. I have changed my mind. It is not. I have seen the evidence - the universe is expanding.

This belief itself is contingent, conditional, tentative.

Through this method I have moved towards a close approximation of the truth.

I'm interested in various sources of information, science being one very valuable and fascinating source of information. I'm a nature show junkie and really enjoy the discoveries man has made in how creatures, etc, function and their place in earths systems,

Yeah, me too. We have a great programme here in the UK (I don't know where you're speaking from?) called Spring Watch. It's fab. Half the nation watches it!

the difference being that I attribute their wonder to a creator.

Obviously we differ here. This brings me back to my question earlier: Do you believe in evolution? How did your god go about creating these wondrous creatures, and when?

I'm a good person and greatly content and I see a lot of pain and discontentment in the world and I just want to help which is why I've ended up here. It's been educational, however I don't want to rub anyone the wrong way.

I'm sure you are a good person, Cholsy, and I for one am grateful that you want to help - and that you've ended up here.

Look, sometimes the debate can get a little heated, but it's hardly fisticuffs is it? You can always choose who, or who not, to respond to. This site is a great scientific resource. For example: if you wish to debate a materialist on absolute morality or the evolution/irreducible complexity of the eye, or, dare I say it, free will, then this is the place to come to sharpen your wits.

You don't even have to take part in debates, you can simply search for past threads.

There is nothing to be afraid of here, Cholsy. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

We really don't care that much if you rub us up the wrong way - we're all thick skinned and we're all grown-ups - we are all here to learn.

None of us are, or should be, afraid to be wrong.

We should celebrate those moments when we are shown to be wrong - for that is the moment we arrive at a closer approximation of the truth.

So I wish you all the best, sincerely I do.

Thanks for your time, Cholsy.

You're welcome. Thank you Cholsy.

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 15:44:13 UTC | #944995

Go to: Sixty Years of British Science Innovation

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Anvil

Comment 11 by LaurieB

I recommend the book The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

I'll second that. A great book which goes beyond the science and into the lives of the characters.

I cannot now hear a mention of Herschel without asking 'Which one?'

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 14:27:23 UTC | #944977

Go to: Does Religious Liberty Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by Anvil

Comment 59 by leciat

I am pro gay marriage and pro freedom of religion. Can religions discriminate? No. no one is forced to join any particular religion or church. For example, Baptist are not forced to join a Methodist church. Also Baptist do not go into a Methodist church and demand the Methodist church change its doctrine to suit their beliefs. They build their own churches for people who share the same beliefs to join. If gays want to be married in a church then they should join a church or build a church with followers who believe in this doctrine, not go into an established church and demand it change its doctrines to suit them. It really is that simple.

What if one of the churches you mentioned - pick one, any one - was brought under the auspices of the state.

Was supported financially by the state.

Was recognised by the state as the official religion of the state.

Was given the power - on behalf of the state - to conduct legal binding contractual ceremonies.

Should they be allowed special dispensation to discriminate between citizens of the state?

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:39:54 UTC | #944966

Go to: The BIG Debates Trailer: Islam or Atheism? You Decide! - 19, 21 & 22 June

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Anvil

Wow, just looked at the date on the thread - It'a a very old thread you know, Salem?

Still, welcome to the site.

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:17:12 UTC | #944960

Go to: The BIG Debates Trailer: Islam or Atheism? You Decide! - 19, 21 & 22 June

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Anvil

Comment 27 by salam

let us stop here islam is not that easy,they have a lot of big question for atheist no one can deny and they have a logic answer atheist dont have I must admit,

Sorry Salem, bit confused here? Are you saying that Islam has many questions to ask of atheism?

And that Islam contains logical answers (to, I suppose, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything) that atheism does not?

Could you please rephrase your point?

Sorry, occasionally I'm a bit dense.

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:15:00 UTC | #944958

Go to: Sixty Years of British Science Innovation

Anvil's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Anvil

I've always like the fact that 'Dolly the Sheep' was called 'Dolly' after Dolly Parton as a nod to the origin / location of the cell taken from the donor sheep - It was taken from the udder.

Presumably, had it been taken from the arsehole of the donor sheep, the could have called it 'Philip'.

Fuck privilege. Fuck the Jubilee.

Anvil.

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 11:45:53 UTC | #944948