One man and his cat: True story of busker and the ginger tom called Bob who got his life back on track

A heartwarming cat story that I can’t resist sharing:

One man and his cat: True story of busker and the ginger tom called Bob who got his life back on track

Posted in Book Reviews, Popular Culture, Society | Tagged

Quote of the day: Peter Hitchens on [emigrating to West Coast] Canada

‘I’ve a fondness for the Pacific North west of the USA, and imagine I’d feel much the same way about British Columbia round about Vancouver.  I became something of a Canadian nationalist while I lived in the USA (I particularly liked seeing the Crown of St Edward on the cap badges of Canadian police officers, and John Buchan’s signs on the Ontario freeways proclaiming that it was ‘The King’s Highway’).  In fact I’ve always tended to shrug off Canada’s political correctness, in reality not much worse than PC in the allegedly conservative USA.  It strikes me  as a superficial thing, concealing an enjoyably free and robust way of life regulated by English law — except in beautiful Quebec, where I can gabble in atrocious French and be thanked for it.  I could even learn to love ice hockey.’ ~ Peter Hitchens

Posted in Peter Hitchens, Quote of the Day | Tagged , , , , , ,

Worth your reading time: James Hannam on medieval Christianity and the rise of modern science

Medieval Christianity and the Rise of Modern Science, Part 1

Medieval Christianity and the Rise of Modern Science, Part 2

Posted in History, Philosophy, Sciences | Tagged ,

Pic of the day: David Byrne’s photograph of upturned boats on the coast of Lindisfarne, Northumberland, England

Click on the image to enlarge it.

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Oh dear, yet another disappointing reversal for Richard Dawkins — can he get anything right?

Seems Dawkins not only gets Christianity and religion badly wrong, but evolution too:

Far from random, evolution follows a predictable genetic pattern, Princeton researchers find

Evolution, often perceived as a series of random changes, might in fact be driven by a simple and repeated genetic solution to an environmental pressure that a broad range of species happen to share, according to new research.

Princeton University research published in the journal Science suggests that knowledge of a species’ genes — and how certain external conditions affect the proteins encoded by those genes — could be used to determine a predictable evolutionary pattern driven by outside factors.  Scientists could then pinpoint how the diversity of adaptations seen in the natural world developed even in distantly related animals.

“Is evolution predictable?  To a surprising extent the answer is yes,” said senior researcher Peter Andolfatto, an assistant professor in Princeton’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.  He worked with lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ying Zhen, and graduate students Matthew Aardema and Molly Schumer, all from Princeton’s ecology and evolutionary biology department, as well as Edgar Medina, a biological sciences graduate student at the University of the Andes in Colombia.

Perhaps Dawky should shut up and retire to the countryside and breed bees or something, while he still has a few shreds of academic reputation left.

Posted in Atheism, Sciences | Tagged , , ,

Christians are being persecuted throughout the world

Christians persecuted throughout the world

The deeper truth masked by all the ranting — and, it should be added, by the blinkers of many Western secularists — is that Christians are targeted in greater numbers than any other faith group on earth.  About 200 million church members (10 per cent of the global total) face discrimination or persecution: it just isn’t fashionable to say so.

. . . One reason why Western audiences hear so little about faith-based victimisation in the Muslim world is straightforward: young Christians in Europe and America do not become “radicalised”, and persecuted Christians tend not to respond with terrorist violence.  This forbearance should of course be a source of pride in many respects, and would be an unqualified good if properly acknowledged.  But it counts for much less in a climate where most of what is considered newsworthy has to involve tub-thumping or outright violence.

The problems faced by Christians are not by any means restricted to the Muslim world.  Take India, where minorities — Muslims included — are menaced by Hindu extremists who consider the monotheistic traditions to be unwelcome imports, and resent Christian opposition to the caste system.

. . . Elsewhere, the culprits include not only Communists, but also Buddhist nationalists in countries such as Burma and Sri Lanka. The scale of Communist intolerance is a matter of record.  Curbs on freedom of worship in countries including China, Vietnam and Cuba are draconian and sometimes exceptionally sadistic.

Why does all this matter?  One obvious answer is that faith isn’t going to go away.  Whatever one’s view of the coherence of religious belief, it has become clear that secularisation has gone into reverse, partly through the spread of democracy.  Three quarters of humanity now profess a religious creed; this figure is predicted to reach 80 per cent by mid-century.

The prospect should not surprise us.  Atheism feeds off bad religion, especially fundamentalism, whose easily disposable, dogmatic certainties now form one of atheism’s main assets.  On the other hand, it is much harder for non-belief to replace the imaginative richness of a mature religious commitment, and the corresponding assurance that life is worth living responsibly, because it has ultimate meaning.

. . . On the positive side, faith-based conviction has mobilised millions to oppose authoritarian regimes, inaugurate democratic transitions, support human rights and relieve human suffering.  In the 20th century, religious movements helped end colonial rule and usher in democracy in Latin America, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The challenge, then, at once simple and substantial, is to promote the peaceful messages at the heart of the world’s major faiths, while neutralising perversions of the core teachings.

Posted in Christian Churches, Politics, World Events, Secularism | Tagged ,

Richard Dawkins’ favourite poster

Soviet poster from 1965.

Posted in Atheism, History, Secularism | Tagged , , ,