Category Archives: History
My thread on Peaceful Science, “Media Science” has gone, so far, to over 400 comments, but despite the stern admonitions from the skeptical scientist types there to “follow the data, not the propaganda,” none of them has even attempted to address the subject of the post, which was the data about the misinformation about walrus deaths being due to climate change on a David Attenborough documentary.
When I was a medical student, I got to meet the wife of one of my then-favourite Sci-Fi writers, James Blish, after she’d had a minor accident on a London bus. This was around the time of the author’s declining health, so it must have been a particularly stressful time for Mrs Blish.
As I mentioned in a previous post, in a Radio Times article puffing the recent David Attenborough Doom Documentary on climate, he drew attention to the deforestation of the Philippines and Borneo. These are indeed serious problems, though not upon consideration any result whatsoever of climate change. Rather they result from various economic and social factors, including the high premium placed on timber for biomass as a result of misguided measures taken to prevent climate change .
… doesn’t mean they aren’t after you Regular readers will have noticed something of a political slant to the last three posts. What immediately triggered it was the realisation of a sudden shift in the position of the UK Baptist Union – representing probably the largest of the mainly Evangelical denominations in Britain. Only three years ago it issued a statement reaffirming the biblical view of marriage, and urging those dissenting ministers who were inclined to perform SSM to desist “for the peace of the body.” Now one of the two candidates for President is a gender-queer pansexual activist, pushing a theological position that gender itself is unchristian.
I’ve just read another very interesting book. In the Footsteps of King David describes the excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa in Israel, just up the valley from the ancient Philistine city of Gath.
The abominable crime perpetrated in New Zealand by, we are told, a lone white-supremacist extremist, led to immediate calls in the mainstream press for a clampdown on rampant Islamophobia everywhere in society. When a thing (“Islamophobia”) is named as if it were a psychiatric disorder, but treated as a deadly sin, it is a little difficult to understand exactly what the neologism means. But the word appears at least, to include any negative opinion of any aspect of Islam, Arab nationalism, or Islamist terrorism shaken together, such negativity being interpreted as the inevitable precursor of crimes such as we saw last week.
In my last post I drew on George Berkeley in the context of probability theory, to show how western thought’s tendency to make abstractions from reality actually leads to a misleading view of the world. The generalisations of science are particularly prone to the reification of abstract notions.
Francis Bacon produced what I suppose one would call a “Utopian Novelette,” unfinished at about 22 pages, just three years before he died. It seems to have been intended as a kind of manifesto for the new scientific project he had, to a great extent, initiated, and so it is worth looking at retrospectively in the light of that project’s enormous success. The Kindle edition is also free, which is another incentive.
I think one of the main reasons why the existence of an historical Adam and Eve is considered unimportant (or unlikely), at least by Christians who generally take the Bible seriously, is that references to Adam are apparently so sparse throughout Scripture.
Somebody’s leading a discussion on Christian gratitude and generosity. He cites Deuteronomy 6, where Moses reminds people, once they arrive in the promised land and have cities they didn’t build, houses they didn’t provision, cisterns they didn’t dig, and crops they didn’t plant, not to forget the Lord who brought them there from slavery in Egypt. But one man, an older Christian, says he has a problem with that, because these things were taken from the Canaanites, sometimes by violence.