What is Science?

I have just been informed that I neither know nor understand what science is and my interlocutor helpfully provided a reference to a dictionary for my enlightenment. The source of the disagreement was that I had pointed out that science is based on...

Defector

  Moussa Koussa, Libya's Foreign Minister, is now in a 'secure place', talking to government officials. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has asserted that Koussa, the former Intelligence Minister, has not been and will not be offered...

Improving Science

The Discovery Institute is very concerned about the quality of science and science education. I know this because they say so loudly and often. And they have been particularly concerned to improve science in the area of Biology, specifically the...

The rule of law

The future is unknowable, as is clearly demonstrated when one looks at all the false predictions that human beings have in the past so enthusiastically engaged in. This fact alone should make it clear that an attempt to predict the future is something...

Jesus on Money

Jesus was very clear about money and wealth. He did not approve. Not one iota. For Jesus one could either serve god or one could serve mammon, but not both (Matthew 6:24). Jesus therefore unsurprisingly asserted that it is impossible for a rich man to...

Discrimination

Discrimination is a topic we hear much about. We hear about it from people claiming to be subject to discrimination and we hear about from the discriminators, attempting to deny that there is any. We hear about discrimination on the basis of so called...

Freudian slip?

As I understand it, the Americans name their military operations in a manner that is intended to convey the intended outcome. Thus, the invasion of Iraq was initially called Operation Iraq Liberation, until someone noticed that it was a bit obvious....

A little definitional exactitude

Atheism is a constantly misused word. The word comes from the Greek. The 'a' means without. The 'theos' means god(s). That's it. An atheist is someone without gods. No belief involved. No ideology. No social movement. No institution. No organisation....

End Times are now!

According to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute forty-four percent of Americans believe that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence that we are in what the Bible calls End Times. ...

Language and Metaphor

Metaphor lies at the heart of language. If one were to eschew the use of metaphor, not only would one find it extremely difficult to communicate even simple, mundane matters, but there would be vast stretches of human experience that one would not be...

Science and Judgement

Professor Sir John Beddington is the government's Chief Scientific Advisor. Yesterday he was telling the British government, and the world, that, even on the basis of a worse case scenario, he was completely unconcerned about the nuclear situation in...

St Patrick's Day

Today is St Patrick's Day, which is a day of holy obligation. Catholic Cannon Law states: 'On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover they are to abstain from those works and affairs...

Crime against Life

Nuclear waste is a crime of such magnitude that it makes crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes look like mere childish high spirits. There is no known way of safely disposing of nuclear waste. In fact, there is no conceivable way of...

Cycling and weight loss

Cycling is a good way to lose weight. But it is not a quick fix. In fact, anyone tells you that you can lose surplus fat fast and easy is either deluded or a charlatan. Here is a simple fact that makes this perfectly clear. A pound of fat contains...

Good Intentions

I often come across people who wish to take up exercise to improve their health and fitness. They are generally serious, full of enthusiasm and determined. And yet the vast majority soon fail to live up to their sincere resolutions. The usual reason...

Cycling: a brief history(6)

As we have seen, by 1970, the car had effectively sidelined the bicycle as a mode of transport in the Western world, restricting it to the backwaters of sport, tiny groups of enthusiasts, and a toy. However, this was not the end of the bicycle, but...

Cycling: a brief history(5)

The pace of development of the bicycle slowed in the first three decades of the twentieth century. The major innovations during this period focused on making the bicycle lighter, more comfortable and easier to operate and maintain. A major invention...

Cycling: a brief history(4)

In the 1890s, due to increased safety, comfort and constant lowering of price, the bicycle rapidly spread across the whole of the Western world. These new machines were increasingly taken up by women of the upper and middle classes. They provided...

Cycling: a brief history(3)

The really fundamental step forward in the evolution of the bicycle came in 1885, when John Kemp Starley created the safety bicycle. With this invention we have essentially arrived at the modern bicycle. Everything since can be seen as the development...

Cycling: a brief history(2)

The next step in the evolution of the bicycle occurred in the mid-1860s. It is not certain who was the first person to think of adding rotary cranks and pedals to the hub of the front wheel of a Draisine, but credit for this innovation is generally...