The Golden Rule is perhaps the simplest, easy to follow, and most beneficial rule we have. However, for whatever reason, most people do not follow it (selfish jerks!). This is especially true when driving in rush hour, as I've had the chance to observe over the last 7 months or so. Although I'm leaving the rush and traffic behind, I think everyone would benefit from reading through a list that Dumb Little Man has compiled, with some good ideas as to how the Golden Rule applies to driving.
Personally, right now, I think the world belongs to a bunch of bloody idiots who have no clue about anything to do with understanding. George Bush, the Pope, Stephen Harper, Tony Blair... These are the people in charge of the world. We need to change this, somehow, we need to start educating people on what the issues are, and get some leaders in power who understand them as well.
Here in Canada we have more tax cuts potentially coming up. That's great right? No one likes taxes, but think of what they do. Health Care, Education, Pension plans... these are 3 of the most key issues as I see them, funded by our taxes. Education is arguably the most important of those, and what are we doing, cutting spending on them all.
People are naturally Short Term Greedy, we need a government in place that understands that, and doesn't try to gain popularity by pandering towards our poor tendancies. Until we can educate everyone on how to plan ahead for life, including how to educate children, how to stay healthy (so you don't have to use much healthcare) and how to save for retirement, we need a responsible government to provide those services for us. Not cut them back while trying to buy votes with tax cuts.
This picture was taken on my flight back from Saskatoon where I was visiting my girlfriend. The trip was a lot of fun, winter sure comes early there though. :) Check out my set of pictures if you're interested in seeing more.
Regular readers (ha!) will have noticed a change in focus of this blog (and not just in the fact that there are posts again). The reason is that I'm attempting to improve my writing skills, and have chosen to talk about things that mean a lot to me in the process. So there are going to be more posts about evolution, biology, and the very interesting book I'm reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Today I critique the conclusion of a review found on The San Francisco Chronicle by Dinesh D'Souza.
The article is mostly about Dawkins questioning of why religion exists from an evolutionary standpoint. In the book, he talks about how nature is a very precise tool and gets rid of anything that is not helping a species to survive and procreate. So what is the reason for all known human groups to have religion as part of their culture? What benefit would it provide us to help our existence?
The reviewer talks about two tribes, one religious, one secular, and how the religious one would persevere because they had a purpose to live, while the secular one would apparently be caught up in trying to figure out their purpose, instead of trying to live. I find the view of the secular tribe to be silly, as well as the conclusion that is drawn in the review.
My favorite quote from the article is in its conclusion:
"It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no purpose to life or the universe, indeed whose only moral drive seems to be sneering at their fellow human beings who do have a sense of purpose."
Show me one atheist who sees no purpose to life. The reviewer falls into the view that the majority of theists seem to hold on atheists, that because they don't have a magical being in the sky telling them what to do, they must lack morals, a purpose, and are unwilling to contribute to society. I find this to be an insane notion, and quite the argument against religion. Every time I hear someone use the "If we didn't have god telling us our morals we'd be out raping and killing" argument I have to laugh at what that says about the person arguing. Maybe these are the people we need to keep under religion, it seems to be the only thing keeping them in check.
And as for atheists having no purpose, I would argue that since we believe that this is the only life we have, we are not headed to a better life after we die, that we have to enjoy our life now, not wait for that second chance. I think that fills us with a much greater purpose than most theists give credit for.
Maybe evolutionarily speaking religion is with us because it gave us a purpose, a set of morals. However in this age, when we know so much about the natural world, does it still serve that purpose? Do we need a made up reason to be, to tell us how to act? Or can we just enjoy this one life we have, contribute to a better world, and not waste energy, time, or money on falsehoods?
Wired has an interesting article about Gary Wolf's search for an atheist style.
I don't agree with some of his conclusions but I like his findings of the so called New Atheist groups. I think anyone who is a fundamental atheist (ie, believes in Atheism 100%, no doubts) is as full of it as a fundamental theist, so people claiming this faith in atheism is a fringe group as well. The majority of atheists are probably more in the >99% range, but since you can never scientifically disprove a supreme being (or for that matter, thor, zeus, ra, etc) you can never be 100%.
Yes, Atheists love to hear of a convert, or a celebrity/scientist who has thrown of the shrouds of religion, but for every one of those, there must be 10 who join some stupid cult, or think they can eliminate radiation with magic water...
grrrrr I don't think I'll ever understand some people.
huh, normally I have to change the title from the title of the picture, to the title of the blog entry, but this one is somewhat appropriate. :)
I've been reading a great book, which I recommend to anyone interested in biology, Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean Carroll. So the reference here to the picture I posted is related to that book.
Ever wonder how something like a butterfly knows where to have it's spots on the wing when it's developing as an embryo? Or how most people have 5 fingers per hand and some have 6? The book goes on to explain how our genes are coded with switches that are acting from the very beginning of development to control how all of our features are created from the one original cell. It is truly eye opening and fascinating stuff.
On a semi-related note, I am reading another book, Richard Dawkins'The God Delusion. Also a fascinating and excellent read. Richard Dawkins is going to be on The Colbert Report tonight, I urge everyone who can to watch it. It is on past my bedtime, so I'll be YouTubing it tomorrow morning.
Richard Dawkins is one of my heros, as is Stephen Colbert, but the Character SC plays on the Report is about the exact opposite of Dawkins. I suspect the clash should prove interesting. :)
I have done some digging, and have a better idea of who is responsible. It seems that Transport Canada itself is in charge of these silly restrictions, and the GTAA (Greater Toronto Airport Authority) is fighting to get them lifted. Hey, that's great, they're on our side then right? Haha not really, they've been losing money at the duty free shops, so they want to make sure that people can still buy their booze! I'm pretty sure I'm going to be even more mad if someone can bring a bottle of booze on a plane and I can't bring a bottle of iced tea.
It really is sad if these restrictions get lifted because the duty free's are losing money, and not because it was a stupid idea to begin with. Transport Canada, boo to you!
Ok, the recent terrorist plot foiled in England. Very good job by them, it would have been a disaster if they group involved had been able to carry out their plan. Though, realistically, they're going to get away with something someday, and we won't see it coming. What can we do to prevent it? I'm honestly not sure, perhaps live a bit more tolerantly with each other, maybe there's a reason people out there hate the US so much (and it has nothing to do with being jealous of their freedom).
One thing I'm insulted and angry about however is the ban on liquids for your carry ons. Well, they were going to use explosives disguised as liquids to blow up the planes, that's a new and very unique method isn't it? Bzzzzzzt! Wrong! An explosive device disguised as contact lens solution was detonated on a Philippine Airlines 747 on December 11, 1994! That is almost 16 years ago, and just now they're telling me I can't bring a bottle of iced tea on the plane. I find it extremely insulting, and deplorable on the airline industry's part. I'm flying next week, and I'm going to be pissed if this restriction is still in place. They should have either banned liquids in 1994, or figured out a way to screen for liquid explosives.
Look, it's going to happen again, we can't guard against every threat ever conceived of, but when a proven threat hasn't been guarded against, and they have to back peddle to pretend to care, and restrict our freedoms, I get upset. I have no problems with them dealing with potential threats, but this half measure they've implemented isn't going to cut it. What's next, no liquids on trains, buses, public buildings, schools? How many different ways can someone sneak an explosive around? Should we ban ever carrying anything?
Let's have a look at the root problem here, patching the bugs as they come up is a half measure at best. It'll keep things running, but the whole system is still broken.
The information on the 1994 incident is available on wikipedia, I first saw this on a show on the discovery channel.
Edit: by the way, I just put a picture of one of the Westjet flights up there, but I in no way blame or hold Westjet responsible for anything that's going on, I'm not really sure who is responsible actually. Anyway, I love Westjet, I'm flying Westjet next week to PEI(yay!), they have always been the friendliest, funniest, courtious airline I've ever flown with. Book your flight today*.
Hello all, sorry as always for the long time between posts. It has been nothing short of the craziest month I've had in a long time, perhaps ever.
I hope everyones holidays were good, as those who keep up with my flickr pictures know, mine was good. My brother made it back in spectacular fashion, allbeit in 2D form. The most notable other news is that I now have a fantastic girlfriend. I hope that she doesn't mind that I mention that here. :)
The picture is from a game of Carcassonne I played with the gf and her sister and husband. Carcassonne is an excellent german game where you place tiles so that the sides match up, and attempt to get the biggest cities and roads. Lots of fun, not too reliant on luck, or skill, but a great blend of both. I've been trying to find it, but it doesn't seem to be available in Canada. I am most likely going to have to have it ordered from the States. gah.