Cucumbers and Islam: Way Beyond Belief?

There are regions in the world where the prominence of Islam as the dominant power controlling peoples' lives is being challenged. This is a good thing, it is far better to be governed by a system that is modern, and designed is to operate in the modern world. Democracy has its problems, but give me democracy over religion any day.

The problem with creating a working, fair, democracy is the fine-tuning on the 'checks and balances', ensuring that no one individual or interest group has disproportionate control over any other. The US system is, in theory at least, a fine balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. In the Westminster system the executive is dependent on the support of the legislative branch, so the balance is effectively between the legislative and judicial branches, with the legislative process being steered by the executive.

Why all this discussion on legislative branches and whatever else? The answer is that it shows the flexibility of the systems to govern the people. To create a new law requires the approval of the legislature, it's enforcement depends on the judiciary. Without checks and balances the executive could take control of both the law making and the law enforcement.

Now if the executive also has a firm belief in a certain well known Bronze Age text the results can be one hand comical, but in the bright light of day 'ludicrously tragic'.

Hence we have Al Qa'eda in Iraq banning women from buying cucumbers. Perhaps the most ridiculous of religious laws I've heard in a long time.


Bigfoot ?

Surprise, surprise! The 'bigfoot' turned out to be a hoax. There are some people who will believe anything. Unfortunately the reporting around the issue didn't put it to rest. Below is an article from the BBC Website (in italics) with some commentary by me.

Two men in the US state of Georgia say they have found the body of a Bigfoot, the legendary ape-like creature that has been subject of decades of hoaxes.

Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer say they stumbled across the 2.3m-high (7ft 7in), 226kg (500 pound) corpse in a wood in the north of the state in June.

A photograph on the men's website shows what appears to be the body of a large, hairy creature with an ape-like face.

Bigfoot experts reacted suspiciously to the men's claims.

Bigfoot experts? Anybody can be a Bigfoot expert, there is absolutely no evidence that it exists. An expert opinion would be along the lines of "I am as confident as I can be that it does not exist. If it does exist we know absolutely nothing about it."

"What I've seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim," said Jeffery Meldrum, a Bigfoot researcher and Idaho State University professor.

"It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect," he told the Scientific American magazine.

I know nothing about Jeffery Meldrum, hopefully he agrees with my views and uses the term 'Bigfoot researcher' as a quaint joke.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service also said its officers were not taking the claim seriously and would not investigate it.

The most sensible view that we have heard so far!

At a news conference in Palo Alto, California, Mr Whitton and Mr Dyer said they had found the body of a male Bigfoot with reddish hair, "blackish-grey" eyes, and human-like feet and hands while out hiking.

"I recognised it was unusual right away," said Mr Whitton, a police officer. "The first thing that pops into your head is that it's Bigfoot."

They also said they saw three other live creatures while carrying the corpse away.

Perhaps one of these was a bird?

"They were silent," Mr Whitten added.

The two men also brought what they said were the results of DNA tests on the corpse's body tissue which were undertaken by Curt Nelson, a biologist at the University of Minnesota.

According to Mr Nelson, one test showed human DNA, another was inconclusive, while a third came back as the DNA of a possum, which he said could have been from something the Bigfoot had eaten.

If Mr Nelson was told that he was working on the DNA of an alleged Bigfoot he should have realised when the results came back that it was now a fraud.

Bigfoot is a humanoid creature said to wander the wooded wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

Bigfoot is not a humanoid creature, it is an alleged humanoid creature.

Stories of a giant ape roaming the forests of North America date back to before European settlement. But despite occasional footprints and photographs, there has never been much proof of Bigfoot's existence.

There has never been any proof!