1) Barack Obama
Good choice, it's great to have someone literate as "leader of the free world" again.
2) Nelson Mandella
Possibly should be at number 1 given his track record, but without doubt a worthy contender.
3) Jade Goody
EPIC FAIL. Britain I want to disown you. Yes, she has cancer and will die. That shouldn't be a reason for somebody whose only reason for fame is (1) being stupid, and (2), going on Big Brother, to rank higher than David Attenborough. Or even, well.... anyone else really.
1. Breaking a mirror
2. Walking under a ladder
3. Friday 13th
4. Opening an umbrella indoors
5. A black cat crossing your path
6. The sight of a single magpie
7. Spilling salt
8. Placing shoes on the table or on the bed
9. Treading on cracks in the pavement
10. Walking over three drainsI mean, really? People actually believe this?
Pastor Danny Nalliah is quoted as saying: "a flash from the Spirit of God: that His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb".
I'm going to file this one under 'coincidence' along with the fact that I recently went to visit Big Ben and have woken up on time ever since.
digging a bit deeper into the shadowy world of Mervyn Storey we find that he has already tried to get intelligent design (read: creationism) taught in schools.
Hopefully this lunatic will disappear in a giant failure, but then again.
There seems to be lots of UFO stories doing the rounds at the moment. This one comes from Athens, but thankfully is a little more realistic than some reports I have read: "Greek officials say that the object, which was not detected on any radar, was probably a mistaken sighting of the planet Venus in the Autumn night sky."
There have also been reports of UFOs above the Houses of Parliament, and from Somerset (see video below).
Also it seems that someone has been collecting UFO reports from police officers.
It appears that the wind turbine damage wasn't due to UFOs after all, it was just mechanical failure. I bet some of the conspiracy theories drag on for a bit though! I do have some more UFO news to follow though - perhaps I'll reveal some real evidence?
Today marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, co-discoverer with Alfred Russel Wallace of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
I won't go on too much; Darwin and Wallace where both great men but science is the collective work of many individuals. Some of us just hit the big time. Rather than make you read a load I'd suggest you go and make a donation to the Beagle Project and help fund a rather cool project.
To celebrate the day Google has created a special logo - see above.
I have mixed feelings about Tony Blair. I remember the excitement he caused when I was at middle school about him becoming Prime Minister. Which is odd on two fronts: I knew nothing of any worth about politics, and as fas as I remember the school election was won by the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Since his departure from Number 10 Blair has been going on about god a lot. Most notably Blair was guided by an imaginary friend, voice or apparition when deciding whether to invade Iraq. This is not a good way to make such decisions. The decision to go to war is difficult, just as the decision not to can be difficult. That decision can only be made on the basis of the evidence available at the time.
But Blair seems to have continued on, and at a recent 'Prayer Breakfast' (who says there's no division between church and state in the USA?) he mention god over 3o times. Quotes such as 'The 21st century will be poorer in spirit, meaner in ambition, less disciplined in conscience, if it is not under the guardianship of faith in God' are find highly comical. It is the liberation from faith that seems to be driving moral progress.
Read through this article, it seems the UK thankfully isn't quite as bad as the USA yet!
Will the atheist bus campaign help promote The Christian Party in forthcoming elections? Well, not really. Sadly for their leader, George Hargreaves, we have a political system with, on average, 2.5 main parties. Thankfully the Christians are miles down the list.
So what do these organisations have to say?
The Christian Party: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life." That's very definite, if, I believe, almost certainly wrong. I have huge issues with bringing religion into politics, so I will refuse the offer to join their party.
The Russian Orthodox Church: "There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life." Unfortunately believing in the Christian god requires worry, and more often than not fear. Not for me either.
The Trinitarian Bible Society: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," I take exception to being called a fool.
Oh well, looks like I'm going to be a godless heathen for a while longer, damn!
P.S. Have you notice how terrible all three of those websites are? The TBS even refers to Richard Dawkins as an 'atheist'. Do the quote marks indicate they know something we don't?
Thank you for your note. Although we have recently learned that Mr. Stein will be unable to receive the honorary degree here or to serve as commencement speaker, please know that it was our expectation that his remarks would address the global economic crisis and that he would speak from his widely acknowledged area of expertise on the economy. We regret that he will be unable to do so.
With thanks again for writing and with every good wish—Daniel Mark Fogel, President
How very impersonal! Just a form letter.
At least he won't be there.
It seems that David Attenborough is the UK's most trusted person. I'm much happier now! David Attenborough is a fabulous presenter with genuine enthusiasm and a real knowledge of his subject (as compared to some of the crap that passes for entertainment on TV these days). I reccomend you all go and read his autobiography, Life on Air, one of the best autobiographies I have ever read.
What's most frustrating in this story is the fact that the nurse seems to think that prayer has real effects on her patients. Trust me, if this worked their wouldn't be medical researchers or doctors.
I have been following the story of your decision to invite Ben Stein to talk at your institution. This move is frankly a disgusting insult to the scientists at your institution, as well as scientists the world over (myself included).
To give a man with such views a legitimate voice at an otherwise excellent university is wrong and I find it deeply disturbing.
You are belittling the efforts of your own scientists' work, my work, and the work of everybody else who has made a bona fide contribution to furthering our knowledge of our world.
- the destruction of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina was "divine retribution" for pemrissive sexuality and tolerance of homosexuality.
- hurricane Katrina not only destroyed nightclubs and brothels but also abortion clinics (oh, and churches too, they obviously fit the same pattern)
Why do we think the Catholic church is an out-of-touch evil monstrosity? I wonder...
Perhaps I was wrong.
One statistic that is very worrying is the 22% believing in creationism (I refused to place 'intelligent' design as a separate theory). 10% of people believing in young Earth creationism is tragic.
I admit that as scientists we need to engage more with the public, but the theory of evolution has been well explained by numerous authors.
I genuinely feel despaired.
Copyright Ed Baker