Monday, 6 October 2008
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
The thing is house prices, and how much your house is supposedly worth, is fairly arbitrary. I mean, a luxury villa is always going to be more expensive than an average semi detatched, but the prices of these individual items are decided by the market, and what you paid for the house becomes irrelevant provided you can afford to pay for it. If the value of the house you bought goes up £20,000, you haven't made a profit. In the same way, if I buy a plasma screen telly for £2,000, if the price in the shop goes up to £2,250 I haven't made a profit either. (Not to mention the fact everyone else's house has gone up proportionally).
The problem is caused(and the argument about house prices is also caused) when the middle class begin to think they are wealthy because of their house prices and borrow money against their mortgage for whatever luxuries they want, when in reality the best thing to do is pay off a mortgage asap.
I also think low house prices are a good thing. It actaully gives first time buyers a chance to get on the market rather than screwing them over.
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Domestic Violence Legislation: We are trying to get a law passed that will allow women who women who murder their abusive husbands to have their convictions reduced to manslaughter. This is a very good idea, espceiialy as men who see their wives commit adultery can also get a more lenient sentence.
Labour Welfare Reforms: Labour are trying to reform the welfare system to cut down on cheats. One of the proposed ideas of the government is to make the long-term unemployed to do community service work to earn their dole money. This would involve people who nhave been on jobseekers' allowance working full time. In my opinion, the scheme may have a point but I think it is unreasonable to get people to do this work for 46.00ish a week. Assuming that they work 35 hours a week, that's pay of £1.31 an hour. Even if they do the minimum to be regarded as full time, 16 hours, that is still only wages of £2.87 an hour(the minimum wage is about 5 quid). The most you could reasonably got someone to work for that money is about 1 seven-hour day, which I think would be a fairer idea.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
This quote is just a load of bollocks, to put it lightly. Firstly, why should THEY have to convince YOU? Why don't YOU convince THEM, if your arguments against homosexuality are so watertight?(somehow I doubt it.) Secondly, love how "scripture" and "tradition" are above "reason" in that quote. What does scripture have to do with gays anyway? Where is the words "homosexuals/homosexuality" et al used in the Bible(and yes I mean the original Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew, not the English translations.) Besides, as was pointed out on the Guardian letters page, if it says that homosexuals are bad in Leviticus, it also says they should be put to death, so you better get the stones out, Mr. Williams. And thirdly, being as your religion is based on FAITH, they can say whatever the hell they like. You can say that "God hates queers" and them gays can say he loves them; niether position has any evidence to back it up so it's all just inane speculation anyway. Why any gay person would want to be associated with this piece of shit religion I have no idea.
The last point I'd like to make is that THIS IS THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY. This is moderate faith. And it's still bigoted as, well, bigotry.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Anyway, the Tory David Davis doesn't like this desision, and fair enough, totally agree with him on the principle that this is a violation of civil liberties. However, I disagree with the way he has chosen to express his opinion on this matter: by resigning. For a start, how are you going to change people's opinion or make any real difference at all by quitting your position of authority? It is completely nonsensical. Of course, he is standing again in the by-election, but of course there's no guarantee he'll get back in(though it's likely he will).
Here, however, is a quote from Mr. Davis: "I chose to spend my time as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, focussing on getting value for every pound of taxpayers' money spent, on the delivery of high quality public services - practical issues that people care about." (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-1329,00.html)
So, getting yourself(likely) re-elected in a pointless by-election is the best use you could think of taxpayers' money, when you could have just remained in your seat? My backside. Hypocrit.
"Mortality: £262,049. Early death means years of lost earnings, productivity, spending and tax revenue."
But on the plus side, you don't have to pay them a state pension. Not to mention old people tend to use the NHS more than younger people, so that has to be taken into account as well.
"Lost earnings while alive: £209,786. Most are on very low wages or benefits."
I made the point in the last article I did on drugs that if you lock people up for using drugs, they may end up stuck on benefits.
"Criminal Justice: £213,200. Cost of arrests, court hearings, prison and probation."
Legalise it and you wouldn't have this problem.
"Social impact: £61,353. Around 31,000 children of drug addicts are in care."
I think it is a bit hypocritical for the Mail to argue this, in a sense. The Mail tends to be very anti-abortion(not unless it's a homosexual fetus) and is also pro-family values, anti-gay adoption. This, any way you want to slice it, is going to lead to more kids in the system, being cared for by the state. So to use this argument is a bit disingenuous.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
I must say, that of the content I have read, I am not enjoying this book. Often I feel there isn't really enough meat to Cornwell's argument so it was hard to discuss. Sometimes, I did not understand what he was getting at. I feel like sometimes, Richard was quoted out of context, and because he does not give the page references to the quotes of Dawkins', it is difficult to check whether a quote is in or out of context. I cannot tell if this is sloppiness or intentional so Cornwell can misrepresent Richard without sneaky atheists being able to pin him down on it(I can, I believe, sometimes, but if I can't find the quote there's no way I can.) Whether or not is it is deliberate it leads the reader to think he's trying to misrepresent Dawkins on purpose.
Here's another oddity for you: the subtitle of the book is different on the front cover where it is "An Angelic Riposte To The God Delusion" than on the inside page, where it is "A Seraphic Response to The God Delusion."
A quick note on cites: the main books used are Darwin's Angel(Cornwell, J. Darwin's Angel: An Angelic Riposte To The God Delusion, Profile Books 2007) and The God Delusion (Dawkins, R. The God Delusion, Bantam Press 2006). Quotes from Darwin's Angel will be referred to in brackets after the quote as DA, p. 2, wheras The God Delusion quotes will be TGD, p. 2.
I don't actaully have too much to say about the preface. The first point I would make is that Cornwell, rather than writing as himself, decides to write the book from the perspective of Dawkins' guardian angel. I'm not sure, to be honest, what this is supposed to achieve. Some of these are summary points and I will adress them in the course of the main book rather than repeating myself.
Misrepresentations of Dawkins in the Preface
"He has established his own "Ten Commandments"" (DA, p.16)
I'm not sure what Cornwell means. I think he is referring to a passage in TGD where RD cites an example of some "New Ten Commandments" he found on an atheist website. Dawkins then gives some examples of some of his own that he would consider including. This is hardly setting up moral rules in stone unlike the Bible and it is merely used as an example of the way mankind's morality changes and how it is not based on religion.
"He has un-faithed, or "outed" in eternity such as Jefferson, Dostoyevsky, and Einstein; he has even "outed" my former protege Father Mendel, who was so admirably a man of both sceinec and religion."(DA, p. 16)
Dawkins actually quotes Einstein(TGD, p. 15) as saying "I do not believe in a personal god." I think this is rather a case of Einstein outing himself than Dawkins doing it for him.
Regarding Jefferson. Dawkins does not outright say that "Jefferson was definetly an atheist." His comments are more along the lines of the fact that Jefferson's ideas were compatible with atheism, and he quotes Christopher Hitchens on the issue, who believes it was likely Jefferson was an atheist, although it cannot be proved because he could not declare it at the time. This can be found on pages 42-3 of TGD.
Dostoyevsky: There is only one reference to him in the index, pg. 227, which is mainly a quote from The Brothers Karamazov, in a section discussing whether we need God to be good. I do not see any reference to Dostoyevsky's opinions on atheism, only that of one of this characters.
Mendel: Richard on Mendel "Mendel, of course, was a religious man, an Augustinian monk; but that was in the nineteenth century, when becoming a monk was the easiest way to pursue his science."(TGD, p. 99). As far as I know, it is the only entry about Mendel in the book, and Dawkins specifically said he was a religious man! Cornwell quotes this passage from Dawkins, but curiously omits the "religious man" clause(DA, pg. 16).
I A Summary Of Your Argument
As this is just a summary, I will deal with it as the claims come up in the main book.
Misrepresentations of Dawkins in Chapter I
"In your mind there is essentially no difference between an Al Qaeda terrorist and your North Oxford neighbour who goes to church twice a year."
Richard does believe moderate faith can be dangerous but he would never make a comparison this ludicrous. Richard's argument is basically that the respect for moderate faith protects fanaticism, and that a lot of fanatics are actually not taught by other fanatics, they are taught by moderates. I'm going to use an analogy and compare this situation involving racism.
A fair good percentage of a society--Society A-- is white supremacist. Let's say 60% of the population is. The non-racist whites in this society do not in any way challenge the bigotry of these people. In effect, the point I'm getting at is white supremacy is pretty much tolerated in said society.
Now take Society B. Society B still contains a minority of white supremacists, but they are criticised heavily by everybody else in society. Their political influence is next to nothing as a group.
It would be of no surprise if I told you that Society A has much more hate crime against black and Asian people than Society B. Now, this would be so even if the majority of people in society A did not not commit hate crime, or encourage violence against these groups. You can call these the "moderate" white supremacists if you like. However, these white supremacists still teach that black and Asian people are genetically inferior and not to be trusted. This would lead some people to extemism - ie. hate crime, harrassment, violence et al. And because the majority share the view that people of another race are bad, it is harder to criticise the perpatrators. This demonstrates how a more moderate viewpoint, if dissipated in a society, can be a cause of more extremist views. The societies could have the same amount of white supremacists advocating violence, but society A would still have more violence that society B because of the general attitudes held.
Chapter II - Your Sources
Cornwell criticises Richard for citing his own works and own experiences with people and their experiences of his work. For a start, Richard is going to refer to his own personal experience in a book about religion and there is nothing wrong with using anecdotes to make a valid point. Religious writers refer to their own experience of the divine, don't they, and I'm sure Cornwell sees nothing wrong with that. Secondly, one does not have the space to rehash everything one may have already argued in other books. Other arguments in other books may be useful if you want to know more about a particular topic, for example, Richard's books on evolution would be relevant to chapers 5 and 6 of TGD. Thirdly, Richard is not the only person to refer to his own work in a new book. For example, Daniel Dennett, refers back to Darwin's Dangerous Idea in his book Freedom Evolves in the section about the Life game by John Conway. Victor Stenger, in his book God: The Failed Hypothesis lists several of his own books and articles in the Bibliography and refers to Has Science Found God? more than once in the main text, eg. pg. 95, 99. Steven Pinker does it in The Blank Slate, pg. 80, 393. It's not just Richard, then.
Misrepresentations of Richard Dawkins in Chapter II.
"Your book is an innocent of heavy scholarship as it is free of false modesty." (DA, pg. 29)
Okay, this is more of an ad hominem, but in my opinion you cannot assert(and assertion it is; he doesn't argue for it) this sort of thing in a book meant to be a scholarly rebuttal of Dawkins.
"You might have discussed at least in brief your intellectual antecedents: [...] Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud."
Is this passage trying to imply that Richard is a Social Darwinist(or, technically a Social Spencerist, as it was not Darwin's idea). I can assure you that this is not true. He has stated many times that he does not believe the theory of evolution should dictate our morality. And aren't Spencer and on the other hand Marx and Freud completely diferrent. Communism relied on the idea that people could me made to conform the the Communist ideal ie. blank slate theory. Freud believed that all mental problems were to do with upbringing and not genes. Spencer was the opposite, he appeared to be a genetic determinist, or at least somebody who believed that genes were very influental in determining personality. Although nature and nurture are in no way incompatible and both are needed and both affect each other, one cannot totally agree with the thoughts of all of these thinkers. Not to mention, where has Dawkins said he is a Freudian or Marxist theorist? Nowhere to my knowledge.
Chapter III - Imagination
To be honest, I'm not sure what Cornwell's point in this chapter is. He seems to criticising Richard's dismissal of theology and Richard's apparent disdain for the imaginiation. I'm tempted to just dismiss a lot of the chapter as just being straw mannery because Richard has nothing agianst the dimention of imagination. For a start, Richard is a scientist. Science is a wonderfully imaginative discipline. How imaginitive did Einstein have to be to come up with the theory of relativity for instance? Science combines this imagination with fact and observation. How could Richard dislike imagination when imagination is exactly what drives his dicipline? In a similar vein, he also portrays Richard as having something against literature, again, I don't really see how he does. Maybe Richard is more interested in scientific fact, but then again, I am very interested in scientific fact that doesn't mean I don't read any fiction, and that's his perogative anyway. Cornwell hasn't really demonstrated that Dawkins is against or dislikes either of those things. In his book Unweaving the Rainbow Dawkins maintains that science is poetic.
There were a couple of points in this chapter I found a little bit, well, stupid. For instance, he says, "but do you really wish your readers to accept that writers such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Dostoyevsky ... the entire canon of world literature ... is just so much untruth? Fiction?" (DA, p. 35.)
Well, isn't that the point? I'm not sure what he means, or what he's getting at. The only thing I can think of is that he thinks these books contains moral truth, which may or may not be true, but then later he says, "you no longer believe in the power of the imagination to impart literary, poetic, religious and moral truth either?"(DA, p. 36) which implies he considers the truth of literatute to be different from moral truth, so now I'm very confused. What exactly is "poetic truth"?
Misrepresentations of Dawkins in Chapter III
Already dealt with all of them above.
Chapter IV - Beauty
This is a discussion of the argument from beauty, which Dawkins rebuts in TGD. This chapter, again, seemed to be straw manning and didn't make a lot of sense in places. I think somehow he's just misread or misunderstood Dawkins, but I don't see how he's got the interpretation that he has.
For example, Cornwell says this: "You allow that art often prompts feelings of "sublimity" but then you make this curious statement: "[Shakespere's sonnets] ... are sublime if God is there and they are sublime if he isn't." Whose standpoint are you adopting? The poet's? The reader's? God's? Or Richard Dawkins, as an angel, surveying all three? I think you might mean that a poem can have sublimity --whether the poet believes in God or not." I don't thaink that's what Richard means at all. I think it is fairly obvious from the book that Richard means exactly what he is saying here. He means that a piece of art is sublime whether God exists or not. It is pretty obvious what he means.
Cornwell then mentions that a suspention of belief is not the same thing as faith, but this is another strawman because nowhere does Dawkins say that it is.
Richard said in TGD that the argument that beauty exists, thus god exists in not spelled out properly. So Cornwell attepts to rebut this point by citing an example of a theologian who explictly spells out this kind of argument.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Your average, run-of-the mill religious believer does not read theologians, does not care what they have to say, maybe doesn't even understand what they have to say most of the time. And I'm not sure I understand this theologian's argument either, at least not in the way that Cornwell describes it. I haven't read the book in question, but Cornwell quotes him as saying "I will put forward the argument that experience of aesthetic meaning in particular [...] infers the necarssary possibility of this real presence[ie. God.]"(Steiner, G. quoted in DA, p. 40)
To me that seems like it is saying effectively that aesthestics exist and this implies that God must exist, but Cornwell doesn't like this interpretation even though it seems the most obvious on a reading of the text. He says "'[N]ecarssary probability" of God's presence is not the same as requiring that God actually exists. Steiner [...] is arguing that there is a connection, by analogy, between authentic original artistic creativity and the idea of the sustaining creation of God in the world." But doesn't God need to exist for him to have a creation? How does the idea that an analogy works make God true? And why in the cited paragraph does he appear to be saying something totally different?
Misrepresentaions of Dawkins in Chapter IV.
Nothing else I want to deal with.
That's it for part one, people!
Thursday, 5 June 2008
You know the sort of thing. "Teenagers today have no respect for their elders! A good stint in boot camp would sort 'em out!"
Firstly, making people go in the army is against their right to own personal choice. I suppose the case could be made if there was some sort of emergency, but otherwise? Hell no. Not only this, but we are talking about teens here who are portrayed as disaffected, violent, uneducated, disrespectful binge-drinkers, I'm sure making them take a career path they don't want is going to make them respect you. And I'm sure the way to lower the rates of violent crime among these youth is to teach them how to use weapons. I mean, is it opposite day again people?
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
You know the type. The people who always complain about how certain services they want aren't good enough, but whine when they are asked to pay tax. I'm sorry, but how else are we supposed to fund heathcare, the police force and education without tax money? This is not some magic fantasy land where everything is free.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for lowering taxes, if possible. If there is places where money is going to waste than this should be identified and changed. But I am much more in favour of making sure that every citizen has quality healthcare, a good education system and a well-run police force than I am making sure they have lower taxes(obviously within reason).
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Reasons it is bad for the drug users themselves is pretty obvious. If one buys drugs off the streets it is impossible to actually know the contents of the drug, meaning that the drug could be cut with anything including harmful substances. It creates a stigma in which it is harder to get help for a drug addiction. Putting drug addicts in prison is bad for them -- it is not the help that they need to recover from this. Not only this, but a prison sentence ruins further life chances, meaning that if an addict recovered and tried to live a normal life with a normal job, they would find employment difficult to find. Although former addicts may find it hard to do this anyway, a conviction makes it more difficult, and regarding the non-addicted drug users it would definitely have an impact as they could function normally in society prior to conviction.
Obviously the main negative impact on society is the crime factor. People often resort to crime to get another fix, and drugs are sold by the generally corrupt and the profits may go towards funding other illegal ventures.
I think it negatively affects the taxpayer. The first reason is that prison sentences are in the long run more expensive than rehabilitation for drug addicts. Rehabilitated drug addicts can then go on to lead a normal life meaning having a job and paying tax, thus less tax for the rest of us.
Locking people up in prison also effectively makes them unemployable, because very few people are prepared to employ an ex-con and they have also been out of the jobs market so to speak for the duration of their prison sentences. This means that a person locked up for a drug offense might end up stuck on benefits, costing the taxpayer money.
The other point is that if drugs were legal they could be taxed in a similar way to cigarettes or alcohol, again, making more money for the government meaning either taxes could be cut elsewhere or spending could be increased.
Do not get me wrong: I don't like drugs in general and I would never choose to do them. But other people will, no matter how illegal they are(indeed, perhaps because they are illegal). I think the best way is to make them legal and safer(ie. cut with less crap, in more controlled doses, etc) and set up programs for rehabilitation and better programs of education about drugs. At the end of the day, the best one can really do is to educate people and let them make their own choices, to draw an analogy re: sex education, the best we can do is to tell children about condoms and birth control and how effective they are, the negatives of STDs and the risk of pregnancy, oral and anal sex and how they can still spread disease et al. and then hope that they take this advice into account when they have sex.
NB: I think it is fairly clear, but some of these points apply only to people who actually suffer with addiction, and others apply to drug users in general. Of course, these two things are different, in fact, "drug use" is fairly heterogeneous a category but it tends to be all lumped in together.
Friday, 16 May 2008
Pet Peeve #1: Natural Foods Are Good For You!
I loathe it when foods are advertised as being "100% Natural" or some such. This does not mean that they are better for you, although that is what is implied by such advertising. This is a blatant appeal to nature as the claim is not argued. More than being a fallacy, it is not even true, in fact it is more likely to be the opposite. People who argue natural food is good are forgetting their selfish genes. With the exception of fruits(who want to be eaten in order for the seeds to be excreted and thus spread) plants have no desire to be eaten. So they develop measures in order not to be eaten, ie. evolving toxins. It has been hypothesised and corroberated that this is the reason for morning sickness during pregnancy - to prevent the embryo being affected by these toxins.(see S. Pinker, How The Mind Works, The Penguin Press 1998, p.39-40).
Monday, 12 May 2008
Basically, what had to happen was this: we had to get a better result than both Reading and Fulham. Reading had the incredibly difficult challenge of having to play Derby County at Pride Park, while Fulham had the "eyes of the F.A. Cup" Portsmouth side. Bugger!
In the end, all 3 of the above teams won, meaning that we were relegated to the Championship(which was de facto sealed at the Villa away game in my opinion.)
So what did I think of the general season performance? The defense is the main problem with the side, it is just poor, particularly centre defense. We are incapable of shutting up shop and defending out a game. We also play the long ball up too much, we don't pass the ball very well at all.
Moments of the Season(compiled from memory so if I've forgotten something please forgive me!)
This list is only compiled from matches I actually watched either at the ground(1/2 season ticket) or on Sky(excepting "Worst Moment of The Season".) Home matches unless otherwise specified.
Best Goal of the Season: Sebastian Larsson versus Tottenham Hotspur(away): an absolute beauty in the last seconds of the game to get us three points.
Almost Goal of The Season: Franck Queudrue versus Manchester City: an overhead kick from about 16 yards saved by the 'keeper.
Cock-up of the season: Joint award: Ridgewell back header versus Sunderland(away); Muamba back-pass versus Manchester City.
Lucky Decision Of The Season: penalty we got against Manchester City.
Funny cock-up of the season: Ridgewell versus Newcastle United. He expected a free-kick to be given, so he caught the ball, but because the free-kick wasn't given, Ridgewell was penalised for handball.
Lacklustre(ie. crap) performance of the season: versus Sunderland away.
Worst Away Kit of the season: Chelsea - ridiculously bright kit that was fluorescent yellow! I wonder if they were sponsoring campaigns to make sure you are seen by cars at night cos no driver could miss that kit!
Honourable mentions: Spurs - not quite as bad as Chelsea's, though; Manchester City - purple kit. Man. City are sky blue at home, purple away. Those colours are a bit too close really. It was actually a bit tricky to spot the difference between our blue and their purple on TV.
Goal-scoring performance of the season: Forssell hat-trick versus Tottenham.
Honourable mentions: Zarate v. Man City; Jerome v. Blackburn with a brace each.
Defender of the Season: Stephen Kelly. Played every minute of every game(I think). Is one of the few defenders we've got who can actually defend!
Midfielder of the Season: Sebastian Larsson.
Striker of the season: I'm not really sure who to pick. In the games he played(not loads admittedly) I'd be tempted to go for McFadden. Forssell has also had his moments though Forssell needs better service than what he gets. Zarate has got good skill but he is a bit too selfish; needs to pass a bit more.
Idiot of the season: Newcastle United's "Fat Bastard" who had his shirt off in a 7.45 kick off in March! Alternately, Liam Ridgewell for cocking up a lot.
Thursday, 8 May 2008
The crisis has been linked to a showing on the British Channel 4 of the film Jesus Camp. One commentator said "My meter could take it when I read about Eliot Spitzer, but it just couldn't handle Haggard."
Monday, 5 May 2008
Watch in awe as long balls go straight through to the opposition 'keeper or defender!
Gasp as a pass goes all the way out of play for an opposition throw in!
Hold your head in your hands as another good chance for an attack goes begging!
See ya in the Championship next season!
Friday, 25 April 2008
Jude 7 in the KJV: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (emphasis added)
The highlighted bit seems to be the key to most fundamentalists' use of this verse. However, to interpret it to mean "they lusted after other men" directly contradicts with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.39: "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds."
So in other words, the men were going after strange flesh meaning gay sex(according to the fundamentalist interpretation of Jude) by going after flesh the same as theirs(according to Paul). As you can see, this makes no sense at all. It is in fact contradictory. Thus Jude 7 cannot be a reference to homosexuality, because as we all know, there are no contradictions in the Bible. ;)
A more consistent explanation would be that Jude is condemning the potential bestiality of the men of Sodom because this is consistent with Paul: angels could have different flesh to men, hence, "strange flesh".
NB. I read somewhere and corroborated that the Greek word translated "strange" in Jude is actually "(h)eteros" - yep, that sounds like a reference to gay action ;).
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Sunday, 30 March 2008
And this is where it almost all goes wrong. Muamba does the worst backpass you've ever seen in your life and the ball falls to Benjani, who was fouled by Queudrue. Penalty! Queudrue got sent off as well, which could have been a bit harsh. Anyway, Man City score the penalty and get an undeserved goal. However, just a little bit later, we get a penalty - a penalty I was surprised to see given and that wasn't really a penalty, but McSheffrey scored it to make it 3-1 and de facto game over, what with Manchester City's toothlessness up front - all they managed were a lot of shots right into the arms of Taylor.
Friday, 21 March 2008
I agree that we should try our hardest to improve the lot of people in other countries as I hjave already made clear in other posts, eg "Britain on Gay Executions in Iran" and "Do People Have The Right To Their Own Culture?". As I have already noted, to allow injustice just because it is happening in another country at the very least borders on xenophobia. "You were born gay in Iran, deal with it" is not a moral, nor fair attitude to have. And in a moral, fair world, the people would certianly have access to some sort of representative democracy where they can nominate a politician to represent them. Unfortunatly, I do not see how Western democracy can work in the Middle East at present.
Firstly, a little bit of history. Niether the UK nor Germany went from dictatorship to complete democracy. In the UK, historically only the rich men could vote, but in 1918 the Representation of The Peoples Act was passed which meant that men over 21 and women over 30 could vote also. In Germany, the structure of the government changed: in 1871 germany was unified and a parliament(Reichstag) was set up. However, although all men could vote, the Reichstag only had the power to veto legislation, it could not actually create it, and the Kaiser retained the true power. It was only after WWI that this changed.
What I am trying to say is that these western democracies were not established in their entirety overnight, and it is difficult to expect any different from the Middle East, particularly as the beliefs widespread there are much more conservative and fundamentalist than in 1900s Britain or Germany.
There are basically 4 ways that a country could become more democratic:
1. The leaders introduce it, usually under pressure from the populace;
2. The people overthrow the government and set up their own democracy;
3. International pressure, sanctions etc. force the leaders into introducing it;
4. War, overthrowing the previous government and instituting democracy.
Let us discuss each option in turn.
Option one I do not see as feasible. No dictator compltetly opts for democracy, there needs to be some sort of opposition from the people, and there just isn't over there.
As for option two, it also does not appear to be very likely. As in option one, there needs to be people(most likely organisations in this scenario) who want reform in the country in the first place. Let's think about what these people actually believe. the vast majority of them are fundamentalist Muslims, who completely and utterly believe in the words in the Koran. They believe in carrying out Allah's will and they believe that women should be subjugated, gays killed, apostates killed, etc.
Sam Harris has even more depressing news: "[M]any [...] have noted that as repressive as Arab dictators generally are, they tend to be more liberal than the people they oppress. The Saudi Prince Abdullah, for instance -- a man who has by no means distinguished himself as a liberal --recently proposed that women should be permitted to drive automobiles in his country. As it turns out, his greatly oppressed people would not stand for this degree of spiritual oppression, and the prince was forced to back down."(S. Harris, The End Of Faith p. 132 2005 The Free Press). No, I do not think Middle Eastern democracy will come from the people. Even if a group of people did manage to overthrow the govt and institute democracy they would struggle to hold power in such a fundamentalist environment, not to mention when people got to the polls they would just vote the despots beck into power.
That only leaves international interventionism.
Option 3: sanctions(such as economic isolation) imposed by other countries. This could improve the situation but it has its problems. One being that the despots are still in charge and thus can decide what democracy they institute, likely leading to sham democracy. It would probably be laborious to actually get fair representation. Becuase the despot still has power, they can manipulate their governemnt and it may well turn out corrupt. It's also possible that the dictator justignores the sanctions unless there is, again, pressure from the people to give into international demands due to their suffering.
Of course, there is always option four: War. ASnd this option would probably be the most successful one as we would be in control of the government and could institute proper democracy.
The main problem is actually with what happens after democracy, in my opinion. We have got to bear in mind what these people actually believe. If we open the polls to these people, who are they going to vote for? Some people appear to believe that if we open the polls to tyhese people, they will vote for the equivalent of secular Western liberals. It isn't going to happen. If we give these people freedom, they will vote to throw that freedom away. Think for a minute about the Christian Reconstructionists/Dominionists, the closest Christian equivalent Middle Eastern Islam. They have several freedoms -- free speech, abortion, the right to vote -- that they would get rid of in persuit of an American Theocracy. This is no different.
So if they vote, they will vote extremists back into power. This leaves us back where we started -- perhaps even worse off if we destroyed the country during a war as this would just make them loathe the West and western ideals even more.
So this is why I believe the ideal of democracy in the Middle East will not work at present.
But as I have already said, we should tryu and intervene to improve things -- and sadly I see only one long term solution: go to war with these countries, overthrow their governments, and institute some sort of liberal dictatorship enforced militarily. Only once we have shown them the benefits of freedom can we consider giving them any sort of democracy; only then would they vote to keep their freedom.
Pf course, there are other problems with these countries, notably human rights injustices which I believe can only be stopped in this manner. As I dscussed in a pervious post, the execution of gays in Iran for instance. Even if we put international pressure on the government to change this law, all that would happen would be a lot of DIY executions with the leaders turning a blind eye to it because they believe gay people should be killed. Of course, if we were in charge of their countries, we could prosecute anybody who murdered a gay person.
Obviously, this method would involve a lot of destruction. And obviously, it would not be as easy as I have portrayed here. I am not happy about this, but I see no other solution.
Monday, 17 March 2008
Richard Dawkins converted to Fundamentalist Christianity.
And Emile Heskey scored a Premier League goal.
"The first 2 I might believe...but the last one? Come off it!"
In case you are wondering what I have against Emile Heskey, in the season we were relegated he missed craploads of good chances which was a major factor in our relegation...
Monday, 10 March 2008
But I want to talk about Britain's policy on these matters. According to the Independent again:
"The Home Office's own guidance issued to immigration officers concedes that Iran executes homosexual men but, unaccountably, rejects the claim that there is a systematic repression of gay men and lesbians." (see link above) and "In turning down Ms Emambakhsh [another similar case] and Mr Kazemi's asylum applications, the Home Office has said that, provided Iranians are discreet about their homosexuality, they will not be persecuted." (link)
That's absolutely awful, in my opinion. Translation: "Why can't you homos get back in the closet where you belong?!" I mean, are the Home Office incapable of understanding that homosexual people need love, intimacy and sex the same as everybody else or something? Very few people are able to remain completely celibate. This dictum has been proven again and again for gay people both throughout history and in the modern world, in the Middle East and in The West. Obviously, if gay people did not have this need, no-one would have gay sex in Iran in the first place due to the harsh punishments for it. And the social stigma and threat to their careers was not enough to deter neither Ted Haggard, nor Larry Craig, nor Bob Allen. I'm pretty sure forcing us to suppress this harmless part of our being counts as persecution in itself. Love and intimacy are supposed to be one of the most wonderful things that human beings can feel, to deny that to parts of the population for no reason other than disgust or religious dogma is a cruel punishment.
I think something needs to be done about these kinds of things that happen in other countries. We cannot just ignore it and say it's not our business because it's not our country. In a way, it is xenophobic to be isolationist - "you were born X in country Y, deal with your lot!". I appreciate that this is going to be difficult to achieve, but we have no other choice but to try. Unfortunatly, I have very few ideas about how we can make this work. I would rather avoid going to war for obvious reasons as well as the fact that forcing democracy on a country that doesn't appear to want it is going to end in either a religious fundamentalist being elected or somebody overthrowing the Constitution(more on this later in a post coming soon). "Liberating" Iraq didn't work and neither will this. Dialogue is always worth trying, but I cannot see them listening to us, especially as they are Islamic radicals who believe non-Muslims are the enemies of God. The only ideas I have are to impose sanctions on the countr(ies) responsible, or refusing to trade with them. Obviously, these will have their own implications that will need considering. Of course, even if we did get Iran and other countries like it to change their laws, we'd still have a big problem with people carrying out their own justice(particularly regarding anything like "honour" killings) and the government turing a blind eye to it because they agree with what they are doing. I fear it may be hopeless. Maybe someone else has some good ideas as to how to deal with this?
Friday, 7 March 2008
So there you have it.
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
I suppose I should explain what the premise of this whole thing is. One of my faviourite websites is a cartoon match report website called HTFC-World(www.htfc-world.com), which does match reports for Huddersfield Town. I have fancied having a bit of a go for a while(though mine will be nowhere NEAR as technical) and after the Arsenal match I thought that it would be the perfect match to do for reasons that will become apparent, as well as the reason that it was up first on Match of the Day so there was actually decent highlights for once. Oh, and when you have a guy with Sagna's haircut in the opposing team, there's endless oppotunities for comedy! :)
I'd just like to say that although for some of these incidents I had the benefit of match highlights, others I did not. I may be wrong about some of these incidents, but I'm just callin' em as I see em from where I sit in the ground...so don't kill me, Arsenal fans! I bet there's lots of errors in this too...you're just going to have to live with it, human memory is fallible...
The game starts off and Wenger settles in for a good afternoon...
He looks up just in time to see this, THE Martin Taylor tackle on Eduardo:
Eduardo had to be substiuted, with what we later found out was a broken leg. Just another person who would like to wish a quick recovery to Eduardo here, it really was a sickening injury and they refused to show the replays on Sky Sports.
I think that everybody has been a bit quick to vilify Taylor over this tackle. It was bad, and mistimed, but people have been talking as if Taylor lunged in two-footed with the intent to injure Eduardo, which I can confirm he did not. The tackle did not look that bad in real-time at the ground and while I was there I was surprised to see a red, although I obviously could not see how badly Eduardo was injured. Taylor has also recieved death threats from Croatian fans annoyed at the fact Eduardo will be out for the Euro Championships...
Presumbaly that's what they looked like!
Some Craotian journalists also tried to get into Martin's car when he was leaving training. I mean, this chap has just seriously injured a fellow professional, are you SURE it's a good idea to be breaking into his car?!
Arsenal had a very lacklustre first half. They really did not look intent on having a go, even though we had ten men. We changed the formation to 4-4-1, taking off Forssell for Parnaby. McFadden looked a bit lonely up there but he was prepared to have a go, and wins a free kick on the edge of the area.
Can't score from here, surely?
...Guess not. We managed to keep it 1-0 until half time. Just one more notable incident from the half...
Arsenal came out looking a lot better than before in the second half. Taylor was forced into 2 great saves from a couple of Arsenal shots:
From the resulting corner, Taylor comes off his line and...
Arse...nal! Ridgewell then makes an ass out of himself...chests the ball down from a wayward pass only to chest it into the path of Theo Walcott...Then...
Adeboyor comes through on goal... pass to Bendtner for 3-1, surely? No, apparently not, as Adebayor takes the shot(and doesn't score).
Feud or just striking selfishness...you decide!
After a while, Arsenal rested on their laurels a bit at 2-1. It seems they flicked into, "It's only Birmingham with 10 men" mode, very similar to Birmingham's "It's only bloody Derby at home" mode. They could have come out and murdered us, if they had really wanted to, but near the end of the game it seemed like they had a lot of possession but couldn't quite be arsed. We, by this point, were looking very tired(pretty understandable). Then, in the last 5 mins of the game, we decide to go an the attack, and we discover that Gael Clichy definetly has gone into "it's only Birmingham with 10 men" mode, as well as "that chap I've been marking has disappeared off the face of the planet" mode...
Parnaby thinks, "well, I'll have that mate"...
Parnaby gets the ball and then Clichy sticks a foot out to try and get possession back...penalty given! McFadden steps up to take it...
2-2! In the last minute of the game! What a result!
Arsene Wenger then made some comments at the end of the game which made him look like a complete arse...
Let's also bear in mind that Tiny Taylor, in his career previous to this match had only been sent off once before(and his tally of bookings was also very low especially for a centre defender)...he ain't a dirty player.
Fair enough, he later rescinded his comments, calling them "excessive". So what DO you actually think about Taylor(Tiny) then?
The rest of his match comments were a load of arse too. Whining about the ref? I can understand where Wenger is coming from, but BOTH sides could have grievances with the ref: although Wenger would argue that our set pieces shouldn't have been, I could say that Adebayor fouled the goalkeeper for Arsenal's first, and that Taylor shouldn't have been sent off because his tackle was only one footed and mistimed one footed challenges don't usually warrant a red.(For example in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy one Swansea player did one a bit similar to Taylor's(in fact the commentator referred to it as such, too) and only got booked. "One of the Swansea players" shows the high level of research I put into this, doesn't it?)
As for "To beat Arsenal, you have to kick Arsenal", let's have a look at some match stats:
So, Mr. Wenger, I vote you're talking crap.
In my humble opinion, Arsenal have themselves to blame that they didn't win. If they'd have wanted to, they could have slaughtered us second half. But they didn't. Maybe the ref didn't help much, but Arsenal are supposed to be top of the league!
A great point off Arsenal, then, and we were to play their Larrrndon rivals next...Tottenham Hotspur. We won that game 4-1 courtesy of a Forssell hattrick. That's the double we've done over Spurs, then. Cheers for the points, Londoners! See you in the Premier League again next season(I hope).
There were so many incidents in this match it would have taken an age to cover them all, and I actually wanted to get the report up sometime within remembering time of the match. Incidents no covered here included: Adebayor chance in the first half, some more Arsenal second half chances, one they had going just past the post, Nafti pulling Adebayor's shirt in the box, 2 other great saves by Not Tiny Taylor.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Prominent atheists have criticised the religious rhetoric as being plain wrong at full of hot air. A spokesperson for the British Atheists said that "God is supposed to be omnipotent, and all he can do is send a pathetic little earthquake that didn't even wake me up in the night. Honestly, they criticise us for pigeonholing their God into big, bad vengeance man in the sky but do the same thing themselves. The hypocrisy is, as always, breathtaking."
The Anglican Church has been split into warring factions over the incident. Although the main group is convinced that this was God's punishment for homosexuals, a faction of Anglicans are convinced that the incident was related to God's dislike of equality between the different races on Earth. "White men are of God," said a prominent Anglican and B.N.P.* member, "but these depraved negroes can go back where they belong."
*British National[istic] Party, for any non-Brits who don't know what I'm on about.
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
The populace of Kansas obviously disagree. "McCain is far too liberal. I mean, he only wants to stay in Iraq for a million years. That is just nowhere near conservative enough." Another Huckabee supporter had this to say: "Despite the fact that God's messenger on Earth Fred Phelps protested a recent speech by Huckabee, he is still by far the most Godly candidate on the ballot. I mean, who else wants to protect us from the AIDS menace by segregating the sodomites?!"
McCain has tried to beef up his conservative image by getting positive remarks from George "Dubya" Bush. "He stands for military intervention and action and admits he knows nothing about the economy. He is a true conservative." said Bush at a recent speech.
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Need For Speed - involves driving in illegal street races and trying to escape pursuits with the cops. Needless to say, I can't drive.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour - involves saving the world by playing children's card games. Except I don't even own any yu-gi-oh cards in real life, let alone use them to save the world or anything heroic like that.
Final Fantasy Tactics - In this game, you move characters around a board and perform actions such as attack, magic, etc with them. Clearly a bad influence.
Guitar Hero series - Devil's music. Enough said.
And anyway, how broadly are we to define "violent video game"? Many video games are "violent" in the sense that they involve killing people, even if they're not gory. Eg:
Age of Empires - a historical game where you can be different civilisations who pillage other civilisations. Oh, wait, usually people who are againt violent video games want to drag us back through history and think imperialism is good. My bad.
In my view, even if there is a correlation between violent video games and violence, it's like saying there's a correlation between who plays FIFA and football fans. Well, you're less likely to want to play FIFA if you're a non-football fan!
Sunday, 20 January 2008
The first thing I noticed about this match were the absolutely florescent Chelsea kits. They stood out a mile. Seriously, if you're ever worried about getting run over because somebody didn't see you at night, buy one of these kits. Picture at the Sky Sports match report.
In my view, we deserved to win this game. We definitely did not deserve to lose, but that's the way it usually goes against the big teams(exceptions: Arsenal last week; Liverpool a lot of the time we play them). We were terribly unlucky not to score through Jerome more than once. Chelsea didn't really do a lot. Even when they had possession they didn't really go anywhere. We played really well. Watch us play crap against Derby in the next home game now.
Thursday, 17 January 2008
In these films, animals are able to talk and display rationality. Every adult knows that this view isn't true, but children are indoctrinated into this viewpoint by the pretty graphics and animation made possible by modern technology.
Their portrayal of human nature is also highly inaccurate. For example, in the film Open Season, which is about hunting of a bear released into the wild, a "hick" Southern American hunter was displayed as cruel and stupid when every good Christian knows that this man is a moral citizen upholding his right to bear arms. On the other hand, the bear's trainer, a woman who refused to submit to a man and wore ungodly shorts was portrayed as a moral person. This woman is obviously a tool--not just of the vegetarian agenda but of the lesbian agenda.
Another recent film with this kind of theme was Ratatouille, a movie about a rat who wanted to cook in exquisite kitchens. Firstly, to display mere animals as having any sort of thing called "desire" is absurd. What next, are the liberals going to tell us that machines can "want" to use the internet and run word programs? Secondly, everybody knows that rats are vile and carry germs --they're almost as disease-ridden as those depraved homosexuals are. Call me a speciesist, but I don't want either rats or AIDS-plagued homos anywhere near anything on my plate.
Another prominent example was the film Over The Hedge, an immoral flick which promotes stealing as a moral activity. I mean, it's not like the animals were televangelists providing a wonderful service to their flock! Over and over again, they ransack human dwellings. This film, as well as promoting the vegetarian agenda of equality for animals, also promotes the liberal agenda of the welfare state -- take what you want, we'll just tax hardworking American citizens to pay for your out-of-wedlock children. This film will lead to an increase in crime as children are taught that stealing things is just fine, when in reality they should be put to death for crimes against the Lord.
What can YOU do? Well, firstly, boycott these films and all cinemas that show them. Secondly, pass this article on to family and friends, but be careful - the liberals are watching you. Don't let your child see one of these films -- it may change them, not only into hippie do-gooder liberals, but into every parent's worst nightmare - a homosexual. Before you realise what's happened your kid will be taking it up the ass from dirty old men and going to anti-war and anti-vivisection rallies while living off the welfare state before finally dying of AIDS. Consider yourself warned, and make sure that your child sees not even a trailer of any debauched film like these.
This article has two comments:
I'm a little worried -- once I let my child see Chicken Run. Is the decline into depravity inevitable?
Preach on in the name of the LORD! you knows what's goin on. i think that the libbies have been watchin my house and monioring my foxnews watrching habits, theyre out dere alrite.