For tens of thousands of years our ancestors understood the world through myths, and the pace of change was glacial. The rise of scientific understanding transformed the world within a few centuries. Why? Physicist David Deutsch proposes a subtle answer.
From: The Australian
July 31, 2010 12:00AM
PERTH Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft has clashed with his Catholic counterpart over Julia Gillard’s atheism.
He warned it was “unhelpful and untrue” to suggest the Christian faith had a monopoly on moral integrity.
The Anglican leader cautioned against making simplistic assessments of religious beliefs in an election context and said Ms Gillard had assured the electorate she would respect people with religious convictions.
“Any statement which portrays the Christian faith as having some type of exclusivity to be the sole arbiter on matters of moral integrity and just policy-making are unhelpful and untrue,” Archbishop Herft told The Weekend Australian.
“Christians need to remind themselves that those who do not profess the Christian faith are still capable of adopting an ethical and moral framework which assists in public policy decision-making for the common good.”
The comments follow controversial statements this week by Perth Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey, who suggested Ms Gillard’s atheism could cost her votes.
The Catholic Church leader said he was not telling people not to vote for Ms Gillard, but some would wonder what the future held under an atheist and it might influence their votes.
“Many Christians are concerned that someone who does not believe in God may not endorse the Christian traditions of respect for human life, for the sanctity of marriage and the independence of churches, church schools and church social welfare agencies,” Archbishop Hickey said. But Archbishop Herft — who believes election campaigns have become so vicious they may tarnish the nation’s soul — said believers and non-believers alike should be embraced by the church.
He said politicians were influenced by a range of factors, both religious and secular, when making cabinet and parliamentary decisions, but they were drawn to the job out of a desire to serve the common good.
“It is interesting that in the context of an election, those who profess a certain faith and, indeed, those who do not, have their beliefs assessed very simplistically as either a positive or negative influence based on the whim of the day or the policy area to which it is being applied,” he said.
Plans to set up atheist schools could soon be given the green light by the Government.
Education Secretary Michael Gove says he is open to the idea as part of reforms to his department, according to Premier Radio.
The move comes after high profile anti-faith campaigner Professor Richard Dawkins suggested the idea.
The Education Secretary said he would be “interested” to look at proposals for non-religious schools after Prof Dawkins, author of ‘The God Delusion’, said last month that he approved of the idea of setting up a “free-thinking” school.
Ann Widdecombe, the former Home Secretary who is also a believer, said it is not something that should be opposed.
She told Premier Radio: “If you can set up faith schools, then I think quite obviously you must also be allowed to set up a school that will cater for people whose parents are bringing them up specifically to have no faith.”
Widdicombe added: “I think it is a great pity if somebody is brought up that way, but our job is to win those people over, not to look to the law to do it for us.”
Addressing the House of Commons education select committee, Mr Gove said parents opposed to faith-based schools should be given more opportunities to educate their children in the way they want in the state education system.
Around a third of the 21,000 state primary (elementary) and secondary modern (high schools) in England are currently faith schools. The majority are Anglican or Roman Catholic, with small numbers of Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools.
By UK law, all other schools must provide religious education and stage a compulsory Christian assembly every day, although parents have the power to withdraw their children from attending.
A story is told of Sheridan, himself an Irishman, that one day, when coming back from shooting with an empty bag, he did not like to go home completely empty, and seeing a number of ducks in a pond, and a man or farmer leaning on a rail watching them, Sheridan said, ‘What will you take for a shot at the ducks?’
‘Well,’ he said, ‘I will take half a sovereign.’
‘Done!’ said Sheridan, and he fired into middle of the flock, killing a dozen. ‘I am afraid you made a bad bargain!’
‘I don’t know,’ said the man: ‘they weren’t mine.’
– Tit-Bits From All the Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in the World, Oct. 29, 1881
It’s legal for me to expose your infidelity.
And it’s legal for me to seek $10,000 from you in a business transaction.
So why is it illegal for me to blackmail you for $10,000?
“Most crimes do not need theories to explain why the behavior is criminal,” writes Northwestern law professor James Lindgren. “The wrongdoing is self-evident. But blackmail is unique among major crimes: no one has yet figured out why it ought to be illegal.”
In 1965, in a noble attempt to help the rest of us understand Australians, Alistair Morrison published Let Stalk Strine, a glossary of terms used Down Under:
air fridge: average
dismal guernsey: decimal currency
egg nishner: air conditioner
garbler mince: a couple of minutes
marmon dead: Mom and Dad
rise up lides: razor blades
sag rapes: sour grapes
split nair dyke: splitting headache
tiger look: take a look
“Aorta mica laura genst all these cars cummer ninner Sinny. Aorta have more buses. An aorta put more seats innem so you doan tefter stan aller toym — you carn tardly move innem air so crairded.”
The book went through 17 impressions in one year, a sign the problem had gotten completely out of hand. Just a few months before it appeared, the English author Monica Dickens had been signing copies of her latest book in a Sydney shop when a woman handed her a copy and said, “Emma Chisit.” Dickens inscribed the volume “To Emma Chisit” and handed it back. “No,” said the woman, leaning forward: “Emma Chisit?”
Concerned that the men of 1768 no longer read the Bible, Edward Harwood decided to translate the New Testament into modern language. The result has been called “turgid,” “absurd,” “ridiculous,” and “one of the most discussed and insulted” Bibles of the 18th century. Samples of his work:
Before: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
After: “Since therefore you are now in a state of lukewarmness, a disagreeable medium between the two extremes, I will in no long time eject you from my heart with fastidious contempt.”
Before: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
After: “As thou hast hitherto most mercifully supplied our wants, deny us not the necessaries and conveniences of life, while thou art pleased to continue us in it.”
Before: “We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed.”
After: “We shall not all pay the common debt of nature, but we shall by a soft transition be changed from mortality to immortality.”
And here’s the Lord’s Prayer:
O thou great governor and parent of universal nature (God) who manifestest thy glory to the blessed inhabitants of heaven–may all thy rational creatures in all the parts of thy boundless dominion be happy in the knowledge of thy existence and providence, and celebrate thy perfections in a manner most worthy of thy nature and perfective of their own! May the glory of thy moral development be advanced and the great laws of it be more generally obeyed. May the inhabitants of this world pay as cheerful a submission and as constant an obedience to Thy will, as the happy spirits do in the regions of immortality.
Harwood said his translation “left the most exacting velleity without ground for quiritation.”
Thomas Jefferson writhed under the criticisms of the Continental Congress as it reviewed his draft of the Declaration of Independence. Seeing this, Benjamin Franklin took him aside. “I have made it a rule,” he said, “whenever in my power, to avoid becoming the draftsman of papers to be reviewed by a public body. I took my lesson from an incident which I will relate to you.
“When I was a journeyman printer, one of my companions, an apprenticed hatter, having served out his time, was about to open shop for himself. His first concern was to have a handsome signboard, with a proper inscription. He composed it in these words: John Thompson, Hatter, makes and sells hats for ready money, with a figure of a hat subjoined. But he thought he would submit it to his friends for their amendments.
“The first he showed it to thought the word hatter tautologous, because followed by the words makes hats, which showed he was a hatter. It was struck out. The next observed that the word makes might as well be omitted, because his customers would not care who made the hats; if good and to their mind they would buy, by whomsoever made. He struck it out. A third said he thought the words for ready money were useless, as it was not the custom of the place to sell on credit. Every one who purchased expected to pay. They were parted with, and the inscription now stood, John Thompson sells hats. ‘Sells hats?’ says his next friend; ‘why, nobody will expect you to give them away. What, then, is the use of that word?’ It was stricken out, and hats followed, the rather as there was one painted on the board.
“So his inscription was ultimately reduced to John Thompson, with the figure of a hat subjoined.”
A common scene in my life. (Except with way fatter chicks)
Have you ever been blocked by someone on Facebook or Twitter?
That was rhetorical, dopey.
You’ve been blocked.
There’s been a point in time where someone evaluated your contribution to their world and said:
Then they ensured they would never ever see you again by removing you completely from their lives.
Here’s five signs you’re about to be blocked.
1. Someone Asks You “How Do You Find The Time To Update So Much”?
This is a key phrase.
How do you find the time.
It means people are getting tired of your constant Facebook posts about your ass itching. Or your tweets about your pee hurting. Or your FourSquare check-in to an STD clinic.
2. You’ve Been Put On Limited Profile On Facebook.
The first step to Facebook blocking is the limited profile.
You always got to see hot pictures of her in super tiny bikinis and then one day, boom.
She likes True Blood.
That’s all her profile says.
What are we supposed to do with that?
No way, you like VAMPIRES? You’re so complex and layered.
3. People Who RTed You Blindly Don’t Anymore.
You know those people who RT any random shit you say?
I like cheese.
RTed by 4 people.
People all over Twitter now know some fat hairy blogger likes cheese.
If they stop RTing that I like cheese or my cheese-related activities, it means other people are really getting sick of me.
These people are my nerdy barometer.
I don’t know what a barometer is.
I just heard someone use that once.
4. You Find Yourself Trying Harder To Please People.
People on Twitter and Facebook try their hardest to prove that they’re intelligent, smart and charming.
That sounds exhausting.
I, on the other hand, have proven I’m an incredible shithead.
It can only go up from here.
Actually, it’s gone down, but whatever.
If you’re sitting there overthinking, over-tweeting, over-poking, you’ve lost it.
It’s like that dude who tries really hard to win a chick over and then realizes she doesn’t return his feelings via court restraining order.
Thanks Sarah from Queens.
Because that was what I needed.
This is Sarah from Queens, or as I like to whisper on the phone while breathing heavily, “my spirit bride”
5. When You Realize Someone Has Unfollowed Or De-friended You, You Try To Contact Them To Find Out Why.
There is nothing more painful than watching someone find out why they’ve been left.
It’s a key sign that you’ll be left again.
Hey Mike! How are you bud? lol Just noticed you deleted me on Facebook and unfollowed me on Twitter! lol! Wondering if I did anything wrong?! lmao.
Those creepy lols just make things worse.
There you have it. If you’ve identified with these signs, you’re probably blocked by hundreds of people right now.
It’s better than a restraining order.