Beware, all you sinners!
Beware, all you sinners!
Streets in Cairo were packed after news of the win came through
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian football fans have taken to the streets after Egypt’s victory in the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.
The Pharaohs beat Cameroon in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, to retain the cup they won on home soil two years ago.
Sunday’s 1-0 victory means Egypt has now won the cup a record sixth time.
If there’s one sure way to provoke an inflammatory response, it’s to challenge someone’s personal belief system. Simply the fact that here we are, existing, has puzzled most of us at some point. God is seen by many as the answer to the problem. For Dawkins – “the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University and a fellow of the New College” – God is too improbable and too complex an explanation. Indeed, he is no explanation.
The first half of his book is devoted (no pun intended) to an overview of theology, the various arguments for the existence of God and the scientific arguments against them. In God’s corner, to convert you there’s everything from the five proofs of Thomas Aquinas to other people’s personal experiences; even Pascal’s wager, which I remember found its way onto one of Tim Blair’s threads, gets a mention. For science, Dawkins spends much time explaining Darwinism and comparing it to its arch-enemy, Intelligent Design – the theory of evolution versus irreducible complexity. And although Dawkins admits to some obvious gaps in our knowledge, he sees these as no excuse to pack up scientific research, open the sacremental wine and relax on the comfy cushions of ID. His biggest argument against the existence of God is a kind of reversal of one common theist position (no, Tizona, not that position): the creation of life is so improbable and complex it can be equated to a hurricane making a Boeing 747 out of bits of metal in a scrapyard. But, if this were the case (which, thanks to Darwinism and similar ideas, he concludes it isn’t, but just saying it is), then God is the ‘ultimate 747’, by necessity more complex than the universe which he created, and therefore more improbable.
The second half of his book focuses more on the moral aspects of each debate. Of course, religious fundamentalism gets its serve here and I noticed, with amusement, our good friends Pastor Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church getting more than a passing comment. Dawkins rails against the barbarity of Islam, but seems equally leery of the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the United States. Anne Coulter is quoted a couple of times and it must be admitted, she’s said some very stupid things in her time. Dawkins holds particular grudges against the ‘indoctrination’ of children with religious parents, arguing that children are too young to form such opinions, though he is certainly in favour of teaching them comparative religion – teaching them how to think, not what to think, as he puts it.
Predictably, Dawkins claims that he doesn’t expect his book to convert legions of faithful Christians or Muslims to atheism. His hope is that it gives some people, already in doubt but constrained by their upbringing, family and/or society circle, the philosophical tools to break free. To that end, I would imagine his book serves its purpose. His arguments should not be dismissed out of hand by anyone with any claim to having thought about life, the universe and everything. Certainly, he makes many points very persuasively, though even an atheist such as myself can tell he sidesteps (though never ignores) some of the curliest conundrums, and it is valid when he illustrates how many so-called gaps in our previous knowledge have been comprehensively explained by science, what’s to say we’ll never nut out the remainder? Towards the end of the book I found one of the most intriguing ideas: as much as our eyes and brain have evolved to perceive the visible light spectrum, remaining oblivious to the enormous range of electromagnetic radiation to either side, so our minds have evolved to comprehend the solid, physically concrete world with which we interact day-to-day. That’s not to say, however, that just as we invented tools to ‘see’ all the EM radiation beyond our natural senses, might we not one day develop something to understand that which we currently consign to the metaphysical too-hard basket? That basket is already being relabelled by some: scratch out ‘meta’ and write instead ‘quantum’.
(Trivia: Dawkins is married to Lalla Ward, one-time TARDIS resident and companion of Doctor Who. Lalla was briefly married to Tom Baker, who played the Doctor at the time. Maybe she realised he was actually just an actor, so moved on to a real scientist. Even more incidentally, The God Delusion is dedicated to Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams, a friend – and convert – of Dawkins. Adams worked on Doctor Who as script editor at the same time Lalla was involved).
PHOENIX – His rallying cry echoes the late Cesar Chavez, the Latino activist who inspired legions with three simple words, “Si, se puede!” The loose translation — “Yes, we can!” — has become Barack (Hussein) Obama’s call to arms. But now, some are asking: Can he?
After a dismal showing among Hispanics in his Super Tuesday showdown with Hillary Clinton, can (Hussein) Obama entice this key voting bloc? And, if not, what might that say about a color divide that extends beyond black-white in an ever-expanding brown America?
“Let’s face it,” said popular Spanish-language radio host Luis Jimenez, “Hispanics will vote for a woman president before voting for someone who is African-American.”
I would say that’s gonna’ leave a mark.
BAGHDAD — A diary and another document seized during U.S. raids show some Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders fear the terror group is crumbling, with many fighters defecting to American-backed neighborhood groups, the U.S. military said Sunday.
The military revealed two documents discovered by American troops in November: a 39-page memo written by a mid- to high-level Al Qaeda official with knowledge of the group’s operations in Iraq’s western Anbar province, and a 16-page diary written by another group leader north of Baghdad.
Read on at Fox News
Contains very interesting PDF files…
JERUSALEM — Israeli cabinet ministers on Sunday urged sharper military action in Gaza after a rocket attack by Palestinian militants the night before seriously wounded two brothers, ages 8 and 19, in the Israeli border town of Sderot.
Dozens of residents of Sderot came to Jerusalem to protest against what they said was government inaction in the face of the continued rocket fire. Joined by local sympathizers, they sat down on the highway at midday, blocking the main entrance to the city, before marching to the prime minister’s office, paralyzing traffic on central routes.
The Israeli Air Force carried out a strike in Gaza late Saturday night against a Hamas operative in the south who was involved in weapon smuggling, an army spokeswoman said. Hamas said one of its local commanders was killed. Three other air strikes were aimed against a militants’ training camp and two places where weapons were stored but caused no casualties, the spokeswoman said.
Meir Sheetrit, a minister from the governing Kadima Party, said on Israel Radio that the army ought to “make an example, to take a neighborhood in Gaza and erase it” after warning the residents to leave.
Erase everything, it’s the only thing ‘they’ understand. Screw those people. Young, old and in between.
My questions are…Why warn? Will it make the UN, love you?
At least 23 people have been killed in a car bomb attack in the Iraqi town of Balad, the Iraqi police has said.
About 45 people were also injured in the incident, police officials said.
A police spokesman told the BBC that the blast happened near an Iraqi army checkpoint in the market town, which is north of the capital, Baghdad.
Read on…. BBC
One of these days….someone, somewhere, with the fortitude to do it, will incinerate a whole hell of a lot of these jihadis. Hang their vermin bodies from trees or bridges and let the wind blow what is left, any direction the wind chooses.