| Tuesday 31st May 2005 21:40MDT | → 0 Comments |
… why should any nation be required to obey laws that have been made by those we did not elect, cannot remove and who do not have to listen to us.
A few necessary points:
When it comes to ‘not listening’, hands up which Government ignored over one million people marching against going to war in Iraq as it had the power to do so, via Royal Prerogative, without requiring the say-so of the British Parliament?
I suspect what a lot of people like Benn are thinking is that they don’t want ‘Johnny Foreigner’ telling them what to do, which is not only not how it works but smacks of xenophobia more than a real concern for democratic legitimacy
The EU is far from perfect but in some regards it’s a lot less broken than UK democracy. At least the EU restructures itself every decade or so and plans to have a fully written constitution that covers in detail what it can and can’t do - find me the UK equivalent!
As an aside, my personal view is that, as regards the UK position in the Council, we should adopt the approach of the Netherlands where their parliament decides what position the minister (or equivalent representitive) takes regarding any proposal. However, I can’t see control-freak Noo Labour agreeing to that one.
Just come back from watching Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, which I really liked. It was much better than I expected (especially the continuous opportunities to drool over the gorgeous Hayden Christensen). I can see why some commentators supposedly found parallels with the USA’s attitude towards democracy and liberty in relation to the so-called war on terror (with such lines from Anakin like: If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy).
I’m sure the pre-film adverts, trailers and other superfluous marketing crap was the longest I’ve ever had to put up with - thirty minutes worth of it. Maybe I’ll stick to DVDs.
It’s somewhat surprising that the US military have been banging on about how those pictures of Saddam are a violation of the Geneva Convention (article 13, to be precise) and there will be ‘aggressive’ investigations into how it happened. Isn’t this the same convention that the new US Attorney General described as “quaint”, “undefined” and “obsolete”? Probably it’s to mitigate attacks on US troops that may come about because of this (those that wouldn’t already happen because of the latest abuses that have come out of Afghanistan). In other words, it only applies when Americans are in danger as opposed to foreigners.
I think my iPod may be on the way out as it sometimes freezes for several seconds. Occasionally minutes at a time. It could be due to over-use as I listen to it every day or some slight incompatability in the iTunes database given that I upload music using gtkpod on my Linux box. Either way I hope it stays sane as I can’t afford a replacement right now (and less so next month when bf is here and wants to go on jollies around the country).
15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense, courtesy of Scientific American.
Oh, and according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, atheism is a ‘root cause’ of poverty (last paragraph).
It’s been a long week of coding - more in a week than I’ve done in years. This is supposedly until the company hires more people and I can concentrate on the ‘product management’ side of things, which I’ve done very little of as yet.
I’m also just as uptight about how often bf emails me. Now I’m expecting daily emails and become quite stressed if they don’t arrive. As I send him a magazine every week, any one on the subject of food, gardening or interior design, I’ve decided to save time and money and taken out a subscription to Elle Decoration for him. He likes that one. In the meantime I’ve bought a subscription to (European) Parliament Magazine for myself.
Exactly one month until he’s here again (for three weeks). I might have even lost some weight by then.
I’ve noticed that that Labour achieving a magic/tragic 37% of the popular vote has revived talk of changing the voting system to some varient of proportional representation. It also looks like Jack Straw is trying to pre-empt the argument with a canard in the Guardian, making all the usual mistaken criticisms that often surround PR. Taking just three:
In short, PR’s time is now. However, supporters recognise that neither of the main parties will bring it in - not when it gets them into power so easily and illegitimately.
I suppose having been somewhat chastened regarding their European coverage, the BBC is making more of an effort. However, it still feels like their European Parliament coverage will be restricted to those issues that either focus directly on the UK or are highly controversial. I would commend them on their reporting on the removal of the opt-out to the Working Time Directive, at least on the 6pm Radio 4 news where they went to great lengths to point out how 60% of people in this country would prefer not to work long hours and productivity is not related to the number of hours worked, given that UK productivity is lower than other countries in the EU that limit hours.
Of course, it’s blindingly obvious that if you have to work 48+ hours to achieve things, there’s something very wrong with the way your working. Maybe in emergencies or when someone is starting a new company but those are very much the exceptions. If only Nu Labour would understand this and stop fawning over their corporate sponsors.
Critics of the European Union would certainly miss it if all the socially responsible legislation were to disappear and Britain really would become the sweatshop of Europe.
ntl has informed me they are planning to upgrade my 750k broadband to 2Mb at no extra cost. Occasionally they do something right and this may well make up for the promised free month never materialising when I signed up.
Bad news is that I noticed one of the shops on the high street in town is being replaced by a Starbucks. Unless one of the other outlets closes down that will make three in a relatively small area! When I first moved to Guildford I used to read the planning notices every week in the Surrey Advertiser but gave up after resenting paying for a newspaper that otherwise only contained around 15% actual ‘news’. If I’d seen the planning submission I certainly would have lodged a protest with the council. That’ll learn me.
I see another tedious ‘atheism vs religion’ debate (such that these things ever come close to a proper debate - the one about whether religion or secularism has killed more people always goes nowhere) has broken out in the media following Dylan Evans’ comments. He’s right about one thing: a lot of atheists do spend too much time criticising religion and a fair proportion of that criticising it in a fairly childish manner (in a letter in this month’s New Humanist the author said he was going to cancel his subscription because there wasn’t enough ‘religion bashing’ in the magazine!). By all means explain all the flaws and dangers of basing your life on some dodgy mysticism but then move on and emphasise the reasons behind atheism and especially humanism. That is, these are not dogmas or ‘pseudo-religions’ but positions that a person takes when they come to the conclusion that it is simple not necessary to believe in a god to explain natural phenomena or to have a consistent moral philosophy, and that a morality that is arrived at by reason, observation and empirical evidence rather than just being accepted from a far from reliable source just because this thing called god ’said so’ is more likely to be consistent.
Of the two stupid comments Evans made, one was that religion was good because it is supposedly ‘beautiful’ is a somewhat fatuous argument. What is more beautiful than nature itself, the very stuff of the natural sciences that work on rationalist principles. The other is that accepting scientific discovery and the scientific method is ‘naive’ as it doesn’t contain the ‘truth’ that people are looking for. Apart from science concentrating on facts as truths are a somewhat nebulous idea, most of what anyone would argue is a ‘definite truth’ is actually better classed as a fact and the rest are simply philosophical positions.
What a lot of atheiests and secular types never stop to think about is that you can never really win any argument over religion as they aren’t debating on the same plane as you. Essentially, if the basis of all your arguments is a omniscient, omnipotent entity that can’t be put to the test and who’s motives can never be directly discerned then all bets are off. Religious types can simply say “it’s like that because god said so and he’s perfect and always right”. Rationalism doesn’t feature in their thinking so there’s little point in trying to criticise them using it.