Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mary Anning and the Hunt of Primeval Monsters.

This gives a good outline of Mary Anning and her fossils – and other geologists of her era – buckland and Coneybeare

Letters from Gondwana.

mary_anning_plesiosaurus Autograph letter concerning the discovery of plesiosaurus, from Mary Anning (From Wikimedia Commons)

Since the End of the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th, several discoveries of dinosaur remains and other large extinct ‘saurians’, were reported for first time. It was an exciting time full of discoveries and the concept of an ancient Earth became part of the public understanding. The most popular aspect of geology was  the collecting of fossils and minerals and the nineteenth-century geology, often perceived as the sport of gentlemen, was in fact, “reliant on all classes”.

The study of the Earth became central to the economic and cultural life of the Victorian Society and Literature influenced the pervasiveness of geological thinking. The Geological Society of London was founded on 13 October 1807 at the Freemasons’ Tavern, in the Covent Garden district of London, with the stated purpose of “…making geologists acquainted with each other, of stimulating…

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A European Parliament without Science?

A warning about letting the Green Party have too much influence in the EU parliament. Also of other green groups by implication.

I may not agree with every word, but with the daftness of Extinction Rebellion etc , people should be wary of voting Green – at any level

The Risk-Monger

This document is a follow-up to my Science Charter blog.

German Green MEP Maria Heubuch has spent more time campaigning against agricultural technologies (and Africans) than representing her constituents. When she went to Berlin on the public purse to attend a secret NGO meeting to campaign against the merger of Bayer and Monsanto, she used her Gmail account so her activities could not be officially recorded. A few weeks later, she stood up in the European Parliament and demanded that a Commission official be transparent. MEPs Bart Staes, Pavel Poc and Michele Rivasi spend public funds obsessively campaigning against a single company and flying in non-scientific activists from as far away as the US and Australia to speak in the European Parliament. No scientists were invited to speak at their public events. The chair of the Parliament’s PEST Committee, Eric Andrieu, has tried to change the…

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What Monty Python can teach us about Extinction Rebellion

A excellent take down of Extinction Rebellion.

I am sure he could do something on Rowan Williams’ part in it. – some friar from MP and the Holy grail

The Risk-Monger

Unless policy-makers act immediately, the planet will cease to be able to support human life in twelve years, three months and seven days … this event will happen on a Tuesday … after lunch.

No, that is not a skit from Monty Python but an approximation made by the latest virtue signalling publicity craze, Extinction Rebellion. This motley crew of eco-rednecks was founded in October, 2018 and quickly created a loose network from eco-conscious hippies to students on Easter break to antagonised aging Marxists. Together they have managed to show how social networks can be utilised to control an agenda with stunts that require limited funding, planning or intellectual coherence. The media, during a slow news cycle, are lapping up these attention whores who use the microphone and a myriad of intertwined social media accounts as acts of virtue signalling liberation.

There is one nagging question that won’t go away: Was…

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Extinction Rebellion gives us a new Christianity

Methinks there is a new version of Christianity to compete with Moonies and other cults

Now I may be a bit slow but I thought Good Friday was about Jesus dying on the cross and not what “Christian” Climate Action want

“What a better way to spend Good Friday than getting yourself down to the #ExtinctionRebellionprotest sites and standing up for Gods creation.”

Or

“Observe meat free day and remind the world of the damaging effects of deforestation and meat production”

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I am afraid we were very wayward today and simply focussed on Mark chapter 15 on the death of Christ.

If the Christian faith is not focussed on the death and resurrection of Jesus, then it is not the Christian faith

Hence we considered Mark chapter 15

11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 28 29Those who passed by deridedhim, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
The Death of Jesus
33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole landuntil three in the afternoon. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
40There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome
The most important is ;
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
In that we see the Christian Faith at its baldest; God the son dying on the cross, soon to be followed by the resurrection.
But a result of that is to care for God’s creation and use it wisely.
None of this Green gnosticism
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And now Christian Climate Action had an Easter service blocking the road at Marble Arch
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Sex differences in the brain

An interesting blog on whether there a sex differences in human brains

It does seem that there are and no amount of pleading can deny it!!

Why Evolution Is True

For a while I’ve been criticizing ideologically-based scientific claims, including the arguments that “evolutionary psychology is bunk” and “there are no differences between male and female brains in either structure or wiring”. These claims are based on ideology because both are palpably ridiculous from what we know about biology or from recently published research, and yet people maintain them because they want the brain to be a blank slate and they want there to be no average differences between men and women in brain structure and function. These wants come from left-wing ideology.

Although these claims are ideological and not scientific, they are based on a well-meaning philosophy: the view that people should be treated fairly and given equal opportunities. But this has engendered the fears that distort the science:  a fear that if we’re not blank slates, but that sexes and different ethnic groups differ genetically—perhaps in part because…

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Why does a good God allow disasters?

Why does a good God allow disasters?

Whenever there is a major disaster the question arises for both believers and unbelievers, “Why would a good God allow this?” Some will ask it after the Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. And so it is raised after every earthquake and will be in the future after any similar event. However suffering is not limited to such big events as there is always death by disease, especially early death, lesser catastrophes which kill or maim a few people. (I think of a smaller earthquake in Uganda decades ago which killed a friend’s child.)

Image result for Cyclone Idai

In all of this is the cry “Why did God allow this?” or a dismissal is that there can be no God if this happens. Too often believers come out with trite answers which don’t help and at times are so hurtful as to be evil.  The worst case I know of is a vicar who (decades ago), told a family who had just lost a child through cancer, this was god’s punishment for sin. Words fail me.

Suffering is the hardest problem of all if you believe in God, as it is difficult to reconcile suffering with a loving God. Some extreme evangelicals claim that suffering came in as a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden some 6000 years ago as after that God cursed the world with suffering, disease and death and introduced earthquakes and volcanoes. I am not jesting, but wish I were. This makes God an ogre. To put this rather flippantly Richard Dawkins says that it seems an unjust punishment for scrumping. He was right. Daft beliefs encourage atheism.

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So we what are we left with?  We live on a planet which has supported life for four billion years and all that time there has been life, suffering and death, with earthquakes, volcanoes and floods. It is a world which has suffering and death written into it and it is impossible to deny that this has been the case on planet earth for 4 billion years. Ultimately we can either say there is no God or believe in the love of God despite suffering. That is in fact the traditional Christian position. There are problems in believing in God, but then there are a lot of problems in being an atheistJ

I find I get help from appreciating the wonder of the creation but cannot begin to explain suffering. When considering suffering we need to think of Jesus’ death on the cross and his cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I also gain strength form the book of Job, which is a poem exploring suffering. Job was suffering without reason but all his advisors told him that God was punishing for wrong-doing. Job knew he hadn’t and finally we get to Job 38 where God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind and asks Job if he was there at creation. In other words, we do not know God’s ways but we do know God’s son Jesus Christ.

 

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As we approach Good Friday and Easter we need to focus on Jesus himself. We will never have a full understanding about why Jesus died and rose again – if anyone thinks they have, then they clearly haven’t!

As we consider Good Friday we need to focus on our Lord’s suffering and death and that he both died for our forgiveness and entered into human suffering. In the words of the hymn Abide with me , “Hold thou thy cross before my closing /open eyes”. We then move to Easter Day when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, conquering death and inaugurating the New Creation and so we will sing “Thine be the glory, risen Conquering Son.”.

I hope that this reflection is helpful to all readers as they go through Lent and come to Easter.

A Science Charter for the European Parliament Elections

Many good points made here how the EU is influenced by anti-scientists whether By anti-vaxxers, opponents of GMOs various insecticides and pesticides, energy, especially nuclear and gas.

Some of the Green NGOs are the worst culprits.

Too many are not aware on how these groups influence the EU and thus the UK, with their dodgy science and appeal to the moral high ground

The Risk-Monger

The last European Parliament has proven to be the least scientifically competent political entity since the days of Lysenko and Darré. In the last five years we have seen the sorry lunatic ideas of anti-vaxxers like Michèle Rivasi,  chemophobe Pavel Poc and agtech neophyte Bart Staes – activists using the Parliament and public money to spread fear and ignorance. This May’s European elections, with the rise of extremist populism on the fascist far right and the Green Marxist left, is making the outlook for science and rational dialogue in Europe even grimmer.

Science is not a big vote winner in an election where, as in this year, the European electorate has been juiced up on fear-based issues like immigration and pesticides. So how a candidate feels about science may be a good bellwether to how rational of a public representative he or she will be. Wouldn’t it be…

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