I asked someone a while ago whether they believed in God and the answer was a surprising one for our day and age. The answer was ‘I suppose so’.

I didn’t think much of it at the time but after some reflection it strikes me as a terrible position. That person had neither the fervent belief of the truly religious (however misguided) nor the reasoned realism of an atheist.

I wish I’d asked some questions at the time because I’ll bet anyone $20 that the reason for that person’s vague belief is that belief in a religion has become the default setting for humanity. I know for a fact that this person doesn’t believe in anything in particular, doesn’t do to a church or mosque, doesn’t pray, has never read a Bible or Koran (or Gita) and certainly doesn’t live in a religious environment. It’s just that blindly believing in a God is the norm, even to the non-religious.

I’m sure the person I have in mind wouldn’t be offended if I questioned their belief, and may even agree that it’s a little silly if reasoned with. It’s the fact that people are indoctrinated to think this way in the first place that concerns me.

With regards the title, it must be made clear that a belief in God isn’t the default setting from birth. We’re not born with religion. We don’t know and understand modern Gods ‘straight from the box’, no, it must be ‘installed’. To borrow from the writings of Richard Dawkins, the ideas of religion must be transmitted to the new host as a ‘virus of the mind’. How I dearly wish to protect my children from this infection until they are old enough to analyse religion for themselves and make their own decision.


From the last paragraph of an article by Richard Dawkins…

Safety and happiness would mean being satisfied with easy answers and cheap comforts, living a comfortable lie. The alternative is risky. You stand to lose comforting delusions: you can no longer suck at the pacifier of faith in immortality. To set against that risk, you stand to gain ‘growth and happiness’; the joy of knowing that you have grown up, faced up to what existence means; to the fact that it is temporary and all the more precious for it.

A quantum leap

12Oct08

Just a quick one. People seem to think that a quantum leap is a sudden and large stride forward in a certain field of understanding. Yet an actual quantum leap is a completely different beast; according to John Gribbin in Almost Everyone’s Guide to Science a quantum has two distinct features.

When an electron in a high energy state (excited) has a choice of two or more lower energy levels, it chooses randomly.

The second is that the jump, or leap, is very tiny.

Therefore a quantum leap is actually a very small change made entirely at random. The only similarity between the saying and the scientific term is that the change is instantaneous, it’s a change from one thing to another with nothing happening in between.

Check out some wikipedia action for more -> quantum leap.


More?

31Aug08

Yes, there’s more to come but I’ve been inundated with interstate work, children’s birthdays, visitors and a social life. The first article in my Scorecard series is being worked on intermittently, when I can find some time away from all the above, and I reckon the completion time will be around mid-September.

EDIT: I’m putting the whole scorecard idea on hold as it takes a fair bit research to get right; which takes a fair bit of time, which I simply don’t have. I’ll pick this idea up again sometime in the future but in the meantime i’ll work on smaller articles. Electron shells are something I’ve love to write about next but it’s a complicated subject and I’d like to break it down a bit. Which takes time. Which I don’t really have. TBA.


It must be at least once at week I find myself wondering where the hell all those wonderous sciences and technologies we read about in the 90’s have gone. Like a lot of people I find myself a little dissapointed in 2008. Perhaps the hype of the late 90’s affected my subconcious more than I realised, I mean, if you believed in everything you read back then we’d have a cure for the common cold by now; along with basic nanotech, alternative fuels and many exciting advances in health thanks to stem cells and other vague bio technologys. With that in mind I want to visit the areas I once believed would be far more advanced in 2008; explore where they are now, where they’re going, why it’s taking so long and when we can expect something that knocks our socks off. Coming up next…Cancer research – wheres my cure?


Particle zoo!

01Jul08

Man’s destruction of Africa – oh dear

All technology can be used for good…or evil

Open source cancer research! – er, wow. That’s unexpected. Very welcome, but unexpected.