‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Are Government and Ekklesia using the law to bully faith communities?

As if allegations against bullying in No.10 aren't bad enough, it might be seen that faith communities are now being bullied by an over bearing government machine, with vocal support from Ekklesia.

Of course bullying of all forms is wrong, faith communities understand that. But Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia launches an attack on faith schools, in an attempt to strengthen the law, that itself looks like bullying. Why they should attack their Christian brethren in this way is beyond me, they appear to me to have a liberalising social agenda that seeks to deconstruct and undermine Christian institutions and appear to have little belief in God's transforming love and grace for individuals and society. But Ed Balls makes the most telling statement where the only prescription about morality is to be from government dictat - the word of government is becoming god to us.

Balls writes "All schools will be required to cover in their teaching of personal, social and health education the full range of content prescribed in the statutory programme of study for secondary schools and in the relevant parts of the new primary curriculum."

While respect for those we disagree with is important, Labour is really advocating the secularisation of schools, which will ultimately lead to post-modern relativism in ethics because it is really treating religious beliefs in a pluralistic manner. Sadly, such relativism will only lead to tyranny in the long run because it destroys any objective basis for value (that was also Popper's argument against relativism in his book The Open Society and its Enemies). I would suggest that faith communities have a better understanding of morality than the secularising Labaour administration that is constantly undermining people's freedom to believe.

Of course there are claims and counter claims about what the new law will mean with the Daily Mail reporting a victory for faith schools in an amendment Victory for faith schools as Labour's new sex education laws are 'watered down'. However, I think that there will only be increased confusion.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tory education policy -Buddhists In, Creationism Out

I see the Conservative Party education spokesman Mike Gove wants to allow Buddhists to set up schools, but is adament creationism will not be allowed into schools.

Goldie Hawn talks to Tories about setting up schools

He is reported to have said that an independent body would manage schools "to make sure that extremist organisations, or people who have a dark agenda, are prevented from doing so. The other thing that we will make sure is that schools are inspected rigorously...To my mind you cannot have a school which teaches creationism and one thing that we will make absolutely clear is that you cannot have schools which are set up, which teach people things which are clearly at variance with what we know to be scientific fact."

Otherwse; "anyone who teaches in a way which undermines our democratic values can be brought to light, challenged and if necessary, closed down".

The BBC reports that the "Hawn Foundation teaches the Buddhist technique of Mindfulness training, which emphasises social and emotional progress over academic testing and the use of simple breathing exercises to boost learning power."

So a belief in a loving designer will not be allowed to be discussed in school science lessons, but a Buddhist group that doesn't like tests will be allowed in. It was belief in design that actually led to the growth of science in the first place, and there is a conflict between a rational belief in order and design on the one hand that informs science, and a belief in romantic naturalism on the other that will ultimately undermine science. Furthermore, the idea that creationism should be excluded for democratic reasons is offensive and counterproductive to education.

One wonders what has happened to the Conservative Party. The only choice at the next election will be which liberal party we want, the real liberals, the tory liberals or the socialist liberals.

A shame Ann Widdecombe is leaving parliamant.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Climate change graph shows modest increase over 30 years, but record January 2010

A NASA researcher, Roy Spencer, has shown that January 2010 was actually a record warm month, despite the freezing conditions in many parts of the Europe, UK and America. Although the Winter Olympics were short of snow due to mild weather. This graph is taken from Satellite measurements of the lower troposhpere and is not subject to problems with surface data, such as the urban heat island effect that may be leading to higher measurements.
Read the report here - January-2010-UAH-Global-Temperature-update-0-72-deg-c/

I have also lined to the graphic below.

This graph though shows about a 0.2 deg C increase in global temperatures over 30 years in the lower troposphere. This is a more modest rate of increase than some alarmists would wish people to believe.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Peer Review vs Open Access Review

Fred Pearce in the Guardian asks whether Climategate will lead to changes in the way science is reviewed, from peer review to open access review.

'Climategate' was PR disaster that could bring healthy reform of peer review - Peer-review was meant to be a safeguard against the publication of bad science but the balance is shifting towards open access

Monday, 8 February 2010

Is God being erased from public life?

Ruth Gledhill has interviewed the Bishop of Durham, Dr. Tom Wright, in The Times

Labour has erased God from political life, warns Bishop of Durham

He is reported as saying; “We have lived as a Western society by a particular set of stories which are substantially Enlightenment stories, about science solving all our ills. The Enlightenment kicked God upstairs like the elderly relative in the attic...If you get rid of God you inflate yourself to be divine instead.”

Friday, 5 February 2010

Climate scepticism on the rise - BBC

The BBCs new poll suggests climate change scepticism is on the rise. They blame the bad weather, suppression of evidence from the University of East Anglia, and flawed peer reviewed data claims that appeared in the IPCC reports.
Climate scepticism 'on the rise', BBC poll shows

Comment: It would a shame if the politicisation of climate change damages the real scientific research that is going on. There is increasing evidence that the climate is not warming as fast as once thought, and that other factors may come into play [1], but the levels of measured CO2 in the atmosphere are increasing. And it is very likely that this will have an impact upon the climate, even if a more modest one than some alarmists believe.

[1] Stratospheric water vapour may have a bigger impact than once thought on climate