All entries for September 2008

September 16, 2008

It's not science, and never will be

I find it so hard not to get annoyed at these idiots who drag the name of Christianity through the mud. For once, the government has it right - creationisim, if it is to be taught, belongs in an RE lesson, not in a science classroom. You literally have to be an idiot to take the bible entirely literally. I used to think it was just because there was no way I could relate to the creationist mindset that I found them quite so unsettling, but it's also profoundly uncomfortable to know that there are people so devoid of rational capacity. I'm not saying evolution is necesarily flawless or factual - it is only right and proper that inconsistencies in a theory be discussed and challenged. But criticism of evolution does not automatically lead to creationism, and it should not. If God is a non-interventionist, and I believe he is, then he is the why, not the how. The job of science is to give us the how, the mechanics of a system (not it's justification). That creationism tries to ally itself to any attack on evolution is fucking poor form - just because I might not like using Internet Explorer doesn't mean I'm stuck using fucking Safari. Creationism is simply not a scientific explanation:

Everything was created by an all-powerful being...

Perhaps, but where's your argument for the all-powerful being?

Oh, it's the beauty and complexity of the world...

A classic logical flaw. A -> B, and B, therefore A (affirming the consequent). There is no internally consistent evidence for God's creation of the world, except by the big bang and letting evolution take its course. In fact, there is more evidence to the contrary. I think Neil Butcher (in the comments section) gets it spot on

The media wrongly describes this as a debate between creationism and evolutionary theory. In fact, the debate is between creationism and the whole of science as we know it. If the universe is less than 10,000 years old, then: all of geology and biology are wrong; the speed of light has been wrongly calculated, so Einsteinian physics is wrong; the distance and speed of other galaxies has been wrongly calculated, meaning that all of astronomy and therefore Newtonian physics are also wrong. For informed people to challenge accepted scientific orthodoxy on the basis of proper evidence is always healthy, but to debunk the whole of science on the back of a story passed down by some Iron Age goat-herders is just self-delusion

Maybe the iron age goat-herders is slightly off, but otherwise right. Criticism is good, it's how theories evolve and get closer to the truth. Wild propositions, however, are not acceptable counter-theories...


September 01, 2008

Less of that nonsense, please!

Tesco are coming to terms with a mistake that's pissed me off for a while. At least it's a step in the right direction, but what pisses me off is that there is any sort of dispute at all. 10 items or less will NEVER be grammatically correct.


"Saying up to 10 items is easy to understand and avoids any debate," said a spokesman for The Plain English Campaign.

"Fewer" should be used when you are talking about items that can be counted individually, for example, "fewer than 10 apples".

"Less" is correct when quantities cannot be individually counted in that case, e.g. "I would like less water".

Except, morons, that a quantity is always measured in some form at a supermarket, or you wouldn't be able to distinguish between a lot and a little of something and rip us off accordingly. Water is bottled, meat is sold by weight in pieces, etc. But that's not even the main point. The main point is that an item is definitively a partitive, discrete value. Therefore it must ALWAYS be 10 items or fewer, because you cannot have less items. Let's hope the other supermarkets have the balls to go the whole hog...


I have missed these rants :D




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