Intelligent Design is NOT Science

The argument from intelligent design (ID) is one of the supposed proofs for god’s existence. You’d think if an incredibly powerful and intelligent being did create the earth, it would have left better evidence of its handiwork than a ruthless unsympathetic world that seems to be purposed towards nothing in particular.

You might also expect that the people he selected to laud his creation to the world would be those of deep humility, respect, and scientific knowledge. But they’re not are they? Proponents of ID have a history of spreading misinformation or blatantly lying about science and evolution.

You would also rightly expect that realisation of ID would transcend any worldview or religious leaning. But it doesn’t. Anyone who thinks the world was designed attributes it to their god, their religion. Belief in design is inseparable from belief in religion.

Also, you’d think the experts at studying this world and universe of ours, namely scientists, would be the strongest proponents of design theory. But they’re not. Why? Why are scientists so dismissive of Intelligent Design?

Quite simply, because it’s not scientific.

The argument from design is based on the premise that the universe manifests such high complexity that only purposeful design can explain it. In other words, ‘the universe looks designed, therefore it is’. But this is an opinion, not a fact. Apparent “good” design in nature might indicate design, but apparent “poor” design would indicate the opposite. So at the very least, the way nature appears prima facie hardly proves ID.

Another problem with the argument from design is that it begs the question. It is an exemplar of circular reasoning. It goes like this: ‘all the design in nature proves that there was a designer’. Now, we know that designers design things, and we know that designed things have a designer. Fact. No one is disputing that. To call a car or a watch designed is taken as fact, since we know that cars and watches are designed. But we don’t know that the universe was designed. That is what we’re trying to find out! Therefore, the argument assumes that design exists, and then postulates a designer. It assumes the very conclusion it should be trying to prove; circular reasoning.

Scientific theories must be testable, at least in principle. And since testing anything carries with it the possibility of failure, scientific theories must be disprovable (or falsifiable). For instance, to use Dawkins’ and Haldane’s example, if rabbit fossils were found in the Precambrian era, that would completely disprove evolution. What evidence would creationists accept that ID is erroneous? None. There is no evidence that would convince them that they are wrong. All the evidence in favour of evolution will not prove that fact to them. Also, any evidence against design can be interpreted by the Intelligent Design theory as part of god’s plan. In other words, give god the credit for good design, but pretend the bad design doesn’t exist but is part of an ambiguous higher purpose. Accept fossil evidence and dating when it supports ID, but when it doesn’t, claim that fossils are there to test our faith. By this logic, nothing could ever defeat ID! Creationists cannot accept that their interpretation of scripture might be wrong; that their scripture itself is wrong, or that god cannot exist. This is because ID is a religious metaphysical theory, and not science.

Scientific theories must be natural and empirical. They must be proved by empirical evidence and explained naturally. ID is a supernatural explanation and cannot be proved empirically; there is no test possible to prove that god did or didn’t design the world.

Science doesn’t start out with a dogma that cannot be altered and then seek to prove it. Science has been wrong in the past, and the acceptance of error allows better theories to be made and knowledge to increase. What are creationists doing to better scientific theory? What studies are they doing to enhance the theory of evolution or replace it with an even better theory? None. This is because they start out pretending to already know the fact: “god created everything”. Everything that contradicts that is assumed to be wrong. So yet again, ID cannot be scientific.

We all have metaphysical beliefs. Our foundational worldviews are ultimately metaphysical. This doesn’t make them wrong. What is wrong is trying to pass off a metaphysical belief as a scientific theory in order to give it a place in educational curriculum. This is dishonest and subversive. It is dishonest because Design theory is simply not science, and no more belongs in a science classroom than Shakespeare does. It is subversive because ID is inextricably religious, and is a way to push a religious agenda onto others, particularly children.

This article was not about evolution Vs creation, it was about why creationism is not and cannot be scientific. Even the most ardent creationist, if they are honest with themselves, should have the intellectual honesty to admit this. After all, evolution doesn’t disprove god. And creationism being unscientific doesn’t in itself make it false. But let’s be honest about where the lines are drawn. There are many fundamentalists who seek to obscure those lines and spread falsehoods. Why is that I wonder?

n.b.: (For a complete, honest, and properly scientific review of evolution you can visit Talk Origins or the evolution pages of Ebon Musings.)

The Sham of TV License Fees

In the UK, like many countries, there is a Receiver License for owning a television. It is treated as a tax, and not paying it is a criminal offence. The money is collected by the BBC and paid into a Government Fund, and then passed to the BBC for services and programming. (The BBC claims to carry out electronic surveillance (without a warrant) on property to check for unauthorised TV usage (if indeed this tech exists). Despite what it may attempt, it has no right to enter homes or examine property.)

I think this is a joke. Taxing ownership of a television is like taxing ownership of a mobile phone or personal computer. (Before I go any further, let me say that I have no affiliations to any TV company and my only bias is against license fees.)

The reason a TV license exists now is simply because it always has done. The license was introduced for radios and then switched to TVs when they were invented. This was at a time when the BBC was the sole broadcaster in Britain, and license fees were necessary to maintain a national broadcasting service. I can agree with this in theory; it’s no different than paying a tax for services like police or the fire department – in other words, a modest tax is better than no TV at all.

That was the argument back then. What is it now? Why is it law to pay a “license” for owning a household electronic device for ONE broadcasting company, when there are so many out there? Why should the taxpayer be forced to pay for a “service” that they might not even use? And is it right to see the BBC as a service anymore anyway?

Here are some of the common arguments in favour of the license fee, taken directly from Wikipedia:

Supporters of the licence fee claim that it helps maintain a higher quality of programming on the BBC compared to its commercial rivals,

Does the BBC produce higher quality programmes than its rivals?? I don’t think so! But the point is it’s a matter of opinion, and hardly a convincing argument for a national tax!

… and allows the production of programmes that would otherwise not be commercially viable.

If this is right then it’s a fairly good reason, but then the BBC should limit its licence fee revenue to producing these kinds of programmes, which would also allow the fee to be significantly reduced. What kind of programmes does this include? And why doesn’t it stop the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, or Sky?

Some claim that it also leads to better programmes (and a reduced quantity and frequency of advertisements) on the commercial channels, as they seek to draw viewers/listeners away from the BBC’s output.

Better programmes? Personally, I hardly ever watch the BBC. I’m not denying there are good programmes, but are people saying the BBC has a monopoly on quality programming? Surely not. Usually, when the BBC shows a good TV show and it becomes incredibly popular, another bigger company comes along and buys the rights to it instead (e.g.: like Sky did with 24). But since Sky is a commercial company that has to work to earn its money, I haven’t got a problem with this.

The argument from quality is bogus anyway: since the BBC will receive TV license fees whether the taxpayers like it or not (!), then there is no necessary demand for a higher standard of programming; it’s not as though taxpayers can just opt out of the “service” forcing the BBC to improve quality.

Some critics claim that the licensing system interferes with the freedom to receive information, and contend that this is a contravention of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to Freedom of Expression). It should however be noted that the Convention allows for qualifications and restrictions on the Freedom of Expression, and many European countries have licence systems that are very similar to the UK’s.

This is a circular reasoning. Notice that the rationalisation is: other European countries do it too, so that makes it all right! The criticism is not even addressed!

Some regard it an anomaly that a person can be forced to pay the licence fee while not using the services it pays for. However, the licence is for using a television receiver, regardless of which channels are watched.

This again, is rubbish. If the license fee is for using a television receiver, then the license fee should be distributed between all broadcasting companies, and not collected by the government and given to the BBC.

Pretending that the tax is not directly for the BBC is gross dishonesty. Taxpayers are forced to give money to the government which is given to the BBC and no other broadcaster. Therefore the tax is to sustain the BBC and not for owning an electronic device. Of course, by calling it a TV license, the government and BBC are covered from consumers being able to “opt out” of receiving BBC programming and thereby avoiding the fee.

Some critics point out that viewers in much of the Republic of Ireland, Northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands also pick up terrestrial signals of the BBC, but do not pay a licence fee to watch BBC programmes. The counter-argument from the defenders of the system is that the same is true in reverse of viewers in most of Northern Ireland and parts of Wales, and also of viewers in the Channel Islands, who can watch Irish and French TV respectively without paying those countries’ TV licence fees, and nowadays national broadcasters from many countries are on satellite.

Yes, exactly! Is this supposed to be a counter-argument?? The fact that viewers outside the license “zone” can receive foreign signals and vice-versa is a matter of fact, and is hardly an argument in favour of a license fee! It’s basically like saying: ‘well you can get their signals and they can get yours, and it shouldn’t be that way, but it is, so we’ll call it even.’

In other words, people in other countries can watch the BBC for free but those who actually live in Britain have to pay for it! “But someone has to pay for it!” you might say. Well, that’s my point, who exactly should pay for it?

More recently the rise of multi-channel digital television has led to criticisms that the licence fee is unjustifiable on the basis both that minority interest programming can now be broadcast on specialist commercial channels and that the licence fee is currently funding a number of digital-only channels which many licence holders cannot access (for example BBC Three and BBC Four)[2]. This situation, however, is comparable to the introduction of the 625-line only BBC2 in 1964, which operators of existing 405-line television sets were unable to receive without upgrading to a 625-line or dual-standard set.

Again, this is not a counter-argument! It actually avoids the main argument against a license fee: paying for an unnecessary service to support one broadcaster over others. The defence offered above is: ‘well it’s happened in the past so it’s hard luck for those who don’t use it.’ What point exactly is the defence above supposed to be making? That those who can’t access these channels should do something about it, or they’ll be penalised??

…while a 2001 Ofcom report found that the vast majority of those it interviewed, including owners of digital television equipment, supported the principle of a licence fee funded public service broadcasting. The advantages of such funding listed by those interviewed included diversity…

What does that even mean?

…high quality



Then it should be funded like normal education policy by the government, or the fees limited to educational programming, even though this doesn’t stop other education and documentary channels.


Because the BBC is the only broadcaster that is innovative of course.


Because the BBC is the only broadcaster that produces entertaining programmes of course.


Wow. A Television Broadcaster that broadcasts information.

Original productions

Because the BBC is the only broadcaster that produces original programmes of course.


Who else but the BBC receives the revenue??


Then limit the license fee to this area, and only for subscribers.

Inclusion of minorities

Again, what does that even mean?

And free access.

But it’s not free is it?

Another reason cited is that the licence fee allows the BBC to retain independence from both commercial and political pressures.

Then why is the BBC allowed to compete with commercial companies for the rights to broadcast? For example, Sky have to pay from their own commercial pocket for the rights to broadcast a football match, whereas the BBC use taxpayers money to pay. Why should one broadcaster be governmentally endorsed against its rivals?

If the idea of the BBC is to keep it free from commercial pressure, then it should be an information and educational non-profit service only, and the license fee adjusted accordingly.

I see no evidence that the BBC is free from bias or more objective than any other broadcaster.

As for political pressures, forgive my naivety, but the BBC is a government-sponsored broadcaster; it is directly paid for by the state. This may very well subject it to political pressure from time to time when broadcasting opinions dissent against governmental ones. Either way, to actually use ‘freedom from political pressure’ as an argument in favour of the BBC seems preposterous to me.

(From here: “The government has rid itself of the BBC director general and chairman who defied Downing Street over Iraq. The BBC has never been such a handmaiden of government.”)

The government’s official response to a Downing Street Petition (the ‘justifications’ for which I have already examined) can he found here. (Notice the lack of explanation; the reply is simply: this is the way it is, therefore this is the way it is.)

There are three solutions:

1. The BBC should be a non-profit national information service only. If it chooses to supplement its programming by advertising or subscription fees, so much the better.

2. The BBC should be a subscription service, like Sky or NTL. This way, viewers can choose to pay for the BBC package, as they would make a free choice about owning any other entertainment package, and simply couldn’t pay for something unnecessary that they never use.

3. The BBC should be supported commercially, perhaps alongside subscription fees. (Like every other broadcaster that has to earn its money, pay its way, and maintain quality to prevent loss of business).

Unfortunately, the TV license is here. It is budgeted for, and there’s an entire institution built on it, which means that the government isn’t going to volunteer to scrap a tax if it thinks it can get away with it. Which of course, I’m not naive enough to object to: that’s how government and tax always works.

What I object to is taxpayers paying £135 a year to one broadcaster for an unnecessary service without the freedom to choose differently. I encourage readers in the UK to visit

Why Do I Bother?

There are many people who think the debate over religion is irrelevant. They think it’s just another age-old tit-for-tat argument between intellectuals, scientists, or people with too much time on their hands. Some even call it boring, unimportant. They think we (atheists, or for that matter people who spend any time discussing it) should mind our own businesses and get on with life.

The polemic river of scepticism and inquiry (in which my blog is but a humble drop) is compared to a mediocre debate between two rival rock bands, two rival TV shows, or even two competing politicians, as it seeks to pick up speed and viscosity in hopes of quenching the bushfires of religiosity.

Well, if you’re one of those people who think the arguments over religion are boring, or think that us non-believers should just let religion be and get on with our lives, let me tell you something: you’re stupid, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

It is ironic that the most farcical anthology of myth, rumour, lie, superstition, and fairy tale should become the most important subject on earth today, but it is. I personally wish I’d never heard of religion. I personally wish all religious people (in all fairness many of them do) would just get on with their lives and leave the rest of us alone, but oh no, that can’t happen. Rest assured that although Christians and Muslims will bleat and moan and cry injustice the moment one of their myriad undeserved privileges has been rolled back to an even footing, or somebody somewhere has the temerity to question belief or not take them seriously, the moment a non-believer raises an objection to having someone else’s mental disorders rammed down their throats, not only do the Faithful act like the long-suffering victim, other non-believers actually side with the Believers, jumping on the politically-correct bandwagon, wanting to play it safe for, heaven-forbid (pun intended) they offend the religious.

I can think of no better paradigm of this than 2005’s travesty of Muslims taking offence of Danish caricatures in a Copenhagen newspaper of the prophet Mohammed. In this day and age, in a supposedly civilised, “Western”, democratic age where free speech exists, even tabloid newspapers were afraid to reprint the offending images or denounce the fanatics who hurt and killed in their zealous frenzy. In a splendid act of cowardice, the Pope elucidated the real meaning behind the expression “the enemy of my enemy…” by condemning the caricaturists! It seems that offending faith is the ultimate sin to the religious, even if it’s not even theirs!

The “religion debate” is the most important one on the planet, and here’s why: your life probably depends on it. Sticking your head in the sand is an appropriate metaphor in this case, because if religious dogma doesn’t suffocate you, your surroundings will be very much like a desert – literally. I’m talking about nuclear war style wastelands. The most powerful country on earth has bigoted bible-drunk fundamentalists in places of power; its leader is a self-confessed born again Christian who believes that god talks to him. On the other side, fundamentalist Muslims blow themselves and countless innocents up in colossal terror attacks or daily suicide bombings: a bus, a church, a high-street, it makes no difference: the more innocent people the better!

If you are one of those people who think that people like me should mind my own business, I wonder if you would feel that way after 7th July 2005 in London, when 52 people were killed and 700 were injured. Would the issue of religion and belief have seemed “boring” to you that day?

What if you were one of the 90,000 Christians slaughtered by Persians in 614 AD? How does the Qurayza massacre of 900 Jews at the hands of Muslims back in 627 sound? What about the 4,500 non-Christians killed by Charlemagne in 782? Still bored? Ok: the first crusade in Germany where 10,000 Jews were killed? The 20,000 Muslims butchered in 1098 at the Siege of Antioch by the Christian Crusaders? The 70,000 Muslims slaughtered a year later in Jerusalem (guess by whom?) The 2750 Jewish and Muslim prisoners murdered by Christian King Richard in 1191? The 40,000 Christians killed by Sultan Baibar in 1268? The 10,000 Christians in Tripoli exterminated in 1289 by Muslims? How “boring” was being a Huguenot I wonder when Catholic mobs wiped out 70,000 of them in 1572? Ulster, Ireland, and the year 1641: 12,000 Protestants are murdered by Irish Catholics? Skip forward to 1933, in Simele, where 3000 Christians are targeted by Iraqis.

1947, India: about one million are killed in religious warfare between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims.

Rwanda, 1994: the religion-inspired conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis reaches a zenith when 937,000 Tutsis are extirpated by Hutus.

2005, Turbi in Kenya: sixty people are shot dead (twenty-two were children) near a primary school.[1]

If you think this isn’t important, it’s only because you haven’t been directly affected. Yet. If you think it’s none of your business, then you are sadly ignorant of the state of the world. We have a situation where, as Sam Harris puts it, 14th century minds have 21st century weapons, and if you think “minding your own business” or just being a civilian will save you, you are gravely mistaken. Religion has the death of billions on its hands through the ages. Even today, thousands die daily just because of religious hatred. Even in wars where religion didn’t directly kill like the Second World War, churches on both sides blessed the war effort and arms of their respective countries and refused to denounce the violence. (The Vatican’s collaboration and alliance with Hitler’s Third Reich is sickening and despicable, but is too in-depth to expound here.)

There are fanatics out there who have no fear of death, and no deference to human life. They believe they have god’s blessing in whatever they do. The threat of retaliation or mutually-assured destruction means nothing to them. And fundamentalists, whatever their holy book, all ambitiously seek the end of the world! Can you think of a more terrifying combination? The day when a religious fanatic acquires a nuclear bomb will make 9/11 or the Rwandan genocide look like a catfight. And should that day ever come, I seriously doubt it will end with just one thermonuclear device going off.

Let me say explicitly that by no means am I declaring all religious people deplorable. Just as many free-thinkers and non-believers throughout time have shown great courage and honour against great evil in the face of death, so too have many believers. But, one can show courage, honour, strength, loyalty, love, compassion, humanity, and justice, without religion. We don’t need religion for anything! It has no virtues, and all too many vices. It is a cancer. A virus. It kills millions, and keeps many more in ignorance and oppression. If we do not fight this monster with intelligence and freedom, it may very well end up killing us all.

This isn’t hyperbole, and nor do I wish to exacerbate the situation and cause unrest and ill-feeling: I’m just saying what needs to be said. If you think “playing nice” will make religion go away, you are fatally mistaken. Give religion an inch and it’ll take a mosque.

We must all respect peoples’ right to have an opinion or belief. But respecting that right is not synonymous with respecting the belief itself. But who cares, as long as no one gets hurt? You’re free to believe that the moon is made of cheese if you want! I might not take you seriously, but as long as you don’t hurt anyone then it’s your business. But keep it your business.

Unfortunately, religion will not respect our business or opinion, which is why it’s outstayed its welcome on this beautiful planet of ours. Life is too short and too precious to ruin it with the delusions and myths of yesteryear. As Christopher Hitchens says: religion poisons everything. It does affect you, because it affects everyone! The future of mankind is genuinely in the balance and I truly believe our species will survive or wipe itself out based on our response to religion.



My Incredulity

Do believers really believe? I think most of them don’t. If most religious people really believed what they profess, the world would look a lot different and they’d act a lot different!

It takes an awful lot of cognitive dissonance for the religious to still believe in a loving god that personally cares for humanity, when they switch on the news and see millions starving to death; children being abused and killed; natural disasters devastating homes and lives; crime and violence on the rise. The planet we live on has absolutely no deference for human life. It is humans that must manipulate the earth in order to improve quality of life; (there is nothing more unnatural than farming). All this on a planet that was “made” for humans; all this whilst a loving wise father watches over and allows it to happen. The believer must accept all the facts of this world, whilst contradictorily believing the unbelievable.

This is because religious belief is a warm security blanket stowed away in a mental closet of the believing mind. It is an artificial contrivance of man. It is the product of ancient fears and superstitions, given a story and a name. It provides comfort and home, but at a price: the deferment of reason. The faithful are classic exponents of the Orwellian doublethink: holding two pieces of “knowledge” simultaneously whilst concurrently acknowledging subconsciously that both cannot be true. E.g.: being a geologist or biologist or cosmologist yet believing that the earth was created 6000 years ago. A triter example: having friends and acquaintances that you care for and respect, whilst fully believing they’re depraved sinners who are going to be killed by god. Yet another example: knowing the world is ending soon or Christ is returning etc, yet working a full time job and having a career; making friends, buying that new TV or house; or taking out pensions and retirement plans.

You see, if believers really believed they were allies with god and the things of this world were fleeting, and that they were protagonists in a grand universal battle between good and evil, it would be impossible to live each day like a normal person! But quite simply, the average believer does just want to live each day this way, but cannot bear giving up their cherish delusions. So, they cheat! They live their lives as if their beliefs were not real, yet simultaneously holding that they are!

If you really thought that god was on your side and had a plan for mankind, and that the good were to be saved and the wicked would get their comeuppance, why would other peoples’ lives bother you so much? Isn’t it enough to know that you have the truth and have found the right god, instead of forcing that belief on everyone else? If homosexuals and atheists and abortionists etc are wicked and sinful, then doesn’t your god have a plan for them? Why would you want to have the laws of the land changed, and preach hate and punishment for those your god disapproves of? Or can’t your god fight his own battles?

No, believers cannot keep their beliefs to themselves because of one thing: doubt. If they were utterly convinced and had total pure irrational 100% faith in their religion, they would mind their own business and not bother anyone. But because their beliefs are comforting ideas that they wheel in and out of their minds when necessary, doubt is the eternal splinter. As a result, they cannot abide those who disagree with them. Anyone who doubts is a threat to their belief, which is why believers are obsessed with ‘heathens’ and ‘infidels’. In trying to silence or destroy the opposition, they’re really trying to allay the contradictory voices of doubt in their own head. After all, what does it matter if you believe in a flat/young earth, co-existing humans and dinosaurs, special creation, intelligent design, transubstantiation, the superiority of men over women, angels, demons, ghosts, gods, spirits, immaculate conceptions, or the tooth fairy, if there is no one left to disagree with you?!

If the religious really believed those things and had nothing to fear, those who disagreed or disbelieved would be irrelevant! But the religious cannot stand disbelief in any form, especially atheism, because atheism is the embodiment of their greatest fear: losing the comforting mental blanket they can pull out of a mental compartment and wrap themselves up in. This is why religion is so intolerant of difference, and so repulsed by disbelief. It is why children are brainwashed from as soon as they can talk. It is why religion tries to control every part of human life from diet to sexuality, because one little bit of freedom leads to another, and eventually the liberated mind will discover non-belief naturally.

But what does the truth have to fear? The only thing the truth should fear is censorship. So, let me ask you: what represents the side of inquiry and freedom? Is it religion, or is it atheism?

Those who are that desperate to convince others of their beliefs are really just trying to convince themselves.

My Cliché Diatribe

Believe it or not, there are some things that aggravate me in the entertainment world. Two of these are clichés and a lack of irony. Now, I’m not going to tar all cliché-users with the same brush, but I’m not going to pull any punches either, and when it comes to rubbing me up the wrong way and getting on my wick, cliché-exponents are in a league of their own, and I admit I do have an axe to grind.

Commentators and journalists are the worst of a bad bunch. Just when you want someone to step up the plate and give it 110%, this group end up with their intellectual tail between their legs. Those who write for a living are supposedly at the cutting edge of journalism, yet just reading what the average critic has to say is about as fun as playing hide-and-seek in a corridor. One wishes that they’d think outside the box every once in a while.

When I talk about clichés in almost every media form, I’m talking about the whole nine yards; movies, newspapers, sports, radio, and everyday speech. To be fair, a lot of people just wear their heart on their sleeve, and say it like-it-is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not lazy! Even the average blogger feels the need to launch into a tirade and talk in expired clichés until the cows come home. Movies these days too, are like a diamond in the rough if they don’t actually have an ending you’ve worked out by the middle of the film. Some might say that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, but personally when it comes to Hollywood, I’d rather stick with what I don’t know! Sadly, a leopard can’t change its spots and perhaps we shouldn’t expect better from a lazy overpaid community of plagiarists.

At the end of the day though, the cliché is a convenient way to speak so perhaps we can agree to disagree. Let’s face it, when the shit hits the fan and we’re groping in the dark, it’s often more efficient to just let the words do the talking, than be at sixes and sevens scratching our heads, lost for words, and incomprehensible ranting like we’ve got a bee in our bonnets.

I still feel like a fish out of water though whenever I’m forced to endure the latest “pop music” offering, “blockbuster” movie, or sporting rhetoric from commentators. Some might say I’m barking up the wrong tree, but with these “experts” who seem incapable of saying anything original, I feel it’s a case of the blind leading the blind in a vicious circle (but perhaps it’s just jobs for the boys). One hates to put the cart before the horse but let’s call a spade and spade and admit that all is not what it seems in the media world. The critics will say I’m cutting my nose off to spite my face, but I’m just playing devil’s advocate. Ok I admit my anti-clicheism is but a drop in the ocean and my harangue a mere flash in the pan, but I must fight the good fight and say what needs to be said, because the alternative is a fate worse than death. Every cloud has a silver lining however, and for all the formulaic contrived garbage that the mass media dreams up, they do put bums on seats, so perhaps I should forgive and forget.

But I see the modern languid engine of journalism and entertainment on its last legs and living on borrowed time. The writing is on the wall and soon it will give up the ghost, and how then the mighty will have fallen! Even then I’m not saying it’ll all be hunky-dory but a cliché-free life would be an entirely different kettle of fish. That may be a knee-jerk reaction, but I’m not going to pass the buck. Instead I’ll nail my colours to the mast even if I am preaching to the choir or even if it does throw a spanner in the works. I think it’s important to be original and we as consumers should demand nothing less once in a blue moon! But asking a newspaper, commentator, or movie, to avoid its staple of rote clichés is like trying to get blood from a stone.

Even if you don’t agree with everything I’ve said about clichés and irony, I hope you can read between the lines, even if I did seem to run out of steam near the end, this article might have seemed more like sour grapes than a shot in the dark – please take what I’ve said with a pinch of salt and don’t dwell too much on it! After all, tomorrow is another day.

A Universe Made for Humans is Laughable – Tue 17th Jul 07

An e-mail was sent to me a while ago that I’d like to share with you, the beloved intelligent reader (for my blog has no other kind!) It ties in very nicely with something I wrote recently.


Obviously the author intended it as more of a “have a nice day” chain e-mail, which is fair enough. But my point is more philosophical: look at the sheer size of the universe in which humanity is, it is not even fair to say, a mere grain of sand on a beach. For all intents and purposes, we are totally alone. Check the PDF out (you’ll need Adobe Acrobat reader) and then think about this: Antares is a supergiant star. But the Milky Way contains hundreds of billions of stars. And there are billions of galaxies; so many in fact, that if you could zoom out far enough you would see “clouds” of galaxies. Such a thought is virtually incomprehensible for our small primate minds that evolved to survive in the middle of Africa.

I guess that’s another good point that can be gleaned from a simple size comparison like the above: some believe that it was all, everything(!), designed for us! In the days when the “known earth” was a continent or two you could forgive such ignorance. But in this day and age, where the edge of the observable universe is 46.5 billion light-years away, the idea that someone or something made all of this specially for a puny group of lifeforms on a tiny planet, orbiting an average star, one of billions in an ordinary galaxy, which itself is such a speck of dust amidst them all, makes talk of an anthropocentric universe laughable.

My Tribute to America – Sat 14th Jul 07

I’m not very patriotic in any classic sense. I can see the good things in my country and the bad. There are proud reasons to be English, and historical reasons to be ashamed. I like to think I can objectively observe the good and bad in many cultures as I don’t have much bias in the way of national pride and Satan-forbid, racial superiority.

This is why I think America is the greatest nation on earth. In theory. Whereas most modern-day governments are democracies born out of ancient monarchies or dictatorships, the United States was founded with the set goal of forming “a more perfect union”. The Constitution is human idealism as its best. It expresses the beauty of democracy: let’s sit down and come up with the best way of governing people, so that there is maximum freedom. A government of the people, by the people, for the people. The Constitution was established with liberty, freedom, and justice as its core tenets, and then the government was built around that – not vice-versa! The government is there to serve the people, not the other way around!

Laws not expressly stated in the Constitution are forever left to the member States to decide; (the difference between State Law and Federal Law, with of course Federal Law being the ultimate authority).

Instead of being a holy sacred text like the superstitious ramblings of primitive bigots set in stone, and stagnant, forcing people forever to look to the past, the Constitution has been allowed to change and grow for the better, based on national expansion, changing times, improving civil liberties, and required clarity of law and justice. Granted, no part of the original text has ever been revised or removed, but the Constitution has been amended 27 times!

The United States was founded as a secular government, in which freedom of religion and freedom from religion are guaranteed by the Constitution. Any apparent Federal endorsement of any religion should be unconstitutional. Unlike the antiquated Monarchy of Britain in which government and religion are officially hand-in-hand, the US founding fathers (understandably) didn’t wanted their fledgling government to resemble anything monarchic: the State and Church should forever be separate entities, with all religions guaranteed protection and the right to exist, but with neither having the capacity to affect government and policy. In England, there are religious state-sponsored schools and Religious Education is part of the curriculum; in America this is forbidden as unconstitutional.

In modern times America has generally led the way in science and technology. The Russians were the first to put a man in space, but the US literally went several better by landing men on the moon and returning them to earth. Since then, mankind’s exploration of space has been largely due to the US. When humans first land on Mars (probably in 15 years’ time), it will undoubtedly be an American project. The vast wealth and power that the US owns and commands affords it many luxuries, but I am convinced these are owed to the “perfect union” of how it was established. In other words, everything there is to admire in America is because of how it was created and what it stands for: liberty, freedom, justice, and democracy. Of course the US is not the only nation to idealise such qualities, and I despise certain “patriots” who refer to things like “American justice” and “American morality” and “American values” as if they’re the only nation on earth that recognises these words, or that they have a monopoly of the understanding and interpretation of them. There is no such thing as American justice, morality, or values – these are human ideals! It is just that the US was formed as a modern-day democracy with these ideals at heart, and they remain (at least in principle) the foundation of the supreme law of the land. Most other nations have simply followed suit.

This is not to say that the US hasn’t committed its share of atrocities, and has no past to be ashamed of. Of course it has. But my purpose is not to weigh up the pros and cons of America and pass verdict. The point is to show in principle how proud Americans should be of their Constitution, and what their nation was founded on.

How sad then that a great human nation has been poisoned and subverted by religious zealots who simply aren’t content to exist and live their lives in peace, but push their agenda onto other people and want to turn the US from a democracy to a theocracy. “In god we trust” was added to American currency and is the official motto of the country. What a deplorable disgusting perversion of the Constitution! Instead of standing proudly as a stalwart of human idealism and enlightenment, and giving thanks to the Founding Fathers, the American government of the 21st century gives its praise to God, and puts its trust and allegiance in the ancient Abrahamic god of war that promises torture and death for all opponents.

The country that developed nuclear weapons stands with one hand over the “Launch” button and a bible in the other. A book of deplorable inhumanity, oppression, and superstition. In other words, the enemy of everything the Constitution stands for!

It’s not just Americans who should be proud of America. Humanity should. We’re all one people. If I made contact with aliens and they asked me to demonstrate how advanced humanity was, I’d point them at America: the most advanced country in the world, with a Constitution that represents humanity’s best way of governing and living together. I’d be proud to read the Constitution to them, and I’m not even American. Where we are born is a matter of luck and heritage, but we’re all humans.

For this reason, the US should accept its leading role on the world stage, and grow-up! Religion need not be eradicated, but it has no place in US government. America needs to get rid of the bigoted backward creeping ivy choking its thought and power, and return to its core principles: a secular nation of freedom of speech, where people are the most important thing, not worship. A good start would be removing the insipid inane superstitious charm of “In God we Trust” and replacing it with something more akin to what the US originally stood for: “In Humanity we Trust”.


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