Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Church of England's Opposition To Women Bishops

Last week the Church of England voted against the introduction of women Bishops. The General Synod requires a two-thirds majority in the three houses (Bishops, Clergy and Laity) to be able to pass a vote, in this case it failed to be passed because 122 out of 324 members voted against it- 62% voted in favour for this vote.

I read a Telegraph article on this topic that went by the title Swaziland has a woman bishop – why not Suffolk?’ It started with telling the story of how Ellinah Wamukoya became the first female bishop in Swaziland with the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. People are bemused at how a country like Swaziland which does not have a particularly good reputation for being liberal is seemingly ahead of us in terms of liberal development. Though it does appear to be ridiculous, this comparison does really not have much relevance to the whole situation and it is probably fair to say that this is one of the only things in which Swaziland is more liberal in- though please do correct me if I am wrong.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Evolution vs. Creationism, Truths And Lies

I find it horrifically sad that in this day and age people are still being allowed to corrupt the educational system and brainwash children into believing in creationism.

Creationism is the belief that a supernatural being created Earth, there are numerous subgroups of creationism with further beliefs. I will be referring to the creationism that is being taught in the place of science that opposes the Darwinian theory of evolution.

In the words of Tim Minchin, ‘Faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved.’ The whole concept of creationism is the denial of truth when evidence is staring them in the face and somehow they still find it a truthful concept to believe in without a shadow of doubt. Just like water flowing from a tap, evidence for evolution is abundant. I am no expert on Darwin’s theory of evolution yet I could easily reel off lists of what presents evidence supporting it: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, fossil comparisons, DNA genetic sequences, pseudogene, peppered moth evolution, the list goes on…

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Alien vs. Ghost

I sat down to watch the television several days ago only to find that a new series of ‘Most Haunted’ was on, despite my strong opposition to psychic mediums claiming they can communicate with the dead I decided to watch it. I never realised how much of a comedy it was!

Getting back on to the subject…I wanted to explore the believability of ghosts and aliens and ask the question which are more believable? Aliens and ghosts are two very ambiguous terms; I feel that when people hold a belief in aliens in this context they are referring to an intelligent life form and not merely the existence of single celled organisms. I would refer to a ghost as an apparition of something that was once alive, whether it is a person or an animal.

People like to believe in ghosts because they were once human and it gives them an explanation to the afterlife. It requires no effort to visualise ghosts because they represent the human form, whilst aliens require some imagination. This still applies today, but would have been more relevant in past before the portrayal of aliens in television and film.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Can Science Be Dangerous?

In society there are a large number of people who question the safety of modern science and the harm it can do. There are many reasons for this: one is rooted in television, film and literature, you only need to think of Frankenstein and how a scientific experiment can go ‘wrong.’ Some people simply lack the education and their opinions are based on what they see and hear from inaccurate sources. Media and history can have a significant widespread impact- for example fear on anything nuclear related is primarily due to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and the events that happened in Chernobyl, 1986 and more recently the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Back to the question, people often misunderstand what science is, so let me first define it. For the purpose of this piece I have chosen a basic definition: “science is knowledge attained through study or practice.” So science is a body of knowledge, it tells us how the world is, based upon scientific research conducted. On its own knowledge is perfectly safe and has no moral value but the point at which science can become dangerous is when science (or knowledge) is applied through technology.

Technology means applying knowledge to create something and I think the beauty of science is often overlooked; science is not about creating a product or tool to achieve a purpose or solve a problem however it is the collecting of facts and data from a systematic approach which then leads to further knowledge and thus can be used to help create technology.