19 June, 2012

Enter the Flagon: Rage of Fury

Here is the full movie in three parts:


14 June, 2012

Intelligent Design in the UK - Intellectual problems confounded by fiscal problems

I mentioned before that I am subscribed to receive emails from the Centre for Intelligent Design. This 'centre', in reality, appears to consist of one man called Alastair Noble who sends out periodic emails asking for support. A previous email asked me to book him in for a free talk on ID, despite also suggesting that he was being increasingly inundated with requests to give talks. Bizarre to say the least - it smelt like desperation.

The latest email is reproduced below, which serves to backup my suspiscion that, despite it's grandiose claims, ID is still floundering badly and near complete extinction.

It is worth noting that the Intelligent Design movement often claims that Darwinism is in decline and ID is on the rise. I find that very hard to believe from emails such as the one below. In it, Noble is basically asking for money to keep his psuedoscientific 'centre' running. I must have received about 10 emails last year asking me to attend the ID Summer School as it was going to be an amazing event with incredible speakers. According to the email below, the final number of attendees was 'around 50'. Are these 50 people (which presumably included the organisers and speakers) supposed to represent the decline of Darwinism and the rise of ID?

How deluded are these guys?

Well, deluded enough to expect people to give them money, so it seems...

Dear XXX,

I am writing to ask you to consider becoming a Partner with the Centre for Intelligent Design (C4ID) and, in particular, by offering financial support to our work.

We consider the promotion of Intelligent Design (ID) in the UK to be a matter of first importance. In our view it involves not only the assertion of academic freedom to pursue the scientific evidence where it leads, but also the discussion of the competing implications for individuals and society of a Design or a materialist neo-Darwinian worldview.

Since its inception, the Centre has undertaken a number of high profile activities including:

- A nationwide lecture tour by the American biochemist Dr Michael Behe and author of 'Darwin's Black Box' which was attended by around 3,000 people.

- The promotion of the textbook 'Explore Evolution', which presents the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution.

- A Summer School in July 2011 with some leading exponents of Intelligent Design from the USA and UK, attended by around 50 participants.

- Several radio and television appearances by Dr Alastair Noble, the Centre's Director, on the subject of Intelligent Design.

- A weekend conference in September 2011 with Dr Jay Richards, Dr Geoff Barnard and Prof Chris Shaw on aspects of ID and its consequences.

- An inaugural lecture and supper in central London hosted by Lord Mackay in November 2011 for national opinion-formers, given by Dr Stephen Meyer, Director of the Discovery Institute, Seattle USA, on the subject of design and the origin of life.

We are currently working on three major projects:

- A new, ground-breaking guide to Intelligent Design by Alastair Noble which is aimed at the layman and which will fill a gap in the range of available publications on the subject. This is part of our wider strategy to promote public debate of ID and its implications.

- A major initiative to promote ID, formally and informally, among postgraduate students. This involves the appointment of a recent science PhD who will work across universities and colleges to promote the debate and provide support for students who find it hard to resist the peer pressure to shut down academic discussion of the subject.

- An autumn conference to be held in Malvern on September 28/29, 2012, which will focus on the science of ID with Dr Doug Axe (Biologic Institute, Seattle, USA) and the philosophical and religious implications with Prof John Lennox (Oxford). This is part of our long-term strategy to give the next generation of opinion formers confidence to explore all aspects of ID.

Our capacity to promote Intelligent Design in the UK is significantly limited by our current financial resources. If you share our understanding that these issues are important and are willing to partner with us, we will be able to develop our plans and programs more quickly and have more impact.

If you are able to assist us, please mail your cheque, made out to 'The Centre for Intelligent Design', to our Glasgow office, the address of which is given below. Alternatively, if you prefer to make a regular donation to us, please use the attached standing order mandate. If you wish to make use of Gift Aid, please email alastair.n@c4id.org.uk by return, including your postal address and phone number and we will forward the necessary details.

Naturally, if you have any questions, please email me in the first instance and I'll respond as soon as possible.

We are most grateful for your interest in our work and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincere good wishes,

Dr Alastair Noble
Centre for Intelligent Design
The Wheatsheaf
Speirs Wharf
G4 9TJ


06 June, 2012

Cultural Catholics - Ireland is full of them

Ricky D has been speaking in Dublin about a recent poll that revealed that most Irish Catholics (62%) do not actually believe in transubstantiation - a central tenet of Roman Catholicism in which bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Jesus during Mass.

I've actually asked several Catholics this question before and received the same answer - they believe that the bread and wine simply represents the body and blood of Jesus, not that it literally becomes it.

Ricky D suggests that these Catholics should leave the church seeing as they don't agree with it's teachings. I would conclude that the majority of Catholics that answered honestly simply didn't know what transubstantiation even was. Most Catholics that I know are what you might call 'cultural Catholics'. They don't go to Mass (except maybe at Christmas), they don't pray, they don't read the bible, and they quite simply don't have much understanding of what Catholicism entails. But despite all of this, when asked, they claim to be Catholic, and when they have kids, they baptise them into the Catholic church - often simply because it is easier for them to then be accepted into a school (most schools in Ireland are still run by the Catholic church).