Introducing ‘grumpy’ atheism

Atheists, especially of the ‘new’ variety, are used to being described as angry, shrill, arrogant, strident, rude, militant, and dogmatic (I may have missed a few) just for saying that there is no evidence that god exists so we might as well abandon that belief, and that religions are a negative influence in the world and we would be better off without them. [Read more...]

The “war is hell” justification for murder

Once again I had the experience of talking with a steadfast ‘liberal’ Obama supporter and we got into the issue of whether the president had the right to order the deaths of people without any due process. It was extraordinary the lengths he went to to say that Obama must have set up this extremely careful system to make sure that only guilty people are targeted, even though he had no evidence whatsoever to make such an assertion. He said that we had to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and that if there was the occasional mistake and an innocent person died, it must be due to faulty information that he received from others. [Read more...]

Sri Lanka’s touchy Buddhists

Sri Lanka has apparently decided that it needs to become the Buddhist equivalent of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries where any form of disparagement to their favored religion, however trivial, is not allowed. We had the situation of tourists who were arrested for taking a gag photo at a Buddhist temple and R&B singer Akon who was denied entry because one his videos had scantily-clad dancing women with a Buddha statue in the background. [Read more...]

The torturable class

In Sri Lanka, a poor person who gets arrested on suspicion of a crime can expect to be beaten up by the police in an effort to extract a confession. But better off people or those who might have connections to politically powerful people suffer no such assaults because the police are adept at recognizing such people. This is pretty well known and is seen as unexceptional. [Read more...]

The Higgs Story-Part 6: Relativistic quantum fields

In the previous post in this series, I introduced the idea of fields and also said that while the Schrodinger equation and wave function overcame some of the problems with understanding how particles could also have wave properties, there were still difficulties in both interpretation and practice. The person who made the next major advance and created the framework for our present understanding of all matter was Paul Dirac (1902-1984) whose views on religion I wrote about over the weekend. [Read more...]