Every person in this room has more access to information and scientific knowledge and what is now basic common sense than the authors of the Bible and the Koran. In fact, there’s not a person in this room who has ever met a person whose worldview is so narrow, just by the sheer time in which they appeared in history, as the worldviews of Abraham or Moses or Jesus or Mohammed.
Something worth remembering. Jesus didn’t even know the germ theory of disease, and thought it was demons that causes all disease. This is someone people look up to as the son of God?
Text and email are polite invitations to a conversation. They happen at the speed and leisure of both the sender and the receiver. In stark contrast, when you get a phone call, it’s almost always a convenient time for the caller and a bad time for the recipient, who I refer to as the “victim” because I insist on accuracy. My philosophy is that every phone conversation has a loser.
Science is an ongoing process. It never ends. There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved, after which all the scientists can retire. And because this is so, the world is far more interesting, both for the scientists and for the millions of people in every nation who, while not prefessional scientists, are deeply interested in the methods and findings of science.
Carl Sagan, from the introduction to the mass market edition of Cosmos
Because it addresses SO MANY THINGS and attempts to explore them:
Gender roles (in which this book series destroys them)- In this series you have a HUGE burly man (Hagrid) who treats animals like they are his children, cries publicly, shows his emotions, KNITS IN PUBLIC, and gardens. You have Mrs. Weasley who is the major mother-figure for Harry but who fights just as hard in the final book as the men even though she’s “just” a housewife. She kills Bellatrix for crying out loud!
Racism and privilege– The full-blood, half-blood, muggle-born aspect runs throughout the whole series and is meant to be seen as a type of racism. Hermione is a muggle-born but her abilities far surpass her peers’ and Neville, who is a full-blooded wizard is expected to be a better wizard simply from his ancestors, is one of the worst in his classes.
Classism- The Malfoys vs. the Weasleys.
Ageism– Harry isn’t taken seriously because of his age (in fact it actually helps him obtain the fake locket with Dumbledore because he isn’t seen as a “real” wizard due to his age) and neither is Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s age becomes an issue for the news and people start to question whether or not he’s gone senile when he and Harry claim that Voldemort has returned.
Speciesism– The treatment of House-elves, centaurs, giants, and other magical populations are seen as beneath wizards and Hermione tries to take steps to fix that with S.P.E.W.
Education– Hagrid was expelled and so he’s seen as uneducated and Malfoy calls him a servant, a savage, etc. But he’s able to earn a position as a teacher at Hogwarts and overcome his lack of an education. Fred and George are the same way, they drop out of Hogwarts and become successful joke shop owners, the implication being that they were not ever really suited for a traditional education (they were not traditional learners and that’s okay). Or when Harry becomes the DADA teacher during Order of the Phoenix, he chooses to teach it hands-on while Umbridge has them write lines all class period. This book explores different learning styles and shows that there are many different ways to learn a subject.
Ableism– Neville’s parents live in a hospital because they experienced severe brain damage after being tortured by Voldemort for information. We see them in Order of the Phoenix and it’s through those chapters that we not only understand Neville better but we find out that he isn’t ashamed of them nor does he feel he should be.
Sexuality- This book portrays a gay relationship, (even though it is not brought up within the canon ever): Grindelwald and Dumbledore. JK Rowling stated this shortly after the final book came out, that’s how we know this.
Christians are not bothered in the least that they are risking Allah’s hell by not being Muslims. We all risk the hell of other religions. All I do is risk one more hell than what others do. Once I risk one hell they all look like nothing but empty threats.
If you care whether the things you believe are true – including religious beliefs – you ought to be willing to subject your beliefs to rigorous testing, and to let go of them if a solid body of evidence contradicts them. And if you don’t care whether the things you believe are true, then don’t try to defend and/or spread those beliefs to others.
Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen!
If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.
The sciences are not sectarian. People do not persecute each other on account of disagreements in mathematics. Families are not divided about botany and astronomy does not even tend to make a man hate his father and mother. It is what people do not know that they persecute each other about. Science will bring, not a sword, but peace.
It is a profound irony to see religious people praising themselves for their humility while essentially making claims about cosmology, and physics, and astronomy, and geology, and biology, and paleontology, and just dozens of specific sciences that no scientist could make. Every religious person who takes the Genesis account of creation seriously… is essentially saying to somebody like Stephen Hawking, ‘Stephen, you’re a smart guy, and I see you’ve got a lot of equations over there, but you don’t know enough about cosmology, because God did this in six days and He rested on the seventh.’
Trust the government to give a job like this to BT, and give them a blank cheque to do what they want with it.
In our company, if we produced a website like Business Link – and all of us worked full time on the project, even hiring some extra staff to work on research, and content provision, not only would we make a much more attractive and easy to use site than the current Business Link website, but it would cost a fraction of the price. Literally. Like less than 0.1%.
The Government should give their contracts to small businesses and get real value for money.
Thanks largely to smartphones, those networks are under greater pressure every day – one streamed YouTube video has the same effect on the network as half a million text messages sent simultaneously, the equivalent of everybody in Newcastle sending a text at once.
Never mind flowers, I’m not even capable of successfully giving a compliment. Well, that’s not quite true. I have no trouble with many compliments, such as, ‘Nice couch,’ or ‘What a well-dug hole,’ or ‘I thought you delivered that calf expertly.’ I don’t have much call to give them, admittedly, but if I ever need to, I’m confident they will trip effortlessly off my tongue. What I can’t do is successfully compliment anyone on their appearance. ‘You look nice today.’ Such a simple pleasantry, but I find it almost impossible. I mean, how personal. Look at the assumptions it makes: I have been scrutinizing your appearance, I think you look better now than you usually do, I consider myself a fit judge to make such a call. Any one of those, I would find deeply embarrassing. Together, they’re an embarrassment neutron bomb.
Right now I can click, right-click, middle-click, scroll, three, four, or five-finger swipe in four different directions, pinch, expand, rotate, four-finger tap… and those are just the options I’ve enabled. With multitouch, my trackpad can recognize up to eleven different points of contact, meaning the possibilities are nearly endless. All of that on a trackpad with only one button.