Having by now been involved in a few discussions around creationism and intelligent design, I’m wondering if I should convert these debates from blog posts to a main page. I almost certainly have enough material to work with by now.

I could also add to this a few remarks about so-called ‘Social Justice Warriors’. Time to get prepping.

image

For the third time Formula 1 travels to Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix, albeit this time a lot earlier in the season. What are the key talking points ahead of the race?

No More Mistakes

Lewis Hamilton needs to start winning. Three poor races (two of which the result of his errors) have left him 36 points adrift of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. In FP1 for Sochi the signs were that Hamilton was going to struggle a little, but in FP2 he looked very quick. Race pace is not the issue though – he needs to start well.

Vettel Vexed

After retiring on the parade lap in Bahrain and colliding with teammate Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap in China, Ferrari man Sebastian Vettel could be forgiven for feeling a little frustrated, so the news he will take a five place grid penalty for Russia following a breakdown in FP2 will have gone down like a lead balloon. Ferrari may be closer in terms of raw pace, but the big question is: are they over-stressing the car?

Red Bull Visor

With head protection being a serious issue for Formula 1 right now, Red Bull tested their alternative to the halo device that Ferrari trialed in testing. Red Bull’s answer is a visor that sits just in front of the cockpit, and by all accounts the trial went well, though question marks remain – what would happen if it rained and visibility suffers?

The Race

After a dull 2014 race that could have potentially been completed without a single pit stop (if not for the rules), 2015 brought changes to the available tyres and a more exciting race. With teams having a bit more freedom around tyres this season, this variable dynamic makes predicting strategies difficult. The softer compounds are thought to bear up better here than in China, so teams may try to make more use of them. In any event, I look forward to a good race!

Back to F1 2016

I shouldn’t take too much glee from this, but I can’t help but be very pleased by the news I got earlier from a friend and former colleague of mine. Without going into too much detail, I learned that some rather important people at my old employer have left, rather abruptly.

When this happens, it’s usually a sign that they’ve not left willingly. Given the downward spiral they put the place on, I can’t say I’m surprised. I wouldn’t wish ill upon anyone, but if you cut budgets for staff and reduce the number of managers, whilst expecting the same results, you are asking for trouble. Short term gains were placed above long-term stability, and that is a recipe for disaster.

Before I write this post I must stress that this is not aimed at everyone who holds religious or spiritual beliefs. It is in fact aimed squarely at the author of theologyarchaeology.wordpress.com, for the things said in their latest article. I addressed a little of this in one of my most recent posts – now let’s look at what appears to have triggered this article. Quotes in italics are not from TA, but rather from the sources he is quoting from.

Parents of a 5-year-old “transgender child” have filed a complaint against a St. Paul charter school, alleging it failed to protect him from bullying and refused to teach all the students their preferred transgender-awareness curriculum.

I will accept that expecting transgender-awareness lessons for such a young age group is going to be very hard to get implemented, and speaking as the father to a girl who is nearly six, I don’t think children of that age group would understand in much detail the ideas presented to them anyway. It would have been better if the child’s parents had stressed the anti-bullying rules the school has in place, along with a quiet word regarding their child’s choices.

That being said, what TA goes on to say is worthy of condemnation:

These parents want THEIR material presented to all the other students. One obvious point that needs to be made here is that it is not the job of the school to protect students from bullying when the student’s parents set their child up to be bullied. In this case the parents are the one making their child a prime target by not providing him or her with sound advice but encourages them to act in a manner everyone knows will draw the wrong attention from their classmates. The school cannot be held responsible when the parents are at fault.

Apparently encouraging a child to be themselves is setting up that child to be bullied and the school bears no responsibility toward the child that is within their grounds, nor toward the behaviour and attitudes of other children in their care. At such young ages, it’s not only parents that are huge influences upon children but also teachers. No teacher worth their salt will condone bullying, regardless of the reason.

(referring to how the child had dressed for school) Did the parents not think that this would keep their child safe from ridicule and bullying? The parents have the biblical responsibility to teach their children the right way to live

image

What?! Religious interference in education is just one way in which belief systems are superimposed upon the rest of society, irrespective of whether the rest of society shares that belief system. The parents of the child in question (and indeed, anyone who doesn’t want Biblical rules making policy) are under no obligation to follow Christian belief systems, especially when those same belief systems encourage discriminatory stances. I wonder if TA understands the difference between his idea of imposing points of view (where the state expects public institutions and businesses to abide by laws that apply equally to everyone, and exempts private institutions from these laws) and what what he is proposing, which is that everyone should follow Biblical values as a matter of public law, regardless of whether they believe those values or not. Which idea is really about imposing views on others?

wp-1456490852047.jpg

27 years ago 96 people who went to a football match at Hillsborough never came home. Today, after years of lies, a jury in Warrington, Cheshire concluded that those who died were unlawfully killed through the negligence and errors in police planning and responses (among other factors). The fans were completely exonerated, ruining the Sun’s regurgitation of lies spread by Yorkshire Police shortly after the tragedy.

It’s about time. The web of lies that spread after the disaster may have involved the government of the time, and is certainly a low point in the integrity of the British press. Now the truth is known, I hope the families of the lost can know some peace.

You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Not for the first time since my little sparring match with him, the author of theologyarchaeology.wordpress.com (I’m not turning it into a hyperlink anymore, as frankly I don’t see why my site should point directly to his) has come out and demonstrated his misunderstanding of how a fair and equal society should work.

For the past 30 years or so this has been the modus operandi of too many westerners.The thinking is if you do not like the way things are being done, sue and get rich quick or force your ways upon others. We do not feel that the motive behind a majority of lawsuits is for the benefit of society.  In this day and age, when alternative preferences, whether they be gender identity or homosexual issues, the strategy has been to sue and ruin other people.

Emphasis mine. It’s true that frivolous lawsuits exist and they would make any right-minded person sigh with exasperation. However, his complaint about homosexuality and gender issues underscores his lack of comprehension on this issue.

What exactly is being forced upon TA (and anyone else of any given faith) by obeying the laws of the land? I imagine his reference about lawsuits concerns gay couples having to force public businesses to abide by laws that apply equally to everyone. Whether he likes it or not, a business is not a religious institution and cannot arbitrarily refuse service to a customer based on their sexual orientation.

This is not the first time TA has suggested that equal treatment equates to homosexuals forcing their views upon others – the irony being that he would expect them to accept being treated in accordance with Biblical principles and can see nothing wrong with religious interference upon business law. I am also reminded of his not-so-subtle editing of a comment of mine regarding anti-discrimination laws (he claimed businesses could reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, and removed a huge portion of my post where I proved him wrong).

I can’t work out if they believe that the faithful should be free to practice whatever laws they wish, regardless of how this might affect others. If religion is to make law, then whose religion, and what interpretation of that religion, and what do we do where people of differing faiths clash? Divide up countries and even cities on the basis of who believes what? Separating government from religion is the only way to ensure law and order is applied equally to everyone.

Having just watched Spurs draw 1-1 at home to West Brom in a game they needed to win to keep pressure on Leicester, I sit here knowing the Foxes are just one win away from the most unlikely title win in the history of the English game. From narrowly avoiding relegation last season, to being on the brink of Premier League champions the next, is virtually unheard of, especially in an era where wealthy clubs tend to monopolise trophies. Leicester could clinch the title next Sunday if they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford – it won’t be easy (Utd have improved in recent weeks and are still fighting to qualify for the Champions League), but Leicester have defied expectations all season, and with the finish line now tantalisingly close, they are bound to give it everything they’ve got to get over that mark.

Truly incredible.

Having just watched Leicester City thrash Swansea 4-0 to reopen an eight point lead at the top of the Premier League table (Spurs host West Brom tomorrow), I can only continue to marvel at a season that has defied convention almost every step of the way.

Leicester are already guaranteed Champions League football next season – this time last season they were fighting to avoid relegation. Their transformation is the most meteoric surge upwards that I can think of in any sport, and Claudio Ranieri deserves every bit of credit and praise that comes his way for overseeing this incredible journey. His side are now at the stage where they need five points from their last three games to clinch the title – assuming Spurs win every one of their remaining games. Should Tottenham fail to beat West Brom on Monday, a Leicester win at Manchester United would see them crowned champions (what an atmosphere that game would have).

Tottenham themselves would be worthy champions in their own right, and with Harry Kane blasting in the goals and Dele Ali proving to be a dynamic dynamo in midfield, they have played very well all season. The prospect of finishing above hated local rivals Arsenal for the first time in 22 years would be powerful motivation enough, but they are not out of the title fight yet (indeed, they are realistically the only ones who can stop Leicester). In any other season, they’d be roared on by most neutrals, given the style of football they’ve played.

Arsenal slipped up yet again at Sunderland, outplaying the home side in the first half but lacking the composure to score, whilst in the second half they were very much under the cosh, and might be grateful for the point they got. The possibility of missing out on Champions League football still very much exists for Wenger’s men; they need to sharpen up quickly if they are to avoid not only seeing Spurs finish above them, but also missing out on Europe’s premier competition.

So, will Leicester hold their nerve? Can Spurs catch them? Will Manchester United yet snatch a top four place? And who will join Aston Villa in the Championship next season?