Harvey Walnut

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence

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Atheist Ireland – Losing our religion

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Christianity

According to a recent RedC poll Ireland is losing its religion faster than most countries. Now we must of course be wary of polls and declaring the end of religion as we know is still a bit presumptuous, but the poll is encouraging. For me it is obvious that the increase in non-believers has coincided with an increasingly educated population, wider access to information and the inevitable decline in the influence of the church. It is clear that the abuse scandals, cover ups and authoritarian reaction from the church to all this has done its fair share in damaging the influence of Catholicism. But I would be more inclined to think that regardless of the all the scandals this decrease in religiosity and move towards secularism was an inevitability.

We live in a time where science is uncovering truths and debunking myths at a rate of knots. It is a wooden stake in the heart of myth and mediaevalism and for many believers it is becoming harder to reconcile the myths and doctrines of their religion with the hard cold reality of scientific fact. Not to mind the Vatican’s obvious disconnection with the social realities of modern society. Their teachings with regard to homosexuality, contraception, and a host of other moronic dictates are at odds with the thinking of a majority of people in Ireland.

The church is increasingly isolated in its thinking and its dogmatic arrogance and narcissism only furthers the widening gap between a modern forward thinking population and a dusty irrelevant dictatorship. With every new scientific discovery from the Higgs Boson to an understanding of human consciousness, the creation fantasies and claims of the Judeo-Christian religions are eroded one step at a time.

While we may never live in a world free of religion we can live in a world where it is domesticated and its more destructive forms are sidelined and treated with the contempt they deserve. But we have a long way to go yet.

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Written by harveywalnut

August 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Ronan Keating broke my brain

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Apologies for being quiet over the last week but slipping on tiles and landing on my shoulder meant I’ve been away from the keyboard.

Today I spotted, to my everlasting horror, Ronan Keating’s new song and in a moment of what I can only describe as pain-killer  induced madness I watched it.

The song itself is typical Keating trash. Some saccharine whine about his ex wife and blah blah blah I’m so rich it hurts.  It’s an ode to mediocrity and a parody of music.  It is essentially a pure representation of evil and all that is wrong in the world.

But the video my friends is something to behold.  Imagine the Hoff but really taking himself seriously and you have a fair idea of what to expect.   At one point there are two Ronan’s each gazing longingly into the others dead eyes.   The vast emptiness reflected therein is  chilling.

And I’m not sure what is worse, that he made this modern-day horror or that in the comments section under the video people praise it and one particularly bright person asks, “what does the video mean?”  I suspect this person has problems tying their laces and finds door handles a challenge.

Remember when music videos were an art? or when music was for that matter.

We’re doomed.

Written by harveywalnut

August 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

Posted in art, Music, Uncategorized

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Mars Curiosity & Human Curiosity

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On August the 5th at around 10:30pm PDT, NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity  should be just about touching down on the red planet.   It is the most difficult landing and mission of its type ever attempted.   The Curiosity rover itself is the largest and most complex ever built.  A robotic laboratory sent from planet Earth to planet Mars to investigate the possibility of life amongst many other tasks.

I’ve been following this mission for a few years now and when I think about the scope, importance and even the majesty of what NASA is attempting. I find it inspiring and uplifting.   I see in it the very essence of the human condition; a never-ending desire to see beyond the next scientific horizon. An insatiable curiosity born from an unlimited imagination.

To think our species has evolved to the point where we are sending semi-autonomous robots to a distant planet in such a short period of evolutionary time is simply astounding.   We may be still in the infancy of the 21st century but technologically where we stand today even when compared to the 90s is staggering.

Watching the animated simulation of Curiosity’s landing and the complexity of it leads one to contemplate where we could be in another few decades.  Landing human beings on Mars? even more ambitious interstellar projects?.  Look at the 100 year starship project currently underway as an example of the audacity of our thinking.   This project aims to achieve interstellar travel for humankind within 100 years.  It is led by an ex astronaut and backed by DARPA, America’s far out military science agency as well the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Now I just need Ray Kurzweil to be right about the Singularity and extended human life so I’ll be around to see it.

How cool would it be?

You can follow Curiosity on Twitter @MarsCuriosity

Written by harveywalnut

July 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Constitutional Convention

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Messers Kenny and Gilmore, had a piece in the Irish Times yesterday outlining the details of the upcoming constitutional convention. 100 people in total, 60 of them random members of the public and the rest TDs and academics. All brought together to review, analyse and suggest alternatives to elements of our constitution. In essence it is an excercise to try and modernise how our political system works.

A noble endeavour, to be applauded. If of course it was going to modernise our institutions and change how politics works in Ireland. But the convention will only be discussing a limited range of issues that I would imagine almost everyone in the country already agrees on.

Are they really trying to suggest that the removal of the section in the constitution regarding women’s position in the home is something we need to discuss? or that the insane blasphemy law brought in by the monumentally corrupt and morally bankrupt Fianna Fail, is trailblazing modernising stuff?. Changing the voting age to 17 and limiting the presidential term to 5 years are all good ideas but if these are the only issues to be reviewed then it is clear that the entire convention is nothing but a sleight of hand trick to distract the masses from their increasingly vocal demands for change.

Our TDs do not legislate, they fix peoples social welfare problems and we have way too many of them for a country our size. New Zealand has 120 and we have over 166 most of whom do little or nothing except engage in the worst forms of parish pump politics. The opposition has zero influence on the government of the day and the executive essentially has no cheques and balances. We have seen the results of this in Biffos’s disastrous bank guarantee which helped sink the country into penury.

We also have a country that has a constitution riddled with references to the disgraced and medieval Catholic church. All references to Catholicism being the states main religion need to be removed and the guarantee of the separation of Church and state,religious freedom and plurality inserted in its place. This is of vital importance if we are to finally limit the power of the church in our society and create a true democratic republic.

But we now know the convention won’t even be discussing these issues, so when Kenny says that this is great opportunity for the public to get involved, he really means it’s a great opportunity for you think your involved but we’re going to pat you on the head and then head away and make only the changes we want.

Written by harveywalnut

July 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Mr Higgs and his Boson

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With Cern set to announce the arrival of the pesky Higgs Boson which has been hiding amongst the primordial cosmic soup since the big bang. I thought I would post this video as it’s a great explaination of what it is and since I’m not a particle physicist and have never been involved in the building of particle colliders my explaination may be less than illuminating.

Written by harveywalnut

July 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Science, Tech, Uncategorized

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Morons and E-Voting Machines

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They cost the Irish tax payer 55 million Euro and were never used; because one of the many morons in Fianna Fail , one Martin Cullen, went against all advice, reports and even ignored the fact that the people selling them also mentioned that they didn’t quite work.

So today the debacle of the E-voting machines has ended because they were sold for….€70,267 to a scrap company.  So in honour of all the people who voted for Fianna Fail over the last 20 years and for Martin Cullen I’ve added this little video.

Fianna Fail Voters

Written by harveywalnut

June 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

A tale of two streets

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I have lived just off Talbot street in Dublin city centre for nearly four years now and I tend to have a mixed bag of feelings towards my neighbourhood. No exclusive brand name shops for us, nor venerable cafes steeped in history, offering savoury delights and exotic coffees in salubrious surroundings. Alas we rarely if ever hear troubadours vying for our attention and money, playing everything from Bach to the Rolling Stones as is common on Grafton Street.

You see, for many in Dublin, Grafton Street is to Talbot street as the Champs Élysées is to downtown Kabul; chic,desirable and unlikely that one will end up running screaming through the streets being chased by a foaming mob of lobotomised people.

For many in Dublin a trip from the south side to the inner city of the north side is something you threaten your children with if they misbehave. ‘If you don’t eat your greens, I’ll make you spend a day on Talbot Street! Then you’ll see what happens to those who wouldn’t eat broccoli”

And I admit it’s not far from the truth. My neighbourhood is infested with the living dead: for ever shambling about in what I call the junky shuffle; always at speed, but feet never quite getting far enough in front of each to avoid collision. Perfect locomotion being secondary to their all encompassing need. And then there is The Call.

The average person attempts conversation using their voice as an instrument. Engaging it in a myriad of tones and individual mannerisms. Conveying meaning with a mere hint of tonal change or a whisper of expelled air. Not so the shuffling denizens of Talbot St. In a form of reverse Darwinism they have reduced syllabi, created a single tone and upped the volume to loud. They can be heard calling each other from one end of Talbot St to the top of O’Connell St. It is of course mostly unintelligible to those of us for whom being medicated involves some aspirin and a doctors note.

None the less the neighbourhood is more than just the sum of its drug addicts. It has a character,a certain flavour that one can taste no where else in Dublin.  Along with a few Irish owned convenience stores the street has many excellent  Indian and Pakistani food stores and a plethora of cheap home stores run by people from a variety of nations. It has several excellent Italian restaurants and a Thai restaurant that for my money is as good as anything on the south side.

Add the Russian tattoo parlour, Chinese noodle joints and ubiquitous pizza places, at times it feels more ethnic than Irish, more foreign than local. Diversity is the best of what the street has to offer. It seethes with a manic energy, like a meth addled clown performing modern dance with a monkey for a partner, one feels anything can and will happen.

On any given day I gravitate between love and hate; drab utilitarian buildings and the human detritus caused by the horrors of heroin abuse can cast a shadow on the brightest of days. But yet, the life, energy and comedy of it all is as addictive as the drug that has ruined so many young lives in the area. And besides, some of Dublin’s finest pubs and purveyors of excellent stout stand ready to bring a little cheer. Old man smell, free of charge of course.

So drop over some day, take a wander enjoy the madness and maybe stay a while. You might just find you like it.

Written by harveywalnut

June 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm

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