Monday, 24 March 2014

God Created the Big Bang

You might be surprised to hear that the idea of a deity is not inconsistent with modern science. There are a large number of people in the world who think that modern science is nonsense, and believe in creationism, ie that God created the world in six days (and had a rest on the seventh). There are plenty who also believe that there is plenty more evidence for The Big Bang, and such evidence (along with the rest of scientific thinking) therefore disproves the existence of God.

As you might expect, each side picks out the flaws in the ideas of the other side in order to attempt to prove each other wrong; but science isn't a static thing, in fact the scientific parts of what was written in the Bible aren't terrible mistakes. They were some of the best theories we had to explain scientific phenomena.

The story of Noah's Ark contains a great flood and ends with a rainbow. The likelihood is that the rapid flood was a tsunami, and the rainbow was caused by the spray from said tsunami being caught in the sun's rays and refracting (note that rainbows are much rarer in the Middle East, as you tend to either get heavy rain - with no sun to create the rainbow - or no rain at all) hence the link between the two. Tsunamis don't happen very often anyway, but along the North African and Middle East coast the one that led to the biblical flood was probably the first that anyone in that region would have heard of. Therefore the theory that God was angry at mankind so sent a flood, but then promised never to send another great flood again after the event, was the best theory that we had at the time - which, don't forget, was around 4350 years ago!

This is the point though; the Big Bang theory is the best theory we currently have. It may be disproved in the future, or indeed extended (just like recent evidence about the events immediately after the Big Bang), but we still don't know why the Big Bang happened. I think we can lay to rest the story of the Garden of Eden and the world being created in situ; after all we have almost conclusive proof that the Earth is billions of years older than the human race; but that doesn't mean that we've disproved that God wasn't responsible for the Big Bang.

Those that believe in God usually also believe that God is in all things. They might be right. The Higgs boson, discovered at CERN in 2012 and confirmed last year, is a particle that could explain why some objects have mass where otherwise they would be mass-less. It has been called the God particle, because it could bring us closer to understanding the reason that life exists. Higgs himself doesn't like the term because it causes undue sensationalism - the logical conclusion being that he doesn't want to be compared to any god (or at least avoid the controversy of such).

The point is that belief in God doesn't mean the rejection of science, or vice versa. Science is not trying to disprove the existence of God, but instead trying to provide answers to what happens in the world and wider universe; which is exactly what the stories in the Bible were trying to do.

That's the best theory I have anyway!

JR

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Blogroll Special

A special edition of Blogroll Update for you all today. Two old student hacks and friends of mine, Dannie Grufferty and Joe Oliver, have started a joint blog today called Book Worms and Political Bugs. This has prompted me to update my Blogroll (found on the right of the page) to include this new venture. Prepare for all things from the thoughtful to the surreal, from both Dannie and Joe - although Joe is probably going to provide the more surreal.

In other news, if you can't see any images in my blog items any more then please be assured that I'm working on it; and in unrelated advice, don't make the album containing your blog images private, because nobody will be able to see them after, even if you make the album public again.

Message ends.

JR

Update: I've now fixed the image problem. Can I get a hell yeah?

Friday, 7 March 2014

Immigrants Create Jobs, Not Take Them

Question Time this week came from Barking; a place where the BNP used to have 12 councillors, and where now every seat is held by Labour. It is a place where the White British are in a minority (49.5% in 2011), and has been settled by a vast number of immigrants in the last decade or so. There are people in Barking who believe that the immigrants have been taking their jobs, but nothing could be further from the truth.

There isn't a finite number of jobs, and people who oppose immigration should remember that! More people working in the supply chain means more jobs created to service that supply chain. There are more people employed in this country than there have ever been before, and that's partly because of immigration. The jobless rate is still historically very low; the peak in 2011 of 8.4% was way below the peak in the last recession of 10.4%, and from 1975 to the mid-1980s the rate hardly ever fell below 11%. Unemployment is now marginally above 7%, and that's with 2 months after the end of controls on Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK.

There is no evidence to show that immigrants take the jobs of British people; they do the jobs that the Brits either don't want to do or don't do very well, such as picking fruit, which (for example) creates more jobs for those driving trucks that take the fruit to the supermarkets, who in turn hire more staff to stack and sell the fruit, perhaps twice the number of jobs that were available for fruit pickers!

I'm not saying there should be an open door. Immigrants should absolutely only be here to work, and not simply to live off benefits, but the number of immigrants who claim benefits is well below the proportion of British claimants, so as it stands there really isn't a problem.

Oh and to the man in the audience on Question Time who thinks that immigrants get free travel just for turning up in the UK, stop believing what the BNP tell you! The propaganda they put out is wildly inaccurate and completely fabricated. If anyone is stopping you getting a job, it's not immigrants, it's probably you!

JR

Monday, 17 February 2014

Why Westminster Would Rather Like the Oil Wealth Outside the Sterling Zone

Alex Salmond said today that after Scotland votes Yes in September, that there's no way that the Westminster government would not allow an independent Scotland to use the pound, because they wouldn't want to see the oil money outside the Sterling zone.

Actually, that's not quite the case. Assuming a "new" Scottish currency was where the Scottish government decided to go, rather than joining the Euro (and the EU allow them to do so) then either the new currency would be informally pegged to the pound (like the currencies of the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and Gibraltar) or would probably not hold up in value against the pound (which is the third highest value reserve currency in the world) and therefore devalue the price of that oil.

If the first happens then the wealth of the oil will remain the same, with the value of the oil affecting the pound sterling as it would today or within a formal currency union.

As for the second then the major buyer of Scottish oil, the rest of the UK, will be paying less than they are now. This means savings for English, Welsh, and Northern Irish families and businesses, with the Scots paying the same (as they will be paying in their own, devalued, currency).

Of course, Scotland could join the Euro, which could mean the rest of the UK might lose out, but seeing that the Scottish public are more opposed to the Euro than the rest of the UK, that seems politically unlikely.

Nice try Mr Salmond!

JR

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Get Cashback on the Things You Buy Online

TopCashbackWant a bit of money back from the thinks you buy online? I've recently been using a site called TopCashBack, and I've made quite a bit back already!

The good news is it's free to join, and you can choose how to get the money you earn paid to you; bank transfer, Amazon vouchers, PayPal, and so on. TopCashBack is even recommended by Martin Lewis on his Money Saving Expert website!!

A word to the wise though; get the best deal first, and the cashback second. Cashback is a bonus, and you only get it when purchases are confirmed and commission paid by the retailer to the cashback website (this is the same for all cashback websites, not just TCB). Also be aware that using discount codes that are not cleared by TopCashBack might mean that your purchase doesn't qualify for cashback. The good news is that TCB always tells you about discount codes that you can use, so you can save even more money on top of your cashback!

Why not sign up today and see what you can get money back for!

JR