Xmas was lovely, a time of heat in Eden’s Landing with my delightful parents-in-law, my wife and my mother. Presents, superb food (traditional pudding made with suet, the best mince pies I can remember) and that general peace that comes with a large chunk of time off.

Cue the tsunamis. What can you say about a disaster like that? A friend of Nic’s is nearby, but apparently her island wasn’t hit. Another friend was in Bangkok, about to head to an island. They should be OK but we’ve not heard yet. Our thoughts are with them.

Back on the mountain, we’ve discovered a pair of tawny frogmouths living in a tree less than ten metres from our back deck, and in convenient viewing range. They’re strange creatures, like a cross between an owl and a kookaburra, with disguising plumage and truly odd mouths. Here are some links: KidCyber, EPA and Australia Museum.

Recently I’ve been re-reading Bertrand Russell’s collection of short pieces and speeches about and entitled “Why I Am Not A Christian”. Ah, rediscovering the joys of (ir)religious thought. Succinct points well stated. The first essay in the book shares its title, and is easily found online. Whatever your beliefs, it’s worth a read, and Positive Atheism has a copy.

Me? I’m really hoping to live to see the end of religion, already much weaker than it was when I was a child, or when my parents were. In primary school, I was one of just two kids in grade 7 who disbelieved sufficiently to be able to avoid RE, and I do think that number would be higher now. Let me just state my views briefly.

  1. There is no evidence for any god. Belief is based on faith, which I don’t have, and can’t argue with.
  2. There are an infinite number of potentially true but unprovable propositions. The classic example is of the invisible pink unicorns that are everywhere right now. And what about Santa?
  3. Though I have no proof of the non-existence of (any) god, I choose to actively disbelieve in one, as I choose not to believe in the invisible pink unicorns. I just think it’s very, very unlikely to be.

There are countless other arguments against religion (the cruelty of life and death; which god is the right god; the bible says a whole lot of stuff that isn’t followed today and contradicts itself anyway so why follow any of it) but the one above is at the core for me. That’s leaving aside the terrible acts of churches, Catholic in particular, with regard to contraception and the advancement of human knowledge.

The sooner we’re rid of this whole mess, the better; John Lennon was right. My boss in the UK sums up religious wars like this: “They’re fighting over who’s got the best imaginary friend.”

I can’t do better than that. Happy new year.

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