Sunday, 27 November 2016

Today's comments on Brexit

FWLaing wrote:
Brexit isn't a battle against elites rather it can be correctly understood as a battle between elites, a battle for power. More specifically it's a battle between a more controlled and moderate version of capitalism as represented by the EU and an unfettered US style of radical free market capitalism as proposed by Hayek and his supporters on the outer fringes of the conservative party and radical and extreme right movements.
The Brexit movement has a very clear structure. It is financed by very rich extreme right wing businessmen who also have very large media interests and who share an extreme Thatcherite-Hayekian vision for the UK which involves the abolishing of much of UK employment law, most taxation and the privitisation of the entire state except the military. Much as a client would engage a barrister, they have, through their media interest procured the services of various professional journalists and commentators, notably Johnson and Gove, (there are numerous others,) who are paid to make the case for the UK leaving the EU. These people are top notch thinkers and speakers and have used a variety of means to sway the public in this matter, notably sovereignty, the plight of the working man (a typical fascistic strophe) and, most corrosively, immigration. But most of this is just very clever advertising and PR. The real goal of the top-dog Brexiteers is to unleash unfettered, no holds barred capitalism in the UK.

Sendoake responded to FWLaing:
Very good analysis, thank you. I might add to that: it might be good for the EU once the UK gets out. After all, the UK was the biggest advocate of unrestricted, uncontrolled capitalism in the EU. We might move towards something more moderate after Brexit.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

What Brexit means for EU citizens

How do EU citizens exercising their treaty rights to live anywhere in the European Union feel about the prospect of being offered work permits and visas by the UK government and thus becoming immigrants after everything that has happened?  While reading the Financial Times, I stumbled upon the following comment which, I believe, hit the nail on the head:

"All my friends who are EU citizens are considering leaving the UK. Most of them are actively considering jobs elsewhere. Not so much because they feel particularly exposed - most of them have been here for more than 10 years and have good jobs here, several of them have created successful corporate finance businesses here attracting foreign investors from the EU and UK investors in the EU, companies which are relatively easy to relocate and often already have offices elsehere in the EU - but because they do not like the UK anymore and do not want it to continue to profit from their industry.

It is mainly affective: they believed the UK to be the most tolerant, meritocratic and open society in the EU. They feel Europeans and this was their place in British society and their common identity with the British. The "new UK " post referendum is seen as xenophobic and inward looking. They complain about the EU but the referendum made them realise that they had a deep attachment to its founding principles. They do not want the UK to prosper at the expense of the EU. And they don't want to help.

There is a deep sense that if the UK believes itself to be better than any other nations and wants to stand alone, then it should be alone and not drain from the EU the best talents.

In a sense the EU referendum has awoken their own nationalism but as Europeans citizens. Their is a new desire to protect Europe and work to change it for the better."

Will Brexit turn out to be a boon for the EU, then?  Possibly.  Most of us, if not all, were infatuated with Britain and that made how we had been treated during the referendum affair hurt even more, that can be clearly sensed in our attitudes described in the comment cited above.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Great Programmer

I have just read something which got me thinking about my old theory of The Great Programmer ;).

I started my today's reading with the following article (if you want to follow the links, I recommend skipping this one and going straight to the source - i.e. the next two): A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution.

The first article refers to another article, by professor James M. Tour*, available here: Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy; and a video recording of the professor giving a talk: Nanotech and Jesus Christ - James Tour at Georgia Tech.

It was all interesting and I do recommend checking out those sources (especially the last two).

My thoughts?  I am not really convinced by professor Tour's argument as I view macroevolution as just an emergent property of a complex system which means that chemistry is just a medium for this system and not really important to understand macroevolution as a whole (as long as we understand all the basic interactions between the simple elements (i.e. molecules) the system is composed of - which, as far as I know, we do). What follows is that the system may be too complex for us to ever be able to explain macroevolution on the level of abstraction professor Tour is talking about.

Of course it is possible that I just do not know enough about chemistry and/or macroevolution to fully appreciate professor Tour's thoughts on the subject.
I also do agree with him that the new dogmatism becoming so prevalent in academia is not only troubling but unbecoming to scholars.

Even if I am right though, it does not mean that evolution disproves intelligent design as both those theories are not mutually exclusive (unless one chooses an arbitrary (and probably least intelligent ;) ) definition of intelligent design).  In case you were bored, here are some of my thoughts about that (and The Great Programmer) I wrote down some time ago: On computer programming, atheism and human cognizance

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