A Candle in the Dark

A look on science, politics, religion and events

Archive for December 2008

Sir Terry Pratchett

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The author Terry Pratchett – whose novels have sold millions of copies worldwide – has been made a knight in the New Year Honours list.

The writer, 60, who is best known for his hugely popular Discworld series of comic fantasy novels, received the honour for services to literature.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7804693.stm

About time.

So, when do we get to see Sir Richard the Godslayer?

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Written by parseval

December 31, 2008 at 2:32 am

Posted in people

May the force not be with you

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From the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, passed by the House of Commons in the UK

‘17B Meaning of “religious belief”

For the purposes of section 17A a religious belief is confined to—
(a) Christianity;
(b) Islam;
(c) Hinduism;
(d) Judaism;
(e) Buddhism;
(f) Sikhism;
(g) Rastafarianism;
(h) Baha’ism;
(i) Zoroastrianism;
(j) Jainism.’.

’17B Groups not protected by Part 3

For the purposes of section 17A any group of persons holding the following religious beliefs or lack of religious belief shall not enjoy the protection of this part of the Act—

(a) Satanists;
(b) believers in human sacrifice to propitiate a deity;
(c) believers in animal sacrifice to propitiate a deity;
(d) believers in female genital mutilation to live in accordance with the rules of a religion;
(e) believers in violence as a means of proselytising a belief;
(f) believers in the supremacy or superiority of one race over another;
(g) believers in the supremacy or superiority of one gender over another;
(h) Scientologists;
(i) Jedi Knights.’.

Ouch.

In fact, it gets better. From the transcript of the MP’s discussing the bill,

Mr. Grieve: In amendment No. 25, I listed Scientologists before Jedi Knights. There has been debate about whether Scientology is a religion, and there is a court authority to suggest that it is a set of philosophical beliefs but not a belief in a deity. I leave that to one side. With Jedi Knights, it is difficult to know. They seem to believe in a force, because the force has to be with you, and they appear to be able to master the force by the processes of their own spirituality.

Chris Bryant: It is fictional.

Mr. Grieve: I have no idea whether being a Jedi Knight is fictional. The text from which it is derived was written by an author who was not pretending that it was revealed truth, but there seem to be a number of people who, for their own reasons, put in their census return that it is their religious view. I cannot comment any further on that.

Chris Bryant: I hate to say this, but it is also true that several hon. Members have placed light sabres in the Cloakroom in the place where they could be hanging their swords. I do not think that that means that anyone believes genuinely in the power of the force in the sense of a religion.

Written by parseval

December 25, 2008 at 7:29 am

Posted in fun

WTF?!

with one comment

HC to decide fate of IIT-M director in two months

Reiterating that the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras director M S Ananth’s appointment to the post for a second term would be subject to the outcome of a writ petition against him, the Madras high court has asked a single judge to hear and dispose of the matter in two months.

A former student of the IIT-M, E Muralidharan had filed the quo warranto writ petition, seeking to know on what authority the director was holding the post. He alleged that there were irregularities in the appointment.

What’s going on? I suspect there’s a deeper issue here…

Written by parseval

December 5, 2008 at 5:52 am

Posted in people, WTF

Crikey!

with one comment

Written by parseval

December 4, 2008 at 2:44 am

Posted in people, videos