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Mostrando entradas de mayo, 2016

Is religion abuse?

Homeopathy is staring down a barrel. The European authorities have decided that there is no scientific evidence that it works, in spite of the anecdotal evidence of millions of patients who claim that it has cured their ailments. A placebo effect? Maybe. Worse than tobacco? Probably not.  In fact, given that using this kind of medicine is a free choice and the information about the risks or lacks of guarantees is so widespread that it is hard to suggest that anyone is being led down a blind alley.
Not so the case with traditional religions. I would argue that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to argue that religions are not imposed on their adherents in highly abusive ways and that they need to be combated with the same strength as other forms of emotional coercion.
Let's start with the scientific evidence. Obviously, there is no proof that any of the beliefs: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. have even a grain of truth to them or that they are anything less than inst…

Junk news

If we stopped reading mainstream news, would we be any more ignorant? My hypothesis is that the opposite would happen. For proper democracies to work, we need to be informed well enough to be able to take decisions as individuals. Nevertheless, as one can see from the political debate in Spain, the campaign by Donald Trump in the US and the Brexit campaign in the UK, the mainstream news outlets peddle lies, half lies and manipulation. There food is their readers partial or total ignorance.As citizens, we all have a role to play. However we are rarely well informed enough to make judgements on general issues. We read the news and mostly learn about terrorism, immigration, refugees, political corruption... Yet we only develop very superficial awareness and none of the deeper knowledge of the issues leading to these phenomena. We are thus ripe to manipulation from politicians who use sweeping statements and generalisation to carry voters with them.That is not to say that we should not wa…


The strange thing about being English and growing up in England was that sometimes you felt you had to apologise for it. Like when I was 6 or 7 years old and my Art teacher said, "Oh, Adrian, he's oh so very English!"
You could not get by without a sense of humour, so you developed that. And it worked. So you could manage the arrogance of those 'cool' guys who came from abroad and felt so exotic and sophisticated. They would tell you England was on the slide and they were the future. You would end up believing it, not really minding losing the football. It was all about 'being a good sport'.
Then you would go abroad and say you were from England and they would say, "Oh, the hooligans! The fish and chips". And you would reply, "Oh, but only the English are hooligans. Only the English eat fish and chips. I am from London, a whole different kettle of lobsters". The image everyone else had of your country was not one that you yourself rec…