- Expected tourists from China this year is estimated at 200,000
- 32,177 cars were sold in 2009 compared to 33,428 cars in 2008 and 18,687 in 2007
- 4.99 million passengers went through Beirut International Airport in the year 2009
For those of you who watch or have heard of Southpark, good for you =D. For those of you who haven’t, Southpark is a, somewhat poorly, animated series which parodies and blasts political, social, ethnic, religious and other common issues. The jokes and scenarios are pretty explicit and offer a healthy dose of toilet humor and dirty stabs.
Anyway, while watching season 10 (generously donated by Jonathan D) I came across an episode where Eric Cartman (a typical redneck 8-year-old) is frozen alive and reawakened 500 years in the future. He awakes to a world where Atheism is the norm and no one believes in God or a divine entity. Science is the belief shared among groups of people.
That episode, much to my surprise, opened my eyes to an issue that has been nagging at me for quite some time now. Whether or not religion and gods are man’s woes.
Imagine a world where no Muslim extremist would blow themselves up and kill innocents in the process, imagine a world where no Christian extremists would kill physicians who perform abortions, imagine a world where Jewish extremist did not believe they were superior to the rest of mankind.
Imagine a world where reason and evidence where the only intellectual and emotional currency. Science would be the tie-breaker. There would be no pretext to go to war under some higher purpose, some higher truth. There would be one truth, the truth substantiated by experiments, accurate observations, and reproducible results.
There’s no problem with that, right? So what if we don’t worship an invisible being on a regular basis? If we treat others well and lead a good life, with good morals, isn’t that enough? Wouldn’t that please an entity which is looking out for what’s best for humans?
Now, some of you will become edgy and wonder why I am saying something that might be attributed to an atheist. I am not an atheist, I am a person with faith and I am very much secure with it. But that does not mean I cannot think outside the box, or consider ‘what-ifs’ we all think about.
Let us suppose we shun religion for what it seems to be to many scientists today, a tentative answer to what science cannot elucidate yet. Now what? Do we live happily ever after? Of course not.
Any free-thinker today is aware wars today are not really fought for god or faith, but for natural resources and economic incentives. Things science brought forth and cemented into our modern world.
Does that mean science is evil? You wish you religious extremists… Science in the hands of the greedy and selfish did lead to these problems, but it also holds the key to these problems and others.
Green technology and eco-friendly, sustainable energy sources and lifestyle are the fruit of science, and they offer Earth’s salvation from it’s apparently inevitable doom. The only obstacle is a political one, which I sincerely hope we can overcome in our lifetimes.
On the economics side, the global financial meltdown was the much-needed cue to restructure the global economy, or at least patch up the old one somewhat to ensure better, more reasonable management of the world’s economy.
I don’t want to go into comparison between religion and science, for the whole God vs. Science saga has thousands of books and articles published already, with no clear conclusion apparent. I want to share with you what I have come to realize.
My favorite Saint is St. Augustine. This wretched sinner who lived 17o0 years ago became a Doctor of the Church and set down the guidelines of today’s Church, morality and faith. Something he once wrote moved me deeply. He said that Scripture must not be treated as an absolute and final truth, but a flexible and versatile explanation that can adapt with the times. For example, if scripture says wine is red, but a vineyard owner produces white wine, a man of faith cannot deny this discovery, for the vineyard owner knew about wine much more than did the evangelists… Muslim physicians, mathematicians, and philosophers were the first to introduce such arts and sciences to Europe and the world.
So, science should be independent from religion, and in fact must be nurtured by people of faith. This argument will quench the argument of religious zealots, and historical and scriptural evidence.
What if science wins the war completely? The recent scandal involving the research paper regarding the infamous study on the link between the MMR vaccine and autism is a perfect example of the strifes science will create amongst itself.
The Autism-MMR controversy is a microcosm of what a science-based faith might generate. Parents with autistic children were violent opponents of the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine, which pushed vaccination levels much lower in the US and Europe and subsequently triggered a sharp rise in measles cases. The apparent linkage of the rise in autism with the higher vaccination rates in the last few decades seemed very appealing to MMR opponents. However, autism, like so many other neurological and psychiatric diseases and disorders, is now better diagnosed. In other words, a few decades ago, autism would not have been successfully diagnosed in all the patients suffering from it, thus leading to an apparent surge in cases (while in fact it’s a rise in diagnoses of the case, not the case itself)
The decision to refuse vaccination to your children is a stupid and selfish one. No real link was ever established, and instead of working on stupid conspiracies and discrediting the medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies, more research should’ve been put into the scarcely understood Autism spectrum. The journal that published the article late in the 90s has retracted it last week, citing malpractice and tampering with the experiment results. The physician name might even be crossed out from the roster of certified medical doctors in Britain.
So, if we don’t fight over our unfounded religious beliefs, we will probably fight over our techniques of substantiating evidence and deducing appropriate conclusions.
That is what Southpark helped me realize.
It doesn’t matter if it’s science or religion that’s making you question yourself and life in general. It doesn’t matter what we’re fighting over. If you feel it’s right, then it most definitely is (unless you have Antisocial Personality Disorder). Being happy and satisfied with yourself never includes doing bad deeds. At least not in the long-run. If I enjoy murdering people, it would only be short-lived, but eventually, I will regret it.
My advice: live your life as if you were being judged by God, but do not miss chances or avoid broadening your horizons. This is a just-in-case deal, for we might have misinterpreted God’s word. Worst case scenario, God doesn’t exist and we would’ve wasted our lives hoping for something that will never come.
I’m a Christian, but also an avid supporter of Evolution. Evolution is the how to me, and God is the why… for now
I thought it would be nice to include some nice food for thought every now and then, to balace off the senseless absurdities of YouTube and similar things =D
My favorite book of all time, the complete Lord of the Rings
I’m sure you’ve all noticed the beautiful new header of this page, generously gifted by Nick A. Editor-in-Chief of the Caliber magazine =D
You could feel something was not right. It’s like the times when explosions used to pop up here and there, or some politician got assassinated. This time though, it was totally different.
90 people lost their lives in a matter of seconds. I would like to take this chance to send my heart out to all the victims’ families and all the Lebanese and Ethiopians hurt by the tragedy.
Despite the depth of the wound, the Lebanese authority’s reaction to it was tantamount to the tragedy itself.
In as many minutes it took for the plane to crash, virtually all the Lebanese government arrived to the Beirut International Airport. The prime minister, followed shortly by the speaker of parliament, and eventually the president all made their way down to the Prestige Terminals. Of course, dozens of other members of parliament and government ministers also showed up, to name a couple, the minister of transportation and the minister of interior affairs.
Amazing… Instead of trying to coordinate rescue efforts in the critical few hours after any disaster, the PM, SoP, the President accompanied by half of the Lebanese government felt it was their duty to lend a shoulder to cry on to the mothers present their, whom I am certain were wondering where their children were, not who to vote for come 3 years from now.
I’m being too harsh you say? It was an emotional time and it was the nice thing to do? Rubbish! We did not vote for politicians to console us and pretend to be doing something. We voted for them so they work, so we see results.
Other nations swept into action before ours did. Nations, both involved, such as Britain and the US, and not directly involved in any way, such as Cyprus immediately dispatched what resources they could to support the Lebanese Army, Civil Defense and Fire Department, who did a magnificently professional job (unlike the leaders of this tiny nation).
Lebanon has no real crisis plan in place, nor a specialized body to handle situations such as that of a plane crash. However, the Lebanese Army, Civil Defense, Fire Department and of course the Lebanese Red Cross did the best job possible with the resources available and by coordinating with the friendly nations which generously rushed to help, for strictly humanitarian reasons for all you conspiracy theorists.
Let’s break it down in points
Let’s start with the big three. They went down, all of them. It was pathetic, like children fighting over a parent’s love. The right thing to do was delegate one of them to listen to the people’s concern and make sure they are treated properly and informed accordingly. Instead, they went down and crowded each other, and the grieving people for that matter. If I were one of those parents, and one of the bodyguards was pushing me away, I would have assassinated the hell out of all three.
To make matters worse, the dream team went aboard a helicopter, which was supposed to be on a rescue mission, and did a field trip over random places in the sea. Thanks a lot guys, you won lots of political points for the ‘headphone-concerned-look-out-of-a-helicopter-window’ that you can definitely use in the future.
Point number two, the Minister of Health, whom I admire greatly, made several unacceptable mistakes. The first was an insensitive one, a mistake repeated time and time again. When pieces of victims arrive to the governmental hospital, it is inappropriate to parade in front of the media, and explicitly explain in detail ‘we are not sure if the pieces belong to one person or many, so, wait a bit’. Put yourself in a victim’s family’s place. It would tear me apart to listen such explicit details so cold-bloodedly told. You say I am not an advocate of sensitivity because I slammed the big three for lending a shoulder to cry on (defended by bodyguards), but such forensic information is no one’s business but the authorities. Such classified information is not the kind you feed the media everyday as a responsible minister who respects his institution, himself, and the victims’ families
The other major mishap by the minister of health was when he argued he could not ‘do 90 DNA tests for each body part’. Mr. minister, as a biology major, and CSI enthusiast, you just do the 90 tests once to create a DNA library of the families, which you then compare to each new piece of DNA.
Unprofessionalism at its best…
The Minister of Public Works and Transportation also made me sick. Time and again, a senior official in Lebanon would make a statement. Minutes later the minister would contradict it. “The search will go on through the night” the minister says, when those whose profession it is to do rescue missions and salvage works recommended they stop given the horrible conditions. I know the minister wants seem as though he is exhausting all resources, but with all due respect, it is not he risking his life for others.
Another point is that this guy is the Transport minister. Instead of being preoccupied with rescue mission schedules and family matters, he should be focused on finding out what happened and whose fault it is, if it was a human error.
How exquisitely infantile and unprofessional
Unfortunately, even some in the noble profession of medicine were outright stupid and novices to this situation. The doctor appointed by the government, on the 3rd night after the incident, was busy calling Lebanese talkshows and whining how we don’t have a library with all of Lebanon’s DNA. How stupid can you get? The resources and time we need to put in to create a DNA database of all the Lebanese would be infinite. The usefulness of this database would last only a couple of generations at best. And no nation on Earth even ventures into thinking about this, except maybe creating these databases for its armed servicemen who are in wars and are at risk of being mutilated beyond recognition the most.
Now we come to the people aspect of this horrible tragedy. The conspiracy theories…
Even though the authorities stupidly ruled out foul-play without a single shred of evidence to support that, the Lebanese people had a vivid imagination, which I would say was bordering on paranoid schizophrenia (refer to the post a few days earlier)
I will tell you one theory I heard while in Malek el Tawouk on Bliss. The men there were convinced the US shot down the plane so it could get close to the Southern Suburb and had sent their destroyer to spy on Hizbullah and recover the blackbox, which they would steal to conceal the matter. Come oooon! It’s 2010, no one needs to get that close to spy on someone or something!
It’s nice to be wary of a hostile relationship between some local parties and Western nations, but this is just sad. The minister of interior did his job very well, and said he didn’t care about the party helping us search and recover, he cares about recovering those poor souls still at sea. Conspiracies like that cannot be kept secret these days, we have the internet and plenty of people who stand to gain from the fall of the big nations, who would not hesitate to share such information with the world…
In my opinion, it is an insult to the victims’ memory to suggest they were merely a tool for Western nations to militarily approach political parties in Lebanon, is just plain silly.
Our Leaders, on a field trip:
Join the Energy [R]evolution, show our spineless world leaders what we think of their empty words and lack of courage.
It’s sad how we must look some 40 years back to find leaders worthy of today’s Climate Change Challenge…
Special Thanks to Mario B for this interesting video =D Love the effects!
- All you have to do is go to your event, group, or page and click on the ‘Invite Friends’ or ‘Suggest to Friends’ button
- When its open, copy paste this link into your browser:
- Hit enter, all your friends will be selected, then you can send them the invites all at once!
However, please use this power for good, not evil, and invite your friends to the Blog’s page =D