Mabaruma mayoral election fiasco…maintains by-elections should have been heldThe People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Councillors in Mabaruma have collectively decided to continue their boycott of all meetings chaired by incumbent Mayor Rupert Henry Smith after he was re-appointed Mayor by Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan.In keeping with the instructions of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, the Town Council of Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) held elections for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor on Monday last.Smith was nominated as the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For ChangeMayor Rupert Henry Smith(APNU/AFC) pick for the mayoral chair while Councillor Vibert Emmanuel was the PPP/C’s pick and following the voting process a tie of 6:6 was declared. This according to Chapter 28:01 resulted in the need for another round of voting, which was done with the same results. However, Town Clerk Barrington Ward wrote to Minister Bulkan requesting his intervention.In a letter dated March 15, Bulkan appointed Smith Mayor.“By virtue of the authority vested in the Minister of Communities in Section 13 (8) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, which also provides that in such circumstances the Minister shall select one of the above-nominated Councillors as the Mayor, it is hereby declared that Councillor Henry Rupert Smith is the Mayor of the municipality of Mabaruma for the ensuing year,” the letter noted.This, however, did not go down well with the PPP/C Councillors, who were furious at the Minister’s appointment, since they have a matter of similar nature before the courts. The Councillors have collectively decided to continue their protest of boycotting all meetings chaired by Smith.This position was related to Guyana Times by Opposition Member of ParliamentPPP/C MP Collin Croal(MP) for the Region, Collin Croal. He noted that the Councillors would continue working for the betterment of their constituents, but would not support the person that sat in the mayoral chair unless a democratic process was employed for his or her election.“The Councillors all would continue to do their work and attend the committee meetings and the statutory meeting, but when the instrument is handed over (at the statutory meeting) and the Mayor have to chair it, then they will walk out of that meeting,” he explained.“By staying there and recognising the Mayor would give legitimacy to his post and it was not a democratic process that got him there,” Croal added.Croal further related that in the event of a second tie, according to Section 13(6) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, the power to break that tie lay with the registered voters within the town. According to Section 13(6) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, “on account of equality of votes, the Town Clerk shall appoint a date not later than December 28 in the same year for the election of the Mayor from the tied candidates by the voters whose names appear on the register of voters, for the time being in force, for the city.”In April of 2017, Justice Diana Inshanally quashed the appointment of Smith as the Mayor and ordered that fresh elections be held. The ruling was as a result of PPP’s Zulfikar Mustapha challenging the decision by Bulkan to appoint a mayor after there was a 6-6 tie in the number of seats won at the 2016 Local Government Elections.Justice Inshanally noted that the appointment violated the Municipal and District Councils Act because it was “is in excess of and without jurisdiction, made in bad faith, is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, based upon irrelevant and improper considerations, mala fide, malicious, vindictive, unlawful, ultra vires, null, void, and of no legal effect”.With the same situation playing out again, Croal said that they were still awaiting a ruling on the 2016 case, which would decide if they were to challenge Smith’s appointment once again.He added that they would continue their protest as Smith was expected to be sworn in as Mayor for a third term soon.
Three different astronomy teams have announced findings that upset long-held beliefs. What does this portend about the confidence we can have in other theories?Galaxy growth: direct challenge: “Galaxies are thought to develop by the gravitational attraction between and merger of smaller ‘sub-galaxies’, a process that standard cosmological ideas suggest should be ongoing,” announced the Royal Astronomical Society. “But new data from a team of scientists from Liverpool John Moores University directly challenges this idea, suggesting that the growth of some of the most massive objects stopped 7 billion years ago when the Universe was half its present age.” How serious is this claim? “The lack of growth of the most massive galaxies is a major challenge to current models of the formation and evolution of large scale structure in the Universe,” commented Claire Burke, team member. “Our work suggests that cosmologists appear to lack some of the crucial ingredients they need to understand how galaxies evolved from the distant past to the present day.”Star spin: poking holes: Researchers at the University of Michigan have poked holes in a “century-old astronomical theory.” The theory, called the von Zeipel law, “has been used for the better part of a century to predict the difference in surface gravity, brightness and temperature between a rapidly rotating star’s poles and its equator.” Doctoral student Xiao Che and other astronomers on the team found that the data from Regulus don’t fit the theory. “It is surprising to me that von Zeipel’s law has been adopted in astronomy for such a long time with so little solid observational evidence.”Impossible wet comet: shattering paradigms: “Current thinking suggests that it is impossible to form liquid water inside of a comet,” states a press release from University of Arizona. But lo and behold, Comet Wild-2 explored by the Stardust spacecraft found minerals that could only have formed in the presence of water. This is a shattering find: “For the first time, scientists have found convincing evidence for the presence of liquid water in a comet, shattering the current paradigm that comets never get warm enough to melt the ice that makes up the bulk of their material.” The press release was echoed on PhysOrg.When a paradigm gets shattered in one area of science, there can be ramifications for others, depending on how foundational it was. The American philosopher Willard Quine noticed that when faced with potentially falsifying data, scientists often absorb the shocks into their “web of belief” without changing the web.There are several dynamics at work here. One is that scientists enjoy finding flaws in earlier beliefs because it makes their research seem important. They usually limit their hole-poking to small claims that can be absorbed by the web of belief without tearing it. Another dynamic is that beliefs and “laws” like the von Zeipel law are often taken on faith – yes, even scientists have faith. Nobody has the time to check out the validity of every claimed law, so they are assumed to be laws of “nature” rather than the sausage-type laws of legislature. We see often that long-held beliefs in science are vulnerable to new evidence. What’s next to go? Darwinism? Unlikely. Darwinism’s web of belief is so paramount to the cultural world view, its supporters are ready with reinforcements any time falsifying evidence comes along. All the original web is long gone. It is now a steel framework of belief, protected behind a Berlin Wall with machine-gunners ready to mow down any creationists trying to cross the line.(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
For evolutionary theory to work, all human behavior must originate from mindless natural processes. What does that do to honesty and kindness?Godless potheads: A survey of Swiss men conducted by Lausanne University found that people who believed in God used fewer drugs than atheists. Medical Xpress reported the finding: the more atheistic, the more the drug use. “Karl Marx said that religion was the opium of the people,” the article quipped. “New figures now suggest that religion plays a role in preventing substance misuse.” Correspondingly, perhaps atheism instead is the opiate of the people: the dope that turns people to dope. Needless to say, any scientist trying to do believable scientific research must be in full use of his or her mental capacities.Theism might be helpful even if not true: Does it matter if God exists? That’s the question a philospher at Ryerson University is studying, with funds from the Templeton Foundation, according to PhysOrg. Professor Klaas Kraay is not trying to prove or disprove God, but just to see if it makes a difference. “Through our research, we hope to clarify our intuitions about the difference in value that God’s existence makes (or would make) to our lives and to the world around us,” he said. So far, he is just framing the questions, but he and his colleague are trying to refute the position of Oxford philosopher Guy Kahane who has argued religion makes the world worse, and makes people’s lives meaningless. So far he has identified four positions on a scale of belief. “People seem to have strong intuitions and feelings about these four positions,” says Kraay. “However, this grant will enable us to move beyond intuition and feelings and into rigorous arguments about all aspects of this important issue.” But can he even approach the arguments if he is not trustworthy? How does he know rigor is good, if that is not a category of virtue? On what grounds can he assume that rigorous arguments generate true conclusions?Who needs God? Ara Norenzayan’s new book Big Gods: How religion transformed cooperation and conflict (Princeton, 2013) looks like a throwback to the positivism of Auguste Comte (1947-1859), who viewed society in evolutionary stages, passing through a religious stage to culminate in a scientific one. Michael Bond, reviewing the book for New Scientist, summarized it as follows: “As societies mature, many outgrow the need for a spiritual superbeing,” according to Norenzayan. Bond, apparently an evolutionist himself, described the book’s perspective as “a kind of theological take on survival of the fittest.” He finds some of the book’s ideas compelling, such as the idea that having a “big god” enabled societies to control individuals with the notion they are being watched. Once a country outgrows that need, like Denmark or Sweden, they can dispense with the god hypothesis, he says. Still, he is a bit puzzled by the USA, an “outlier” on the graph; it’s “a reminder that religion is about more than cooperation, that belief thrives perhaps because it eases deep existential anxieties where reason and logic cannot help.” But on what basis does he believe in the legitimacy of reason and logic?Fingering evil: Let’s try a test case. Is it legitimate to call Syria’s President Assad evil? He’s the dictator who allegedly launched a poison gas attack that killed over a thousand of his own people, and has killed over 100,000 in the civil war through conventional weapons. Whether we can call him evil is the question Maggie Campbell of Clark University is asking on Live Science. Posing this question on a science site presumes that science is capable of answering it. Campbell, a social psychologist, knows that the answer matters. In true academic style, though, she claims these are “not easy questions with simple answers.” Part of her answer depends on surveys she conducted of individual attitudes, but the gist of it puts the onus on the claimant: “the extent to which a person believes that some people, or social groups, are completely evil relates to that individual’s opinions on violence,” as if defining an opponent as evil justifies revenge. That sounds like relativism, yet later she makes her own value judgments: “Ignoring crimes against humanity is shameful, so any attempt at making the world pay attention is important.” One wonders what she would say if someone called her opinion evil.Evolving good: Another article appeared trying to explain kindness in Darwinian terms – not just any kindness, but the costly kind Robert Trivers called “reciprocal altruism,” like a combat soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save comrades. “In principle, altruism confounds the basic logic of evolution by natural selection because individuals incur fitness costs while providing benefits to others,” Joan B. Silk writes in Current Biology. So does that falsify Darwinism? There is an out, Silk thinks: “Altruistic traits can evolve only when some cue allows altruists to direct benefits selectively to other altruists, and thereby increase the relative fitness of altruists.” Thus she relies on “inclusive fitness” or group fitness, where natural selection acts on the group rather than the individual. She points to putative examples of altruism in the animal kingdom, such as chimpanzee grooming and bat food sharing; Silk waffles, though, on whether the simple explanation works, pointing to other biologists who have disputed it. Asked “Aren’t humans special?”, she referred to evolutionists who have speculated that language enables humans “to inform their partners about their intentions and expectations and coordinate exchanges more effectively.” In the end, though, she urges caution, exiting the Q&A with the ‘further research is needed‘ escape clause: “It would be profitable to assess the factors that stabilize reciprocity in human societies, because this information will influence estimates of the plausibility that strategies based on reciprocal altruism will exist in other species.” One can only hope she was writing altruistically (i.e., expending energy for the benefit of others).Pragmatic or mystical virtue: Rather than reason philosophically about virtue, some authors approach it pragmatically. An article on Medical Xpress, for instance, is titled “Love thy neighbor; It could lower your risk of stroke.” A little reflection shows, however, this is not really love; it is selfishness. Other evolutionists approach it mystically. A photo of neuroscientist Tania Singer in Science titled “Concentrating on Kindness” shows her in lotus position on an MRI machine. Singer is convinced that compassion and empathy would “make the world a better place.” The scientist in her wants to know where a “signature of compassion” might be located in her subjects’ brains, using MRI experiments. If identified, she wants to find “evidence that the instinct to be kind to others can be nurtured through meditation.” She seems to find as much motivation in the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monks and the possibility of “altered states of consciousness,” though, as in scientific evidence in pursuit of her ill-defined goal of trying to make the world a better place. Who defines “better” in evolutionary terms? Needless to say, “many of her colleagues are skeptical of her sweeping vistas—and even more about getting there through meditation,” partly because “historically, meditation is intertwined with religion.” Singer tries to purify her experiments of religion, but Science (its materialist bias showing) questioned her motives, knowing that her funding came from the Templeton Foundation, “a philanthropic organization that has frequently been criticized for trying to blur the boundaries between science and religion.” Meditation is ill-defined, the article points out, and experiments are typically performed with little scientific rigor. Can Singer convince her colleagues she is not on a mystical quest? Either way, who is being truthful and virtuous in the debate?In each of these instances, the evolutionary authors “helped themselves” to the notions of truth and virtue, assuming that their readers would consider them to be speaking or writing altruistically and honestly with unmixed motives, attempting to lead people toward a true understanding of the world. But without genuine truth or virtue—in a survival-of-the-fittest world—anything goes. Cartoonist Zach Weiner showed this cleverly on his strip, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, that appears to satirize evolutionary game theory, showing that ethics is unsustainable in such a world.Evolution implodes when you ask its proponents if truth evolves or virtue evolves. At first, they will launch into their just-so stories about reciprocal altruism, evolutionary epistemology, or whatever. But unless truth and virtue are rock-solid realities independent of what human beings think or feel about them, there is no assurance that anything is really true or virtuous. What’s more, what is considered to be true or virtuous today might be its opposite in the future. Because of this, evolutionists have no grounds for judging anything, including the validity and value of their own beliefs. Consider the consequences. On what grounds can an evolutionist call Assad evil? If Maggie wants to argue that it depends on one’s views on violence, do a little role playing: “Suppose someone called your views on evolution evil and wanted to kill or imprison you and all who agree with you. What would you think of that?” You get the picture. Evolutionists cannot weep if Islam or some future Genghis Khan kills all the evolutionists, because that is a possible outcome of natural selection. Can you imagine any evolutionists not calling that horrendous outcome “evil”? All the “knowledge” bequeathed to us by Father Charlie would be wiped out! “So what?” you respond. “Evolution is as evolution does. Stuff happens.“When the evolutionist is recovering from the horrid thought of the Golden Age of Darwinism being wiped from the history books, similar to the frightening end of George Orwell’s 1984 wherein the history of any resistance to the regime is systematically erased, leaving no trace of the valiant efforts to restore freedom, truth and virtue, you deliver the coup de grace. You ask the evolutionist if truth evolves. If he answers yes, because everything evolves, you ask how he knows that evolution is true. If it becomes false tomorrow, wouldn’t that allow for the possibility that creation is true? If he answers no, you welcome him into the ranks of supernaturalists, because he has just acknowledged that some realities (e.g., truth, virtue, and the laws of logic) are immaterial, timeless, and universal. Most evolutionist brains will have short-circuited before this point, producing a limbic reaction to go on the attack – proving they are only acting out mammalian “survival of the fittest” behaviors, and therefore are not to be trusted. If your interlocutor hears you out, though, you ask him if he is aware of any concept that is simultaneously trustworthy and virtuous (within the constraints of being immaterial, timeless, and universal), if not personal (i.e., like God). Without God, therefore, evolutionary theory is self-refuting.Truth and virtue are preconditions of science—indeed, of any kind of logical reasoning. Evolutionists routinely “help themselves” to these rich foods from the Christian smorgasbord without paying the philosophical price. For that, they are being neither honest nor virtuous. Show a little tough love and graciously but firmly help evolutionists out of their hopeless condition before it implodes on them. 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In the solo women’s category, Dalene van der Leek won Saturday’s stage but ended up as the overall runner-up behind Germany’s Bettina Uhlig, who captured five stage wins in total. Mixed categoryCube Nutswerk MTB’s Birgit Lavrijssen (Ned) and Marco Minnaard (Ned) grabbed their fourth stage win and the overall title in the mixed category on Saturday. Final stageAsrin Cycling’s James Reid (RSA) and Jens Schuermans (Bel) won the final stage of the seven-day international mountain bike stage race from George to Oudtshoorn, which was shortened to 68km due to flooding in some areas. They outsprinted SCOTT Factory Racing’s Philip Buys (RSA) and Matthys Beukes (RSA) to secure their third stage win of the event, while third place on the stage went to EAI Cycling’s Hanco Kachelhoffer (RSA) and Johann Rabie (RSA). Masters’ categoryWilde 3’s Izak Visagie and Lieb Loots dominated the masters’ category. The South Africans won all but Saturday’s final stage, finishing second to Brug Meesters’ Charles Nienaber (RSA) and Ergee du Toit (RSA). Loots and Visagie’s overall winning margin more than two hours ahead of Stone Hammer’s Malcolm Dods (GBR) and Zbigniew Wizner (Swe), with Nienaber and Du Toit rounding out the final overall podium. Woolcock and Kleinhans finished fourth, 54 seconds behind the winners but with their overall lead firmly secure. They ended up beating runners-up Buys and Beukes by almost 10 minutes, with FedGroup Itec’s Brandon Stewart (RSA) and Konny Looser (Sui) completing the podium. South African Darren Lill won his third stage in the solo men’s division on Saturday, but Adriaan Louw (RSA), the winner of the other four stages, claimed the overall title. “This was probably the toughest week of my bike racing life. The tougher stages were on the four good weather days and the easier stages were made tough by the rain and mud! ‘A great feeling’“It’s a great feeling to win here again. We had some really strong competition, which makes the win even more special,” added Kleinhans, who won the inaugural edition with Jonny Kritzinger in 2009 and the mixed division with his wife Ariane in 2011. Team RE:CM’s Waylon Woolcock and Erik Kleinhans secured a South African victory in the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek in rain-drenched Oudtshoorn on Saturday, with the women’s title going to the Team RE:CM Davinci combination of Denmark’s Annika Langvad and Switzerlands’s Ariane Kleinhans. “The racing was the most exciting we’ve seen yet and a great precursor to the 2014 event, which will have official UCI race grading.” “It’s a great feeling to win what has been a really tough race. Annika was an amazing partner and so strong throughout,” said Ariane Kleinhans. “It’s been a dramatic and challenging fifth edition of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, but a watershed edition for sure,” Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Event Management, the race’s co-founder, said in a statement on the weekend. They fought a race-long battle with Asrin Cycling 3’s 2012 winners, Jennie Stenerhag (Swe) and Craig Gerber (RSA), who finished as 2013 runners-up. Third place went to Asrin Cycling 2’s Nizaam Esa (RSA) and Catherine Williamson (GBR). 28 October 2013 The veteran division title also went to the Netherlands. The Cube Nutswerk 2 team of Micha de Vries and Rik van den Hanenberg finished second on Saturday to Klein Karoo Vets’ Wynand Mulder (RSA) and Gerrie Beukes (RSA), but the Dutchmen had done enough on the previous six stages to capture the overall title ahead of Mulder and Beukes. Cannondale Blend Vets’ Martin Epstein (RSA) and Stefano Madies (RSA) were third overall. “We knew some teams were going to go hard for the stage win and that Philip and Matthys wanted to attack our overall lead, so we really had to make sure we kept them in our sights and kept our risk of crashing or mechanicals as low as possible,” Erik Kleinhans said after securing the overall victory. “The women’s field was stronger than ever before this year and we never once were able to let our guard down. It’s great to see this women’s category growing in depth and I’m sure this growth will continue in the future.” Women’s raceIn the women’s race, Langvad, the Danish marathon champion, and Kleinhans, the Swiss marathon champion, confirmed their complete dominance of the event when they claimed their seventh stage win. They beat Wheeler BMC’s Esther Suss (Sui) and Jane Nuessli (GBR) by more than an hour and 35 minutes in the general classification, with defending champions, Klein Karoo Chicks’ Yolande Speedy (RSA) and Yolande de Villiers (RSA), taking third place overall.