first_imgA popular radio talk show host held his own against a PhD cosmologist who argues the universe came from nothing.For his weekly Ultimate Issues Hour, Dennis Prager voice-wrestled with Lawrence Krauss about his book, A Universe from Nothing.  Krauss, a theoretical physicist and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, believes that a quantum fluctuation in the multiverse, combined with the laws of physics and natural selection, produced all the beauty and complexity of life.  Prager noted that he had researched Krauss at length before the program, watching many of his presentations and reading his book.  He quipped that he knew almost as much about Krauss as his mother does.Prager and Krauss first quibbled about the definition of “nothing.”  When Krauss tried to refer to particles (and galaxies) emerging from quantum fluctuations, Prager did not abide that as an adequate description of starting from nothing.  “Where did the laws of nature come from?” he asked.  When Krauss reverted to the multiverse as a source of multiply realizable probabilistic combinations of laws, Prager responded that such a response is not starting from nothing.  Prager also stressed that there is no evidence for a multiverse, so referring to it is not science.  Krauss said that same lack of evidence applies to belief in God.  Prager denied that, saying there is overwhelming evidence for God.Over and over, Krauss presented science in opposition to religion, claiming that he, as a scientist, was driven to form his views on the basis of evidence, rather than making up his conclusions in advance.  Yet Prager caught Krauss several times defending views in spite of the evidence.  Prager denied Krauss’s description of the conflict, claiming that it is atheistic scientists who refuse to consider God, whereas he (and other theologians and God-affirming philosophers) entertain regularly the proposition there is no God.Prager cited Krauss’s description of humans as “cosmic pollution” in the universe.  Krauss did not deny that description, but tried to defend the notion that humans create their own significance on earth by working to preserve our planet and help one another.  Prager noted that this does not show any ultimate significance for human life, because as Krauss wrote in his book, the universe is doomed for a heat death.  What gives man significance is being created in the image of God, he said.Prager claimed that science will never answer two fundamental questions, the origin of the universe and the origin of life.  While admitting that science does not now know these things, Krauss took umbrage at the suggestion that there are things science can never know.   He claimed, in fact that science is finding natural origins for amino acids, so science is perhaps ten years of discovering how life emerged.  Prager joked that he would accept that prediction, because it’s better than that of the global warming activists who put their predictions 50 years into the future.  Prager stood his ground that there are things science will never know, but did not elaborate why.Krauss claimed that science does not answer “why” questions but only “how” questions.  Without hesitation, Prager engaged that notion, returning immediately to the subject at hand, “OK, how did the universe come about from nothing?”  When Krauss tried to present “science” as “different” because of its reliance on evidence, Prager continued pressing the point that atheism is not based on evidence; in fact, it’s a denial of overwhelming evidence for God.  Krauss said science does not confirm things but falsifies them, implying that since science has not falsified the multiverse, it can be entertained as a scientific notion.  He claimed indirect evidence for the multiverse, saying that it is “well motivated” with suggestions from inflation theory, which he didn’t feel he had time to explain.  Prager called such notions unscientific.Krauss tried to disqualify anyone but cosmologists from speaking with authority about the origin of the universe.  When Prager presented a philosopher trained in physics who disagrees with Krauss about the existence of God, Krauss attempted to impugn the credibility of the philosopher by asking if he is “working as” a physicist – also implying by his tone that if he is “just” a “philosopher” he can be dismissed.  Krauss also distinguished public notions of “theory” with the way scientists use the term, pointing to quantum theory and universal gravitation as examples of well-tested theories.  He did not, however, defend inflation, the multiverse, and the origin of life as evidence-supported theories – only as notions that scientists continue to work on.The discussion was lively but respectful.  At points they were rapidly overtalking each other, but Prager began and ended by thanking Krauss for coming on the program, and Krauss replied in kind.  In his concluding remarks, Prager dismissed the multiverse hypothesis as a dodge, as if saying, “On this basketball court, we lost, but there are an infinite number of other basketball courts where we could win.”  He noted that Krauss could not explain our universe, thus admitting he had no scientific answer.  Prager also chuckled that he loved Krauss’s own description of humans as “cosmic pollution,” remarking that such conclusions follow if there is no God.On a related subject, the Discovery Institute announced today a new episode of a documentary about C. S. Lewis upon the 50th anniversary of his death.  It’s a presentation of John West’s chapter from the book The Magician’s Twin about C. S. Lewis’s views on intelligent design.  It can be watched at Evolution News & Views.Given the time constraints of a radio show, Prager did an admirable job of challenging the pretensions of this atheist cosmologist.  This shows that one does not need to be a physicist to find the flaws in the logic of scientists.  Prager acknowledged Krauss’s intellect and training.  Those attributes alone, however, do not justify foolish beliefs. Any layperson trained in baloney detecting can take on a fast-talking charlatan.  If a PhD says something stupid, it is still stupid.  The only thing required to see the nakedness of an emperor is working eyes.It’s clear that Krauss is a relic of the logical positivism or “scientism” that views science as a superior path to all truth.  Yet careful listening to his words revealed a great deal of evidence-free speculation motivated by emotional preference, wrapped in the intellectual arrogance of science with its presumptive authority to speak on ultimate issues.  It is not the facts of science that drive Krauss to atheism; it is rather his own bias against the evidence for God that drives him to seek possibilities other than God.  Notice his claim that the multiverse is “well motivated” – what does that imply?  It’s not the evidence that motivates it, because there is none!  What motivates it is the desire to escape the implications of clear evidence of design in the universe and life.Krauss also implied that once life appeared, natural selection would take care of the rest.  Prager did not challenge that notion, perhaps because it strayed from the topic at hand.  Observers should take note, though, how strongly atheism depends on Darwinism.  Without the magic wand of natural selection, atheism is dead.  The presumption that natural selection is all powerful, a sufficient creator for sonar, flight and Mozart, must be continually challenged as a myth.To his credit, Prager did point to Mozart as evidence for God.  That was a clever riposte, easily encompassing many points in one short, easily-understood statement.  In short, he was saying that he didn’t need to argue Scripture, dogma, or religious tradition.  Intelligent design not only explains Mozart’s symphonies, it explains Mozart himself.  This statement put the burden on Krauss to explain Mozart from non-intelligent material causes.  All that was implied in Prager’s quip, a “word fitly spoken” that didn’t require the long paragraph you are reading.  Learn how to cut to the chase like that.  Prager also illustrated how to hold a heated discussion as a gentleman, without making personal attacks.  His preparation for the guest, and his command of appropriate arguments for the topic, were also admirable.In the discussion about the definition of “nothing,” Prager did well.  He repeatedly nailed Krauss for starting with something – laws of nature, a multiverse, a quantum fluctuation or whatever.  Francis Schaeffer’s definition is stronger.  Schaeffer argued that to claim the universe came from nothing, one needs to start with what he called “nothing nothing” – not only the absence of matter and energy, but no categories.  He likened it to drawing a circle on a blackboard that represents everything that is, then erasing the circle.  Any definition short of that starts with something.  The next question, therefore, is “where did that something come from?” (Prager pointed that out).  A little reflection can assure the thinker that there is no defense, philosophically or scientifically, for getting something out of “nothing nothing.”  Krauss’s whole thesis of “a universe from nothing” is thus a bait-and-switch ruse.  Theists should be concerned that this ruse has been operating for 5 years as an “Origins Project” at Arizona State in the “science” department (as indeed it does in most secular universities).All Prager’s points were sound and well stated.  He could have undermined Krauss’s entire argument quicker, we think, by pointing out that materialism is self-refuting.  If Krauss believes his mind is the result of aimless processes rooted ultimately in chance, he can have no confidence that his beliefs are true – including his belief his mind is the result of aimless processes of chance.  “Science” is of no help for any self-refuting proposition; it is necessarily false.  It’s actually quite amusing to listen to a materialist use logic and argumentation to defend the idea that those things have no source!  It is our hope that readers listening to debates like the one on the radio today will be equipped, even without the assistance of a Dennis Prager or our website. to unmask the arrogance of those who, despite intellect and education, erroneously appropriate the presumptive authority of “science” to proclaim folly.(Visited 200 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img29 October 2004Foreign businesses operating in South Africa have given the thumbs up to the country’s economy – though there are still concerns about Zimbabwe and HIV/Aids.A survey conducted by the Bilateral Chamber Consultative Committee (BCCC), involving 252 of its member companies, found a sharp increase in business confidence compared to 2002, with the majority of respondents very positive about the country’s economy and future prospects.The BCCC is an informal grouping of business chambers representing about 3 000 foreign companies, with a total membership investment in South Africa of more than R360-billion.According to the BCCC, British business in the country represents about R280-billion worth of investment, German business about R22-billion, the Netherlands R11-billion, and France and Italy about R3-billion and R1-billion respectively.In the survey, conducted from May to June 2004, 78% of respondents found the economy to be “satisfactory to excellent”, compared with 31% in a similar survey conducted in 2002. 95% expected the economy to remain the same or improve, Business Day reports.Levels of confidence in the government have strengthened considerably, with 53% of survey respondents expressing increased confidence, compared with only 32% in 2002. 60% of respondents expect investment to increase, and 47% said they had created new jobs.Relative confidence was expressed in the future of a market-driven economy (70% confident or better); balanced taxation (53%); democracy (46%); political leadership (34%); and equal opportunities for foreign business (32%), Business Day reports.Positive economic features in South Africa include a competitive marketplace, reasonable return on investment, and cheap electricity.According to Business Day, while 14% of respondents indicated a wish to disinvest, this was not due to dissatisfaction with the economy, but was seen as a natural process resulting from globalisation.While respondents accepted black economic empowerment, some were concerned that current empowerment measures would not achieve the desired outcome.Sticking points for foreign businesses include Zimbabwe – which is a key trading issue for many companies – and HIV/Aids. 79% of respondents rated the government’s HIV/Aids policy as “bad to very bad”, while 59% said developments in Zimbabwe had negatively affected their businesses.Other problems raised include corruption, the competence of the civil service, inflexible labour regulations, and crime and violence.Business Day reports that there was also strong pessimism about the accountability of trade unions, labour productivity, investment incentives, and the free transfer of funds out of South Africa. Respondents also noted that the rand’s volatility was a cause for concern.Members of the Bilateral Chamber Consultative Committee are:Africa-Asia SocietyAmerican ChamberAngolan ChamberAustralian Business AssociationAustrian Business CircleBelgian ChamberBritish Chamber in SACanada/South Africa Chamber of BusinessDanish Business ClubFinnish/South Africa Trade GuildFrench/South Africa ChamberGerman/South Africa ChamberHellenic ChamberIndian chamber of IndustriesSA-Ireland Business AssociationIsrael/SA ChamberItalian/SA ChamberJapanese ChamberKorean Company AssociationNetherlands/SA ChamberPolish ChamberSri Lankan ChamberSwedish Business AssociationSwiss ChamberSouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

first_imgWith Emile YX (centre) at its helm, Heal the Hood has grown into an organisation playing a vital role in many children’s lives. (Image: Heal the Hood)The power of music cannot be denied. Often referred to as “the language we all speak”, music can help us understand ourselves and others by transcending boundaries of colour, religion and language to bring people together in a way that little else can.Music has always served to inspire people and has allowed for personal and social expression on a number of levels, be it through poetry, dance or its very creation.Emile Jansen, known as Emile YX in South Africa’s hip-hop circles, knows full well the power that music possesses and he, along with many of his peers from Cape Town’s notorious Cape Flats has worked to harness the power of music to serve the youth of the country.As a b-boy, or break dancer, MC, author, skater and teacher, Jansen has devoted a great deal of his energy and time to improve the lives of young people in South Africa. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of his efforts have been in his home town.“I came from a teaching background and decided to follow my passion for artistic performance with Black Noise,” he says. “But soon I saw that my teacher nature desired of me to help youth in our communities who needed platforms to express themselves and also needed alternatives to the normal distractions that the Cape Flats have to offer.”“My parents are both teachers. My mom is a school teacher and my dad coaches soccer. They both taught youth on the Cape Flats and their actions helped me to see the need to help out,” he adds.ORGANIC GROWTHThis intrinsic need to help others led to the formation of Heal the Hood (HTH) in 1998. It began as an informal movement by the youth for the youth in the Cape Flats, and was aimed at providing an alternative cultural experience for young people living in the crime-riddled community.“The HTH project was born out of my need to take action on the ideas that we were rhyming about and what we were reading from Black Consciousness or Human Consciousness literature,” Jansen says.By bringing together the different elements of hip-hop, such as dance, rap, poetry and graffiti, the movement has served to draw young people away from the gangsterism and other destructive behaviour they encounter on a daily basis on the streets of their neighbourhoods. In these areas, drugs, alcohol abuse, crime and violence are a way of life.“Over the years we have supplied alternative opportunities and ways for youth to vent the energies. We now focus on sharing that information with youth.” HTH not only offers the opportunities to vent energy, but also allows people to see the bigger picture, which will help them to liberate themselves and their families, he explains.HTH has gone from strength to strength and has grown into an organisation that has played a vital role in many children’s lives. Spurred on by the passion and commitment of Jansen and his colleagues, Heal the Hood has helped many youths to make the transition from young and misled children to productive members of adult society.Today the organisation offers free dance and rap lessons to youth looking to learn these art forms. These youngsters are then able to perform at schools and community halls, as well as at paid corporate events. In this way, Heal the Hood is able to showcase the talent of the children as well as the transformative powers of music and dance.As a b-boy, or break dancer, MC, author, skater and teacher, Jansen has devoted a great deal of his energy and time to improve the lives of young people in South Africa.SELF-SUFFICIENTThe corporate events are essentially a means for the youth involved to generate some sort of income for themselves and ease their reliance on the generosity of the public. Doing this allows them to further themselves as artists and individuals.Apart from these performances, Heal the Hood, an NPO, also facilitates the release of albums and mixtapes featuring young artists coming through the programme. They get the chance to get their material out into the public space and potentially jumpstart careers in the music industry.“Creating our own books and telling our own stories via documentaries and videos, et cetera, is how we see the future; sharing and changing of perception will come about. It is not just to heal the neighbourhood, but heal the head in order to heal the hood,” Jansen says.BUILDING ON SUCCESSUnlike many people building names for themselves in South Africa’s music industry, Jansen did not wait until he had achieved his own success before he decided to give back. Even before he was well known, as a youth himself, he was already doing much for his community through his involvement in youth development.It is this selflessness that has allowed Heal the Hood to stay in action for as long as it has, and that has helped to bring about a true change at a personal level for the youths involved. “The lack of knowledge of self and love for self is the underlying cause of the many gang, crime, drug, substance abuse, rape, murder, violence, et cetera problems in our communities,” Jansen says.“We now see that we must share knowledge of self with youth in order for them to use the skills we share to liberate themselves and not to see the challenger as the problem, but to seek within for the solutions.”For more information on Heal the Hood and its projects, or to get involved in its work, visit the organisation’s website, phone on 021 706 0481 or send an email to [email protected]“All we created has been to liberate our youth from the situations that they find themselves in. Now we see that their mental liberation is what we need to shift us from followers to leaders here in Africa… It is our duty as South Africans to seek our own solutions. We come from a great heritage and need to build on this sense of pride and self-worth.”last_img read more

first_imgFor the last one week, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is facing a situation that he has not encountered in the last one year. As many as 12 incidents of rape, sexual molestation and stripping of women reported from in and around Bengaluru in the last 15 days has suddenly given the state an image of lawlessness. Unfortunately, neither Siddaramaiah nor Home Minister K J George seem to be showing the kind of urgency that is expected of them in tackling the situation.Bengaluru has never seen this kind of public outrage, on matters relating to women’s safety. On Friday and Saturday, thousands of people have poured on to the streets to seek action against the perpetrators of such crimes, particularly the alleged rape of a sixyear-old girl in a well-known school and the sexual molestation of a girl in a moving car by a gang of six miscreants. Both incidents came to the fore only after the media extensively highlighted them.In fact, there is a general impression among the public that the police, under the Congress regime, are being insensitive to issues relating to crime.Despite the so-called reforms and people-friendly policing measures, people here continue to view the law enforcement agencies with suspicion because of their personal experiences. There are plenty of instances to show how the police arm-twist cases or work under political influence to keep their masters happy.A girl, who was sexually molested for more than an hour in a moving car, is instructed by the jurisdictional police inspector to delete the words “kidnap” and “rape” from her complaint copy. It was subsequently found that the prime accused was the son of a local influential politician. Was the police trying to protect the culprit? Further investigations revealed that the prime accused was short of getting rowdysheeted for his activities in the locality. Similarly, parents of the six-year-old rape victim had to seek the support of parents of other children to mount pressure on the police to conduct a probe into the alleged rape.advertisementEvery time there is an incident, it is the citizens who have had to go out of the way to register their protest and convince the police to take effective action. But why is there such a situation? Why aren’t the police probing cases with the same seriousness in the first instance? There is a feeling among the public that a case may not progress unless pressure is mounted on the police, either through politicians or senior IAS officers or civil society. The politician-police nexus is an open secret in Karnataka and even politicians have acknowledged the same.As the spate of crimes against women rocked the ongoing Karnataka legislature proceedings, the Karnataka Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa has directed the state government to transfer police officers who have completed a three-year term in each police station.But so far there has been no action by the state government to implement the Speaker’s directive. What is surprising is the attitude of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his team of Cabinet colleagues towards the issue.The Congress seems to have forgotten the fact that the people of Karnataka, who were fed up with the previous government’s administration, gave a thumping majority to Siddaramaiah. But whenever the BJP leaders question the Congress on tackling crime in the city, the Congress Chief Minister only points to the lapses of the previous government.Does it mean that the Congress is trying to prove that it is no different from the BJP? Or is it conveying that it cannot deliver better governance? But that is not what the people expect from the government. People cannot throng the streets every time there is a rape or sexual molestation case to exert pressure on the establishment.While the IPS officers are trying their best to maintain a harmonious relationship between the police and the public, the attitude of lower rung officers and constabulary needs a sea change. At the ground level, corruption continues to rule the police stations while a severe shortage of staff has affected policing.The Siddaramaiah government has four more years in power. But unless the Congress government addresses sensitive issues like these seriously, the impression that it is no different from any other political party will not change.Bengaluru remains a civic messThough it has been one year since the Congress came to power in Bengaluru, the IT capital continues to suffer as there seems to be no longterm vision on infrastructure for the city. While the government has been proclaiming achievements, ironically none of the projects is new but rather those announced by the previous government.advertisementThe peak hour traffic in the city is agonisingly slow at eight kilometres per hour. Though the roads have been widened, the absence of adequate number of underpasses and overpasses, unscientific one-way systems, and the acute lack of parking space, have made the Central Business Districts (CBDs) impenetrable during peak business hours. In fact, it has become routine for people to commute in taxis and auto rickshaws to CBDs for meetings than risking driving on their own here!While the state government is pointing fingers at the BJPruled Greater Bangalore City Corporation for the inadequate infrastructure, the civic agency, in turn, expresses its helplessness because of lack of funds to execute projects on a priority basis.On one side, as many as 1,250 new vehicles – both cars and two-wheelers – are registered every day in Bengaluru. On the other, not a single multistoreyed parking complex has been commissioned by the state government in the past decade, even though government agencies, such as City Corporation and Bangalore Development Authority, possess land banks within the city. The lack of accountability as well as short-term goals will only make Bengaluru’s traffic conditions worse.KPL to find best Karnataka cricketersThe Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) seems to have rediscovered its spark with the state team winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year. Several players from Karnataka are representing the Indian team in different formats of the sport. Buoyed by this, the KSCA has revived the Karnataka Premier League, a T20 format of cricket modelled on the lines of IPL.The KPL, which was started in 2010 by the late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, scion of the Mysore family, was abandoned after two editions. Now, as a tribute to Wadiyar, the KSCA has organised the third edition of KPL, which will start from August 23. Interestingly, several interior cities and local industrialists of Karnataka, have shown tremendous interest in the sport. Consequently, cricketers with national and international calibre are emerging from smaller towns of Karnataka to represent the state and the country in the game.As many as 10 teams are participating in KPL 2014 with matches being staged in Bengaluru, Mysore and Hubli. Former cricketers are managing the teams representing different cities of the KPL and it will be interesting to see how many new cricketers will emerge on the scene. Earlier, there was a notion that Karnataka cricket was restricted to players from Bengaluru due to access to the best coaches and practice grounds. But looking at the performers in this year’s Ranji team, that notion could well be forgotten. Let’s see if KPL can bring to the fore more talented cricketers from the hinterland. The writer is assistant editorlast_img read more