Apr 252012
 

The Koran, much like the Bible, is full of injustice, intolerance, cruelty, violence, contradictions, and hate. It’s true, though, that violence is much more likely to come from Muslims than from Christians. Christianity has had its violent past but it is now largely neutered but Islam is increasingly expressing more closely its core fundamental believes manifested as violence. In that respect I can see, without condoning, why Germany seems against the free-issuing of Korans:

But such differential prohibitions are not for the common good. Most people who have rejected religion are those that have studied religion and found it to be nothing more than man-made nonsense. Instead of such censorship, I would rather concentrate on secularising governments and making fun of religion by highlighting the nonsense/injustice/hatred/etc. in these religions, and showing the incompatibility of religion to the truths revealed by the beauty of science.

I, for one, will take it as extremely insulting if any person of faith makes the assumption that their faith gives them the moral edge on me. I want to hear a lot more apologising from the faith based communities for the evil that they’ve done before they even start clearing their throats and telling me I wouldn’t know right from wrong without their permission. I’m sorry, I won’t be, can’t be spoken to in that tone of voice and nor should any of you.
— Christopher Hitchens

I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.
— Thomas Jefferson

There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That’s perfectly all right; they’re the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny.
— Carl Sagan

Faith is the surrender of the mind; it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It’s our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.
— Christopher Hitchens

I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake… Religion is all bunk.
— Thomas Edison

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 232012
 

DC’s Improbable Science details the rather strange false claim from London Chiropractor on their UCL endorsement:

It must be said, though, that some chiropractors are abandoning the bogus subluxation pseudoscientific explanations and moving towards a more rational and beneficial method of treatment, so I wouldn’t want to tar all chiropractors with the same brush.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 222012
 

When I ordered my custom-build Santa Cruz mountain bike (MTB) in Q4 of 2010 I specified Hope Pro 2 hubs laced to Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Crest rims. I knew when I ordered these hubs that the rear hub would have a loud (ratcheting) clicking noise when freewheeling. But I think I was rather surprised when I got to hear the thing in person…talk about loud!

I’ve tried to live with the noise but it got that I always worried about causing disturbance to wildlife (such a deer) and to other people such as fellow cyclists and those engaged in quiet activities. Sure, there are some cyclists who love that loud clicking noise, and it’s great in letting people know that I’m coming up behind them (I’ve got a bell that can do that too!), but enough is enough; that noise had to go.

I looked at various ways to quieten the rear hub such as filling the thing full of suitable grease to lessen the ratcheting noise but these are very much a hit-and-miss affair and only temporary in nature; it was time to look at a new rear hub. After much research, looking at high-end hubs such as the DT Swiss “240s” and the lower-priced True Precision “Stealth” models, I opted for the Shimano “XTR M985” rear hub.

I ordered the Shimano XTR M985 rear hub plus a quality CenterLock to 6-bolt adapter (Shimano SM-RTAD10) in order to continue using my existing Formula R1 disc brake rotor (didn’t want to buy a new rotor but may change that in the future). My local bike shop (LBS) changed out the hub on my wheel for a small fee but did a horrible job of taping the rim (but that’s another story). Anyway, after I re-taped the rim, installed brake rotor, cassette and tyre, the bike is all up and running: it was a joy to cycle again without causing noise pollution! Peace and tranquillity at last.

The current highlight specs for the bike:

  • Frame: Blur XC Carbon (2011), medium size, gloss red
  • Shock: Fox Float RP23 with ProPedal and Boost Valve
  • Fork: Fox 32 F120 FIT RLC 120mm Black (15mm Through Axle)
  • Shifters: Shimano M980 (XTR)
  • Front derailleur: Shimano M981-D (XTR)
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano M980 SGS (XTR)
  • Chainset: Shimano M980 24/32/42 (XTR) 10-speed
  • Bottom bracket: Included with crankset
  • Chain: HG-X (XTR M980)
  • Cassette: Shimano M980, 11-34 (XTR)
  • Brakes: Formula R1 with 160mm rotors (rear with Shimano SM-RTAD10 adapter)
  • Bars: Syncros FL carbon 31.8mm
  • Stem: Easton EA 90 31.8mm
  • Grips: ODI Ruffian Lock-On (130mm)
  • Headsets: Chris King 1″ 1/8
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb 380mm (30.9mm dia)
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado SLT
  • Front wheel: ZTR Crest rim (with single-layer Stan’s 21mm yellow tape) laced to Hope Pro 2 hub
  • Rear wheel: ZTR Crest rim (with single-layer Stan’s 21mm yellow tape) laced to Shimano XTR M985 hub
  • Tyres: X-King 2.2 Race Sport (RS) folding Black Chili
  • Tubes: not applicable: tubeless with 90ml of Stan’s Tire Sealant per tyre
  • Valves: Notubes Universal 35mm valve stems
  • Pedals: Point One Podium
  • Gear cables: Gore Ride-On sealed low friction
  • Chainguard: Bionicon C-Guide V.02
  • Scratch shield: SportsCover Bikeshield (fullpack)

Other bits and pieces as appropriate for weather conditions and riding requirements:

  • CrudCatcher
  • SKS Grand M.O.M. rear mudguard
  • Knog N.E.R.D. 12 computer
  • SatMap Active 10 GPS
  • CatEye front light
  • BioLogic Tail Light- saddle rail-mounted rear reflector (with LED)
  • Skully rear light on seat-post clamp
  • GoPro HD Hero2

I have a pair of Continental Rubber Queen 2.2 UST tyres but have not used them much as I haven’t ridden in conditions where these are required (yet!).

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 222012
 

Eric MacDonald explains the moral decrepitude of Jesus’s teachings:

MacDonald highlights, and stamps on, the injustices of Jesus.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 202012
 

Does the Evening Standard care about journalism with integrity? Ben Goldacre compares the Evening Standard article on Dr Brooke Magnanti with the Evening Standard article on Gillian McKeith.

In case you’re wondering about McKeith, here’s a link from a couple of years ago:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 202012
 

Another terrific Eric MacDonald article:

I’ve said myself that religion deserves to be mocked; it is the refuge for the intolerant, for the unenlightened, for the irrational, for the racists, for the homophobes, for the barbarous, for the ignorant, and for the tyrants.

I’ve repeated these quotes already in another article but worth repeating again, and again and again:

Quote:

I will criticise all religions and the religious where they come into conflict with ideals such as reason, rationality, freedom, equality and justice. History has shown that religions will suppress such ideals through use and abuse of whatever powers and controls they have.

Quote:

It’s quite simple. The religious are not at all comfortable in their delusions and instinctively lash out at those that expose the irrationality and fragility of the religious mind. So much for turning the other cheek!

Quote:

Religion needs people to be uneducated, to be unquestioning, to be stupid and credulous. This is how religion exerts itself and how it continues to enslave people into backwards thinking. Jerry Coyne explains this quite clearly in the recent “Be stupid” command from Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church.

Quote:

Religion is institutionalised delusion, a social grouping mechanism for the irrational. But for those within this group who dare to explore with open minds, with the tools of critical thinking, there is hope of a life free from the prisons and poisons of religion.

Quote:

Religion, contrary to the naivety expressed by some, cannot lay claim to morality. Religion is a source of enslavement, a source of inequality, a source of barbarity. Humans, as a community-based species, have derived morality from within itself, from within the community, influenced by the social interactions that takes place. And morality changes, progresses, as communities advance. But religion stakes a claim on morality, claims itself as a source of morality, and distorts it for its own means. Here we are, in the 21st century, with the inhumanity and unreason of religion exposed by advances in science and by application of critical thinking. Religion has not only passed its sell-by-date but was defective when conceived and manufactured. Let’s move on and free ourselves.

Quote:

Science is the search for truth. It is a rational mechanism that uses logic, evidence and other facts to formulate theories to arrive at the truth. Religion is at odds with this rationality and thus those who advocate religion are deluded. And those scientists who claim compatibly of religion with truth in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary must do a pretty good job of compartmentalising the irrationality of religion from their rational thoughts. But, then, humans are not always consistent or rational in what they do which makes the scientific process an absolutely critical method to progress.

Religion is not compatible with truth. Religion is an intellectual prison, a method of control, a method of suppression and repression, which blinds the religious to the truth. It’s about time humanity broke free of its shackles, to experience the truth, to experience the excitement, wonders and mysteries of this planet and the universe.

Quote:

…religion does not deserve any special privileges; it is not immune to criticism and I will object to any laws or “politically correct” influences that seek to protect religion or not cause “offence”. Any “offences” that religious people feel, I think, may be the result of a deep split within their personalities where their rational-self is trying to get to the surface but is pushed back down by the irrational-self. This battle probably goes unnoticed by the person but if they really thought about it they may perhaps know that there’s something not quite right. And rather than explore and understand and admit that they are wrong they, instead, lash out at the external, the rationalists, the critical thinkers. They want this nice, cosy world that they’ve built around themselves and are afraid to venture out, afraid to grow-up, afraid to confront reality.

Quote:

…religion is used as the canvas and as the brush to paint a veil of terror

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 152012
 

From Laughing in Purgatory:

The fight worth fighting; against ignorance, intolerance, and barbarity.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012

Apr 132012
 

Today is 13th April. On this day in 1949 the late great Christopher Hitchens was born. I thought I’d share one of his many quotes:

Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012