Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham 
Monday, 22 February, 2010, 08:36 AM - Environment, Science, Wilkinson
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

All the talk at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has been about Climategate. There's been a breakdown of trust between science and the general public that climate change sceptics have taken advantage of.

Much of this is because ordinary people don't really understand how science works. As a Rev Dr Dr, let me just assure you that science is often a messy business. There's always the temptation to exaggerate or even falsify results in order to court fame, prestige or funding. Certainly the repeatability of scientific experiments, combined with the peer review process, provides some minor safeguards against abuse, but there is one other element that is extremely important. Many scientists are Christians and these scientists have morals. Because we have morals we would never deliberately misrepresent the truth of the Invisible Magic Friend's creation (and it really was all made by the Invisible Magic Friend - you can trust me on this because I'm both a physicist and a Christian).

If only the scientists on the IPCC and University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit belonged to a faith group. Then we would know that they too had morals and all this messy breakdown of trust might never have happened.

8 comments ( 573 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 260 )

The State of Texas 
Sunday, 21 February, 2010, 09:00 AM - Science, Not TFTD
A recent poll has shown that a majority of Texans reject the theory of irrational numbers - numbers that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two integers. "No transitional numbers have ever been found. Every single number that has ever been written down is rational," said Ken Sham, leader of the privately funded charity, Arithmetic In Genesis (AIG). AIG deny the very existence of irrationals such as root two, and consider transcendental numbers, that aren't even the roots of a polynomial equation, like pi and e, to be the work of the devil. "Their very name - irrational - tells you what secular mathematicians really think about them. The value of pi is 3, exactly what you would expect from a triune God, it says so in I Kings 7:23 and II Chronicles 4:2 and that's that," said Sham.

Dr Bill Dumbski, of the Discovery Institute for Mathematics (DIM) takes a more moderate line. "No one can deny that numbers like root 2, pi and e exist, but we believe they were intelligently designed. We don't claim to know who that designer was, but one possibility was the God of Abraham, hallelujah!" Dr Dumbski continues. "I have invented a three stage inexplicable filter that allows us to decide when a number is intelligently designed. We first test to see if a number can arise through normal arithmetic processes. If it cannot then we test to see if the number is statistically likely. If it is neither of these then we may assume that the number was intelligently designed for some specific purpose, such as finding the circumference of circles or providing the base of the natural logarithms. The statistical likelihood that these numbers would have exactly the value they have purely by chance is infinitesimally small and for all practical purposes is impossible. This is evidence of design and therefore evidence of a designer."

Dr Dumbsky is not alone, DIM has highly qualified professionals from I.T., medicine, geology, economics, law and the entertainment industry, from just about everywhere in fact except mathematics. "The number of DIM people who have expressed strong doubts about irrational numbers means it is time for our DIM view to be taken seriously," says Dumbski. "The dogmatic teaching of mathematics in our schools is a disgrace. What are they afraid of? Teach the controversy."

I asked Dr Dumbski, "Shouldn't this controversial view of number theory be validated by university departments and in the peer review literature first?"

"They're all too close minded and have an annoying habit of falling on the floor laughing at us when we raise the subject. They see no place for God in DIM mathematics. I say "God" because He is by far the most likely candidate for the Designer, but in the interests of academic objectivity I would remain open to other possibilities, should any ever arise. We are often persecuted by this self selected intellectual elite who think they have all the answers. Far better to bypass them and go straight to the more open minded school children. They are currently uneducated in mathematics and therefore more receptive to our DIM theories."

"Isn't Intelligent Arithmetic just Irrationality in a cheap tux?" I asked him. "No, no, no. Intelligent Arithmetic is a serious intellectual alternative to orthodox mathematics. We are serious, we are, we are, we are. And we're not just a bunch of religious cooks either, Praise the Lord!"
17 comments ( 1964 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 252 )

Reverend Rob Marshall, an Anglican priest  
Saturday, 20 February, 2010, 08:28 AM - TV, Marshall
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy 25th Anniversary of Eastenders everyone! Aren't soap operas just fantastic? Go on admit it. You may be a first class travelling, Chaucer reading, Chablis tipling, Radio 4 listener, but I bet you can't resist tapping your foot to the Archers, or having a sneak peak at how the other half live in Coronation Street. You love it. I know I do, 'cos I'm just an ord'nary bloke with real street cred.

You see, when you get right down to it, soaps are just about the ordinary lives of ordinary people like you and me. Ordinary, scheming, cheating, thieving, murdering, screaming, shouting, fighting, alcoholic, depressed people like you and me. That's why the Gospels have been such a success. They tell the story of an ordinary Invisible Magic Friend made incarnate, going around doing the kind of things ordinary Messiahs do, virgin births, healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water, the usual stuff. With it's larger than life characters it's got all the elements of a really good messianic soap. Except this one isn't made up. On no, this one's quite real. It honestly, definitely happened.


2 comments ( 972 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 235 )

More on Secularist of the Year 
Friday, 19 February, 2010, 01:26 PM - Clemmies, Not TFTD
There are some photos up on the NSS website from the Secularist of the Year dinner. See if you can spot me! (Hint - I was the only Rev Dr on stage). ... e-awa.html

Also on flickr ... amp;m=text


I wish to make it clear, in the strongest possible terms that the news item on the National Secular Society's website that accuses me of the sin of simony is a wicked and outrageous lie. It is this kind of sloppy, libellous journalism that brings the internet into disrepute.

Ordination into the Church of Universal Ministries is entirely free. You do have to pay $20 for a nice certificate though.

I trust this will be salutary lesson to all. Not everything you read in the papers, and in particular not all those stories you read in the gutter press that besmirch a fine upstanding man of the cloth like myself, should be taken seriously.
6 comments ( 507 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 243 )

Bountifully Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord...  
Friday, 19 February, 2010, 08:50 AM - Theology, Harries
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The case of identity theft using British passports raises important questions about identity. Who am I? Where am I? What am I for? Sometimes I'm a Right Reverend Bishop, other times I'm Lord Harries Baron Pentregarth. Occasionally I like to be Gresham Professor of Divinity but sometimes I'm just Welsh. It's so confusing trying to figure out just what one is, don't you find?

Thankfully, Christianity spotted that identity isn't fixed but can change. Non-Christians don't realise this, so it's a good job Christianity came along and sorted that out. With striking boldness, 1 John says, "we don't know what we'll become but we'll definitely become something". The extremely good theologian but unfortunately not quite so good assasin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, agreed that we probably don't know what we'll become, but he thought that Jesus, the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, probably knew. I think this demonstrates once again the practical value of theology.

11 comments ( 1119 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 282 )

Padre Mark Christian, Senior Chaplain of 11 Light Brigade in Helmand, Afghanistan 
Thursday, 18 February, 2010, 08:44 AM - War, Christian, Afghanistan
Rating 1 out of 5 (Hardly platitudinous at all)

Hello from sunny Afghanistan, where we're busy trying to eradicate Islamic nutters once and for all. Meanwhile, back in the correct religion, it's Lent, a time of fasting and contemplation. There's not a lot for us to give up, but there's plenty to contemplate: sniper fire, improvised explosive devices, booby traps and suicide bombers. We get to contemplate lost friends and comrades, we get to contemplate our missing families. Every young soldier here must be prepared to sacrifice himself for his friends, his unit and his country, yet must show restraint to ensure that innocent civilians don't die.

As the prophet Joshua said, "Come on lads, lets commit religious genocide in the Middle East thus ensuring peace in that land for the next 3,000 years."

3 comments ( 414 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 367 )

I need your prayers 
Thursday, 18 February, 2010, 07:40 AM - Not TFTD
Please, please, please, please, please make this happen.
10 comments ( 1066 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 249 )

Reverend Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral  
Wednesday, 17 February, 2010, 08:09 AM - Winkett
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Happy Ash Wednesday everyone! It's the beginning of Lent. Last year's palms have been cooked in olive oil, not to make an interesting pasta sauce with a little garlic and oregano, but to reduce them to ash. Today, we all trundle down to church and are reminded that "you are dust and back to dust you shall return". For there's only one life you see (apart from the infinitely longer and more fulfilling after life of course) and it's really important that you live life to the full (although none of that will matter in the infinitely longer and more fulfilling after life which definitely exists, because I believe it does).

Lent means the arrival of Spring and so, in the Christian calendar it is a time to be miserable. We're all getting ready to tighten our belts: to cut down on deserts, alcohol, smoking. However I would like to propose a new penitence: silence. Let us all cut down on talking. So much of the speech we hear today is entirely pointless, doing nothing more than filling the airwaves. Think how much more time we would all have for reading, for contemplation, if only we didn't waste so much of it listening to nonsense on the radio. Have you noticed the absence of content in almost everything that is said on radio?

Then there's the repetition. People don't just make their point once, they repeat it with variations in phraseology. They might use different words, but the meaning is the same. There's no new information being conveyed, it's just the same point they mad ages ago. It's irritating when someone dwells on something that you understood perfectly clearly but they insist on emphasising over and over again.

So I recommend a bit more silence for Lent. Think of a programme on radio that tells you nothing and just keep it switched o...


8 comments ( 1284 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 283 )

Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Tuesday, 16 February, 2010, 08:17 AM - Butler
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

D'you know what we need? (Hic!) I'll tell you what we need, we need (hic!), we need more black prieshts. We've got loads a them in the pews but hardly any a them want to be prieshts. I mean, what'sh wrong wif bein a priesht? Eh? Tell me that. (Hic!) I mean, you get to wear a nice black frock, 'n a dog collar, 'n if yer a really, really, (hic!) really good priesht then one day you get to wear a nice big pointy hat, 'n everybody calls ye yer grace 'n stuff. Sh'brilliant!

So we've been goin around schools full 'o black kids and tellin them all how much fun it ish bein prieshts. You don't wanna be a footballer or a pop shtar or any a that rubbish. Naaaaa! Bein a priesht ish a good sholid (hic!) 'scuse me, sholid career. I mean look at me! I'm doin all right, 'aint I? Who wouldn't wann be me. And if, 'nd if, if ye get to be the boss (hic!), like me, ye get to throw out all the cuddly toysh any time you like. 'N people give ye loads a glasses a sherry, for free! I'm the Bishup of Shuffrock. 'Shwat I do. (Hic!)

3 comments ( 935 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 257 )

Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham 
Monday, 15 February, 2010, 08:32 AM - Science, Wilkinson
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy birthday YouTube! And happy nearly-birthday to Facebook. Here at St. Johns College Durham we're really into all this cool techno wizardry. Because we're the modern church. We're hip, we're with it, we're where it's really happening dude.

As a Rev Dr Dr, let me just assure you that YouTube and Facebook are about relationships and Christianity invented relationships. As Lent begins this week, Christians, who are just one big happy family, will be coming together to rejoice in their shared love of Jesus. Of course there are still some old fuddy-duddy, stick-in-the-muds, who aren't as up to date as we are here at St. Johns College Durham, conveniently located between the A1(M) and the A167. St. Johns College Durham, the coolest, the hippest of all the ancient, traditional theological colleges.

3 comments ( 956 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 246 )

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