BBrrrr! It's amazing how a few days in a milder area makes you feel the cold back in the Frozen North, although it's probably as much because I'm tired as anything, straight to bed after BSG tonight! And a nice cuppa and chocolate in the meantime :)
I didn't have time to blog about it before I left on Friday but I was most gratified upon reading last week's New Scientist, to discover that there are people out there who actually agree with me regarding the percieved conflict between Science and Religion. For those of you who have missed the arguments around here about it, while I agree that some individual religious traditions, or at least some of their followers, are anti-science, I do not see an inherent conflict between being a person of science and a person of faith, and I get very frustrated when the rabid atheists (as i like to call them, as opposed to the perfectly reasonable 'believe what you like so long as it doesn't hurt anyone, and you don't shove it down my throat or expect me to live by your rules' atheists) rant about how no rational person could possibly believe in something that current science cannot prove ('cos no-one has a faith based on personal evidence, right?), and use arguments almost entirely based on the Abrahamic faiths' notion of God and Creation ('cos all religious people believe God is a man who sits on a cloud and created the world in 7 days and people in his image, right?).
Anyway, John Gray, Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, wrote the following while reviewing a book about Islam and Science:If advocates of creationism or intelligent design lack intellectual rigour, then the militant Darwinists who attack religion while knowing virtually nothing of the immense varieties of religious belief and experience are no better.
The true conflict may not be between science and religion, but between science and monotheist faiths in which humans have a privileged place in the world.
Finally, I was bemused to witness the amount of furore in the media over Britney shaving her head last week. As the TV news story I happened to catch progressed, she did come across as a bit of a mess, but to start with they seemed to be asserting that just the act of removing her hair must obviously mean she was having some sort of break down! Why, I wondered, is it so shocking for a woman to shave her head, or lose her hair for that matter, while bald men are just a fact of life? Turns out, I wasn't the only person wondering, and Women's Hour had a piece about it this morning, which was rather interesting listening
. Despite finding it somewhat bemusing that lack of hair is such a strong statement for women in our society, I have to confess, I entirely empathise with Jenni and Prof Lisa Jardine, who found hair loss the most upsetting aspect of breast cancer. My mother was just the same, and putting myself in their place, I would be far more devastated to lose my hair, albeit temporarily, than my breasts (although in my case, that is heightened by the fact I have a very small chest and therefore have never seen my breasts as a fundemental expression of my feminine identity). I guess the importance of my hair to my identity, coupled with my control freak tendencies, make it abundantly clear why i have such an aversion to hairdressers!
As a side note, it was also interesting to hear, that while the cultural studies lecturer could appreciate nuns shaving their heads as an act of renunciation, she couldn't see Muslim women covering their heads as anything other than them being oppressed by men, which is maybe a somewhat bizarre dichotomy given that the nuns belong to religions ruled by men too...