2012-09-22

Religion is laziness


Religion is, at its heart, laziness. First, it is mental laziness—an unwillingness to do the mental work necessary to understand the world as is truly is. Second, it is a moral laziness—an abdication of the responsibility each of us has to securing a bright future not just for ourselves or our own tribe, but for all of the inhabitants of the planet.

“If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”
—Carl Sagan

2012-09-17

Respect for religion


There has been much discussion lately of purported offences against religion, and of the anger and violence these alleged offenses have provoked. Overlooked in the whole brouhaha though is the shameful fact that erstwhile civilized liberal democracies are talking seriously about the need for ‘respect for religion’—that is to say, censorship and other curtailments of liberty in the name of not offending religion. These retreats from modern liberal principles are couched in the language of multiculturalism—as though religions were esteemed cultural institutions deserving of special deference. Of course, the opposite is true. Religions have received too much respect, and for too long.

In what other area of life do people demand respect without earning it? Imagine an employee who demands a promotion despite being a poor worker who doesn’t get along with his colleagues. He can yell “value my work!” and pound his fists all he wants; but if he does a substandard job and doesn’t get along with others, he will not earn the respect of his coworkers, and he certainly won’t get a raise. It’s always the unintelligent, immoral, and intellectually inconsistent people who feel compelled to resort to shouting and violence to defend their weak-mindedness.

Respect must be earned, not coerced under threat of violence. Not all ideas deserve respect, and the time has come to put religions (and other harmful ideas) in their proper place. If you want respect for your ideas, perhaps it’s time to cultivate ideas worthy of respect.

2012-09-10

iOS suggests address book names over dictionary words

iOS suggests corrections for words it believes are incorrect. Usually, this is a great help, because with auto-corect, one can type more quickly than one would otherwise be able to type. However, iOS often makes mistakes, correcting words that are already correct. A common example is that iOS almost always wants to change its to it’s. Enough people make the mistake of inserting an apostrophe in the possessive pronoun its without help from iOS; with iOS, the rate of these errors has only increased.

Recently, I have noticed that when I am typing using the Swedish keyboard, iOS attempts to correct perfectly good Swedish words, replacing them with names from my address book.

Here is an example. A few days ago I posted a comment on a photo that a friend posted of some freshly baked cinnamon buns. I wanted to post the Swedish sentence, “Dina kanelbullar are j├Ąttegoda.”

The word dina is the plural second person possessive pronoun in Swedish, and kanel is the word for cinnamon. Both are perfectly good Swedish dictionary words, but iOS nevertheless insists on trying to change them. Sina and Karl are names that appear in my address book.
iOS 5.1.1 suggests Sina instead of Dina.
iOS 5.1.1 tries to replace kanel with Karl.
I could understand this behavior if I were using the U.S. English keyboard, but it happens even when I use the Swedish keyboard as in these two examples. I have been unable to find a setting or option to change the auto-correct word list precedence so that dictionary words are preferred over address book words.