Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blog Description

I'm not sure what i intend to achieve with this blog, probably nothing but i can't find anyone else that seems to have the same sort of interests as me writing anything from a NZ perspective, hence, i'll give it a go. Who knows, it may evolve into something very interesting over time.
To start with, most of these posts will be unapologetically analytical. One of my aims is to demonstrate how i (as a member of the social class 'scientists') look at topical issues, others are likely to be Back of the Envelope (science shorthand for rough, rule of thumb calculations aimed at seeing if something is believable without expending too much effort) discussions of science issues making the headlines in NZ.
I'll also mention a couple of things about myself now so that you can understand the starting points that my posts will rely on. First up, i'm not sure if i'm left wing or right wing politically. I believe that markets are good at optimising to a relatively efficient place, but i'm realistic enough to see that they often don't. In the words of Keynes "Markets can stay irrational far longer than you can stay solvent". Where possible, i believe that the individual should be allowed to make their own choices in life, and be responsible for the eventual outcome, but then again, i don't believe a society should abandon the bottom 5-10% of its population, that would not be a pleasant place to live. I've taken a quick quiz at Political Compass a few times over the years and i consistently score in the same place - balanced evenly between left/right wing and about half-way down the authoritative/libertarian axis. Based on what i've described above, that sounds about right. Also, and this is a biggie, i am an atheist. I don't care what you happen to believe in, your right to freedom of religion is ok by me but i will not under any circumstances accept that morality stems from a religous foundation. Many of the topical debates about cutting edge science (and some that we thought had been sorted out decades ago) rapidly polarise into a debate about 'ethics' which is code for religous values. In line with my belief in letting an individual decide their fate, i refuse to be bound by your belief system, if your beliefs do not allow something, feel free to excercise your right not to do it, but there is no way on earth i'm going to allow you to curb my rights at the same time.
Anyway, i hope my posts will be neutral enough that these things won't be an issue, but science 101 says that your assumptions need to be listed right out in front so everybody can see 'em.

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