Archive for October, 2010

What a piece of work is a man

24 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Via a rather weak connection with one of the film’s producers, I came into possession of a free ticket for the première of Man Made Men, a low-budget Irish film. [This film had originally been shown at the Galway Film Festival in 2009 but had been significantly re-edited before its Dublin première in October 2010.]  It’s the brainchild of solicitor Alex Fegan who as well as writing, directing and producing is also credited with the cinematography and film editing. His co-producer Helen Sheridan wore most of the remaining hats.

The ambitious but rather muddled plot concerns what happens when a student with the unlikely name of Benjamin Ezekiel (Rory Doherty) creates some sort of artificial “life forms” with the intention of proving that God doesn’t exist. It’s never quite clear whether these life forms are supposed to be biological or virtual, although they seem to have a real physical presence inside a box. Despite the apparently impressive achievement of creating beings who live and reproduce, Ezekiel is unable to produce a convincing simulacrum of human society, and turns to the Bible as a guide. Read more…

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Gorillas, Girls, and Specious Nonsense

9 October, 2010 Leave a comment

This is my report on the launch of a creationist book The Origin of Specious Nonsense. It previously appeared on the Atheist Ireland website. In reproducing it here I have made some minor formatting changes, added a few links and corrected one typo but I have left the text unchanged (despite my awareness that it could use some polishing). I’ve kept the sub-headings that were added by an Atheist Ireland editor as I think they improve it, but the rest – including the photographs – is entirely my own work.

Author John J May flanked by Darwin, a gorilla and two female models in form-fitting t-shirts

John J. May and friends

I arrived a little late at the book launch of The Origin of Specious Nonsense to find the author John J. May, already in full swing, railing against the “offensive” letters from skeptics that had appeared in newspapers. He defended the right of the Minister for Science Conor Lenihan to launch his book which, he claimed, was to be done in a personal capacity and was not an endorsement of the contents of this book. He did not seem to understand why so many people were so vehemently opposed to this. The problem, of course, is that a government minister has a duty to consider whether something he does – even in a personal capacity – conflicts with his position. In this case, his apparent endorsement of an anti-scientific book was an issue of considerable concern and justified anger.

Read more…

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