Ikea Dublin

Photo round-up

From flickr.com/photos/cianginty/:

Ikea Dublin

Ikea Dublin

Ballymun under a rainbow

Rainbow over Ballymun

College Green "bus gate"

Garda turning motorists and moterbikers around at the  rush hour ‘bus gate’ on College Green in central Dublin.

Flat Earth News (the summary?)

Flat Earth News

"I like potatoes"

Sparky likes potatoes — ok, so she just sees it as a type of stick or stone.

Seats are not for feet

Seats are for bums.

Irish Rail menu

Hot food back on the menu on Irish trains — or even menus back on the menu trains.

Dublin's Italian Quarter

Dublin’s Italian Quarter, on the north side, between Temple Bar and Jevis shopping centre and Luas stop.

Recent updates

As I seem to be using Twitter for many links I would usually put on this blog, here’s some of the recent Twitter updates from @cianginty:

  • ‘Taoiseach in High Court challenge to release Cabinet CO2 document’ http://www.irishtimes.com/n… …Getting a look at the minutes of Cabinet discussions on Ireland’s emissions would be interisting to say the least
  • UK universities told to cutting emissions 50% by 2020 against 1990 levels, and 80% by 2050 http://bit.ly/cfz2v > Will the same happen here?
  • ‘2 million Irish voters vs 100 million’, French Euro minister is quoted as saying by France24. Does he remember how the French people voted?
  • Does anybody know why existing customer are unable to buy iPhones from 02’s website?
  • LINK FAIL: Electric Picnic newsletter with no link to the website or where one could buy tickets.

Any chances of open, honest debate on the EU?

John Bruton wrote in The Irish Times on Monday on how Irish sovereignty would be maximised under the Lisbon treaty. Bruton, a former Taoiseach and current EU ambassador to the US, referred to Department of Foreign Affairs’ white paper on the treaty (PDF).

On the white paper, Bruton states:

“It also said that Ireland’s full participation in the EU is a means of ‘maximising our real sovereignty’.”

But on “maximising sovereignty” the white paper only says:

By concentrating on maximising our real sovereignty — our capacity to influence events at home and abroad – we have been able to draw very significant benefit from our role as a positive and constructive member of the EU.

It mentions this under the title ‘Ireland’s Experience of EU Membership’, and does not in the same breath mention anything about “full participation” in the EU as a means of “maximising our real sovereignty”.

On military missions and common defence, “sovereign decision” and a “sovereign right” are brought up. The white paper refers to EU members as “sovereign States” twice, as follows:

“The Treaty reflects the collective view of 27 sovereign States on how we can best manage our unique relationship within the EU. It aims to equip the Union with the tools it needs to help us deal with the challenges posed by an enlarged Union and a changed world”.

And here:

“The operation of the Union’s institutions reflects the unique character of the Union, a body within which 27 sovereign States  work together in areas defined by the EU Treaties in pursuit of their shared values and interests”.

But as far as I can see Bruton is claiming the white papers says something it does not. It makes up a large part of his article and even the headline of the same (although, an editor or sub-editor could have written the headline).

Whatever about the “real” sovereignty which Bruton and the Department fail to explain, actual sovereignty (ie what is generally accepted as the meaning of the word) is diminished by the EU. Anybody who is even just a little pro-EU should be able to agree that you give away a bit of sovereignty for the advantages of membership of the EU. Anybody who agrees should be saying ‘yes, we give away a bit of sovereignty for other advantages’.

The problem is giving away sovereignty is problematic area in Ireland after having to fight for our independence, and Ireland’s cuts from that struggle have far from fully healed. Indeed with nationalism still strong around Europe, it can be seen as a problematic area in many countries. So, maybe the ultra-pro-EU have valid reasons from twisting the truth about sovereignty?

However, without open and honest debate we get deeper and deeper into lies (on the pro and anti Lisbon and EU sides). It’s a problem for the whole of the EU. More integration is a project been pushed forward again and again, open debate is lacking all-round. Open debate is not diplmats or governments meeting and working out what they agree on.

Dublin city marketing cycling!

Dublin City Council markets cycling

Dublin city marketing cycling!

So, as with Transport for London before it, Dublin City Council are now marketing normal cycling. As the advert (below, with glare / reflections), shows a young woman cycling without any gear. It reads: “easy rider! … cycling n the city, fast, convenient & free!”.

So, for Dublin city at least, my recent post “Want to promote cycling in Ireland? Marketing it, and stop the scaremongering” was a bit premature.  There seems to be at least some in the city council who already understand the need for marketing.

The advert is currently appearing on Jcdecaux’s ‘Metropanels’ which are part of the rental bikes for ads deal. The bikes have been delayed again, but look to be now firmly due in September. The council told The Irish Times this week: “We plan to have staff from the council and JC Decaux all heading off together from the Civic Offices on the 450 bikes and dispersing to the designated locations. We’ll be closing some streets for it, so we’ve deliberately doing it early on a Sunday… The only thing on on the 13th [of September] is the camogie final, but that’s not until the afternoon and we’re planning our event for the morning,”

I’m agnostic, I am not an atheist

I’m agnostic, and I’m getting quite fed up of self-proclaimed atheists saying there is no difference between atheism and agnosticism. 

Michael Nugent, chairman of Atheist Ireland, told the Sunday Business Post’s Agenda magazine:

I think some people don’t believe in God, but don’t want to describe themselves as an atheist as the word has negative connotations.  Instead they call themselves agnostic or humanist, or just non-religious. It’s more a concern about the label than the beliefs behind the label.

He was on RTE Radio 1 this morning saying much of the same thing. To be fair to Nugent he is by far not the only atheist coming out with this nonsense.

Why is it nonsense? Being agnostic means ‘maybe’ to “the god question.” It can never mean ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but it can mean both are possible. Yes, even, sitting on the fence. On the other hand, being atheist is widely understood to mean ‘no’ to the same question (including descriptions of the meaning of the word).

Nugent also says:

After Catholics, atheists are the largest group of people expressing an opinion on religion in Ireland. In the last census, a total of 180,000 people ticked the ‘no religion’ box. On top of that, there were around another 60,000 who didn’t answer the ‘what religion are you’ question.

Ticking ‘no religion’ does not equal atheist. You can exclude your self from religions but still believe in god. As for the 60,000 he says did not answer the question, there is no insight into what the reason for this. To link these to atheists is pure guess work at best, or distorting information at worst. This is not what I’d expect as an example of somebody heading a group which wants reasoned government.

Atheist poster boy Richard Dawkins goes on with this nonsense too. He heavily uses Darwen as part of his preaching of atheists. However, as he apparently is a very intelligent man, and he has researched Darwin, I have no option but to conclude he is wilfully leaving out facts to suit his own agenda. Darwen was agnostic. This is not in question. He was a self-proclaimed agnostic.

Anyway, back to Nugent:

The only way to overcome that prejudice is for people with that shared world view to use the term atheist, and to be seen to make rational and reasonable contributions to society. In time, the use of the word will be seen as a normal part of general public discourse.

Why not overcome the prejudice and stop using such a divisive word? Would that be too hard?

On his blog’s about page, he says:

Promoting atheism, because I believe that the idea of gods is bad for society as it makes good people do bad things.

Is this not overly simplistic? Would it not be more correct that gods have been used as an excuse to to ‘bad things’ or convince others to do the same?  Non-religious ideas have also been used and abused for ‘bad’ ends. Rightwing and leftwing ideas, as well as science can be blamed for ‘bad things’. Thus, it is overly simplistic to paint this as a problem relating to ideas of gods. People twist things to suit their point-of-view. Just as Richard Dawkins does with Darwin.

What about Atheist Ireland’s views? Their constitution says their missions statement is:

1. Atheist Ireland provides a platform for people who wish to work together to build a rational, ethical and secular society free from superstition and supernaturalism.

And it says their aims are:

2.1. To promote atheism and reason over superstition and supernaturalism.

2.2. To promote an ethical and secular Ireland where the state does not support or fund or give special treatment to any religion.

Now, I’m going to take a big leap here and say these aims are mainly at getting the state to work in such ways… so, why did they not set up a group to just promote a rational, ethical and secular state or society? Why be divisive? Why make it about religion when many religious people already agree with the idea of a rational, ethical and secular state?