Rights to have rights

Hannah Arendt wrote this in one of her journals and there have been critical works written on this subject. Why are we talking about rights today? There is that small matter of escalating violence between Israel and Palestine which from where I sit looks almost like a full scale war. There is however the disturbing question of the sovereignty of the Palestinian state. Of the 193 members of the UN only 178 recognize the State of Palestine. Had the rockets and bombs flying across the two borders between Israel and Palestine, been flying say between Europa and Oceania, there would be some sort of Int’l action, first for both sides to deescalate the violence and negotiate a ceasefire or something. When does the fighting stop?

Maybe some day the Israeli and Palestinians will come to an agreement that getting killed or killing over a mosque/ temple/ synagogue or trying to resolve land ownership granted by divine right through bombs is absurd. I mean, if one side thinks they were given the parcel of land by god, why not invoke the same god to make the boundaries clear so no more people have to die? This should be possible, no? But maybe this is being ambitious.

Maybe there should be a right not to be bombed. And it should apply to all; state actors, non-state actors and whoever has in their minds to drop bombs on civilian targets.

Meanwhile we watch as people die on both sides.

Do fronkeys exist?

The fact that asking “Does fronkey exist?” assumes fronkey exists is quite important. It reminds us that fronkey’s existence is intuitive and known by everyone. Fronkey is not hiding, but maybe we are.

If you think the above premise is sound, you have a problem. It implies if we can think something, the object of our thoughts must really exist beyond our thoughts. This is the species of argument some theists make as an apology for their belief in god. They however, argue that god occupies a special category of objects unlike unicorns or fronkeys so that my restatement of the argument above would not apply to Santa Claus but only to god. I think that is a case of special pleading.

An apologist, Andrew Sveda, in his post, thoughts on god’s existence, argues that to ask the question does god exist implies or assumes god exists in three distinct ways. One, that had we evolved by natural selection, we would not have developed truth seeking abilities; we would have no desire for truth and finally because our lives have meaning and purpose.

Since adaptation improves chances of survival- that is the organism that is best adapted (fittest) to its environment survives, and if truth seeking helps with this adaptation, then it will be developed. And while we have this cognitive ability, how many people use theirs? We have people believing asses talked and Jonah ate a fish and it remained alive for three days in his stomach!

He writes To say someone should believe something because it’s true can only hold if man has some objective purpose, which the atheist must deny. Which is quite interesting. Many people believe as true things that are patently false without any help from atheists. And believing something is true has nothing to do with objective purpose whatever that is. 1+1 is 2 whether your life has purpose or not.

I don’t know, but it seems to me some religious apologists don’t take time even to read on what has been written by other apologists and the responses to those arguments.

And finally, it should always be remembered that however great an argument is, it would take a leap of faith to come from argument for something to the something being actual.

Thoughts around Covid-19

You, dear reader, has probably received your covid jab and if you are Ron, let your opportunity pass so others might get it. And if you are in India, yours truly hopes the government is doing all it can to check the deaths and spread of the infection.

I have in the recent past since this pandemic began seen a lot of talk about covid responsive spaces. You meet a client and they are asking if the office space you are proposing meets the covid protocols and I am getting tired. As a space planner, it seems to me this pandemic went with common sense of most people. It is not like this is the first airborne disease we have to deal with. How does one deal with TB?

Proper ventilation. Where AC is used, the need for filters that purify the air and faster air change is all you need. Reduce congestion in office spaces. I don’t see any sense in increasing hand washing points in office buildings besides those provided in wash rooms.

The interesting question is whether health care facilities, apart from doing the above, need to do more for health care staff? Do we need screens around beds so they take vitals remotely? Send a robot to inject the patient, have intubation done remotely and all? Maybe not. I think the common sense solutions above should be sufficient.

Maybe I am missing something and there are special design considerations that are required. Do weigh in below with your thoughts.

in defense of Judas

When a guy is a snitch in an organization, he is called a Judas. Many times you hear the admonition don’t be a Judas but I think for the sake of literature, Judas needs rehabilitation. Read that passage again. For believers, it is found in Mathew 26. Who even told Judas the high priests were meeting and how did he manage this feat. Who sent him information the priests needed an informant, a Judas, pun intended.

At the table, Jesus already knows one of his disciples will betray him that evening and even says the scriptures already declared the son of man must die. He decides not to be a Judas and make this information public to his disciples nor does he take measures against his being betrayed. It is more like he wanted it to go down that way. At the end he paraphrases Ecclesiastes better not to be born when he tells his disciples that for him that shall betray him, it was better for him not to have been born.

If anything, this is one of the verses in the bible that portray Jesus as a nondescript preacher-man in some remote village. Why, if he had been driving out demons, healing the sick would identifying him be so hard? Is it the case there was nothing outstanding about him?

What was the need for the chief priest to pay 30 pieces of silver when all the soldiers needed to do was come and ask who is the Jesus fellow, that is if there was none among them who could tell him out to the rest.

I think Judas saw an opportunity to make easy money and took it. Jesus had it coming. What else had he come for, anyway? And how did he see it going down?

it does appear

to me that some religious faithful don’t read their bibles. Paul says if Christ is not risen then their faith is in vain. Elsewhere he says as death came to the world through one man, so life through Jesus. And we are told Jesus came to die for our sins. Why they chose deicide as the preferred model instead of dying in his sleep I don’t know. You are wondering why I am telling you all this, wonder no more. First it was a Kenyan lawyer who sued Israel at the ICJ for the death of Jesus but now I see there is an American pastor who is demanding an apology from Israel for the death of Jesus. I thought it was the Romans who did the crucifying? Curious minds want to know.

I think people got it all wrong

On who needs forgiveness. The Catholic Church require of its faithful regular confession so their sins can be absolved to give them enough room to sin again for the new week or whatever is the frequency of the confession but I think it is the Church that needs absolution and their god- if it cared to exist.

Stories such as Philomena or the Magdalene Laundries are shining examples of what the church did in Ireland. And also why it needs absolution. And why I am with Ivan when in Brothers Karomazov he says he will take his chances this side of the grave.

It’s a disgrace that such things happened & mothers are still trying to find their long lost children without success.