Human evolution and other stories[ links]

Creationists of whatever stripe will not like this story. It has no room for magic or for poofism and it’s an interesting read. Biology is not one of my strengths, if there is anything that the authors of the article have lied about, yours truly may not know.

And for those who will be going to hell, here is what you will be doing there for endless time.

And for all budding parents and teachers, this letter should have been sent to all our teachers and it reminds me of this other letter.

Have a good weekend you all!

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Letter to President Kibaki

Dear Sir,

I hope this letter finds you well.

Mr. President, your ten year term is coming to a close and there are those who think that you have been a good president. They see the economy has grown from less than 1% to 7%. They say you have built roads, that in your administration dependency on donor funding has reduced that we now finance 60% of the budget. This is all good I suppose but I have a problem and please hear me out.

When we voted for you in 2002, you made a promise that corruption will be a thing of the past. You promised to unite us, you promised to defend the constitution, you promised to reward merit. How did you perform? I want to tell you your performance has been worse than poor. When your Secretary for Ethics, John Githongo, resigned from his job citing lack of support I knew then you only hoodwinked us to believe you really want to deal with corruption. I realize when you took the reigns of power, your predecessor had plundered everything and given out large tracts of land[ The Ndungu report alleges there were pieces of land given on his authority] so your cronies had to find new ways to steal. And here they learnt very first. In a short time, we had ghost projects and ghost suppliers and contracts running to billions of shillings, education funds disappearing, maize funds disappearing, kazi kwa vijana funds disappearing, what did you do? You paid lip service, in fact you hardly ever uttered a word and when you did you reinstated the very people suspected of abuse of office to their plum jobs so they could continue with bleeding us dry.

On the rule of law, after we voted overwhelmingly for the new constitution, your first act was to act against it by making appointments contrary to the document you swore to defend. The only thing that stopped you in your tracks was public outcry and the courts or else you would have your way. To this extent you have failed sir. In your cabinet there are people who have been accused of crimes against humanity, you allow them to traverse the country stirring hate and you sit comfortably on your pedestal calling us mavi ya kuku and tumbafu-we your employers- where is the law on integrity and ethics? Please tell me that you didn’t know there are such clauses then I may excuse you, but until then sir, I consider you a failure.

Sir, we elected you to lead and in so doing you should have gone above what we expected of you. In this respect had you reduced the size of your government after the enactment of the new law, I would have said you are successful president, but you sir have failed -failed terribly-

It is during your presidency sir that we have had the worst election violence in our recorded history. You seem not to notice there are good citizens, men, women and children- whose only fault was speaking the wrong language- that are still called IDPs. This is one thing that to me appears not to have even crossed your mind while you sleep in State House paid for by our taxes.

Those who sing your praises say you have done infrastructure, that they can see roads and Kisumu Airport. Well I see these things too but I don’t think you had a choice on this matter and besides what did you want to do? The reason we provide you with free housing and security is so that you find time to ensure that we have roads. Now let us look at these roads critically. The main road that has been done is Thika Road, in your estimation is this the best you could have done? If I was in your shoes and wanted to claim infrastructure as a success, I would have opened up North Eastern Province, that is where to build a road. Again I submit you have failed as a president.

On legislative duties, being the person who signs bills into law, how have you performed. I will tell you sir, you have failed. You have signed into law bills that are against the spirit of the constitution. You in cohorts with the MPs have made a joke of the constitution. You sign laws that allow them to jump ship anytime they want whereas the constitution attempted to bring party discipline – I know am being ambitious expecting any better- you have never shown any interest in developing parties. Mr. President, you have failed. You have an opportunity to redeem yourself. Parliament has been dissolved and the MPs can’t run riot anymore, decline to assent to the bill awarding you and the MPigs[allow me to call them that] obscene amounts of money while many of us have no food to eat and sleep in the cold we no longer can tell a warm and cold night from each other!

Mr. President, you receive security briefings every single day. What are these gentlemen doing if whole villages can be torched in broad daylight. We pay tax so the police, army and intelligence officers can be paid and so you can sleep in peace. We can’t have people being killed in hundreds and not a word from the Commander in Chief. You declare a day of mourning when your buddy dies, everything stops, you run to church to ask god to keep them safe and when your employers are killed senselessly, you say nothing! Please why did we employ you? To insult us, or to have control among other things on the instruments of violence to ensure the security of us all.

I know you are busy planning for a golf session so I will end my letter here and ask you to please do just one thing to redeem your image. Your presidency is a failed presidency! You have performed less than we expected, you haven’t inspired me any bit in any way unless you mean by insults.

Thank you and be well.

Onyango M.

Your employer

An open letter to the Kenyan parliament

Dear Hon Members of Parliament

Parliament  Road, Nairobi

I hope you have been well this many days.

Five years ago, we elected you to represent us in the august house. In those five years, we as a nation ushered in a new constitution aimed at streamlining government operations promoting fairness and equity and making a government for the people by the people. In the days after its promulgation, you have viciously put road blocks in its implementation and in many instances acted in utter disregard of the law we overwhelmingly voted for. You get an F for that.

One of you, Muthutho, with your help brought to the house a law aimed at regulating when I can drink my beer. He claimed the aims of this act was to ensure among other things education on dangers of alcohol, and restricting access to persons under the age of 18 which are noble but not useful. This law like many others that encourage prohibition help line police wallets with money they collect as bribes whenever they harass hardworking citizens having one for the road. It is time this law is repealed. The law ought to be repealed or abolished all together and local brews should be legalized.

Since the days of the current parliament are numbered, allow me to address those who will be elected to serve in the august house come March 2013. Your first order of day should be to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational use. As it stands, the only people who benefit from its prohibition are the police and the drug dealers. I want to be able to plant my own green garden when and if I feel so without fear of arrest.

While at it, would you also decriminalize prostitution, think about it, a few members of the august house have in the past been caught pants down enjoying services of CSW. I think it would benefit you a lot if they were not treated as criminals.

As you make amendments to the constitution, you must revisit Chapter 4: The Bill of Rights and look especially to repeal

45 (2) Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.

I know the churches will make noise on this one, but the church doesn’t marry. It should keep away from the affairs of adults. We must not bury our heads in the sand and continue to pretend there are no LGBTs in our society. This article is to be repealed to read Every adult has a right to marry a person of their own choosing based on free consent of the parties. Or do away with it all together.

I also suggest that you remove from the constitution Articles 26 (2, and 4), these two issues are beyond the scope of your mandate. They are philosophical and ethical questions that shouldn’t have a place in our supreme law since as you and me know, in section 4, will be decided by the person carrying the pregnancy and on 2 when life begins is a question of science. Please aspire to separate religion from supreme law. Not every citizen is a Catholic.

(2) The life of a person begins at conception.

(4) Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.

Lastly, please don’t increase your salaries and allowances. Please vote to have them reduced to reflect the state of our economy and to be taxed on your generous allowances that we keep paying you.

Thank you.

Concerned citizen.

N:B- Please don’t stir ethnicity, encourage corruption and nepotism but be paragons of virtue, aspire to create equality and better management of our resources and if anything please do everything in your power to unite the people of this country. You have more airtime than I ever could gain, make it your duty to teach all and sundry to be citizens of the Universe and brother of mankind. It is behest on us to fight ravages of global warming and aggression between nations, I hope you are up to the task.

Open letter to christians

This needed to be said at some point and I think of no better way of saying it than this.

Let Reason Reign

Dear Christian,

Yes there they go again.  Some atheist (well, actually many times it’s not an atheist,but rather a Christian who understands that the separation of church and state protects him too) is complaining about a creche scene in front of a court house, or a prayer at a public high school graduation or football game or even a government meeting.  Or maybe it’s some sort of display or sign that’s pretty explicitly Christian or otherwise religious, on government property.

“Can’t they just get a life,” you might ask yourself.  Or maybe, “what’s wrong with that?”  or some variation thereof.

Well, some other time, maybe, I can try to explain that to you.  (Hint:  it isn’t an attack on your freedom to worship, but it does has to do with the fact that these are happening on government property, with government sponsorship.)

Right now I am more interested in…

View original post 2,324 more words

Epiricus letter to Menoeceus

Below is the whole transcript of a letter by the great thinker. All rights to The Internet Classics and translated by Translated by Robert Drew Hicks. It’s a long letter and I hope you find time to read it to the end.

Letter to Menoeceus 

By Epicurus 

Translated by Robert Drew Hicks

Greeting. 

Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search thereof when he is grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And to say that the season for studyingphilosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more. Therefore, both old and young ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. So we must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it. 

Those things which without ceasing I have declared to you, those do, and exercise yourself in those, holding them to be the elements of right life. First believe that God is a living being immortal and happy,according to the notion of a god indicated by the common sense of humankind; and so of him anything that is at agrees not with about him whatever may uphold both his happyness and his immortality. For truly there are gods, and knowledge of them is evident; but they are not such as the multitude believe, seeing that people do not steadfastly maintain the notions they form respecting them. Not the person who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious. For the utterances of the multitude about the gods are not true preconceptions but false assumptions; hence it is that the greatest evils happen to the wicked and the greatest blessings happen to the good from the hand of the gods, seeing that they are always favorable to their own good qualities and take pleasure in people like to themselves, but reject as alien whatever is not of their kind. 

Accustom yourself to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply awareness, and death is the privation of all awareness; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life an unlimited time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terror; for those who thoroughly apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live. Foolish, therefore, is the person who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer. But in the world, at one time people shun death as the greatest of all evils, and at another time choose it as a respite from the evils in life. The wise person does not deprecate life nor does he fear the cessation of life. The thought of life is no offense to him, nor is the cessation of life regarded as an evil. And even as people choose of food not merely and simply the larger portion, but the more pleasant, so the wise seek to enjoy the time which is most pleasant and not merely that which is longest. And he who admonishes the young to live well and the old to make a good end speaks foolishly, not merely because of the desirability of life, but because the same exercise at once teaches to live well and to die well. Much worse is he who says that it were good not to be born, but when once one is born to pass with all speed through the gates of Hades. For if he truly believes this, why does he not depart from life? It were easy for him to do so, if once he were firmly convinced. If he speaks only in mockery, his words are foolishness, for those who hear believe him not. 

We must remember that the future is neither wholly ours nor wholly not ours, so that neither must we count upon it as quite certain to come nor despair of it as quite certain not to come. 

We must also reflect that of desires some are natural, others are groundless; and that of the natural some are necessary as well as natural, and some natural only. And of the necessary desires some are necessary if we are to be happy, some if the body is to be rid of uneasiness, some if we are even to live. He who has a clear and certain understanding of these things will direct every preference and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquillity of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a happy life. For the end of all our actions is to be free from pain and fear, and, when once we have attained all this, the tempest of the soul is laid; seeing that the living creature has no need to go in search of something that is lacking, nor to look anything else by which the good of the soul and of the body will be fulfilled. When we are pained pleasure, then, and then only, do we feel the need of pleasure. For this reason we call pleasure the alpha and omega of a happy life. Pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting-point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing. And since pleasure is our first and native good, for that reason we do not choose every pleasure whatever, but often pass over many pleasures when a greater annoyance ensues from them. And often we consider pains superior to pleasures when submission to the pains for a long time brings us as a consequence a greater pleasure. While therefore all pleasure because it is naturally akin to us is good, not all pleasure is worthy of choice, just as all pain is an evil and yet not all pain is to be shunned. It is, however, by measuring one against another, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, teat all these matters must be judged. Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and the evil, on the contrary, as a good. Again, we regard. independence of outward things as a great good, not so as in all cases to use little, but so as to be contented with little if we have not much, being honestly persuaded that they have the sweetest enjoyment of luxury who stand least in need of it, and that whatever is natural is easily procured and only the vain and worthless hard to win. Plain fare gives as much pleasure as a costly diet, when one the pain of want has been removed, while bread an water confer the highest possible pleasure when they are brought to hungry lips. To habituate one’s se therefore, to simple and inexpensive diet supplies al that is needful for health, and enables a person to meet the necessary requirements of life without shrinking and it places us in a better condition when we approach at intervals a costly fare and renders us fearless of fortune. 

When we say, then, that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice, or willful misrepresentation. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of merrymaking, not sexual love, not the enjoyment of the fish and other delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life; it is sober reasoning, searching out the grounds of every choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest disturbances take possession of the soul. Of all this the d is prudence. For this reason prudence is a more precious thing even than the other virtues, for ad a life of pleasure which is not also a life of prudence, honor, and justice; nor lead a life of prudence, honor, and justice, which is not also a life of pleasure. For the virtues have grown into one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from them. 

Who, then, is superior in your judgment to such a person? He holds a holy belief concerning the gods, and is altogether free from the fear of death. He has diligently considered the end fixed by nature, and understands how easily the limit of good things can be reached and attained, and how either the duration or the intensity of evils is but slight. Destiny which some introduce as sovereign over all things, he laughs to scorn, affirming rather that some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency. For he sees that necessity destroys responsibility and that chance or fortune is inconstant; whereas our own actions are free, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach. It were better, indeed, to accept the legends of the gods than to bow beneath destiny which the natural philosophers have imposed. The one holds out some faint hope that we may escape if we honor the gods, while the necessity of the naturalists is deaf to all entreaties. Nor does he hold chance to be a god, as the world in general does, for in the acts of a god there is no disorder; nor to be a cause, though an uncertain one, for he believes that no good or evil is dispensed by chance to people so as to make life happy, though it supplies the starting-point of great good and great evil. He believes that the misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool. It is better, in short, that what is well judged in action should not owe its successful issue to the aid of chance. 

Exercise yourself in these and kindred precepts day and night, both by yourself and with him who is like to you; then never, either in waking or in dream, will you be disturbed, but will live as a god amongpeople. For people lose all appearance of mortality by living in the midst of immortal blessings. 

THE END