Saturday, June 30, 2007

Piano tales

My first piano lesson this morning. My teacher, Suzanne, was playing one of Bach's preludes and fugues as I arrived - a most encouraging start. My take-away assignment after the lesson is to work on articulation (legato, etc), dynamics (piano, forte) and balance between left and right hands (accompaniment, melody). Also scales.

Alex reports that he has accepted a job offer from Accenture Technology which will see him leaving LogicaCMG. Seems like he’s getting a good salary increase too. These are troubled times at Logica so it sounds like a good career move.

I just finished Dawkin’s The God Delusion. It’s a brilliantly well-written book which had me laughing out loud on several occasions. I can never resist the well-aimed sardonic barb skewering stupidity and nonsense. I rather lack the energy right now to write any kind of formal review. However, to avoid accusations of complete uncriticality, he could have made more of the following point.

Putting aside all the hypocrites, child abusers and parasites, there are men and women of religion who are genuinely wise, caring, humble - anchors to their communities. If religion is not to provide a social framework for such roles to exist, then what is the mechanism to replace it? A secular order of humanist nuns and monks? It would be good to hear whether Dawkins thinks this is possible. Recall there were a number of proposals around the end of the nineteenth century to invent secular ‘religions’ as vehicles for humanist ethical and altruistic praxis. Where did they go in the Darwinian clash of ideas and social organisms?

The other point is that his final paean to the scientific world view is curiously flat and uninteresting as compared to all the preceding repartee. I wonder why that is?

Having said that, I have now come round to the view that what Dawkins has written about here needs to be said, and needs to be read. He’s a brave guy and it would be great if politicians were brave enough to put The God Delusion on the national school curriculum to start ‘our kids’ off properly.