Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

Political Views, Private and State schools, and Facebook friends

Having read Hadleigh Roberts blog : Experiment: Private school and Political Views I thought I’d try the same thing out with my own Facebook friends.

That is to say I’m examining which of my Facebook friends own up to which political persuasions (evidenced by their Facebook info), and whether it has anything to do with whether they went to a state school or a private school.

Hadleigh Roberts found an overwhelming majority placed nothing in the field for politics. Whilst the majority of those who did put something described themselves as Conservatives (and most of them went to Independent schools).

Well I also looked at religion to see what cropped up – here’s what I found :

First of all we need to take some things into account.

  • I don’t really keep up to my account – I prefer twitter – many of my “friends” are actually relatives and friends of my children
  • Many of my “friends” are therefore under 18 (as friends of my children) – technically not allowed a Facebook account, and not allowed to vote – but interesting nonetheless.
  • An embarrassingly large number of my ‘friends’ are actually fictitious. Created by my daughter as a means of building up credit in some online game. However she found managing the lives of these people more interesting than the game and has created bizarred public school personas for each of them – however none are interested in religion or politics.

Here’s how the make up of my friends looks :


and without the youngsters :


Not many independent schoolers, especially among my kids’ friends – they’ve lost touch already with the ones who are at private schools – hence they’re not on their Facebook list.

And heres what they all think – first with respect to politics :


Well there’s only one blindingly obvious thing there – most people don’t give a stuff – or aren’t telling – Labour and Conservative neck and neck behind the Joke party (people who put supposedly funny comments).

It looks very slightly different taking the under 18s out :


Labour now get a slightly higher rating – and there’s clearly a left wing bias amongst those cat owners who expressed a preference – but more than 8 out of 10 didn’t. Hmm. Interesting also that there are at least 3 Labour party members in there that didn’t put down Labour as their politics. One also that is a well known Labour activist who didn’t either – but I put them down as Labour as their Facebook page is overwhelmingly dominated by Labour politics.

Next we come to religion :


and for the older age group :


and again it’s pretty much apathy rules again – which pleases me to a degree. I’m surprised that Christianity still holds up – especially when including the youngsters, and perhaps not so surprised that quite a few people think of religion as a joke – I included Pastafarians and several Jedi amongst the Joke category.

What does all this tell us then ?

Well sod all I guess – above all it tells us that people are more interested in Farmville than politics and religion, and I suppose that the corollary must be that the election campaign will be pretty much a lottery when it all boils down to it.

So draw your conclusions – in fact try it with your own Facebook friends, and see what you get !

December 13, 2009 Posted by | education, idle banter, politics | , , | 3 Comments

Incremental Creation

I saw this post  Who goes to a creationist museum on the BBC website today.

I never cease to be amazed by the (mostly American) controversy between Fundamentalist Christians and Darwin “fans”.

It all seems such a complete set of crumby arguments. On the one hand you have the Christians saying that it totally negates their religion, and claiming that there is no evidence to support evolution, whilst adhering to an alternative explanation that is evidenced only by the fact that it’s written in a book (the Book of Genesis to be more precise).

On the other hand the Darwinites proclaim his theory of evolution as categoric proof of God’s non existence, and of the power of science to explain the origins of mankind.

Well my humble opinion is that both positions are way off the mark.

First of all, science rarely proves anything. Darwin’s theories are just that – theories – as he intended them to be – they prove nothing, but suggest a plausible explanation for the origins of different species. Very plausible I would suggest, in fact I’d go so far as saying that I believe his theories to be true.

That doesn’t mean they are true though – but there’s plenty of evidence that suggests this. The most striking example to me, is the way in which doorways built into houses constructed in the Elizabethan period or earlier, are generally only slightly over 5ft (150 cm) tall. Which is a lot smaller than the average person today. Todays doorways tend to be at least 6ft (180cm)  tall or more How did we grow another foot in a few hundred years ? I know what I think ! There is plenty more evidence – look it up.

Still doesn’t prove Darwin right though. Nor does it prove the creationists right either. In fact there’s very little evidence to support the creationist position unless you accept that the scriptures are God’s divine message to humanity. In other words a matter of faith. If you have faith it must be true.

I don’t though – and that’s a circular argument that disappears up it’s own backside.

What nobody ever seems to suggest though is that evolution could be the work of God.

Blasphemy ! I hear the Christians scream.

I’m an atheist/agnostic and don’t really have a lot of time for Christianity – or any other religion for that matter, but if Darwin’s theories on evolution are correct, and I believe they may well be, (and also the science of genetics stemming from the work of Gregor Mendel who gets far few mentions than Darwin), then they offer a very neat – even beautiful – explanation for the develeopment of all life on the planet.

To me this is the best argument yet for the existence of a Divine Creator.

If the Christians were saying to me “Evolution is God’s instrument by which he created Mankind, and all Life on Earth, how could such a method of natural selection occur without the intelligent design of the supreme being ?” – I’d have to admit I’d find it hard to counter that argument.

They don’t though they just say it’s not true because the Bible says so. So I have a while to think my way around that one.

If you’re wondering about the title – some years ago I submitted my dissertation for a Masters degree having worked collaboratively with two other colleagues on a research project. Part of my submission included a Summary of the research for distribution in the school where I worked, which I had drafted and which contained the expression “It seems clear that the use of Information Technology will evolve rapidly in school … ” .

One of my colleagues though was an evangelical Christian, and we spent some time arguing about the paper before finally agreeing the wording   “… will be incrementally created … ”

He was a good friend though whatever his religion.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | 2 Comments


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