In Memory Of Ann Lovett

Thirty years ago today, a 15 year old girl died giving birth alone in a grotto beneath a statue to the Virgin Mary. The scandal shocked conservative Ireland and cast light on a darker side of Ireland. An Ireland where to be unmarried and pregnant was a deep shame to be kept hidden. An Ireland where girls were forced to keep children they didn’t want and couldn’t raise. An Ireland where the judgement of the Church was to be feared. An Ireland where narrow minded dogma was held above the suffering of women. An Ireland where Mary was no protection for many girls abandoned and neglected by society. Continue reading “In Memory Of Ann Lovett”

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An Idea For Political Reform

If you were to ask people what the biggest problem with politics and politicians are, excessive pay and expenses would surely be near the top of the list (though it would be a long list). However, rather than the usual moan and rant about greedy politicians, I’ll take a shot at coming up with an idea on how to solve the problem. Politicians need to be paid but still remain in touch with ordinary people, so here’s how I think we can reform the system. Continue reading “An Idea For Political Reform”

Did Jesus Fulfil The Messianic Prophesises?

At the core of Christianity is the belief that Jesus is the Messiah who was prophesised would come and save the people of Israel and the world. Christian’s claim that Jesus fulfilled many prophesies in his life and proved in this way that he was the saviour. There are claimed to be hundreds of fulfilled prophesies proving Jesus was the Messiah, so how do these claims stand up? Continue reading “Did Jesus Fulfil The Messianic Prophesises?”

Were The Biblical Prophecies Fulfilled?

A common argument made by Christians is that the Bible contains prophecies that it would be impossible for any ordinary human to know and must have come from God. These claimed fulfilled prophesises are supposedly undeniable proof that the Bible is the word of God.

“Unique among all books ever written, the Bible accurately foretells specific events-in detail-many years, sometimes centuries, before they occur. Approximately 2500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors.”

This is seen as irrefutable proof in the truth of the Bible and of God and it is claimed that “the odds for all these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance without error is less than one in 102000” (there is no explanation of the maths behind the number and seems to be entirely guesswork.) Continue reading “Were The Biblical Prophecies Fulfilled?”

Ireland Is Not An Example Of Expansionary Austerity

Europe is in the grip of austerity fever where all governments are convinced that reducing the budget deficit must be their main priority. However, despite the strong consensus, little thought has been given to whether or not it will work. Some economists have proposed that austerity could improve the economy if businesses and consumers believe are impressed by the government’s action and begin spending of their own. This is called “expansionary austerity” or “expansionary fiscal contraction”. Subsequent research has discredited all examples of expansionary austerity, with Ireland in 1987 being the only exception. But Ireland is no poster child for austerity, but just another example of the harm it does. Continue reading “Ireland Is Not An Example Of Expansionary Austerity”

Jesus And The Null Hypothesis

When trying to determine whether something is true or not, it is common in statistics to run two tests. One if it is true and if it is not (called the null hypothesis). I think it would be useful to examine the life of Jesus using this approach. I’ll take two possible hypotheses, one that Jesus was the Son of God and God in human form, performed miracles and rose from the dead in the standard Christian view. The null hypothesis is that Jesus was just an ordinary teacher with no superhuman powers. I think that a lot can be gained from comparing the two hypotheses and seeing which is the more plausible. Continue reading “Jesus And The Null Hypothesis”

Do People Really Have Inflation Expectations?

A common feature of macroeconomics is to run models assuming that individuals in the economy have inflation expectations. This flows naturally from assuming that they have rational expectations (can accurately predict the future and fully understand how the economy works). The standard reason for why we need inflation expectations is that during the 70s the government tried to trade off low unemployment in exchange for higher inflation. However, (so the story goes) people got wise to this trick and began to expect higher inflation and demand higher wages to compensate. As a result, government policy lost its effect and unemployment rose. Since then, economic modelling and discussions of unemployment and inflation must contain some provision for what consumers expect inflation to be. Continue reading “Do People Really Have Inflation Expectations?”