The Science of Atheism

first_imgScience news sites have recently included some unusual articles: reports about the science of atheism.  What can scientists say about atheism without leaving the domain of science altogether? The science of distrust:  PhysOrg reported a study from the University of British Columbia about why believers distrust atheists.  A sense of the feelings of the researchers can be seen in their title of their paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology – “Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust is Central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice.”  Surveys of 350 American adults and 420 students found that atheists ranked lower in trustworthiness than Christians, Jews, Muslims, gay men and feminists – only rapists ranked comparably low.  “The researchers concluded that religious believer’s distrust – rather than dislike or disgust – was the central motivator of prejudice against atheists, adding that these studies offer important clues on how to combat this prejudice,” the article stated, mentioning also a Gallup poll that showed only 45% of Americans would vote for an atheist president.  If it’s a prejudice, it cannot be a well-thought-out position, can it?  Study co-author Ara Norenzayan said, “believers may consider atheists’ absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty.” Christmas for atheists:  They may feel it grounded in folly, but many atheists still celebrate Christmas.  Science Daily reported on a study by some researchers in Texas and New York why that is.  Some do it because they want to expose their children to a variety of belief systems, including religion.  Some do it to please a spouse.  Some do it because they “want a sense of moral community and behavior, even if they don’t agree with the religious reasoning.”  Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, principal investigator for the paper published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (Dec. 2011), wanted to show that atheists do not typically indoctrinate their children one way or another.  “I think that understanding how nonreligious scientists utilize religion in family life demonstrates the important function they have in the U.S.,” she said. Stephanie Pappias at Live Science elaborated on the study.  “They may not find much meaning in the birth of Jesus Christ, but many atheists embrace religious traditions such as churchgoing for the sake of the children,” she wrote.  A survey of 275 participants from science faculty at 21 elite research universities found that 17% of atheists attend a religious service more than once a year, for “social and personal reasons.”  In fact, according to Pappias, 20% of atheists consider themselves “spiritual” in some sense, if not outwardly religious. The neurology of religion:  In another Live Science article, “Life’s Extremes: Atheists vs. Believers,” Adam Hadhazy explored what makes religion appealing to so many.  He looked to neuroscience and to evolution for answers.  The fact that religion has been so pervasive in human society since antiquity leads Andrew Newburg, author of a book How God Changes Your Brain to view religion as adaptive or serendipitous.  “This fact has led some researchers to suggest that a tendency toward religion is ‘built’ into our brains, perhaps as a byproduct of the development of complex cognitive abilities,” Hadhazy summarized. Hadhazy included a chart of religious belief, and then discussed how only a small percentage (around 1%) self-identify as atheists, and another small sliver (1-2%) call themselves agnostics among the religiously unaffiliated.  Then he considered “religious zealots.”  Among those are the 53% of churchgoers who believe the Bible literally, oppose homosexuality and abortion.  The “most zealous of the zealous” turn to violence, he said, implying a matter of degree, not of definition.  “To an extent, atheists and enthusiastic believers are products of their environment, so to speak,” but he didn’t speak to what extent, except in broad terms about “regional cultures” such as the Bible belt. If the most important point is usually saved for last, then Hadhazy’s emphasis was saved for his last sub-heading, “Religion and lack thereof in the brain.”  Here, he offered equal opportunity predestination: “Beyond regional influences, brain conditioning may also move an individual out of the mainstream of mild and moderate religiosity into atheism or zealotry.”  That final distinction, “atheism or zealotry,” seems instructive into his own bias.  Cannot atheists be zealots? The discussion degenerated into talk of a “god gene” and other such genetic predispositions to belief: “For both non-religious and religious people, then, reinforcement of a set of beliefs modifies the brain to accept information supportive of that system and reject information that goes against it.”  Hadhazy did not discuss whether similar reinforcement might predispose one to scientism. Who should analyze whom?  These reporters make a number of slips that reveal their bias.  For one, they speak of distrust of atheism as “prejudice.”  Uninformed conviction is the definition of prejudice.  What if the distrust is informed?  It might be informed, for instance, by knowledge of history.  One only need look back at the 20th century, where bloodbaths followed in the wake of tyrannical atheist regimes.  The French Revolution was another horror story that might engender a modicum of distrust.  One might also learn distrust by logical thinking.  With no ground for morals, can atheists be trusted? Another bias is where Hadhazy contrasted atheism and zealotry – the either-or fallacy in action.  To anyone who thinks, atheists can be zealots, and sincere believers can be rather passive and easygoing about their faith.  He draws a wrong contrast.  Similarly, Ecklund showed bias by wanting to rehabilitate the atheists’ “important function” in society.  Hadhazy spoke of regional and cultural conditioning without considering all the causes.  That’s poor science.  Maybe the so-called Bible Belt and other regions exists and maintains itself for reasons apart from cultural conditioning.  It might be because of the laws, educational standards, shared norms that are well reasoned, purposeful migration, better contact with nature, and other reasons that have nothing to do with indoctrination. The worst bias, though, is thinking that science can analyze religion or atheism at all.  Other than surveying, what can science do?  Science is supposed to measure, theorize, explain, predict and falsify.  Only measurement applies to studies like this.  Even then, the measurements are likely to be flawed by surveyor bias, respondent bias, question bias, and sample bias.  The Rice study, for instance, was conducted on university faculty.  What reliable conclusions can be drawn from such an ingrown sample population?  Besides, human minds are too complex to give reliable answers to questions as deep as religion or atheism.  An atheist may feel adamant one day, then acquiescent the next after his wife takes him to a Christmas concert.  A Christian or Muslim or Jew may give different emphasis to his or her answers on Wednesday than on the weekend.  Some may simply lie on surveys regarding such a sensitive topic.  How would you answer a question like, “Do you consider yourself a religious zealot?” As we have reminded repeatedly, the psychologists and researchers who worked on these surveys could not even do anything without presupposing the validity of the Judeo-Christian worldview.  Only that worldview provides the grounds for honesty, integrity and belief in eternal truth and laws of logic.  Without that ground of understanding, researchers are left with a self-refuting position.  They argue that the mind and brain and human evolution in a mythical prehistory preconditioned us to certain beliefs, but fail to realize that the same argument applies to them: it preconditioned their belief that science provides answers. The researchers had to assume the validity of Christianity, therefore, in spite of themselves.  A corollary of this proposition is that preachers should analyze scientists, and not vice versa.  If a researcher wants to understand the causes of atheism and belief, let them learn to distrust their own understanding, and trust the word of the living God (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 1, Psalm 14, Matthew 24:27-29, John 1:1-18, John 3:16-20, Romans 1:16-23).  Science seeks knowledge.  Let it come to the fountainhead. Footnote:  We welcome atheists to read our articles and commentaries, provided they have an open mind.  Some atheists are zealots, but not all.  Some just have unanswered questions.  If you are one who is really seeking truth, and are open to ideas outside your normal beliefs, we urge you to re-read those last two paragraphs and think about them (for independent corroboration, see what Raymond Tallis said on the Wall Street Journal about the inability to account for the human mind from molecules alone).  Can you find the ground of truth, knowledge and explanation in atheism?  Can an evolving universe of particles provide any explanation for anything that can survive a constantly evolving environment?  If the answer is no, then read those Bible references thoughtfully and consider their application to your worldview.(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Birds Go Splat on Evolutionary Theories

first_imgA flock of surprising traits of birds has dropped a load on simplistic notions of evolution.Birds evolved from apes:  How else can one explain the fact that “Crows join human, apes and monkeys in exhibiting advanced relational thinking“? (PhysOrg). A paper in Current Biology finds, “Such robust and uninstructed relational matching behavior represents the most convincing evidence yet of analogical reasoning in a nonprimate species” that is comparable to that of apes.  The scientists speculate that the findings are “perhaps representing a case of convergent evolution” of brain structures, but that’s all they want to speculate about how this “remarkable” capability that “excelled” at a task might have evolved:Just how that remarkable transfer is accomplished represents an intriguing matter for future study. Nor are we claiming that crows will prove to be the only nonprimate animals that are capable of exhibiting such spontaneous relational matching behavior. Future research must be undertaken in which different species are given comparable pretraining experience to our crows. Until such systematic comparative research is conducted, it would be premature to offer speculative evolutionary accounts as to why crows appear to have excelled in solving this challenging cognitive task.“Crows are smarter than you think,” says a press release from the University of Iowa; they “join humans, apes, and monkeys in exhibiting advanced relational thinking.”Birds forecast tornadoes:  Why did a flock of golden-winged warblers evacuate days before a devastating storm system hit Tennessee?  Could they hear it coming in low-frequency vibrations?  A population biologist from the University of Minnesota was “blown away” by this hypothesis, which has never before been documented in birds, says National Geographic.  “It shows that the birds can do more than we give them credit for.”  Sensing distant tornadoes sweeping across the Great Plains, the birds flew the coop from their traditional nesting grounds.  PhysOrg says that infrasound may be the birds’ “early warning system.”  The storms in April spun off 84 tornadoes and killed 35 people.  When the storms retreated, the birds came back, having flown 900 miles round trip for safety.  “We thought the birds were just hunkering down,” the biologist said.  “It never occurred to me that they might have evacuated.”  Science Daily found a way to insert the phrase “climate change” into the story.A boy is a rat is a cockroach is a bird:  A story on PhysOrg has this long headline: “Brain structures devoted to learning, memory highly conserved in animal kingdom, suggesting common evolutionary origin.” The article says that insects, birds, and humans all have common features in the way memory is organized, according to a survey by neuroscientists at the University of Arizona. Actually, this is not expected in evolutionary theory; any common ancestor of such widely divergent animals must have been much simpler, Darwin would say. “The correspondence across disparate groups of animals is extraordinary,” one of them said. “It’s almost too good to be true.”Hold your feathers, dino:  There was a bit of a flap in Science Magazine this week about feather origins.  Gerald Mayr, a museum official in Frankfurt, disputes an October 2014 paper that claimed feathers evolved first for display on dinosaurs.  “Hypotheses for their evolution in a nonaerodynamic context are therefore not only evolutionarily implausible but also not necessary to explain their origin,” he argues; feathers are for flying.  The German authors of the original paper defended their claim point by point.  “We emphasize that feathers did not ‘evolve for’ something; rather, their fortuitous [i.e., chance] appearance was associated with a selective advantage, which resulted in their retention.”  None of them explained how powered flight evolved in any detailed Darwinian way.  Interestingly, both appealed to Ken Dial’s 2003 WAIR hypothesis for the origin of flight (see 6/25/14).  If a better theory came about in the past 11 years, one would think they would cite it instead.Update 12/19/14: Birds build snow tunnels for fun:  New Scientist asks why redpolls in Maine dig long tunnels under the snow, but suggests it might just be like play in the winter wonderland for them.  When one starts, others join the fun.  Perhaps it insulates them from the cold outside, too, but the two purposes are not incompatible.Do you notice something tricky about evolutionary theory?—almost, one might say, magical?  Traits just “appear,” then Darwin comes in to “select” them.  In this case, advanced relational thinking appeared in crows.  Infrasound processing appeared in warblers.  Brain structures appeared in insects, birds and mammals.  Feathers made “their fortuitous appearance” in dinosaurs.  No explanation is given for their sudden, dramatic appearance out of the darkness, but then Darwin takes credit.  See our 8/24/07 commentary for the double entendre in the phrase, “evolution takes credit.” (Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Is the SABC promoting social cohesion?

first_imgThe SABC’s role in promoting social cohesion and non-racialism was explored at a seminar in Johannesburg.Bessie Tugwana, acting chief operating officer at the SABC, speaks at a seminar exploring the public broadcaster’s role. (Image: Priya Pitamber)Priya PitamberThe South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was there to serve its people, said the acting chief operating officer, Bessie Tugwana. This was one of the messages that came out of a seminar on the SABC’s Role in Promoting Social Cohesion.The event was hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism. Alongside Tugwana, other panellists included Emeritus Professor Pieter Fourie, a research fellow in the department of communication science at the University of South Africa, and Dr Caryn Abrahams from the Wits School of Governance.Sound policyFourie opened the discussion by commending the Broadcasting Act of the 1990s. “These policies were state of the art, especially coming out of apartheid,” he said.The seminar took place in Johannesburg on 29 August.If the SABC would stick to its policy, said Fourie, there should not be any problems. He described the current issues facing the broadcaster as systematic and structural, referring to the SABC’s financial situation and leadership crisis.But he said the broadcaster was doing a good job of promoting non-racialism and upholding journalistic professionalism. “I can still tune in to a news bulletin every night on TV, and radio shows.”Fourie: As a user of the SABC despite issues, still doing good. #ReportingRace— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) August 29, 2017However, the SABC needed to justify its privileged position and adapt to a new media environment, he said. “Network communication is about interactivity, and it plays a bigger role. The SABC needs to take that into consideration.”In agreementAbrahams agreed that the broadcaster helped to build a cohesive society and promote a national identity.– @carynabe says SABC does create a sense of social cohesion, based on govt definition of social cohesion. #ReportingRace— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) August 29, 2017“The SABC has done well in terms of language inclusion,” she said, using the example of Takalane Sesame.– @carynabe – in terms of programming, esp language inclusion, SABC does quite well. #ReportingRace— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) August 29, 2017Showing the audience an SABC advertisement from the 1990s, where the script was flipped between black and white people in South Africa, she said the SABC provided South Africans with a platform to discuss race.See the ad:Tugwana admitted that the SABC was not where it wanted to be, but pointed out that public broadcasting was essential. “[It] has to be the eyes and ears of the nation. Public broadcasting has to reflect what is, and not change it. That is the challenge.”South Africa’s democracy still needed to be nurtured because it was so young. “Therein lies the role of the public broadcaster.”Responding to Fourie’s comment about the new media environment, she said the organisation was looking into how it could enhance what was already done, even in the social media space.The SABC was also about promoting languages, she said, picking up on comments from Abrahams.“We see languages being eroded, but a language is an integral part of your being. When you lose it, you lose your essence.“When you talk in your language, you are more confident and you are free to engage in dialogue.”Accountability and credibilityTugwana said the public broadcaster had a calling, a unique role, but agreed that it had lost credibility. “We started to rebuild it through engagement. The SABC is currently engaging the nation on the review of its editorial policies.“We at the SABC need to earn the respect of the nation.”Tugwana – we (SABC) need to go back to people to ask them what they want to hear and see. #ReportingRace— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) August 29, 2017Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

DAY THREE RESULTS- OPENS & 20’S

first_imgAll draws, results, ladders and statistics can also be viewed at the TFA Sporting Pulse website which can be accessed using this link: TFA SPORTING PULSE WEBSITEThe action heats up on day three of the 2006 NTL in Coffs Harbour as the teams battle for quarter final rankings and positions…this afternoon will be crucial in who takes a place in tomorrow’s semis and grand finals. Keep your eyes on the website for all the results from the 2006 National Touch League. All draws, results, ladders and statistics can also be viewed at the TFA Sporting Pulse website which can be accessed using this link: TFA SPORTING PULSE WEBSITEDay Three:8:30amMens 20’s: Suns (12) def ACT (2)Mens 20’s: Hornets (7) def Barbarians (2)Mens 20’s: Eagles (7) def Crusaders (1)Mens Open: Crusaders (8) def Eagles (3)Mens Open: Rustlers (11) def Hornets (5)Mens Open: Suns (5) def Scorpions (3)Mixed Open: Suns (10) def Rebels (0)Suns took their position at the top of Pool B in the Mens Open division this morning, with a 5-3 win over Scorpions. Suns proved too good for ACT in the Mens 20’s division, and in Mixed Open the Suns thrashed the Rebels 10-0.9:20amMixed Open: Cobras (7) def Sharks (6)Mens 20’s: Rustlers (6) def Cobras (2)Mens 20’s: Sharks (7) def Cyclones (4)Womens Open: Sharks (5) def Rustlers (1)Womens Open: Eagles (7) drew Scorpions (7)Womens Open: Cobras (7) def Hornets (3)Mixed Open: Barbarians (5) drew Cyclones (5)Cobras cemented themselves as a team to watch in the finals of the Mixed Open, beating 2005 Runners-up, the Sharks 7-6.The Mens 20s saw Sharks and Rustlers both have impressive wins. Sharks beat Cyclones, 7-4 and Cobras beat Hornets, 7-3.An improving Scorpions side drew with Eagles, 7-7 in Womens Open and the Sharks recorded yet another win over the Rustlers.10:10amWomens 20’s: Sharks (12) def Rebels (1)Womens 20’s: Cobras (11) def Crusaders (2)Womens 20’s: Cyclones (15) def Scorpions (0)Womens 20’s: ACT (10) def Rustlers (3)Womens 20’s: Mets (7) def Eagles (3)Womens 20’s: Suns (7) def Hornets (2)Mixed Open: Mets (10) def Rustlers (5)In the Womens 20’s division, Sharks and ACT continue to dominate their opposition with Sharks beating Rebels, 12-1 and ACT beating Rustlers, 10-3.In the same division, Cyclones are also a team to watch, after thrashing Scorpions, 15-0.In the Mixed Opens, Mets defeated Rustlers 10-5.11:00amMens Open: Mets (5) def Cobras (3)Mens Open: Sharks (12) def ACT (2)Mens Open: Rebels (6) def Cyclones (4)Womens Open: ACT (6) def Crusaders (5)Womens Open: Barbarians (12) def Cyclones (5)Womens Open: Mets (9) def Suns (2)A great game of Touch was played on field one this morning in the Mens Open division with Mets beating Cobras, 5-3.Also in Mens Open, Sharks outclassed ACT with a 12-2 win and Rebels beat Cyclones, 6-4.Mets were too good for Suns in the Womens Open, winning 9-2, ACT won a tight game against Crusaders, 6-5 and Barbarians are still looking promising after beating Cyclones, 12-5.11:50amMens Open: Scorpions (13) def Crusaders (1)Mens Open: Rustlers (4) def Suns (3)Mens Open: Barbarians (11) def Eagles (0)Womens Open: Sharks (9) def Hornets (4)Womens Open: Rebels (6) def Eagles (4)Womens Open: Cobras (6) def Scorpions (1)The Mens Open division is one of the closest in NTL history, with Rustlers defeat of Suns, 4-3 making the competition even more interesting. Sharks are still performing well in the Womens Open division after a 9-4 victory over Hornets. A good game was also played out on field five, with Rebels beating Eagles 6-4.12:40pmMens 20’s: Cobras (6) def Sharks (3)Mens 20’s: Suns (10) def Hornets (5)Mens 20’s: Eagles (7) def Cyclones (2)Mixed Open: Rebels (8) def Cyclones (4)Mixed Open: Rustlers (9) def Barbarians (2)Cobras created an upset in the Mens 20’s division, defeating Sharks 6-3 in a great match on field one. Eagles are still leading their pool, after a 7-2 win over the Cyclones.In the Mixed Open, Rustlers are doing their best trying to stay in the top half of the ladder, with a 9-2 win over Barbarians.1:30pmMens 20’s: Crusaders (6) def Barbarians (3)Mens 20’s: Mets (8) def ACT (0)Mixed Open: Mets (6) def Cobras (5)Mixed Open: Sharks (10) def Scorpions (8)The Mixed Open race remains tight with Sharks beating Scorpions, 10-8.Mets also had a close game with Cobras, eventually coming out on top, 6-5.In Mens 20’s, ACT had a disappointing, 8-0 loss to Mets, while Crusaders beat Barbarians, 6-3.2:20pmWomens 20’s Champ QF1: Cobras (6) def Hornets (1)Womens 20’s Champ QF2: Suns (6) def Mets (0)Womens 20’s Plate QF1: Cyclones (6) def Crusaders (3)Womens 20’s Plate QF2: Rustlers (14) def Scorpions (0)After the first quarter finals of the tournament, Cobras had a 6-1 win over the Hornets, in Womens 20’s which puts them through to a semi-final with ACT.Also in Womens 20’s, Suns beat Mets 6-0, putting them into a semi-final tomorrow with Sharks.3:20pmMens Champ QF1: Sharks (4) def Rustlers (3)Mens Champ QF2: Suns (5) def Cobras (4)Mens Plate QF1: ACT (6) def Crusaders (2)Womens Plate P/O: Cyclones (3) def Eagles (1)Mens Plate P/O: Rebels def Eagles*forfeitAfter an action packed match on field one, Sharks defeated Rustler, 4-3 in the Mens Open division, setting up Sharks for a semi-final against Scorpions.The Suns and Cobras game was also a thriller in the Mens Open division, with Suns eventual winners, 5-4. They will now play Mets tomorrow in the semi-finals.4:20pmWomens Champ QF1: Suns (3) def Rustlers (1)Womens Champ QF2: Barbarians (9) def Cobras (4)Womens Plate QF1: Crusaders (5) def Rebels (1)Mens 20’s: Suns (6) def Cyclones (3)Mens 20’s: Rustlers (5) def Sharks (3)Mens 20’s: Cobras (11) def Crusaders (2)The Barbarians have caused an upset in the Womens Open quarter finals, defeating Cobras, 9-4. It is the first time in seven years that the Cobras Women do not appear in the Opens grand final. Barbarians will now take on Mets tomorrow morning.The Suns had a good victory over the Rustlers, they fought hard to win 3-1. They will now play Sharks in the semi-final.In the Mens 20’s, Rustlers caused an upset by defeating Sharks, 5-3.Suns and Cobras will also go into the quarter finals confident after convincing wins this afternoon.5:20pmMixed Open: Sharks (13) def Rebels (2)Mixed Open: Cobras (13) def Barbarians (0)Mixed Open: Scorpions (5) def Rustlers (1)Mixed Open: Suns (5) def Cyclones (0)Mens 20’s: Eagles (11) def Mets (7)Sharks finished their round games with class in the Mixed Open with a 13-2 win over Rebels.In what was one of the most exciting, skillful and heated games of the tournament, Eagles defeated Mets 11-7 finishing of the round games for the tournament.6:20pmWomens Plate QF2: Scorpions v W/P/P/OMens Plate QF2: Barbarians v W/P/P/Olast_img read more

17 days ago​Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi delighted with early season form

first_img​Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi delighted with early season formby Ansser Sadiq17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi admits that he was fearing for his career after suffering an Achilles injury last term.The 18-year-old was missing for the back end of last season after the horrific injury.However, he has found his way back to fitness and is already shining for the first team under Frank Lampard with three assists and a goal in four matches.He told Sky Sports News: “It’s an amazing feeling.”I was out for three to four months and it was crazy to even get the injury in the first place. It’s something I had to deal with mentally because I’d never experienced an injury like that before.”I’m really delighted with the way I’ve come back. I didn’t expect to get this many assists and to contribute with a goal as well. Hopefully I’ll keep improving and adding goals to my game.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

14 days agoSouthgate knew Chelsea star Mount would play for England at 16

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Southgate knew Chelsea star Mount would play for England at 16by Freddie Taylor14 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveEngland boss Gareth Southgate says that he knew Mason Mount would be a star for the national team when he was only 16.The Chelsea midfielder is set to get his first start in their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.Mount will be in the team against the Czech Republic. And Southgate spoke about when he first saw Mount play several years ago.When asked what he thought about Mount after training him for a few days, England boss Southgate told reporters: “Exactly what I thought of him when I saw him at 16 playing for our U16s, he’s a quality player, an intelligent footballer, presses well, has a real eye for goal, good quality.”So, nothing I’ve seen surprises me at all. We’ve had him marked as a player from the first time I saw him at St. George’s [Park].”Chelsea would be the same on that, I think, but of course he’s now been able to have the opportunity to play in the Premier League and display that against top teams.”I think you saw his penalty in the Super Cup, [that] was a nice cameo of what he’s about, really.” last_img read more

As shorts land on tour some fashion dos and donts for the

first_imgOTTAWA – The PGA of America gave its blessing to letting players wear shorts during the practice rounds for this week’s PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. Players cheered the decision, which observers say will help to bring the professional game more in line with its recreational cousin.That said, there are still a number of fairway faux-pas that the average weekend golfer would be well-advised to avoid. Here are five things to consider from Stittsville, Ont., golf-fashion blogger Mike McAllister (@chapeaunoirgolf):1. Are white belts still cool? Unless your name is Anthony Kim (remember him?!) and it’s 2008, no — regardless of what you see on tour.2. Do I have to tuck in my shirt? Grudgingly, there seems to be a growing acceptance of the untucked look. However, if you’ve accepted your future father-in-law’s invite to his private club, keep it tucked. And yes, you should still take your hat off when you enter a room.3. What about pleated pants? Please, no. They don’t make you look slimmer. Sorry.4. What about joggers, hightops, and racerbacks? More modern, athletic-looking attire is making a splash on professional tours, and why not? Despite its stuffy image, golf has always drawn inspiration from mainstream fashion trends for on-course inspiration.5. Don’t get hung up on golf-specific brands. You’d be surprised what you can do with a pair of five-pocket stretch chinos from H&M and a JoeFresh polo. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on traditional golf garb.— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @froghairgolflast_img read more

RBC fires head of US capital markets over workplace relationship

first_imgTORONTO ONTARIO, – The Royal Bank of Canada has fired the head of its U.S. capital markets division for violating its policies about relationships with fellow employees.“Blair Fleming did not comply with our disclosure and conflict of interest policies relating to workplace relationships,” spokeswoman Gillian McArdle wrote in an email.“When the matter was brought forward, we investigated and acted promptly.”Fleming was the American CEO of RBC Capital Markets and US head of investment banking and oversaw all the division’s businesses in the U.S., says his LinkedIn page.Fleming, 56, began his career with Royal Bank in 1986 in London, Ont., and moved to New York City in 2009, where he and his wife live with their four daughters.The announcement of Fleming’s departure earlier in the week generated employee questions, Douglas McGregor, the bank’s group head of capital markets, said in an employee memo.“We want to be clear that inappropriate behaviour at RBC is unacceptable and in breach of our Code of Conduct and Respectful Workplace Policies,” he wrote.“RBC is committed to maintaining a professional workplace. It is only by acting with integrity that we can continue to build the trust of our people, clients, and the community.”In its 20-page code of conduct, the bank says working relationships could cause conflicts of interest if they can “favourably impact compensation, work conditions or promotion prospects of a close friend or family member.”It says there is no substitute for good judgment and common sense and says employees should speak to a manager if they have doubts about a relationship.The policy also says employees have a responsibility to speak up if they witness or experience inappropriate behaviour. They can raise it with their manager or through the bank’s confidential human resources resolution hotline.Global responsibility for investment banking is being assumed by Derek Neldner, head of Canadian and Asia Pacific investment banking.Jim Wolfe, head of leveraged finance, and Matthew Stopnik, co-head of financial sponsors, have been appointed co-heads of U.S. Investment Banking.Companies in this story: (TSX:RY)last_img read more

Dawson Creek to get curbside recycling

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Dawson Creek city council voted in favour of awarding the contract for the City’s new curbside recycling program, which will be rolled out this fall.Chief Administrative Officer Duncan Redfearn said that the possibility of Dawson Creek getting curbside recycling collection has been brought up several times in the past several years. During planning for this year’s budget, he said the City was able to include curbside recycling collection. The program will be single-stream – similar to Fort St. John’s – meaning residents can dispose of all acceptable items into the 360-litre wheelie bins without the need to sort.Redfearn explained that the cost of the program will see residents’ utility bills – which already include water, sewer, and waste collection – rise by $6.86 for the next five years. The cost of the wheelie bins is included in that amount. The recycling bins will be collected every two weeks, while unlike in Fort St. John, household waste will continue to be collected weekly. Dawson Creek received two bids for the contract to do the new curbside collection. On Monday, Council awarded the contract to its current household waste collection contractor, Waste Management, since its bid was 43 cents/month cheaper than the only other bid from DC Recycling.The contract is set to begin on September 1st for a period of five years. Redfearn said that the program will be rolled out in stages for residents in each part of Dawson Creek after it comes into effect.last_img read more

Tommy Lakes Road and Beatton River fires merge grow to over 11000

first_imgUPDATE – This fire has now caused an area north of Prespatou to be evacuated. Click here for more details.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Two fires burning north of Fort St. John have merged into one large wildfire, which has grown from a combined 4,000 hectares to over 11,000 hectares.According to Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds the Tommy Lakes fire, which is the new name of the former Tommy Lakes Road and Beatton River fire, now covers an estimated 11,405 hectares. The fire is located approximately 30 kilometres northeast of Wonowon, and is said to be burning in a northeasterly direction. A map of the Tommy Lakes Fire perimeter. Photo by BC Wildfire ServiceReynolds said that the high winds on Friday caused an increase in fire activity, with the two fires merging in the afternoon. She said that a total of 58 firefighters, 5 helicopters, and 4 pieces of heavy equipment are focused on building a fire guard along the fire’s southern perimeter in order to protect oil and gas industry sites, two of which are said to be located a short distance from the fire.Two unit crews are working on the east side of the South Nig Road connector and north of the North Nig Road to contain growth in these areas. A third unit crew is working along with heavy equipment to build guard to establish access to Beatton River off the Tommy Lakes Road. Bucketing helicopters are said to be working with crews to aid in the fire suppression efforts.Reynolds said that in order to allow fire crews to do their jobs properly, the BC Wildfire Service will be adding an Area Restriction around the fire in order to keep members of the public out. She added however that oil and gas industry workers will still be permitted access to worksites, and that the Area Restriction is being implemented to keep out “looky-loos.”last_img read more