Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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12

Aug

2022

It’s time to quit pretending

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday August 11, 2022

 

I made a momentous decision a few months ago. I decided to quit playing minister.

            A few people may be surprised that I’m NOT a minister. Because I often write about religious topics. I also write about evolution, life, economics, politics, and occasionally even mathematics. Somehow, no one suggests that makes me an economist, biologist, or mathematician.

            Perhaps they assume that no one could possibly be interested in theology unless they were being paid to do so.


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12

Aug

2022

Specifics trump generalities

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday August 7, 2022

 

Is it just my imagination, or is there a predictable pattern to news coverage these days?

            The pattern starts with someone accusing, say, Hockey Canada for covering up charges of rape. Or attacking the Canadian Armed Forces for sex discrimination. Or a charity comes under fire for misusing donated dollars. Or a TV program unearths evidence that a renovation firm’s labyrinth of corporate connections defrauds both its customers and Canada Revenue. 

            The accusers are willing to go public with their names and faces. 

            The accused are not. They decline personal interviews. Instead, they issue carefully-worded statements which assert, essentially, that the conduct in question contravenes their code of ethics, didn’t happen, and if it did, won’t happen again.

            The language used is numbingly bureaucratic.


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12

Aug

2022

Beyond the facts of evolution

Author: Jim Taylor

August 4, 2022

 

Zoology 101 was a favourite first-year course at the University of British Columbia. My class probably had 250 in it, enthralled by from Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan’s witty and profound explanations of what animals were, and how they related to each other. 

            As I recall those classes, McTaggart-Cowan talked more about animals than plants. Certainly it’s the animals I remember. Everything from single-celled amoebas to humans. 

            A lot of it dealt with taxonomy – the formal classifications of animals. That we humans, for example, are a species, Homo Sapiens. Of the genus Homo. Of the family Hominidae. Of the order Primates. Of the class Mammalia. Of the phylum Chordata. Of the kingdom Animalia. Of the domain Eukarya.

            Taxonomy, however, doesn’t answer the question, “Why?”


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12

Aug

2022

Expecting too much of the Pope’s visit

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday July 24, 2022

 

There is only one event worth writing about this week -- Pope Francis’s “penitential pilgrimage.”

            “Penitential” means doing penance -- making amends for having done something wrong.

            The name alone acknowledges that the Roman Catholic church failed its indigenous members.

            Church doctrines have long taught that Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world. Figuratively, Pope Francis chose to do the same with his church’s involvement in residential schools.

            People have mixed feelings about his trip and his apologies.


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