Malaysian Morals

A question on a Moral Test Paper.

For those not familiar with the Malay Language (99.9% of my readers), the question is:

* Priority to entertain guests
* Respecting elders
* Valuing good manners

15. The values above are part of the identity of Malaysian society. Which society is often associated with them?

A. Chinese
B. Iban
C. Indian
D. Malay

I like how the answers are in alphabetical order.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Oldest is 18

There are now three adults in the Yewnique household.

Eighteen years and one day ago, we went to the Birth Centre when the beginnings of contractions started. Twenty hours and a transfer to the regular maternity ward of a regular hospital 12 minutes away (but felt longer) and an epidural later, a six-pound-two-ounce baby boy was born.

Legally an Adult Now

Legally an Adult Now

 

Read the rest of this entry

Banana Bread

Once again, the bananas were left too long in the fruit bowl.

I know about Banana Ice Cream (been there, done that), but I’ve been in a baking mood, and decided to try my hand at Banana Bread.

I found this recipe, which was rated Easy and had many positive reviews. I love how the internet has made information so readily accessible!

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature – this is about 113.4 gm
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

(I had SIX extremely ripe bananas, so I doubled the recipe)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

2. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

6. Spread slices with honey or serve with ice cream.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/banana-bread-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Banana Bread My loaf tin is a little bigger than the suggested size. What it lacks in height in no way diminishes the taste. Delicious with good vanilla ice cream.

Banana Bread
Delicious with good vanilla ice cream.

Egg-and-Bacon Breakfast Casserole

I got my inspiration from this recipe.  I omitted the salt because I felt that there was enough salty flavour in the bacon.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 9 slices of bread, cubed
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Mix together eggs, milk, salt and dry mustard in a bowl.
  2. Spread the bread cubes in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle the bacon and cheddar cheese over the bread.
  4. Pour egg mixture.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Bake at 180C for 45-60 minutes.
Egg-and-Bacon Breakfast Casserole Wake up to yummy goodness.

Egg-and-Bacon Breakfast Casserole
Wake up to yummy goodness

 

Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cake

I was in a baking mood, and what I wanted to bake was Chocolate Cake.

Problem: Not enough butter. (I know, I know, how could that happen?)

So I did a search for chocolate cake using vegetable oil instead and came across this gem of a recipe: Chocolate Oil Cake. Firstly, do not let the name put you off. It is a cake using oil instead of butter. One of the commenters suggested a name change. Let’s hope the author will take note.

Ingredients:

Dry

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Wet

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients. Mix by hand until smooth.
  4. Pour into 9×13 inch pan and bake at175C for 40 minutes or until baked through.
    World's Easiest Chocolate Cake (and very yummy, to boot)

    World’s Easiest Chocolate Cake (and very yummy, to boot)

    This cake was enough to provide dessert for our family of six over four nights. Not a bad deal, eh?

Understanding Creationism VIII

Continuation of Panda’s Thumb series on Understanding Creationism.

8.  New Perspective

An excerpt:

I think there are several different varieties of creationism activists. Some are obsessed with the presumed negative effects of evolution and secular humanism. Some are driven by suspicion for science and the certainty that a conspiracy must be afoot. Some use creationist apologetics to make themselves feel smarter and better-informed than the general public. Some are genuinely interested in science and want to know the truth.

I maintained young-earth creationism without much difficulty through college. The major objection to creationism encountered in earning a physics degree is the starlight-and-time problem, and I believed that the gravitational-well time-dilation model proposed by Russell Humphreys solved this problem. It never really came up in my classes. My ongoing exposure to the evidence against creationism came mostly in the form of continued argumentation and debate in various online forums, just as I had done before college.

I still wanted to maintain intellectual honesty, but I felt constrained by my religious belief. When I encountered questions and evidence I didn’t know how to answer, I retreated to a position of false humility: “Well, I don’t know how that works, but I’m sure that if I was an expert in that area, I could figure out how the evolutionary argument is wrong.” I knew that there were physicists and biologists and geneticists working for creationist organizations who rejected evolution; surely they understood how it all worked.

There’s not much you can do to challenge that particular approach. It’s the same response I get now from creationists after I’ve answered all their objections. “Well, fine, but science is always changing, and scientists have been wrong before, and so you never can be sure about any of this.”

As frustrating as this response can be, it’s difficult to counter because it’s sincere. They really believe (and, at one time, I really believed) that the scientific process is constantly in flux, that evolution is “just a theory”, that scientists are just taking guesses in the dark. They really think that science can’t provide truly useful answers.

Though I still firmly maintained a belief in young earth and special creation, it became more and more apparent that evolution was not, after all, a theory in crisis. The evidence lined up and made sense; the model worked; the predictions were good. I kept looking for the smoking gun, the telltale traces and shortcuts I would expect to see if evolution were really the junk science I had always believed it to be – but I found nothing. Evolution was, to all appearances, rock-solid science.

I didn’t feel like this discovery was something I could admit. I still claimed confidence in the whole young Earth creationism worldview. But I had confidence in the scientific process, too, and they seemed to clash rather strongly. Moreover, while creationism had only demanded my confidence, science had earned my confidence. It was a distinction I wasn’t terribly comfortable with.

Movie Review: The Lunchbox

I have a penchant for foreign films (subtitled, not dubbed) and when I saw that the Indian movie The Lunchbox was going to be shown at the cinema, I knew what I wanted to do for my birthday.

What an absolutely delightful treat! Ila, a young housewife who yearns for more spice in her marriage, decides to employ the services of Mumbai’s dabbawalas by cooking hot lunches to be delivered to her emotionally-distant husband, Rajeev. The lunches don’t get delivered to Rajeev. Instead, they get sent to Saajan, a widower who is looking forward to retirement.

When Ila discovers that there has been a mix-up but that the recipient enjoyed the food, she starts putting in notes with the lunches. Thus begins a correspondence between Ila and Saajan.

I loved this movie because it is a story about people and their relationships (or lack thereof). It was subtle and yet managed to convey a lot of deep messages about life’s dreams and regrets and the possibilities for second chances.

Mr Yewnique remarked afterwards that he really enjoyed the film, too, and that he much preferred it to many of the films that come out of Hollywood. Some of the trailers that were shown before the film, showed characters being loud and obnoxious – and that was supposed to be a feature, not a bug!

Anyway, I digress.

The Lunchbox is best watched followed by a meal at an Indian restaurant! :D

Word Crimes

“Weird Al” has done it again!

When I saw this, I thought, “Please, please, please let there be something about it’s and its.”

He delivered!

This video has gone viral. When I first watched it, it had been viewed eight hundred thousand times. Now, two hours later, it’s over a million.

In the video, he makes mention of using proper pronouns, but does not go into detail. Pity.

(I had not heard the original before today. Now that I have, I must say the parody is much better!)

Understanding Creationism VII

Continuation of Panda’s Thumb series on Understanding Creationism.

7. The Religion of Evolution

An excerpt:

Many creationists assume as self-evident that evolution precludes the existence of God, not because of any qualities intrinsic to evolution, but because their concept of God is dependent on creationism. Officially, creationists usually teach that the Bible is our only infallible revelation of God’s existence, but in practice the “fact” of special creation is treated as a primary basis for belief in God. The “testimony of nature” is implicitly held up as proof of God’s existence. Every time a particular piece of purportedly creationist evidence is described, the underlying implication is that God’s existence depends on six-day special creation. Thus, to even propose that evolution could be true is automatically a “challenge to the evidence” for God’s existence.

The assumption that “evolutionism” and “secular science” denies God’s existence applies not only to the suggestions that evolution might be possible, but more generally to any challenge to creationist arguments. While some creationists take pains to discard the more outlandish arguments, others will fiercely defend obsolete and ridiculous theories simply because of their perceived apologetics value. This stubbornness is the source of animosity and division between the various creationist movements; each group points to “concessions” and “compromises” the other groups make, because any compromise is considered a tacit admission that maybe the evidence for God isn’t quite as strong as it would otherwise be. Such arguments are all God-of-the-gaps arguments, of course, but this fact goes unnoticed.

The idea that evolution is a religion (among YECreationists) is a rather baffling one to me. I once was told, “If you believe in it, then it is your religion!”

Ken Ham also promotes the idea that ‘evolution’ and ‘millions of years’ is a religion. This is puzzling, because he also equates them with atheism.

Understanding Creationism VI

Continuation of Panda’s Thumb series on Understanding Creationism.

6. Genetic Evidence

An excerpt:

Once they cannot deny that both the fossil record and the genetic evidence are unassailably valid, creationists unveil one more argument: “common design”.

Common design – that morphological and genetic similarities are the result of a designer re-using the same parts – is the perfect creationist argument because it can apply to absolutely anything. No matter how obvious the path of descent is, creationists can simply claim it was intentional. They may also use it in combination with the other objections. For example: “Common design created genetic similarities in creatures with similar environments, similar diets, or similar appearances. These similarities reduce the number of phylogenetic trees to the point that researchers can simply pick whichever one happens to match their evolutionary assumptions.”

The obvious problem is that common design is unfalsifiable. There’s no limit to what it can explain, no level of commonality it cannot be used with. We recognize that an explanation which can fit literally anything is useless; it doesn’t tell us anything. Unfortunately, creationists don’t care whether their explanations are falsifiable. Their presuppositionalist background tells them that it doesn’t matter whether explanations are falsifiable – it’s just necessary to make sure they have the right presupposition at the outset, and everything else flows from that. As long as their denial of mainstream science seems vaguely plausible, they are okay.

So instead of pointing out the unfalsifiability of common design, it’s better to let them use it, but challenge them to take it to its logical conclusion. If their divine common design can really produce the observed levels of genetic similarity, then it should also produce clear and obvious genetic similarities in species that aren’t anywhere close on the evolutionary tree. Not just small sequences in common, but entire gene suites. If God is in the practice of re-using the exact same gene sequences in creatures that happen to show up close together, then we should see the same thing in distant species. Species identified in mainstream science as examples of convergent evolution – the same traits or abilities having evolved separately – should have perfectly matching gene sequences placed there by the creator. For example, bats and birds evolved echolocation separately using different genes, but the “common design” argument would predict the same exact gene sequences.

The ‘common designer’ argument rings a bell. In the Jonathan Park series, Dr Park said, “Evolutionists think that similarities point to a common ancestor, but Creationists say that it points to a common Creator.” Meaning, God just used similar pieces to create all the different plants and animals. Like using Lego.

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