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Profile: John MK
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User Name: John MK
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Joined: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Last Visit: Thursday, December 18, 2014 4:42:53 PM
Number of Posts: 24
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Christians Involved In The Sciences
Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2014 10:16:43 AM
I would never denigrate the sheer genius of many Christians through the ages, nor belittle them or their work, which has been such a benefit to humankind, if not to life in general. But I like to remember that many details in the history of discovery, science and mathematics were first made known by others; Muslims, Hindus and people professing no faith, or downright agnostic. For example the 'numeral' zero... the sun as a star, with earth one of its' planets... and countless others; many lost in the mists of time. It is not only a fact that many discoveries came from non Christian sources, but also early Christianity went to great lengths (and martyred untold numbers of people) to 'disprove' the science and discoveries they made. Purporting to represent a religion, Christians have therefore negated, lost, refuted, and denied probably as much as Christians have created and discovered.

My point is not to deny credit where it is due. I am sure that, in their way, many people of many religions or beliefs have made discoveries, and as many have impeded or denied discoveries. So the development of science, mathematics and knowledge as a whole is not a Christian, or even a religious attribute. It is a human one, inasmuch as we are, as far as we know, the only sapient beings on earth, with language and communication capable of recording and disseminating knowledge and information. Or, for that matter, arguing about it and denying its' existence!Think

So full marks to every Christian scientist and discoverer... and to every Muslim, Hindu, Klingon and any other belief, and to atheists too. Perhaps, like me, you may view the heavens or some awesome scientific fact (like the birth of a baby, or of a planet...) and beg the question 'Why'? Perhaps science can furnish us with the answers 'How' something happens; the laws of science, mathematics, physics, chemistry or whatever... but there still remains, for me, the question 'Why'. That is reason enough, perhaps, for faith in some kind of divinity; some overarching force or being that made all the celestial clockwork start ticking. Who or what set the pendulum of life in motion?

All too often, it seems, religion likes to take the credit for things, or perhaps the blame? Heaven knows* how many wars were fought with 'God' supposedly on both sides! (*deliberate pun!) And too many people have been killed and lives ruined supposedly in the name of this or that 'God'. Comparing the amazing discoveries and the good that has come from them, potentially helping whole nations and saving countless lives from misery, poverty, disease or malnutrition, I fail to see a place for 'God' in the need to exterminate races or eliminate so-called non-believers. Many species kill to eat; that is genetics and evolution at work, but only humans seem capable of systematic genocide or so-called religious wars.

So by all means go on believing that God helped Good Christians to discover great things and achieve good, but please set that belief in context, and remember how He was also held responsible for various genocides and, ultimately, The Holocaust, and continues to be the 'Reason' for conflict in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and throughout the world.

A recent comedy film 'Evan Almighty' depicted Morgan Freeman as God, manipulating a human, Evan Baxter, to bring about a good outcome in a dire situation. Mostly it's silly nonsense and just a good family film, but there are a few genuinely clever lines and thoughts in it. In one, 'God' sits with Evan Baxter's perplexed wife and suggests, "When you pray to God for courage, does He give you courage, or give you the opportunity to be courageous?" So I pose the question, 'Does God give you knowledge and wisdom, or does He give you the opportunity to explore and discover?' Clearly, it takes a genius to turn a mystifying observation into a scientific reality or a mathematical certainty, but then, Who gave human beings the capacity for thought? Or did He give life the capacity to develop incrementally and, step by step, mutation by mutation, humans evolved, and with us, knowledge and wisdom?

Which brings me back to the question 'Why'. That's reason enough for the existence of God, or Allah, or whatever entity you choose to believe in. Just don't blame God for your unruly neighbours... who may just happen to believe something different.... Pray Think


Topic: go down
Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014 6:01:23 PM
The above replies all seem sound, but there is another possible interpretation of 'down'. It was common parlance in military campaigns, and especially when trench warfare was concerned, to talk of 'Headquarters' as 'Up', and 'At The Front' (battlefront) as 'Down'. Messages and orders from the strategic command would be sent 'down the line' to lower-ranking and non-commissioned officers to act accordingly. And when new soldiers were dispatched (from Britain, usually), they were similarly sent 'down the line' to the battlefront.

As with any 'workplace', soldiers 'at the front' invariably adopted abbreviations and 'shortcuts' in everyday speech, so to a soldier, 'going down' would mean going down the line to the battlefront.

Sadly, for so many, 'going down' was a one-way trip, with catastrophic loss of life, when they were mortally wounded or killed outright, and became 'the fallen' - another euphemism for 'killed in action'. For them, they were 'sent down', 'went down', and were 'cut down'.
Topic: Parts Is Parts
Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 5:51:01 PM
Growing spare parts as 'prostheses' for parts lost in accidents or from illness sounds like 'Playing God' in a way that can do (some of) us a great deal of good in the long run. But growing a brain...? Some of us struggle with the one we have already...!

It might be very beneficial to grow clusters of brain cells to help people afflicted by... oh! What's the name of that condition where you forget things? What was I saying...?

(I'm not truly mocking the afflicted. Relatives of mine died with Altzheimers, among other things. It's just easy to jest about such things. And if you don't think we should laugh about (or along with) people who suffer debilitating illnesses, ask the people concerned. Many of them would sooner laugh than cry, when too many people around them are 'Po-faced' [serious] all the time. Life is for enjoying, and if growing a new kidney, pancreas, aorta, or brain makes life more comfortable, tolerable, or survivable, then let's treasure the possibility? And then there are the people who, like me, have a large nose and prominent ears. Maybe I could trade them in for new ones? Just a thought....
Topic: how much/ how you complain
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:49:11 PM
Hi s21d,

No matter how much/ how you complain about it, it is not going to change. Either could be used, but they mean something different.

"how you complain" might mean 'how much you complain', or 'in what manner you complain'. So it can mean 'how much you pester the person you're complaining to', or 'whether you telephone, e-mail, write, or contact the person's boss or the Complaints Department...' or some other means.

If you want to complain, and complaining to the person who supplied the faulty product (for example) gets you nowhere, you might tell them you are going to complain to their Head Office, or write to the Government Department, or some other method. 'How you complain' covers all those possibilities. 'How much you complain' implies it is only when you keep pestering the one person or department. But, 'just to throw a spanner in the works'* 'How much you complain' could also mean using various methods or complaining to different people, too!

[*'just to throw a spanner in the works' is an English colloquialism. Imagine a machine turning, and you threw a spanner into the moving mechanism...? It would stop the machine and cause trouble. We sometimes use the phrase 'as a figure of speech' to describe something completely un-mechanical, like messing up a process, or casting doubt over something that has been said. Just to let you know....
Topic: future perfect4
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:33:01 PM
Hallo Nima

I will talk to my parents two days from now. By saying "I will..." you tell us the event will be in the future. As Drag0nspeaker says, "two days from now" can be either in the future or the past, but in the context of "I will", it can only be future. And the phrase "I will... two days from now" means that the event will happen on the second day, not tomorrow or in three days.

I will have talked to my parents two days from now. Again, the "I will" means it is in the future. "I will have talked..." means that the event could happen any time up till 'two days from now'. Therefore, this phrase doesn't specify when it will happen, but sets a time 'by when it will have happened'. This is a good way to describe some event that is to take place when you don't know precisely when it will happen... but you know by when it will be completed, or by when it must be completed. For example, you might issue an instruction to your garage mechanic; "I want my car fixed by two days from now..." The garage might then promise you, "We will have your car fixed by two days from now." That means they don't need to specify when they will undertake the job, but they have two days in which to finish the work. In your example, you don't specify whenyou will talk with your parents, but by two days' time, you will have done so.

Hope that helps...?
Topic: Please, vocabulary help.
Posted: Monday, May 26, 2014 12:05:34 PM
Hi Rossalicia,

In your quote, there seem to be several issues. Some may be typos, some may be mistakes in the English text, or simply English used in a way that native English speakers don't use.



- The Regent showed all her political nature (or "talent"), not precisely for the people benefit, but to keep the Princess and her son focused only on the people welfare, so that they would never think on the throne or Crown from which she had always been interested.
- Thimetis, advised by the Pontiff and her great Hierophants, agreed to all these Government serious designations (or "appellatives") that followed after her father’s death.
- The Wisdom that the Eternal Law commands and binds the propitious (or "favourable) events to their divine intentions used the boundless ambition of the Regent and her Council, so as to say, to fulfill them.

..................................................................

Is it understood what "them" refers to? Or is it ambiguous?


"not precisely for the people benefit,"... I deduce this means for the benefit of the people, in which case we would say 'for the people's benefit'. Similarly "the people welfare" would be 'the welfare of the people', or 'the people's welfare'.

"never think on the throne", is not wholly incorrect, as Shakespeare might have written similar, but these days we would be more likely to say (and write) 'never (to) think about the throne', or 'never (to) think of the throne'. The '(to)' is optional, and wouldn't be used in normal speech, but shows that the infinitive of the verb 'think' is used. So your text might read 'never think about the throne' or 'never think of the throne'.

Your term "Government serious designations (or "appellatives")" is rather clumsy, and hardly likely to be used. It is also so obscure that it is almost meaningless in ordinary English. I wonder if you mean 'all these Government pronouncements' or 'decisions', or 'requirements'? From the fragment of text you quote, it suggests 'the Government has made some 'pronouncements', 'decisions', or 'requirements' to which "Thimetis, advised by the Pontiff and her great Hierophants" have agreed'...?
The word 'designation' means (from The Free Dictionary):-
1. The act of designating; a marking or pointing out.
2. Nomination or appointment.
3. A distinguishing name or title.
None of those meanings seem appropriate to your quote. Nor does 'appellative'.

The last phrase, "The Wisdom that the Eternal Law commands and binds the propitious (or "favourable) events to their divine intentions used the boundless ambition of the Regent and her Council, so as to say, to fulfill them" is also clumsy and archaic. It's fine to adopt an archaic style of writing for effect or to create a particular atmosphere, but it's important that it should be readable. As I read it, the phrase "to fulfil them" relates to "their divine intentions"; '..."used the ambition of the Regent and her Council to fulfil their divine ambitions'...'.

It seems to me that the text you quote is unnecessarily hifalutin and complex. It's hardly 'bedtime reading'! It's a difficult style to absorb. If you are learning English, I'm sure there are many texts that are both easier to read and better for you to learn from. That's just my opinion, of course, but I'm inclined to 'tell it like it is'!

Good Luck!
Topic: report speech
Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:44:02 PM
Hi Nima,

I think there are either regional variations or dialects creeping in here. In British English, we 'say' goodbye, we never 'tell' goodbye. 'Tell' goodbye is either a local quirk or it's wrong... or it's the way a writer has chosen to be different.

Some writers 'break the rules': either because it's their style or because they want to convey a meaning they've struggled to find conventional words to fit. In a way, that's how language develops in time; words change their meaning and new words or phrases evolve.

The only way I can think of where 'tell' and 'goodbye' might be used together is in a parting remark...? I write an example:-

'Aunt Dorothy climbed into her car, and was about to drive away. Realising she hasn't said goodbye to ALL of her nieces and nephews, she she turned to her sister, Leanne, with a wry smile on her lips. "Perhaps they hid away, rather than suffer one of my sloppy kisses?" she suggested. Leanne laughed. "Tell them goodbye," Dorothy soothed. "I won't inflict further indignity on them...!"

Just a thought! Whistle

Topic: indirect speech
Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:05:03 PM
Excellent, Yakcal; couldn't put it better!
Topic: underplay
Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 5:54:45 PM
Hi Khalid,

Several good replies already, especially from Thar. Yes, underplay means just that; play less then it might potentially be played. In conversational English it can be used in many other contexts, too; not just 'play' as in a theatrical sense.

It is often used to describe how someone speaks about themselves in a way that is the opposite to boastful: "Fiona underplayed her mastery of languages, but proved a fluent French speaker...." or "George underplayed his role in the company gaining the lucrative contract...." or "Jane underplayed her part in the way the summer holiday evolved, rather than seem to take more credit than she felt was due."

Here's a nice quirk of English: when someone underplays their part in something so they DON'T sound boastful we often say "they didn't want to blow their own trumpet...". Perhaps someone who knows can tell us why? It's a common phrase!

'Underplay' can also be found commonly when people are diffident or unsure, and don't want to put themselves forward for something: "Gregory underplayed his ability so he wouldn't be picked for the school First team." or "Natalie was inclined to underplay her academic ability, so she she would stay in the lower class with her friends."
Topic: cobbler/sherry cobbler
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 7:43:01 AM
An interesting 'cocktail', in essence. But I do sometimes wonder why people mix some obscure things together, and basically turn something that's perfectly palatable into some weird concoction with bits floating in it - that you can neither drink nor eat...?

But then, it's a recipe, I suppose. And you have to shudder when you stop to wonder how mankind first mixed some things together... or first ate this or that. 'Drinks' that consist of fermented, pre-chewed fruit residue spring to mind (pre-chewed by someone else!), and even 'blue' cheese that, for the uninitiated, was basically ordinary cheese that had gone mouldy!

Human-kind is a strange animal. And wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same?!