personal philosophy technology writing

10 years(ish) of blogging!

I reached a pretty cool milestone in December 2015 – 10 years of blogging! My first official blog post is dated December 29 2005 (Welcome!). My blog, then called Wirepaper, was meant to be my geek home online, but has since shifted to focus more on my writing pursuits.


Over the years, I have talked about religion, politics and IT stuff (Mac vs PC)… I think I’ve covered all of the main topics that you’re supposed to avoid when talking in polite company.

AOL CanadaPostmediaWhen I first started blogging, I had already established my IT career. I had spent time working at AOL Canada as a web geek, I had worked in a couple of internal IT departments (at Celestica and Toronto Rehab Institute) and I had recently returned to the online space when I started working at Postmedia (then called Canwest) in early 2006. When I joined Postmedia, I was just wrapping up my undergrad degree from the University of Toronto (in Philosophy and Religious Studies) and I was beginning a masters degree (Master of Divinity) at McMaster University. I have since put my studies aside and continue to focus (and greatly enjoy!) on my IT career.

And here lies the challenge with my blog: my content spans some very different topics. At times, I write about IT – blogging tips, tricks and techniques, summaries of some geek stuff (especially my beloved Kindle!) and a fair amount of content about IT security (which is my primary career focus). Other times, I have written about Cystic Fibrosis Fundraising. My daughter has CF, so this is a cause that is very close to my heart.

But the bulk of my writing over the last 10 years has been about philosophy and religious studies. And I am kind of happy about this. While I do like writing about geek stuff, I think that my writing habits have highlighted where my interests lean more often than not: faith and reason. I love my IT career. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I am more fascinated with existential concerns: where do we come from, why are we here and where do we go when we die.

I do remember every piece of tech that I’ve ever had, but I am starting to see all of that stuff as tools that we have to replace every two or three years at great expense.

Macbook AirTools? That’s it? Yes. Some are prettier than others. But at the end of the day, they are tools that we use to communicate. I’m writing this blog post on my wife’s Macbook Air. It’s my favourite writing instrument. It is lighter and faster than my aging Macbook Pro (which I fear may have finally died for good – it’s either got a failed hard drive or a failed logic board). Her Macbook Air has an SSD drive, it’s less than 3 lbs and it has 12 hours of battery life. Oooohhh… Aaaahh… Are you excited yet?

Yeah, me neither. I used to be, but not anymore.

(and this should serve as fair warning to my wife that I might be coveting her laptop on a regular basis until we fix or replace our Macbook Pro)

ChromebookNowadays, these things are commodity devices. Most of us just need a web browser. We keep in touch via webmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, . All of this could be done with a Chromebook. If you need MS Office or some other productivity tools, then a full blown laptop is still needed. But Apple has almost replaced laptops with tablets with their latest iteration of the iPad Pro.

But I digress… what was my point here?

Oh yeah – I am happy that my writing is about something other than technology. I can use all that tech that I understand for something outside of the tech community. And I’m really excited about that. That is the dream of the internet, realized. But even bigger than that, this is the dream of technology throughout history: to better our lives and to improve our quality of life.

Or, maybe it was simply to kill other people more efficiently. Yeah, that has been a key driving force for technological improvement over time as well. That and porn.

Printing PressThe internet is this age’s Gutenberg. Anyone with a commodity device is equipped to reach the world. There has never been such a democratization of free speech in history. And I feel fortunate to be able to participate in this free speech.

Looking back over the last 10 years, I’ve shared my thoughts on war and peace, the existence of God, the historical Jesus (did he exist or not?), atheism and more. And this is the important stuff to me. I’ve wrestled with where we came from, where we are and where we’re headed. I’ve interacted with people that agree and disagree with me (and I appreciate both sides of the argument to help me discern my thoughts). And because of this, I feel more centred in my approach to life and in how I continue to live my life.

Do I have more answers because of my writing? Nope. If anything, I only have more questions. But that’s okay. Because I’d rather know what I don’t know than not know what I don’t know (do you remember Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns”?).

faithDoes this make me any smarter? Nope. If anything, it makes me feel more foolish for sharing my incomplete and/or inarticulate thoughts with others. But I have made some stronger relationships from my writing. And I have learned how to more clearly state my case as well.

And for that, I don’t regret any of my writing. I’m glad that I’ve done it. If anything, I am sad that I haven’t done more. But, as I said recently, it’s time for me to do more writing. I find it therapeutic, relaxing and fun. So, you can expect lots more of it.

I’m going to spend a couple more posts dwelling on my 10 years of blogging. Stick around. In my next post, I’m going to talk about my top 10 posts from the last 10 years. After that, I’ll geek out a bit and share the technical nuts and bolts for how I’ve maintained my blog over the years (it has been surprisingly simple). And, I’ll wrap things up with a post where I talk about what I am most proud of with my 10 year old blog.

Have you been blogging for a while? Does any of what I’ve said resonate with you? Why did you start blogging? Do you have one topic for your blog or has your focus drifted over time?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And, let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to write about pertaining to my 10 years of blogging.

Talk soon!



The God Solution – Wrap Up!

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LAST DAY! Just a reminder about The God Solution Promotion that is going on until the end of today. Make sure you tweet your comments and feedback as soon as possible! See The God Solution Promotion for complete details.

And that’s it… we’ve reached the end of the book. Obviously, there’s plenty of additional reading within the book itself, so I encourage you to pick up a copy, give it a read and let me know what you think.

I look forward to any feedback that you can provide. Your feedback will help make my future writing better, which will ultimately benefit you, the reader. So let me have it – the good, the bad and the ugly.

And in the meantime, thank you for your interest in my writing. It gives me great pleasure to share my thoughts with you and I hope that you gained something from your brief interaction with this book.

To read the The God Solution, please visit your favourite ebook seller:, and And, don’t forget about The God Solution Promotion.




The God Solution – Appendix – Should Atheists have children?

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LAST DAY! Just a reminder about The God Solution Promotion that is going on until the end of today. Make sure you tweet your comments and feedback as soon as possible! See The God Solution Promotion for complete details.

This essay was originally submitted as an undergrad paper when I was at the University of Toronto. It was a thought experiment and I was asked to answer the question, “Should Atheists have children?” This was my response. That being said, I would never consider imposing this on anyone in real life. It was a thought experiment. Nothing more.

I do still stand by my original logic on this topic, but I would never impose this on others or expect it to be applied in society.

In fact, out of all of the comments to this story, I am disappointed that nobody highlighted the main logic flaw with my argument (one that I knew when I wrote it, but realized that it could not be avoided). The flaw was that this same argument (of a purposeless existence) could easily be applied from the atheist’s perspective towards a religious observer. The problem with this debate is that objective proof cannot be provided either way, which means that this debate will continue, with neither side able to completely substantiate their claims.

Regardless, for those that I have offended… relax. I’m not taking your babies away from you.



In this essay, I will be asking the following question: Is it morally or ethically responsible for an atheist to bring children into the world, since that atheist subscribes to a worldview that is negative.

I will argue that the atheist is being morally and ethically irresponsible by bringing a child into the world since that same atheist subscribes to a worldview that lacks meaning, which I will argue is a terrible form of punishment. Thus, an atheist, by having children, is acting inappropriately by exposing children to not only the dangers of the world in which we live, but also with inadequate responses in the form of healthy worldviews that can be used to cope with these worldly dangers.

First, I will outline what it means to be an atheist, providing examples from Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Nietzsche. Next I will discuss the negative aspects of the atheistic worldview, thus pointing out the reasons that atheists are being reckless in bringing children into this reality in spite of their negative worldview. Third, I will explain what moral and ethical obligations an atheist has in the world. Finally, I will highlight the contradiction posed by the question of creating life in a meaningless existence. This essay will hinge upon adequately addressing the question of whether or not a life described by atheism is worth living.

Both Bertrand Russell and C.S. Lewis subscribed to similar definitions of atheism:

  • “An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God. The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not.” – Bertrand Russell, What Is An Agnostic? pg 577
  • “Some people believe that nothing exists except Nature; I call these people Naturalists. Others think that, besides Nature, there exists something else: I call them Supernaturalists.” – C.S. Lewis, Miracles, New York, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1947, restored 1996, pg 5-6

Atheism claims that God, as divine creator, is a myth and that the natural world can be completely explained through natural means. Whether or not we, as humans, can comprehend the science behind those natural means is debatable, but regardless, atheists claim that God is not required in our existence. Russell, as an atheist, suggests that the world is generally bad. Russell argues that since, in his opinion, the world is lacking in justice, God must not exist.

  • “Supposing you got a crate of oranges that you opened, and you found all the top layer of oranges bad, you would not argue: ‘The underneath ones must be good, so as to redress the balance,’ You would say: ‘Probably the whole lot is a bad consignment’; and that is really what a scientific person would argue about the universe. He would say: ‘Here we find in this world a great deal of injustice and so far as that goes that is a reason for supposing that justice does not rule in the world; and therefore so far as it goes it affords a moral argument against a deity and not in favour of one.’” – Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian, pg 591.

To Russell, God is an invention created by those that need God as a safety net: “Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people’s desire for a belief in God.” [Russell, Christian, pg 591] As with other social critiques of religion, God exists solely to placate the practitioner into feeling comfort that justice will be served in a future life for perceived injustices that are experienced in this life. Using the concept of God, argues the atheist, is too convenient, especially considering the lack of scientific evidence to explain the existence of God. I counter that the scientific evidence is all around us to explain the existence of God.

C.S. Lewis simplifies this metaphysical debate in his book Miracles. To Lewis, the debate regarding the existence of God is really a debate about borders. The naturalist claims that our reality can be explained within the boundaries of scientific explanation. The naturalist claims that miracles are either scientifically explained events that occur in nature, or else they are tricks of one’s senses. The supernaturalist claims that miracles are events that lie outside of the realm of scientific explanation. The line is easily blurred between the two, as science is not yet advanced enough to explain all of existence.

Thus, Lewis argues that we are at an impasse, both sides pushing for the truth of their argument, while the philosopher sees that either view may be true. The jury is simply still out due to insufficient evidence.

The main problem, as I see it, with the atheistic worldview is the inability to explain existence. The following joke outlines this problem quite clearly:

“A scientist believes that he’s found the secret to life.

So, he goes to God and tells him, ‘God, we (humans) don’t need you anymore. I’ve found a way to create life. We’re self-sufficient now. It’s time for you to leave.’

God thinks for a second, and then he says, ‘Well, before I go, maybe you should demonstrate how you create life… just in case there’s something wrong with your method… I might be able the help (God, always the humble guy!).

With that, the scientist bends down, picks up a handful of dirt and starts to pat it into a ball, saying ‘I take some dirt, and make it into a ball…’

God interrupts at this point and tells the scientist, ‘No no… get your own dirt.’”

– Author unknown

The point here is that scientific inquiry does have a lot of answers, but I don’t feel that science yet has a satisfactory answer to the origins of existence. And even if science is able to explain the origins of existence, how would we know if it is the correct answer? After all, aren’t these scientific explanations just theories? As with all theories, there are unlimited possibilities, but until we actually experience the truth, none of them has been proven. Think, for example of the early scientific arguments in support of a flat earth. It wasn’t until a more complete theory came along that this worldview was revised. Similarly, maybe we currently subscribe to a worldview that will be revised when a more complete explanation of reality arrives. With any theory of existence, it seems that there is a certain leap of faith required, even if the theory is scientific in nature.

To read the rest of this chapter and the rest of The God Solution, please visit your favourite ebook seller:, and And, don’t forget about The God Solution Promotion.




The God Solution – Chapter 10 – On evolution and concluding thoughts

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Dawkins flogs the factual accuracy of evolution throughout this book. He is an evolutionary biologist, so I would expect nothing less. I respect his authority in this area of study and I appreciate the scientific explanations that it provides for the development and ongoing manipulations to life that we see around us.

Unfortunately, Dawkins is out of his league when he tries to apply his learning to the religious domain. At best, he misses some key details when he attempts to criticize religious faith and its historical, philosophical and ideological ideals. At worst, he fails at the basics of which he should know better: he uses red herrings to distract from articulating and dealing with the topics at hand, he fails at applying proper logic in many of his arguments and when he questions Christianity, he fails to address the great volume of academic literature in support of Christian source validity. This is disappointing, as Dawkins’ valuable academic accomplishments should better equip him than what we see in this book.

For a moment, let’s take a look at “science as God-killer”:

The scientific method is not perfect. Early research into new areas of study can look like a child dipping a toe into a pool of water to check the temperature. If scientific method was bang on, there would be no wasted research or hypotheses that fail to obtain a tangible result. I know… I know… all research is valuable as even in failure, it can discount potential theories so that they can be discounted for further study. That is valuable, yes. But if science has all the answers, then why wouldn’t the hypotheses be right the first time?

As an example of science-gone-wrong, consider the recent problems highlighted in recent reports about Dr. Charles Smith, a high profile coroner in Toronto who specialized in the field of forensic child pathology. His scientific conclusions significantly contributed to several convictions in suspected child abuse cases. The problem is that under closer examination, Smith’s findings were found to be problematic. Science definitely failed the ruined lives of those that were potentially falsely accused.

Or, closer to this discussion of evolution, let’s look at a recent finding by Maeve Leakey and his colleagues in Africa: Paleontologists continue to question the factual accuracy of evolution. Nature, the “International Weekly Journal of Science” published these findings (Leakey, M. G. et alNature 488, 201–204 (2012)), so this is peer-reviewed work. These findings have led to numerous questions that continue to fuel the evolutionary debate today.

While I don’t dispute the basic claims made by Dawkins about evolutionary theory, I do question the logic that says that evolution completely replaces the idea of a creator God. Who’s to say that God didn’t use evolution as his tool to generate life?

To read the rest of this chapter and the rest of The God Solution, please visit your favourite ebook seller:, and And, don’t forget about The God Solution Promotion.




The God Solution – Chapter 9 – Childhood abuse and brainwashing

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I do agree that some religious types have abused their children in the name of religion. This still continues to happen. In fact, we need look no further than a current story in the US media pertaining to polygamy and child marriages: Man Charged in Rape of Teenager in Fundamentalist Sect. (NY Times, Sep 27 2007,

Mormonism encourages polygamy and marriage to minors. Mormons have claimed that this is part of their religious beliefs and that they are entitled to live their lives in this way. To some extent, that argument should be allowed to stand. But, that right should not extend to harming other people in the process. And, in my personal opinion, I think it’s great that the US attorney’s office has finally found a way to deal with some of these crimes that are being committed in the name of religion.

Protection for the weak and vulnerable among us is something that I hold in high regard. In some cases, this competes against some other rights that I hold quite high, including freedom of religion and freedom of speech. There are numerous ideas that I do not want to introduce my children to, but I don’t think it is right that those ideas and opinions be abolished. If we allow that, then what’s next? Burning books and censoring our news sources? Censorship is occurring in the world, notably in China. The state control of media and information can lead to population control, which can then be abused for the sake of state motivations. Without checks and balances like freedom of speech and freedom of information, there is no way to ensure that abuses are not taking place.

Which brings me back to religion… Some religious people try to limit the amount of information available to believers. I remember when I first started taking an interest in my own Christian faith. I asked my pastor for a good resource that would explain the various types of religions to me and that would provide a good explanation for what made my faith something that I should believe. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the response I had hoped for. I was told that there is no need to look at other faiths. I should just focus on my own faith by reading the bible and some “my-faith-specific” reading to solidify my beliefs. It was disappointing, to say the least. And, when I mentioned that I was going to go to University to study philosophy and religious studies as a potential precursor to ministry, I was again dissuaded. I was told that questioning my faith in this way wouldn’t strengthen it, but instead, would only weaken my faith and my ability to believe.

Good advice or bad? What do you think? I didn’t buy it… I’ve always been one to question things. I think questioning things is healthy. Unfortunately, any opinion is open to question. Any time someone puts a stake in the ground, someone else will come along and challenge it. I think debate is good. It is healthy. It leads to more understanding. It leads to increased awareness and if the argument is a good one, it will stand up to scrutiny. And, bad arguments will be exposed for what they are: bad arguments.

So… I didn’t particularly like the advice to keep my head in the sand and sit still. If my faith was worth following, it should stand up to scrutiny. So, I did the opposite of what I was advised to do. I went out and compared and questioned my faith. I believed then, and I still believe now. And my faith is stronger now because of this journey. To be fair, I must say that not everybody learns or believes or requires this level of commitment. And that is fine. But I do think that there is danger in not being able to explain what we believe and why. “Just because…” is not sufficient. There needs to be something more.

And that’s where I think that many abuses stem from… isolation and lack of information. If people are kept in the dark and are unable to ask the tough questions, then how can this work out for the best?

To read the rest of this chapter and the rest of The God Solution, please visit your favourite ebook seller:, and And, don’t forget about The God Solution Promotion.