I believe that it is far better to understand the world as it really is than to persist in delusion, even if the delusion is more satisfying and reassuring.
If you understand how things really are, you will be able to take appropriate actions to change tings for the better if possible. But if you don't have a clear understanding of reality and facts, you will not be able to change things things like to your liking. This is even more important when it comes to politics than in ordinary life, where politicians makes decisions on behalf of many people.
Be skeptical to the arguments and premises you are told. What skeptical thinking boils down to is the means to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and - especially important - to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion that emerges out of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premise or starting point and whether that premise is true.
In his book The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan wrote:
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
I guess that sums up my own views on religion as well. Read the book "The Demon-Haunted World". Carl Sagan does a masterful job of explaining what science is and what it isn't. He clearly shows that the wonders of science are just as interesting (and far more reliable) than the wonders of other disciplines which rely on tradition, superstition, myth, or ignorance.
Another book I want to recommend is "Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge" by Edward O. Wilson. Even if the central thesis of the book is a bit far fetched, Consilience is nonetheless an exciting book, full of information and ideas, elegantly written, dense, at times brilliant, a book that should be read by anyone interested in the human condition regardless of their field of expertise.
I work as a Senior System Architect, and work mostly with Java and J2EE today, but I'm also well versed in other computer languages and platforms like C/C++ and Perl. I prefer to work on the Unix/Linux platform.
I have a Cand. Scient. degree in computer science from the University of Oslo (1992) and I have since worked at these places:
A more complete CV can be found here.
I have many hobbies and interests, but far to little time to do all the things that I would have liked to. This is just the hobbies that I give priority and do spend some time on.
Photography is one of my passionate interests. I bought my first SLR (a Canon A-1) in 1981, and have enjoyed this hobby as an amateur since. I upgraded to a new professional Canon EOS 1 in 1993.
Photography is actually well in line with my technical nature, and today I have a Canon EOS 5D MkII digital SLR.
You can see some of my photographs at my photography site www.ronnynilsen.com.
Pistol shooting is another of my passionate interests. I became a member of Bærum Pistolklubb in 1995.
I have been the webmaster for the clubs website at www.bpk.no since we went on-line in 1997, and the current web server is located in the attic where I live.
I have written a number of articles on pistol shooting, and you can find them on the website of Bærum Pistolklubb, but I'm afraid everything on that site is in Norwegian.
I'm also starting up a new site: PistolSkyting.Info (PSI) that is an information site in Norwegian about pistol shooting.
Hunting is yet another of my passionate interests. I try to get away for at least one week of hunting every autumn, in addition to weekends the rest of the autumn.
Wine tasting and good food is another of my interests, and I'm a member of the wine club WWW t&m.
One of my earliest memories as a child was of one of the first manned landings on the moon. I remember waking up in the night and walking into the living room where my parents watched the landing on TV. I was 3 or 4 years old. I guess that was the start of a lifelong interest in astronomy, space and science in general.
I'm a member of the Norwegian Astronomical Society and have a small telescope that I use when I have the time.
Here are some links to my family. This is mostly of interest to friends and family, so some of these pages are closed and require an user name and password.
Send me an email at rn(at)ronnynilsen(dot)com to get an user name and password if you want one.
My wife Kristin and I was married in Manly, Sydney Australia, 22th of may 2004.
This picture was taken shortly after the wedding close to the beach in Manly.
Our daughter Tiril was born 28th of September 2004, and you can find some pictures of her here.
You will need an user name and a password to access these pages.
Our daughter Guro was born 8th of April 2009, and you can find some pictures of her here.
You will need an user name and a password to access these pages.
Troya was our German Shorthaired Pointer, and she was with me when I hunted.
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A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions--things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else--the small stuff.
"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal."
"Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.
The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."