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Archive for August, 2011

For anyone interested, and who lives in the vicinity of Melbourne, Dr. Michael Shermer is coming to the University of Melbourne to give a 1hr lecture on his new book The Believing Brain.

It’s on the 19th of September from 6pm-7pm and is free, you just have to register here so that you have a seat on the night. Get on it!

 

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Jim Wallace was recently on Sunrise spreading his anti-gay marriage message to all. For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, Jim Wallace was the moron from The Australian Christian Lobby who thought it’d be a good idea on ANZAC day to tweet:

Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for – wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!

When asked about his opinion on gay marriage and the stance of the church you can guess that his first response was relating to scripture and Jesus not ‘ordaining’ gay marriage, but then he goes on some stupid rant about marriage only being for those who plan on having children.

…the reality is that in this issue that it still takes the involvement of a man and a woman to make a child, and therefore we have nature prescribing that a man and a woman should be involved in the creation of a child and should be involved in the nurturing of that child as is natural order. And I find it absolutely amazing that at a time in our history when we’re jumping through hoops to try to make sure that every tree on the planet has its natural environment so it can flourish that we would be challenging the definition of marriage, which creates exactly that environment for a child requiring that it’s between a man and a woman, and that they should live to the exclusion of all others for as long as they both shall live.

Firstly, the weird tree analogy? What the hell does any of that even mean (see this blog post by Bruce Llama for some hilarity on the issue)? Since when was marriage meant only for those planning on having a child? What about anyone who doesn’t want to have children, or whom physically can’t? What about a Christian couple who never have children, would there be some point at which their marriage is made invalid if they don’t create sufficient progeny in some preordained period of time? OF COURSE NOT!

Christian or not, the church would still undoubtedly not stand in the way of any man and woman planning on getting married whether they were going to ever have children or not, and whether they were even Christian. So clearly, ‘in this day and age’, Jim, the the church could give a monkey’s if a couple were planning on ever having children… And I think it’s shameful of you to hide behind such non-sensical and invalid arguments.

Why don’t you just say what you really think, as you were so willing to do on ANZAC day Jim? What is really the crux the story here is that the church is anti-homosexuality and wants to discriminate against them because their way of live isn’t parallel with gospel or that of Jesus. You said that in your opening comments in the interview, Jim, that you [Christians] want to live as Jesus would have wanted you to. Therefore, by denying gays the ability to be married you really ARE discriminating against them… It’s like every Christian who tells me, “as a Christian I don’t judge anyone else, but you are going to hell Pete”.

There are a great deal of gay people out there who want to have children, and will whether it’s through adoption or IVF, etc, whether they’re married or not. So the pro-creation argument is sort of futile here, not allowing gay people to marry won’t stop them having children. I might also add that I’m sure a great number of gay couples would raise children in a much healthy environment than many religious people.

I think for the most part, the Christian fear of gay-marriage is ridiculous. Christians clearly see it as a threat to their belief, and while it’s not legal they will fight to the tooth to keep it where it is. But when it really comes down to it the majority of gay people, like the majority of Australians, aren’t going to be getting married because of their religious beliefs. So they’re not going to have any effect on your religion or your churches if they are allowed to get married. Fighting against equality is useless.

Keep your views on religious marriage within the church, and allow the state to marry whomever desires to be married in the eyes of the law. It’s a word… Get over it, and start “live more like Jesus did” and love thy neighbour mate, or at the very least keep thy noise our of thy neighbour’s life!

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The Australian High Court has shunned the Labour Government’s deal with Malaysia to send 800 refugees to the country, along with any future refugees that arrive.

The whole idea behind this plan was to send refugees to a country where for all intents and purposes they will be treated much more poorly compared to Australia in an attempt to quell people smuggling. However, the High Court has decided that any refugees that are seeking asylum in Australia, but make it to our shores illegally, need to be dealt with here in Australia instead of being passed of to another country to wait in limbo.

To be honest I’m of like minds with the Greens Party on this one and don’t thing it’s human nor says much for our country’s ethics if we were to allow this deal to go ahead. The number of illegal refugees who arrive here by boat is infinitesimally  small compared to those who arrive by plane. So I think it’s time to get some perspective. People smugglers aren’t going to stop even whether refugees are sent to Malaysia or not. As if the people they traffic will even hear of said deal prior to be smuggled here even if it were put into place… Surely the smugglers would just feed them any bullshit story that will get them on the boats and keep the money filling their wallets.

I’m glad the deal was smacked down by the high court, and think the government should just suck it up and invest a little more into having these people processed more quickly. Allow the legitimate ones to stay and ship the illegitimate ones back home. If that is what’s going to happen whether they go to Malaysia or not, we should be treating these people with the humanity and respect they deserve and getting them processed as soon as possible. Pull your heads out, we were all ‘illegal’ immigrants here less than 250 years ago.

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“Our pasta, who art in a colander, draining be your noodles. Thy noodle come, Thy sauce be yum, on top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day, our garlic bread, …and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trample on our lawns. And lead us not into vegetarianism, but deliver us some pizza, for thine is the meatball, the noodle, and the sauce, forever and ever. RAmen.”

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Holy Prayer” – Unknown

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I recently wrote a post on a Catholic woman who was afraid to leave her home because of the ‘immoral’ homosexuals out and about in her community. Here’s a not-so-reserved response by Jamie Kilstein to religious homophobia. He’s a brilliant atheist comedian, so have a look.

Warning: Not safe for work, lots of course language and explicit description (win).

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Yoandri Hernandez Garrido is the proud owner of 12 fingers and 12 toes, and is aptly nicknamed “24” by his mates.

“Hernandez is proud of his extra digits and calls them a blessing, saying they set him apart and enable him to make a living by scrambling up palm trees to cut coconuts and posing for photographs in this eastern Cuban city popular with tourists.” Nine News

It’s known as polydactyly, which means “many fingers”, and is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the genes related to development patterning. It a relatively common congenital defect, however Mr Garrido is a rare case because of how well all of his extra fingers and toes are formed.

High six!

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Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge

By January 1st 2012 bongs and other cannabis related paraphernalia will be banned from being displayed or sold in Victoria, Australia.

Fuck me… have we nothing better to do with our time than worry about this sort of stuff? Are we really wasting our time, energy and tax payers dollars on banning the sale of bongs? Have people stopped starving in Africa, have we nothing else left in the world to address…?

Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge is at the front of this latest ‘nanny state’ wave,

“The changes being introduced into parliament will bring Victoria’s position on cannabis smoking paraphernalia in line with other states, which all have some restrictions in place,” Ms Wooldridge said.

She states that the research indicates that cannabis use is associated with the increased risk of developing mental illness… what about it’s medicinal use with regards to

Ms Wooldridge is worried that the sale of cannabis paraphernalia sends a ‘dangerous’ message that cannabis is a soft drug. Ummm… but it is? It’s non-addictive, it’s toxicity is 1000s of times less than alcohol or nicotine, it’s potential for physical harm is also much less. It’s safer than caffeine and aspirin for fuck’s sake, how soft can you get? Feel free to reference and quote the 100s of studies showing cannabis’ medicinal uses, for treatment numerous disease from aids to MS, and the curing of, and even protection against, cancer.

A categorization of hard (red), soft (yellow) and borderline drugs (orange), by Nutt et al.

I’d argue people like Ms Wooldridge are sending the fallacious message that alcohol and tobacco are “soft drugs”. Both are incredibly more dangerous for you than illicit substances like cannabis, MDMA and acid.

Maybe it’s about time our Health Ministers started implementing legislation based heavily on fact instead of personal opinion, bias and misinformation. If you really want to make the community a better place, just banning everything isn’t going to change anything. You’re just further impinging on the freedoms of your citizens…

These politicians are never scientists, they never look at the facts and fiction to separate the two and then bring in helpful laws and regulations based in truth. They just react to the loudest voices from the public arena, like so many other areas of our government.

This sort of legislation will do a great deal more damage in my opinion because you’re going to further brainwash the public into hating a substance which doesn’t deserve to be hated.

Until are laws and legislation are based on facts and good science instead of fear and fiction, we’ll be the ones to suffer.

Reference : Nutt, D.; King, L. A.; Saulsbury, W.; Blakemore, C. (2007). “Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse”. The Lancet 369 (9566): 1047–1053.

I might add, the above first author Prof David Nutt used to be the chief drug adviser to the UK government until he wouldn’t back down on his position that cannabis and MDMA should be in the lowest classification of illicit drugs. So the government sacked him and found someone else who’d back their position up.

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