Grey Thoughts
Abortion - UN Continues to push abortion 'rights'
This just continues the evidence that the UN is not an organisation that we should think of as a benevolent or even desirable place. With the recent UN sex abuse cases looking endemic, the biggest scam in history, the Oil for food scam being uncovered, many people are having their eyes opened to the true nature of this corrupt organisation.

Of course, having major human rights abusers on the UN human rights panel should of been a good clue...

Even their actions in the Tsunami disaster showed how useless they really have become.

It's time we stop thinking of the UN as a useful organisation.
International - Logic of the left
Martin Kettle from the guardian has a few comments on George W Bush and his visit to Europe

One particular paragraph stands out however
Much of this is summed up in the current transitional fluidity over the politics of Iraq. The war was a reckless, provocative, dangerous, lawless piece of unilateral arrogance. But it has nevertheless brought forth a desirable outcome which would not have been achieved at all, or so quickly, by the means that the critics advocated, right though they were in most respects.

2 points can be gleaned from this paragraph.
1) He thinks Bush was right and he really doesn't like it

2) The continued use of the word 'unilateral' is the one of the most consistent things in the left's opposition to the war in iraq.

Whether or not there were valid reasons for or against the war is not the issue here. The repetitive use of a term that does not apply, and has been made clear that it does not apply can only be seen as either willful ignorance or dishonesty. The coalition had over 30 countries being active participants. How is that unilateral?

And in case you are wondering if this is an isolated instance, just on this one term, I have consistently heard the claim that the US is Empire building, and that the
US is a theocracy. I'm sorry, but if you are not willing to use words accurately, then why should anyone listening to you believe you are accurate?
Abortion - More push for Abortion inquiry
Dana Vale has been quoted pushing for an abortion inquiry stating
But some of the evidence that's coming to me is that there is post-abortion depression and that's a real concern.

They didn't realise and they weren't properly informed, and the counsellors were actually employed by the abortion provider. It's a conflict of interest.

Whilst Dana Vale is Pro-abortion, this is at least evidence that some on that side of the spectrum are starting to see dangers of abortion and the real conflict of interest in abortion providers being the one who supply the counselling...(For instance, planned parenthood has over 90% of those coming to them for crisis pregnancy counselling getting abortions, making them millions!)
Church - Anglican Rift continues
Looks like the Anglican church is moving forward with its split.
The BBC has the news
Health - Double Standards On Education
Brian Harradine over at online opinion throws light on the difference in approach to sex education and smoking.
Now consider VicHealth’s message to teens advocated in the Herald Sun earlier this month. Did it say that we need to affirm their choice to smoke and minimise the risks? Or develop and implement a comprehensive, world’s best-practice policy on “Safe Smoking”? Or empower teens with skills in negotiating “Safe Smoking”?

Of course not.

But that’s the approach VicHealth’s CEO Rob Moodie advocated recently. Not about smoking mind you, but about providing even more sex education to teenagers in the hope that giving the green light to sex will reduce the abortion rate.

Just another example of inconsistency which shows the real reasons are not always the ones given.

He also links to some recent data and resources on the benefits of abstinence programs.

Update:Rob Moodie, CEO of VicHealth said
The Senator looks admiringly to the US. The US has a much higher abortion rate and teenage pregnancy rate than Australia

I find it astonishing, that the CEO of VicHealth could make such a horribly wrong claim such as this. Clearly, he need to get better information passed to his office.
Considering that Australia has almost exactly the same rate of Abortions and the US, to claim that the US has a 'much higher' rate is somewhat bewildering coming from a qualified professional.

Please Rob, if you are going to make a statement, make sure it is accurate.
(Reference International Family Planning Perspectives, 1999, 25(Supplement):S30–S38)
Science - Scientists are human
In this day of science as authority, we often forget that scientists are human. They make mistakes, the can act out of selfishness and greed instead of honesty and virtue.

This latest case of 30 year vetern anthropologist, Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten falsifying dates for fame and glory is just the latest in a long line of scientists gone bad.

You can read about it Here or Here.

I wonder how often this professors 'findings' were taught as fact in schools and universities around the world.

I often here that science is self-checking, but if something takes 30 years to find out, how is that really self-checking?

Scott Ott at Scrappleface has of course captured the issue with his fine brand of sarcastic wit.
Science - Detecting design
Stephen Meyer, at Evolution News & Views has posted an article in defense of Intelligent design (ID) as science. In this article he states
The essence of these arguments (against Design) seems to be that the unobservable character of a designing agent renders it inaccessible to empirical investigation and thus precludes the possibility of testing any theory of design.

and then makes the case that
Many sciences are in fact directly charged with the job of inferring the unobservable from the observable. Forces, fields, atoms, quarks, past events, mental states, subsurface geological features, molecular biological structures all are unobservables inferred from observable phenomena. Nevertheless, most are unambiguously the result of scientific inquiry.

and concludes saying
The demand that the theoretical entities necessary to origins theories must be directly observable if they are to be considered testable and scientific would, if applied universally and disinterestedly, require the exclusion not only of design but also of descent.

So basically, excluding Intelligent Design from science based on its unobservability should also require Common descent evolution to be excluded.

Which brings me to my point (finally). I have often heard the charge that to conclusively show that an event in the past was the result of an intelligent agent. I.e. they are saying it is impossible to find some quantitative criteria on which we can judge an object or action to be intelligently caused.

I find this a curious charge to level against the ID theory. You see, any action or object that is, has or will ever be was caused by one of three possible categories of causes (Or combination of those causes). It is either caused by necessity (e.g. Sodium in water reacts violently), or chance (e.g. brownian motion or the roll of a die), or design (e.g. writing this article).

So if something is caused by either necessity, design or chance AND we cannot detect whether it was caused by design or not, then how can we conclude it was caused by chance? Can the evolutionist show me some quantitive criteria on which we can judge an action or object to be randomly caused? If not, then once again, the criteria by which they seek to exclude ID from science, also excludes the neo-darwinian theory of common descent.
Christians - God can reach anyone
For the musically inclined, guitarist Brian Head Welch from Korn has become a christian. From the Korn website
Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian Head Welch, who has chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end.

Just a reminder never to write anyone off, be they Tax Collectors, Prostitutes or guitarists...God's love is for everyone.
Bible - Translations translated
Rev Mark D Roberts has a great post on The latest NIV translation which gives lots of information about bible translations
Science - Computer Simulations of Evolution
Macht at Prosthesis has a very useful post on the computer simulations of evolution that often get used as 'proof' that evolution works.
Abortion - Roe Vs Wade stays for now
Annie, from After abortion has noted that the US Supreme court has decided not to reopen the Roe vs Wade case.

I'm not suprised. For now the makeup of the court would still come out in favour of abortion, although over the next 4 years, President Bush may be able to appoint enough supreme court justices to turn that around.
Abortion - Fiddling with violinists
Helen Pringle, a Politics and International Relations lecturer from the University of New South Wales argues that personhood is no guarantee to protection by the law for the unborn.

She quotes the infamous example by philospher Judith Thomson
Thomson asks you to imagine that you are kidnapped one night, and you wake up in hospital to find yourself plugged into the body of a famous violinist suffering a serious kidney ailment. The doctors apologise profusely, blaming the Society of Music Lovers for the kidnapping. While assuring you that you will remain plugged in for only nine months, the doctors remind you that the violinist has a right to life, and that his life can be maintained only by remaining plugged in to your circulatory system.

Thomsons analogy fails miserably to show that the legality killing of an unborn human child is irrespective of its personhood. Clearly, it falls short of a useful analogy for abortion in 3 areas.
1) The kidnapped victim is forced into situation against their will. Clearly then, the analogy can only apply in rape cases, not abortion as a whole.

2) There is a difference between action and inaction in law, even in regards to life and death. The violinist would die from the kidney ailment if you disconnected, not from a direct killing, which is what abortion is.

3) The analogy uses artificial situations, where if the violinist is left without artificial intervention, they would die. The baby, left to nature would continue to be fine.

Helen goes on to provide further analogies
Consider for example cases of tissue or organ donation. The widely accepted moral, legal and political principle here is that such donations may not be compelled. And this is so on the ground that to require a person to donate a part (even a renewable part) of their body to another person is a form of involuntary servitude, or indeed slavery. Not even parents may be legally forced to donate, say, a kidney to their dying child. Courts in the US have famously refused to force parents to donate even their (renewable) bone marrow or blood to save their children.

This widely accepted principle against bodily compulsion applies also to changes of mind. Let us say that a mother voluntarily promises one of her kidneys to her dying child, but then reneges (for whatever reason) on her promise. The child has no legal basis on which to force the mother to surrender the promised kidney.

In looking at this analogy, it still has several of the problems of the violinist analogy (Namely pts 2 and 3) and so even though it may apply to all abortions, it does not directly relate to the situation of whether it is moral to kill an unborn.

A few more misconceptions seem to be evident here.
1) The state already has forced 'tissue' donation. It can require blood tests, dna tests, and urine tests in some cases. So even IF the state does not require the donation of bone marrow in some situations, it certainly does not imply a blanket ban on forced tissue extraction

2) Personhood itself does not imply that you cannot be legally killed. Any capital punishment shows this to be the case. Clearly, to make the case that killing an unborn child should be anything but murder, you have to show why it is acceptable to kill a defenseless human that has done nothing illegal or immoral.

Helen mentions one final argument.

To require that a woman carry an unborn child to term is to demand something that is required of no other person in our society: the involuntary use of her body by another. And a law outlawing abortion would hence effectively require of women as a class what is required of no other class of persons in our society. For that reason, such a law would be a discriminatory imposition on the autonomy of women as a class. To outlaw abortion is to compel women, and women alone, to use their bodies in a certain way - in effect to be bodily conscripted to the state.

And yet she would happily force a class of persons (I.e. the unborn child) to be discriminated against by allowing them to be killed without just cause. No other class in society is subjected to this.

Sorry Helen, but just because you want it to be okay to kill a defenseless and innocent human being for your own convenience, does not make it right.

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