Grey Thoughts
Muslim vs Western Attitudes
Spot the differences. This first article in the Age by Waleed Aly titled 'Ignorance breeds distrust' paints a very different picture to Daniel Pipes article on 'How Muslims Think'.

Waleed seems to think it is just stereotyped nonsense that keeps us from recognising our Muslim brothers as friends.
Western respondents tended to see Muslims as fanatical, violent, intolerant, and disrespectful towards women. This, frankly, is hardly a shock. What might surprise Western readers is that Muslim populations tend to think of them in precisely the same way - though they add that Westerners are selfish, immoral and greedy for good measure.

We should pause for reflection here. If Westerners immediately, and correctly, recognise that these Muslim perceptions of them are stereotyped nonsense, they may also be inclined to reconsider the accuracy of their own stereotyped view of Muslims. True, Westerners can point to cliches in support of their caricatures (terrorism, honour killings), but so can Muslims (military invasion, pornography). Each has some factual basis, but the result is a false, essentialised typecast of countless astonishingly diverse, complex societies.
Yep...apparently we are so alike in this. It seems terrorism is just a cliche and equivalent to pornography (those darn fanatical pornographers...they are just like terrorists... well except for the killing and the blowing stuff up part)

Daniel's article highlights some general mulsim attitudes
In not one Muslim population polled does a majority believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks on the United States. In other words, in every one of these ten Muslim communities, a majority views 9/11 as a hoax perpetrated by the U.S. government, Israel, or some other agency.
I guess this is up there with Iran's leader saying the holocaust didn't happen.
All the Muslim populations polled display a solid majority of support for Osama bin Laden. Asked whether they have confidence in him, Muslims replied positively, ranging between 8 percent (in Turkey) to 72 percent (in Nigeria). Likewise, suicide bombing is popular. Muslims who call it justified range from 13 percent (in Germany) to 69 percent (in Nigeria). These appalling numbers suggest that terrorism by Muslims has deep roots and will remain a danger for years to come.
What people like Waleed seem to forget is that in the West we have freedom of information and the press. In Muslim countries all they get is the muslim line (hence the support for Osama Bin Laden and suicide bombing.

It isn't ignorance that has bred distrust, it is the threat. If the mulsim world supports Osama Bin Laden then laments the US and it's allies getting involved in the middle east, they only have themselves to blame.
An Army of Adam's?
With the news media reeling (pun intended) from the onlaught of an army of bloggers evaluating and criticising their every word, it was only time before the science journals got some of the hassles. Many of the journal's decided to step into the 21st century and have created blogs. Unfortunately, it seems that their hold on defining the science paradigm is becoming as shaky as the main stream media's hold on news. Creation Safari's has a great round up of the less than perfect reception these scientists and editors are receiving.
Despite the magazine’s portrayal of creationists as nothing more than politically-motivated religious zealots, many of the uncensored responses were not shy about refusing to be pushed into that corner. “Saying over and over that it is a religion vs. science debate doesn’t make it so,” said one. “Sure, you can find politicians and creationists to bash, but to be taken seriously, you must address the critics of Darwin who hold prestigious scientific positions within our universities and science organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences.” Another called the magazine’s tactics “propaganda.” Those supportive of the magazine’s assessment were outnumbered nine to five.
The battle continues.
Humanists and Rationality
Humanist Roy Hattersley feels that he has a rational approach to when abortion is okay. Like most Humanists however, his logic is incredibly poor. Humanists seem to have this blind spot where they simple assume they are rational and everyone who has religious beliefs in irrational. This is just another case. Let's look at what he says
The date on which an unborn child can be destroyed is not a matter that can be decided by popular suffrage. It is a question of right and wrong.
Wierdly enough, this goes completely against moral relativism, the main humanist ethical system. Roy seems to be pointing to some objective morality here that transcends personal opinion. Yet, for someone who claims his ideas are rational, where does this objective morality come from? According to his humanistic beliefs, it can't come from anywhere. What Roy is really doing here is using double-speak and rhetorical tricks to reach an audience who does believe in objective morality.
Humanists should fill the moral vacuum. We put respect for human life at the heart of our creed and we pride ourselves in pursuing that central tenet of belief with uncompromising logic rather than reliance on mysticism or magic.
It's here that Roy's irrationality and rhetorical tricks truly come to the fore. Note the disdain for religous moral truths. Roy is a devout believer in his own worldviews rationality and rightness, but he never asks himself why anyone should respect human life. Religious people, like Christian's have a rational answer to that question. Humanists however do not. They instead must arbitrarily decide what is right and wrong. This means in the future, they can modify this arbitrary decision to something different. So much for rationality.
The rules that should govern an ethically acceptable policy on abortion are not difficult to define. Metaphysics aside, it is reasonable to conclude that the new human being begins when the foetus is capable of independent life. Before that, an abortion is undesirable but tolerable. After that, it is only acceptable in the most extreme cases. They do not include the psychological trauma of the expectant mother. A civilised society does not kill one person in order to alleviate the distress of another, no matter how traumatic it may be.
"Metaphysics aside"? Roy is essentially saying it is irrelevant what really is the case. So he is saying it is rational to believe something whether it is real or not. But look closely at how he continues that a "new human being begins when the foetus is capable of independent life". So now we have moved from a central 'respect for human life' to a respect of only independent human life. So much for "we pride ourselves in pursuing that central tenet of belief with uncompromising logic". This is what Roy and other humanists call logic, reason and rationality?

Humanist morality can never be rational as there is no foundation for it. Roy has just deftly demonstrated this irrationality and also how the humanist blind faith in their own rationality is just plain wrong
The Top 100 Most Influential Aussies
The Bulletin has released a list of what it thinks is the top 100 most influential Australians. Rupert Murdoch tops the list, and others such as JF Archibald, Feminist Germaine Greer, infanticide proponent Peter Singer and Donald Bradman.

It is interesting to see who is absent. Fred Schwarz, who influenced people such as Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan and helped stop communism didn't make the cut, but B.A Santamaria did
B.A. “Bob” Santamaria, the son of Italian fruiterers, and the most influential lay Catholic in 20th-century Australia, dedicated his life to fighting communism. The Depression sharpened his social consciousness but he rejected Marxism after he saw what happened to Catholics during the Spanish Civil War. In the 1930s, he developed his own version of working-class Catholic politics, and in 1941, at the request of the Victorian Labor Party, created a covert Catholic movement to wrest control of the trade unions from the communists. By 1950, the Movement, as it became known, had taken its fight beyond the unions. With Santamaria as its chief intellectual force, the Movement (later the National Civic Council) worked against Labor leaders who did not share its anti-communist, socially conservative views. Supported by a network of parish branches, it was effectively a party within the Labor Party. After losing the 1954 federal election, ALP leader H.V. Evatt assembled a factional alliance that kicked out Santamaria and his followers, who formed the Democratic Labor Party which kept the ALP out of office in Canberra until 1972. The DLP collapsed in 1974 and Santamaria soldiered on through the NCC, championing traditional family and religious values and, in the end, deciding that Australian democracy was more threatened by rampant capitalism than communism.

A noble life and works, but I wonder if the complaint against rampant capitalism being a greater threat than communism is the main reason he was included instead of Schwarz, as Schwarz' influence is clearly greater.
Media Bias
Opinion journal has a good example of the leftist bias in the main stream media that apparently doesn't exist.
from an Associated Press report about a speech by Vice President Cheney:

Cheney defended the NSA's domestic eavesdropping program, which the administration calls its "terrorist surveillance program" as important in the war on terror, while conceding it was controversial.

Why not say:

Cheney defended the NSA's terrorist surveillance program, which the administration's opponents call its "domestic eavesdropping program," as important in the war on terror, while conceding it was controversial.

Given that no one has seriously claimed the NSA is eavesdropping on domestic as opposed to international calls, this would be more accurate.
Yep. The lefist 'no bias' crew would swear until they were blue in the face that the first was more accurate. They have their anti-bush coloured glasses on, and nothing will wake them up.
Chemical Weapons in Iraq
Hold on to your hats. Unless you have been living under a shell, you would have read that declassified portions of a document have been released outlining the finding of 500 chemical weapon shells in Iraq. Austin Bay and Ed Morrissey have all the details. More declassification is required, but questions remain as to why the blazes this information was not made public years ago. Many seem to suspect the CIA is behaving in a partisan manner for it's own power play purposes.

Ultimately my support for the war in Iraq was based on the need to free the Iraqi people, but this is good news which will hopefully shut up the annoying anti-war crowd some.
We Live in a Crazy World
It's official. The world is a funny place. This is just some of the last 24 hours of wierd and wacky stories.

Nestle is buying Jenny Craig. Actually, this a brilliant move. Sell tempting treats to make people fat and then charge them money to lose weight.

A con-man who passed himself off as a qualified driving instructor has been jailed for 2 years. Of course, the con-man managed to get a better success record than the average qualified instructor.

Fidel Castro wants Cuba to become a new software go to shop. He is of course having trouble because Cuba's aren't allowed to access the internet.

Someone needs to tell people that illegal immigrants cannot be law abiding citizens, as they are already breaking the law, hence the term "illegal". Jose Lechuga, an ex-illegal immigrant seems to think that the Hazelton mayor is "confusing illegal people with criminals." I think it is Jose who is confused. For bonus points the paper's story tries the racist angle by claiming most "white's" support a crackdown on illegal's.

It apparently doesn't take much to be classed as a missing link by science journalists these days. Apparently, all it takes is to be pretty much a modern duck that is dated 110 million years old. Yep. It's a duck...must be a missing link...crazy.
Appeasement Craziness
When will people realise that appeasement doesn't work? Just look at Iran. With their leaders threatening to nuke Israel off the map, denying the holocaust and saying they will share their nuclear technology with anyone and everyone, you'd have to think it would be wise to not encourage them. But, here we are again. Iran is looking at a western proposal and going to suggest changes. What this really means is that Iran is going to try and get as much out of the rest of the world as possible based on the threat of gaining nuclear technology. They will then proceed to continue with their work on nuclear technology in secret and give the UN inspectors the run around.

Appeasement doesn't stop people, it only encourages them to ask for more.
Hypocrisy and Planned Parenthood
I shouldn't be suprised. An organisation that promotes the killing of innocent and defenseless unborn is hardly going to be a poster child for moral standards. But, once again, I am suprised by the blatant hypocrisy of Planned Parenthood.

Jivin Jehoshaphat has the latest smear attempt on pregnancy counselling centers by the National Abortion Foundation and links to a previous one by Planned Parenthood.

The general complaints are they give misleading information (probably about the very real breast cancer link to abortion that Planned Parenthood chooses to ignore) and are only there to stop women from exercising their free choice (Because the pregnancy counselling centers FORCE people to not have abortions???).

Yet, looking at the recently reported annual profit of 882 Million Dollars (Good thing they need so much government funding!), what do we see? That their adoption referral's have gone down to an even worse record. Only 1 adoption referral for every 180 abortions. Yet they continue to promote themselves as an adoption referral service.

And they have the nerve to accuse pro-lifers of being anti-choice.
Light Blogging Sorry
Sorry for the light blogging. I have had exams and assignments and to top it all off I have been sick with a chest infection. Will hopefully be able to post more very soon.
Phylogenic Fiasco
A recent paper by Degnan and Rosenberg, “Discordance of Species Trees with Their Most Likely Gene Trees,” Public Library of Science: Genetics, Volume 2 | Issue 5 | MAY 2006. has once again shown the pitiful status of evolution for those who care to look. Creation Safari's has a good summary of how this paper shows just how pathetic the relationsip between the phylogenic tree and the molecular tree of life really are. From the paper
This counterintuitive result implies that in combining data on multiple loci, the straightforward procedure of using the most frequently observed gene tree topology as an estimate of the species tree topology can be asymptotically guaranteed to produce an incorrect estimate.
I.e. The tree's don't match!! So much for evolutionary assumptions like similar features implying close ancestry.
So much for hundreds of papers for the last few decades, with all their confident claims about the evolutionary ancestry of this or that group. Now what? Can anything reliable come out of Darwinist attempts to find ancestry in DNA?

Biased Media Left in Denial
Those wacky liberals....a couple of recent posts highlight how much they are in denial over their bias and the mainstream media's bias. Evidence of the bias has been repeatedly and continually highlighted and presented. Yet here we have two left media representatives trying to tell people that the real problem is that the leftist biased media is not standing up to those mean right wingers who are calling them biased. Of course, their comments give the game away.
I'm baffled that America hasn't thrown George Bush in prison
All your stated reasons for taking this country into an unnecessary war turn out to be complete horse#%$!
Well, I think I know where he gets his information from.

These guys just don't get it. The blog community has managed to do one thing, and that is to blunt the influence of the leftist main stream media. The days when people like Dan Rather and Mary Mapes can put one over on the people without breaking a sweat have gone. Heck, I might as well plug Glen Reynolds book 'Army of Davids'.

Of course, their waning influence has led them to cry foul and that the people who demand news and not left wing speils are
bent on destroying an institution that serves as a check on government abuses
That's funny. I don't remember the constitution creating the media as a check on government abuses. I always thought they were just there to report news. It seems however that they are just like the little spoilt kid who likes to hurl insults at others (see previous comment about thinking George Bush is a criminal) and yet can't take it when others call them to account.

The denial of the 'reality-based community' is truly something to behold.
Homology and Evolution
Homology is one of the main arguments for the theory of evolution, arguing that similar appearance implies close evolutionary relationship. Jerry Bergman, a professor of Science with seven degrees (yes, more than me) has a great response to this icon of evolution. Read the whole article, but in summary Jerry shows how homology fails to be a proof for evolution on several grounds.
1) Convergent evolution is claimed when any homologous features are found and it is clear that they species cannot be closely related. It is clear from this that similarity of features is not a predictor of evolutionary relationship and so cannot be proof of evolutionary theory.

2) The embryonic development of homologous features often differs.

3) The genetic basis for homologous features often differs.

Clearly, molecules to man evolution is assumed to be true, and then homology is then used to try and mash what we see into the evolution mold.
Victorian Homosexual Lobby is Working
Previously, there were tales of students being forced to role play thinking they were gay and kissing members of the same sex. Now we have a new 'gay' school guide teaching our students. Gone are words like 'mum' and 'dad', and in are words like 'parent' and 'carer'. Also in are poster's of gay celebrities and non-gender specific toys. What the heck is a non-gender specific toy? Is that like Neuter Barbie (tm) or something?

It seems the Victorian government supports the new manual...gotta love those leftist labor loons. Always objecting to Christian's 'forcing' their beliefs on others, but always willing to force their beliefs on everyone.
Victoria's Department of Education and Training has invited the editor of the manual, Vicki Harding, to promote it to principals and teachers at a taxpayer-funded conference in Melbourne next month.

Go Home Schooling!

The full manual is available online.
UN on a Roll
Just when you thought that an organisation couldn't take an even more ridiculous stance, we now have a UN body telling us that we better act now to avoid an environmental disaster due to climate change. What is the disaster? Well, it's the loss of our deserts (And no, I don't mean choc chip ice cream). More and more the UN is looking like that crazy, retarded uncle that you regret inviting for Christmas lunch.
More lUNacy
The UN continues to boggle the mind. Tim Blair has linked to a an article on the UN staff in East Timor being told to not cooperate with the Australian Federal Police.

In another, even more moronic turn of events, Hans Blix, former UN Chief inspector has released a study saying that we should make nuclear weapons 'illegal'. Somehow he feels that the evil people like Iran who want to nuke other countries will somehow be content to stay nuclear weapons free if everyone else is. Has Hans lost his mind? How would such a legal embargo be enforced? That's as mind blowingly stupid as saying that if America and Australia disarm completely, the communists and arabic nations will be sure to follow.
More On Utilitarianism
After my previous post on it, I have been thinking more about Utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill, one of the big names in bringing utilitarianism to the fore, based his support for it on one thing the idea that "everyone in fact does act for pleasure, for themselves or others". There seems to be a couple of obvious problems with this.

Firstly, if we take it at face value, then every act is done for pleasure of the person or other persons. Yet this means that the term 'acting for pleasure' becomes meaningless as it is impossible to not 'act for pleasure' (much the same is the statement that everyone acts out of selfishness).

Secondly, if people all act for pleasure, then why is that a valid reason to define pleasure as the basis of goodness. It is like saying that everyone acts selfishly, so we should all act selflessly. Not only is it an irrational progression, but it also ignores the is-ought problem. That is, just because something happens in a certain way does not mean it ought to happen that way in the future.

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