Friday, 14 December 2007

Here's a laugh (hopefully)

David Rabbitborough - Life in Mangers

Posted on Youtube

I put this together for a school Christmas service. I think the clue to the question at the end is in Philippians 2:1-11

Merry Christmas

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Anecdotal Evidence

It's funny, but I think we make many of our decisions and form much of our opinion on anecdotal evidence. The least reliable kind.

For example, this story Doctor's Trauma tells the story of a doctor troubled by the investigations into a 32 week abortion in which he participated some years ago.

This story is a powerful tool for shaping opinions about abortion. It is hard not to read it and think the laws criminalising abortion seem unfair. It will shape opinions because it is full of emotion, it has people we can empathise with and it plays on our unhealthy suspicion of government and authority. But it is still anecdotal evidence, a true anecdote, but an anecdote nonetheless.

Anecdotes can only ever present one side of the case. They cannot bring statistical evidence, they cannot bring balance to an argument, they cannot explore the subtleties of legal and ethical arguments. When each side of a conflict can bring anecdotes in support of their stance, how do we decide? Is the right stance the one with the most anecdotes? The one with the most emotional anecdotes? The cynic might suggest that the heart wrenching stories are published specifically to stifle argument and debate. I hope not. I hope we will consider evidence and ethical issues as some states in Australia open the issue of decriminalising abortion.
I truly hope so, because those arguing on the other side of the abortion issue don't have many anecdotes to wield in the debate. The people most affected negatively by abortion don't tell their stories. Their heart wrenching stories will never be told, never be lived.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Ignorance Is No Defence

Gillian Gibbons, the teacher briefly jailed in Sudan for insulting Islam is stated as saying, "I shouldn't have done it." and "Ignorance of the law is no defence." She was found guilty for naming a classroom teddy bear 'Muhammad' (PBUH).

[SMH 10 Dec 2007:]

I would have thought ignorance was the only defence.
I would have thought ignorance is the ultimate defence. "What, is that wrong??"

Or is she not ignorant.
Did she know that Muslims are very titchy about the honour of Muhammad (PBUH) and especially at the hands of ignorant/arrogant westerners.

Sometimes we are only ignorant in particular, we should have known better in general. I didn't know the minutiae of the law, but my consience knew better, but I was too lazy to listen to it. (I'm extrapolating past poor Gillian now and speaking generally).

Policeman: Did you know you were travelling at 120 km/h in a 50 zone.
Motorist: Is this a 50 zone??
Policeman: You didn't see the sign?
Motorist: What sign?
Policeman: Back there.
Motorist: No officer, I saw the houses and the park and the kids playing in the street, but I didn't see the sign.
Policeman: You saw the kids playing in the street?
Motorist: I didn't see the sign but I saw the kids.
Policeman: So why were you still doing 120 km/h?

Sometimes we claim to be ignorant of God's law, when our consciences actually did know better, if we had bothered to listen to them. We know we should have known better. Willful ignorance is no excuse.

The apostle Paul, under God's leading writes, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

I think it's strange how ignorance has become an insult. Ignorance is not wrong, it's not stupid, it's just not knowing. No one told me, I never had schooling. That makes you ignorant, not stupid. But treasuring ignorance, or wallowing in ignorance, or using ignorance as a cloak for my sordid activities, that is both stupid and sinful.

Goyle: "The teacher said that-"
Malfoy: "Don't tell me, I don't want to know. If you tell me I won't be able to keep on doing this."

Malfoy: "But sir, I didn't know..."
Prof Moody: "You didn't want to know, Malfoy. 50 points from Slytherin"

Note: PBUH stands for Peace Be Upon Him, a phrase used by Muslims to show respect for Muhammad (PBUH) whenever they say or write his name. I do not hold Muhammad (PBUH) in the same esteem as a Muslim but have no wish for insult over etiquette to sidetrack the exchange of ideas and I certainly do wish Muhammad (PBUH) and his people the peace he never found in his lifetime.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Isn't he that french guy?

What's with the funny name for the blog??

anatole brings together some key facets of who I am. Not that I have a penchant for obscure french names (or anglicised french words either). anatole menas something like 'rising dawn' in Greek. I looked it up. It conjures, for me, an image of a distant sun dawning behind a planet shrouded in it's own shadow. Rays reach forward from beyond the edge of the planet promising the new dawn of light on all bound by gravity below. You can see the cover of a mass market science fiction paperback, can't you? Although I suspect that viewing sun and planet from space rules out atmospheric imperfections which renders rays from the sun invisible. Nonetheless, I guess it's obvious that I enjoy reading and thinking about science fiction. So I like the image of anatole.

anatole, the Greek word that the french name comes from, is also a word used in Luke's Gospel to describe Jesus Christ. The rising dawn bringing light and hope to the world. That's a deeper reality of who I am. Someone who seeks to live in the light of Christ and looks forward to the spread of that light that brings peace to all who live under it's grace. And for a long time I've thought about writing about science fiction from my Christian perspective. And well, now's a good time to start. So among other things, that's what I intend to do here. Let me know what you think.

God Bless You.