Monday, 30 March 2009

Cultural Imperialism

Cultural Imperialism is the accusation often thrown at the missionaries of days gone by.

Today's cultural imperialism, driven by economic imperialism and justified by blind idealism is a rapacious beast devouring millions of lives.

Take the latest pot shots at the pope.

Now there are plenty of things I would take the pope to task over if I were to have a quiet chat with him in the back room. But I would try to get the facts straight. Our secular imperialists don't have to worry about that.

The pope is in trouble for criticising the condom based programs to prevent aids in Africa. Now I haven't read the whole of exactly what he said, but what is borne out by the evidence is this. Abstinence based programs on Africa have worked. Condom based programs have not worked.

But how can this be?

Condoms are a western based solution to the problem of aids. They require reliable infrastructure and a good economy, a reasonable education level, willingness of the participants to use condoms and the effectiveness of the condoms themselves in stopping disease transmission. How many of these exist in Africa? The last two are in doubt even in Western countries.

What good is a condom distribution point 100 km from the man and his temptation? What good is a condom bus every so often? How can these secularists not see that there might be a problem trying to enforce this western secularist program on Africa?

Because it is not about Africa. This issue is not about legitimate concern for the Africans dying of AIDS. This is what it's about:

"About 60 members of gay and lesbian groups staged an anti-Pope demonstration outside the Fourviere basilica in Lyon as the congregation arrived for Sunday mass given by the archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin. "

This issue is really about the secularist/liberal agenda at home in Western countries.

If it were about the plight of the Africans a little research would force the agitators to support the abstinence based programs. No, this issue is just another gob of mud to throw at the religious bulwark.

It's just a shame the facts won't back up the hype.

PS: a quick look at the level of critique and the research that goes into understanding the pope's comments and countering them logically.

The uninformed backlash:
"To go to Africa and tell people they shouldn't use condoms is criminal," France's education minister, Xavier Darcos, told French broadcaster Radio J. "

The actual comment:
"He said on a plane taking him to Cameroon that AIDS "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."

He didn't say don't use them, he said the program doesn't work. It's like taking the neighbour who pointed out the horse is dead up before the RSPCA for cruelty.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

I would have expected better than this foggy thinking from a Sydney Morning Herald article:

"The spinifex hopping mouse, which weighs no more than 30 grams, can suppress its appetite for up to six days when not eating in order to survive for long periods without water.

Associate Professor John Donald, from Deakin University's school of life and environmental sciences, said this ability made the mouse an ideal animal to study when trying to better understand appetite control in people."

Could we understand more about human flight by studying the albatross?
Could we understand more about human sleep by studying the hibernation of bears?

We could say, "We might be able to apply some of these studies to human weight loss." (which is inevitably where it will go- some drug to suppress appetite and induce fat burning).

But you can't say that studying, in a rodent, an ability that we do not have will help us understand ourselves.

Unfortunately the paper seems to be quoting the scientist himself and not just misquoting or misapplying his conclusions.

This fuzzy thinking seems to me to be the end result of human inquiry divorced from understanding the human situation, as the Bible shows us.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Neanderthal Neeson

Just a quick comment, somewhat tongue in cheek.

I flicked the TV on for a couple of minutes the other night, nothing worth watching as usual. But there was a show on SBS about Neanderthal man.

The bit I saw had a reconstruction of the face of a Neanderthal over the bones. A lot of very interesting assumptions there. But the really interesting thing was that when they had finished the model looked like Liam Neeson. I'm not kidding.

It kinda reinforced (unscientifically of course) a little question I have had for a while...

Is the difference between Neanderthal and me, for example, any greater than the difference between a Kalahari Bushman and a Scandinavian, or between an African and a Japanese person?

I think we tend to assume that Neanderthal were stupid and backward because they didn't have the tools we have. But 99.9% of us don't develop any new technologies either.

I think there is more proof needed before we can conclude that man has evolved since Neanderthal and not merely developed new technologies.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Garvans Lane (15 March 2009)

Garvans Lane (15 March 2009)
In the paddock East of Garvan's Lane just North of the Old Temora Road I spotted two very nice bottles lying on the surface and some shards in the earth. Worth getting permission and probing for a tip.

Upon digging I found the remains of many nice bottles, all broken. Apart from the two on the surface (Dinneford's and a probable Empire bottle) the only other bottle retrieved undamaged was a very plain amethyst bottle.

DINNEFORD"S MAGNESIA (very good condition)

A very plain amethyst bottle with 116 or 11b in a triangle on the base.

An unmarked ink bottle with the neck broken (Mick tells me some ink bottles were manufactured sealed and had to be broken to open them)
A triangular shaped bottle unmarked and chipped in several places that may be an Empire bottle as shards of a similar shape and colour were clearly marked EMPIRE Co.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Camps Lane Revisited

Steel, tins and shards indicate two small tips, possibly only surface tips about 350 and 650 m from the Burley Griffin Corner on the Northern side at the West end of Camps Lane. Very small tips, the Eastern one yielded a small Brylcream bottle.

Just west of the Easternmost corner on Camps lane I left a bottle neck at the base of a tree to indicate a possible tip that has a very few shards but yielded a Parramatta bottle from the surface.

When I went back to have a good scratch around...
The larger tip (650m) yielded a few bottles from the fifties (at a guess). Cough Medicine bottles were overrepresented, possibly because larger bottles were all broken.



COUGHS & COLDS (1960's)

At the eastern corner I was unable to find a tip. There was, however, on the opposite side of the road an interesting shaped bottle, probably from the twenties.