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Saturday, 25 February 2006 09:21

Culture, Nudity, Religion and Politics

A bill is being passed in Bali. "Traditional Balinese art and dance could become illegal. Prohibitions against kissing and revealing bodies could be imposed against foreigners, destroying Bali's faltering tourism industry."

Gadis Arriva, a university professor says: "It states it is illegal to express any sexual desire, even imagine sex ? how do you prove that?" she asks. She sees the anti-porn movement as part of an agenda to reshape Indonesia, with pornography a symbol of Western culture to the many Muslims who believe globalisation aims to destroy their culture."

See full article here.

The striking point about this article for me is this: The Balinese people had their own culture, expressed through their art and dance, way before people with different beliefs or religions came to tell them that these forms of expressions should be banned because it went against 'morality'. Should the Balinese stop expressing their culture just because of religion or politics: because some people think nudity is 'bad'? No.
Sunday, 19 February 2006 09:43

Muslim Imams In Australia

The Australian Government have proposed a code of conduct to prevent religious leaders from inciting hateful and inflamatory statements and sermons. But Brunswick-based Sheikh Omran, probably the most radical Muslim cleric in Australia (according to The Age), is not going to cooperate.

In next month's summit of imams, Muslim groups are divided whether they should invite him or not. Some do not want him to join the meeting so as not to validate his teachings. One or two imams will not attend if he attends. The imams who want him to attend feel that it is important to keep him engaged. I guess it is important for them to debate and challenge his ideas.

The articles I read were at: www.theage.com.au, titled Speak No Evil and Imam To Defy Code Of Conduct.
Friday, 03 February 2006 17:43

Art & Science

An observant person sees things overlooked by others. A scientist sees things going on and then asks how these goings-on array themselves into patterns, patterns that are reliable and predictable. A really good scientist--or a really good artist for that matter, anyone whose mind and soul are capable of some extension--sees what is going on, sees the patterns, and asks, 'Why?' What underlying forces are at work? How are those forces exerting themselves? How may we understand? Once pried from the universe by a great mind or a discerning heart, the hard-won understanding may then be conveyed and conferred upon humanity at large. A painting is nothing more than light reflected from the surface of a pigment-covered canvas. But a great painter can make you see the depth, make you feel the underlying emotion, make you sense the larger world. That, too, is the power of science: to sense and convey the depth and dimensionality of nature, to glance at the surface and to divine the shape of the universe around us.
Carl Safina

Published in Scientific Advances
Friday, 03 February 2006 17:42

Humans Fighting For Beliefs

Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told--and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion.
Michael Crichton in The Lost World

Based on an article written by Michael Borgas,the Government is still failing to give science the support it deserves.

"...The Federal Government has opted to leave science in the Education and Training ministry, where it has languished with poor support and little interest from the cabinet...CSIRO science differs from that of the universities, with research priorities set by senior executives in consultation with government. Individual researchers must align with long-term strategy. In this way large teams of researchers can tackle problems and initiatives that are important for Australia." See Full Article.

Science is an investment for the future. We need to ensure we are investing enough in it.
Thursday, 02 February 2006 16:39

Riding the Islamist Tide

"America has pursued the idea that democracy is the answer to Islamist terrorism. Now the Palestinian people have spoken clearly - and they have voted for the terrorists."

"The question is not whether Muslim radicals should be elected to power, but what they do in office and whether they can be voted out"

"The Middle East enters unknown and dangerous territory. This is a time for cool heads and pragmatism, not rash responses."

The Hamas election victory demands a cool-headed international response, writes Anton La Guardia.
See full article if you click here.
Thursday, 02 February 2006 16:21

Bush sets terms for US to engage Hamas

I read this article in The Age.

It says:


US President George W Bush says the United States could support a Hamas-led Palestinian government if it abandons its goal of destroying Israel and disarms.

Bush said in the most explicit way to date that the United States could engage with the Islamic militant group which swept to a stunning victory last week in the Palestinian parliamentary election.

"In order for the United States to support a Palestinian government run by Hamas, Hamas must change its party platform and change its way of thinking and get rid of this armed group, as well as change its attitude toward Israel," Bush said.

Click here for full article.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009 20:17

Priest jailed for molesting altar boy

Another priest is jailed for molesting a boy. (Source)

PERSONAL COMMENT: My comment may not necessarily be for this case but regarding pedophilia in general. What are the causes of pedophilia? Studies are still inconclusive it seems. It is unfortunate, however, for children and for the other priests, that pedophiles seemed to have figured out that becoming a priest provides them the opportunities they seek.

The world is said to be warming because we, human beings, have been emitting tonnes of carbon material into the atmosphere. However, there seems to be an alternative explanation to global warming: the sun's activities might be the catalyst. An Australian senator is pushing for the examination of this hypothesis. (Source)

It seems that the contribution of Solar Flares to the earth's warming is not new and had already been considered, studied and thereafter, rejected, as the main catalyst for global warming.

See:

  1. Tempers flare as scientists defend solar debate
  2. Fielding offered talks to sway climate stance
Published in Scientific Advances

Scientists in China say they've "reprogrammed" skin cells from adult pigs to behave like stem cells from humans.Engineering cells in pigs provides a way to access the potential of embryonic stem cells without the ethical problems associated with the use of human stem cells, researchers at the South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine said Friday. (Source)

PERSONAL COMMENT: This is great news to advance stem cell research. But personally, I think its ridiculous that we have to go to this extent just because of some religions' attitude to stem cell research.Isn't ethical to find cures to diseases that afflict human beings the world over and advance our knowledge in biology, health and medicine?

Published in Scientific Advances