177 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @Jarrah

    Thanks.

    On the issue of freedom of religion and how a compulsory secular public education might conflict with it, I guess my main points would be that:

    a) The public school education is secular and it is a question of our society ensuring that every child receives such an education. Religious organisations may argue that they have particular requirements of their members, and that one or more of these requirements may be in conflict with a public secular education. I would in return argue that religions have adapted in the past to the changes occurring around them and that this issue is no different in that regard.
    Furthermore, a secular education during school hours does not in fact contravene freedom of religion, for religious education may be performed outside of school hours. Being free to practice a religion is quite a different proposition to being free to do whatever one pleases.
    As a trite example: It is compulsory to pass a test (or to do a log book successfully) for a driver’s license before being allowed to drive. No one I know argues that the hours spent on this secular activity of passing the license requirements is in some way preventing freedom of religion, for the simple reasons that religion may be practised outside of the hours spent learning to drive; and, the secular “education” in learning to drive and to demonstrating that satisfactorily is irrelevant in so far as freedom of religion goes (to the best of my knowledge).

    b) There is an argument raised by some that various components of the content (ie subjects taught and their subject matter) of a compulsory secular education may be either in conflict with sacred texts for a particular religion, and consequently such compulsory learning of that subject matter is immoral, in so far as that religion is concerned. The by now classic example of this is the Creationist variant of conservative Christian sects. Creationism is a direct expression of a literal reading of the first two books of the bible, and in particular “Genesis”. There are many creationists who believe in a “young Earth” (aka YEC for “Young Earth Creationism”), an Earth that was created perhaps 4000 or so years ago. There are also interpretative creationists who believe that the six days of creation are metaphorical days, whereas other creationists brook no disent that a day of creation is a standard 24 hour day.
    If we stick with the creationist doctrine as espoused by some branch of conservative Christians, it should be immediately obvious that not only is it impossible to reconcile any of the subject matter of evolutionary biology with the Creationists’ various accounts of creation, it is simply impossible to reconcile the different creationist sects own accounts of creation with each others. Yet by and large, the various creationists have no issue with congregating together to formally celebrate and learn about their Christian religion together.. So what is the distinction between acceptable conflict of religious beliefs – the 24hr day “Genesis” creationists vs the “metaphorical day” creationists, and YEC creationists vs old Earth recent human creation creationists, etc – and unacceptable conflict of belief – creationist version of humankind’s creation vs Darwin’s account of evolution by natural selection (and other natural factors)?

    Are we to abandon the goal of Australian citizens knowing at least a bit of science? Just because there is a religion somewhere that is in conflict with the scientific discoveries concerning humankind’s origins? I think not, and yet in practice we have done just that.

  2. This is in response to a comment on the forum “My response to Monckton’s conspiracy theory”.

    @freelander, one of the rituals before boarding planes that we may have to go through are full body scans. There are many concerns that there may be serious health risks. (See a href=”http://peaksurfer.blogspot.com/2009/12/airport-droids-attack-human-gene-pool.html”>”Airport Droids Attack Human Gene Pool” about the health risks posed by full body scanners of 29 Dec 09 on peaksurfer.blogspot.com, “DNA Full-body scanners used on air passengers may damage human DNA” of 11 Jan 10. )

    If the security agencies had done their job properly, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab would have got nowhere near flight 253 and the alleged need for the rituals before getting on a plane, of which you write, would not exist.

    Of course, I no more accept the incompetence theory in regard toFlight 253 than I do in regard to 9/11 or the AWB scandal.

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