Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for April 2013

 My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Global warming evangelist hits his straps

I think ‘hits his straps’ an apt way to describe public intellectual Professor Clive Hamilton’s recent statement about global warming. The phrase sprang to mind when I received a short e-mail from a sceptic that said ‘Right now (9.20am Sunday 27 April so13) Professor Hamilton is on ABC Radio National (846) advocating a campaign of civil disobedience to force people to believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming!

Horses as you know have four walking styles – walk, canter, trot and gallop.  Over the years Dr Hamilton in his Green racing colours, has adopted each of the four styles when inveighing against people who do not share his view about global warming.

Indeed with his call for civil disobedience not only has Professor Hamilton hit his straps he seems to have become an environmental zealot. His statement is reminiscent of those religious zealots who, over the centuries, predicted the world was doomed if both sceptics and unthinking unbelievers did not abandon the use of fossil fuels.

Like all zealots, Professor Hamilton’ is dogmatic about global warming: he and people who think like him are right; everybody else is wrong. He argues also that to believe anything else is to deny climate change truth and engage in wishful thinking.

Among Professor Hamilton’s many qualifications, although he seems to have spent most of his time working in the political field like many other oracles on global warming, are history, psychology, pure mathematics and economics. Like other people of Green political convictions and despite his many qualifications Professors Hamilton’s vision of the future seems one dimensional: doom clouds his horizon.

Helping to formulate that view is that I find it strange that a man who has spent a great deal of his working life in the political economic field seems blind to the fact that it is unlikely he and his fellow Green believers would be here today enjoying the fruits (read progress) grown by past wishful thinkers. Stranger still is the suggestion of the Greens that the landscape be polluted with monstrous wind turbines whose capacity to provide energy is limited and their suggesting that the roof of every house be covered with solar panels.

But perhaps the strangest thing of all is that I have yet to hear Green economists like Professor Hamilton, suggest that as doomsday approaches how will they save all species of fauna and flora current at the time. I wonder why? Perhaps it’s because their vision of the future is limited by their lack of imagination. Is there no wishful thinker like Noah among them? It seems not.

But of the people among them some are people of influence whom I would describe either as hard wired for alarm or hot gospellers for calamity and catastrophe. As unlike optimists as chalk is to cheese, they are perpetual pessimists who, having spent so much time opposing sensible ideas about global warming from informed sceptics, of whom there are many, that they now can’t see the wood for the trees.

Let me end by saying that despite the doom laden predictions of zealots from the past, who allegedly had God on their side, the world is still with us.

Comment welcome

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Are we on the road to Morocco or extinction?

I know many of you, like me, probably have a long list of the type of people we’d like to become extinct. Unfortunately, short of killing them with a gun or other such method, the Law of Opportunity Cost puts the price of taking such action so high that as we think about it we realise we’ll have to keep putting up with them.

So what types of people would you like to become extinct? Want to think about it? Well while you’re thinking let me say the people I think should become extinct are people who, in the course of telephone calls and e-mails seemed to me people whose extinction would make the world a better place.

You would be surprised at who they are. Most are people who think highly of themselves and delude themselves that everyone else also thinks highly of them. Let me be kind to them by saying they live in a permanent and incurable state of self – delusion.

Both the intellectually pretentious among them see themselves at the top of the social ladder as do those who suffer from a dearth of intelligence. But whatever their mental capacity they have something in common: both think themselves better than everyone else. With their egos they make me think of the long ago emperors, empresses as well as kings and queens who thought themselves divine.
Now if you think that because the 21st century has only just got under way, any talk about humans becoming extinct is a bit silly. I would have agreed with you but for reading an article “How are humans going to become extinct” on the BBC World service website. The article can be accessed at http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk

The article is about the thoughts of a team of scientists, mathematicians and philosophers at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, investigating the possibility of human extinction. And while normally I would hesitate to argue with such a formidable team, I doubt humans will ever become extinct.

Nonetheless I think humans will disappear from the earth. On the other hand I do not think they will disappear from the universe. In my view as Man’s scientific knowledge grows and as the earth becomes less and less habitable his natural instinct to explore will take him beyond the earth’s limiting boundaries. And though it might be a long time into the future, I believe Man will evacuate earth and live on new satellite worlds of his own. He will also use these satellite worlds as staging posts from which he will explore the universe for other planets on which to settle. Effectively, Man will create a new universe.

By the time this happens Man might also have evolved into something different from his present form. In fact I see an ever expanding universe peopled by ever developing types of humans. The fact that the sun will eventually disappear will be of little import to earth as it too will disappear..

Of course what I suggest is a long way into the future, a future that, as the millenniums pass, even the best scientists, mathematicians and philosophers can only guess at. And so, just as they can only guess at what that future will be so, too, can you.
For example, millenniums into the future I think the various worlds that man goes on to create, or find, will be peopled by the use of sperm banks. Naturally as Man has changed over past millenniums so too, will sperm’s structure.

The result: just as earth is populated by people with different facial features and skin colour, so will the worlds of the future. And while I might hope that as Man’s current propensity to conquer and acquire will disappear, optimistic as I am, it seems unlikely.
However, my opinions differ from the Institute in a number of ways. While Dr Nick Bostrom the Swedish born Director of the Institute says “Pandemics and natural disasters might cause colossal and catastrophic loss of life” he believes humanity likely to survive. Such an assertion is less than positive. I contend that as Man continues to evolve, any thought of pandemics and catastrophes causing his demise grows less and less.

Dr Bostrom believes Man has entered a new kind of technological era with the capacity to threaten our future as never before. I think Dr Bostrom’s statement, these are “threats we have no track record of surviving” is wrong. Man has survived many catastrophes caused by what, at the time, was advanced technology even if today we don’t think of it as advanced technology. Indeed in the future what we today, think advanced technology will have our descendants thinking how simple we were, if ever they think of us at all.

Comments welcome

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Changing one’s mind

 Do you change your mind very often? While I change my mind often about things of little consequence I hastily agreed to, I rarely change my mind on serious matters that I have given a great deal of thought. Even though I do change my mind on some of these issues some churls go as far as to say I don’t change it often enough to suit them. What they really mean is: how can I ever disagree with them?

In today’s society, some serious matters, about which I cannot imagine ever changing my mind, become subject to public relations campaigns that make issues so popular that people accept it without actually devoting any time to thinking about the issue. Creating popularity about issues can be a lot easier than people think particularly if some of the people involved are leaders in Politics, Business, The Arts, Science or one of the myriad other sections of society in which people are often thought to be greater thinkers and/or more knowledgeable about them than the common herd.

I defer to no one in my thinking but will change my mind when persuaded by logical not emotional argument that I should. Deferring to no one has often caused me problems but, accepting arguments merely because it will make life easier, is not for me.

While it is not my intention to opinion extensively on these issues in this blog, I will give a few examples. I am still a sceptic about the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global warming and climate change warnings. Instead of sparking rational debate between its scientists who predict that if nations continue to use fossil fuels, planet earth will warm to such a level as to become unliveable, and respected scientists who disagree with them, both groups of scientists now stand facing each other from either side of the climate chasm.

Naturally the IPCC public relations team have co-opted politicians, bureaucrats and people in media to support the IPCC position. This disturbs me because the development of fusion as the clean energy source that will replace fossil fuels and halt whatever global warning there is in its tracks, is already under way. This raises the question in my mind that the IPCC scientists in particular are more interested in the continuance of their funding than in solving the global warming problem.

I am also in favour of the Universities of the Third Age creating diplomas for graduates who have successfully completed training studies in Aged Care, Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Wellness. Who better than third age people to train for this discipline? I say that because science is in the process of creating the Fourth Age. Indeed some people have already entered that age.

The following may be a foolish idea but I would rather be accused of promoting a foolish idea than having a mind devoid of ideas.

Education is what drives society and I think the time has come to establish Second Tier Universities (STUs) with a limited curriculum that will allow access to a higher level of education for many, including those who failed to gain entry to University in the first place.

I say that because it seems ridiculous that a substantial number of young people who value higher education are being consigned to the education dustbin. I firmly believe that graduates of STU’s will be in demand as the world becomes even more technologically sophisticated and requires more and more people to service society’s needs.

People of course are of different mind about what are serious issues. Generally speaking however, I find most issues that attract popularity are fleeting and of little substance.

My final issue and an issue I think minority driven, is legalisation of same sex marriage. The fact that 13 countries (7.29% of the 192 countries listed by the UN) support same sex marriage is not a statistic that one hears from this minority’s PR team.  Because US President Obama supports the idea as does David Cameron and John Key, respectively the Prime Ministers of Britain and New Zealand, plus parliaments of assorted other countries, is not a persuasive argument. As for me, I will start to give the matter consideration when at least 50% of countries say they support it.

Comments welcome. 

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Population control: next comes mind control

As the economies in different countries grow, the shaky arguments about whether or not populations should grow become even shakier. It is odd also that the name Thomas Malthus keeps cropping up as proponent of the idea that catastrophe faced human kind if population isn’t controlled. And though he propounded this theory in his 1798 book ‘An essay on the Principle of Population,’ he believed that nature controlled population growth when growth exceeded the resources needed to sustain it.

I’m pleased this Malthusian theory did not gain general acceptance. Had it done so, it is possible I might not have been born.

On the other hand the idea of Ester Boserup, the Danish agricultural economist who died in 1999, is more to my taste. Ester wrote that population levels determined agricultural methods not the opposite and also believed that necessity was the mother of invention.

Ester was not the only person who thought this way. Julian Simon, a Professor of Economics at Maryland University, whose work in the economic, resource and immigration is well known, thought Malthus wrong as did Henry George and Friedrich Engels.

Engels in particular thought Malthus wrong because he did not take science into account. Unlike Malthus, Engels thought scientific “progress is as unlimited and at least as rapid as that of population.” I am in tune with Engels although I will go further and say the progress of science is even more rapid than that of population and that science will prevent anything like the Malthusian effect ever happening.

But that’s in the future. What of today?

This morning I heard Dick Smith, a prominent Australian being interviewed on the Ross Solly show, ABC local radio, Canberra. Mr Smith was postulating on the need for controlling population a strange idea from a man who profited well from a growing population. Like disciples of Malthusian theory he also said it was now necessary to stabilise it. But why and what is, sustainability? With changes coming thick and fast what might be considered unsustainable today might be made sustainable tomorrow by science.

That apart I find it odd that someone who accumulated substantial wealth by competing with others trying to sell more and more of the same items as him to an ever growing population, now wants to limit people from doing the same. This suggests to me that like some other Australians who exhibit similar messianic traits that only they know how to make Australia and the world better. On that basis I have to say they are in competition with many other messiahs around the world.

At the same time  and as much as Mr Smith and members of groups cry population control, I hear few of them suggesting how it can be done. And so I ask myself: will they demand the size of families be limited? And on the question of sustainability will they suggest that the number of people allowed to live in a village, town or city be controlled?
Perhaps the answer to the first question will be that after the birth quota has been achieved mothers will be subjected to a medical procedure that will ensure they cannot give birth again. And as to the question of sustainability, who will decide how many people should be allowed to stay behind the bureaucratic walls of the village, town or city and what resources they will need.

Such notions of course are ludicrous and not to be taken seriously. Population control could never be enforced in Australia? Or could it? I suspect that if members of an Australian Government attempted to impose such controls in hope of achieving such a result would risk being sent permanently to Coventry.

A last word: might the poulation control messiahs suggest copying the Chinese system? Unfortunately for population controllers, even in a non-democratic country like China population control has proved a failure. Indeed, indications are that the population control system now in place in China will fade into obscurity within the next decade because instead of it being a great leap forward it has been a great leap backward.

Comments welcome

Apology

Posted on: 20 April 2013

I make this apology because it is my custom to reply to every comment. However due to a technical hitch, the comments I made in reply to three correspondents who commented on the blog ‘Forget marriage; introduce wedding contract contracts’ a few days ago disappeared. The following three are replacements.
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Scott Para 1 Not knowing anything about Kansas Law I can make no comment on the Roger Gorley affair particularly as your comments are made on the basis of a media report. As the hospital questions the alleged train of events and regardless of your comment about homophobia in Kansas, it seems to me you have selected something that suits your belief.

Para 2 You might light to re-think your comment

Paras 3 & 4 I did write that good things could come out of fighting for Utopian fairness. That apart, while “Love and Marriage” is a lovely song that extols a romantic view the reality is often different. And if you meant that law and process can never be diminished by mere law why does society bother with law and process in first place? Isn’t civilisation important? And on the question of validation I merely restate that a ‘rite’ is not a “right.”

Para 5 I’m glad you think equality can be defined under the law. However, I would like to see the legal tome of definitions. Mind you, it’s always nice to have a law to suit your convenience which is why a serious look at my suggestion should be taken.
——————–
pbj 253 Thanks for your comment. Let me suggest you ask qualified lawyers what they think.
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Ilzude I am not sure what you mean when you ask: Why do LGBT’s have to accept nature? If they didn’t they wouldn’t be here and as to the importance of procreation, where would they be without it?

I am aware also of heterosexuals who have never reproduced. My daughter is one. Nature did not gift her with the capacity to reproduce. And why would children be penalised when LGBT people can’t conceive by natural coupling?
And if you re-read my article my article I do not promote hetero marriage but hetero contracts.

As to the bible not only should your read the tales concocted by wandering scribes you should also read the history of the real world that existed in ancient times.

Don Allan

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Forget marriage: introduce wedding contracts

Although I do not believe in God but because I am an opponent of what is described as same sex marriage not only am I described as agnostic but homophobic. Not only do I object to the latter description, so do many other people in Canberra of the same disposition.

What gets lost in the arguments about same sex marriage is the claim by its proponents that it is a human right. The fact is, since time immemorial, marriage has been seen as a contract between a man and a woman and nor can I find any reference to it as human right. That religious groups decided to make marriage a rite does not validate it as a human right.

Supporters of same sex marriage also talk of it as an issue of equality. Indeed the idea of same sex marriage could be likened to some kind of Utopian philosophy which, like every Utopian philosophy in history will end up a successful failure. That is not to say that no good comes of trying to get these philosophies accepted.

In any case, what is equality?  For me equality is an abstract quality that cannot be defined because what is equality for one person will be seen as inequality by another. Equality, in fact, is like a colour spectrum with infinite stages and a spectrum on which hetero sexual unions and same sex unions occupy different places.

Much of the debate about same sex marriage has centred on religion, particularly the various brands of Christianity with many Christians citing the bible as the defining authority on marriage. The bible, unfortunately, is a collection of stories that, although I do not believe in God, nevertheless have valuable lessons to teach us. However when marriage pre-Christianity is mentioned, it is described as being between a man and a woman. I suspect too, that even in the days of the Neanderthals when a man and a woman got together as a family their union also was called marriage.

That said, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I find the absence of sex in the same sex marriage debate more than passing strange. I have no qualifications in psychology but I feel safe in saying that sex is the underlying attraction of a man for a woman; in many, if not most, cases love comes in second and union with the possibility of children, even if not in every case, comes third. Yet the mantra of the same sex lobby is that love is the attraction.

Having been married for 54 years and having the joy of one living daughter from a family of three, I think qualifies me to say the life of a male and female couple is infinitely different to that of the lives of two men and two women. Strangely too, I hear LGBT couples talk of ensuring the future of their children as if through their sexual coupling they had procreated. Sad it may be, but no matter what law of equality is introduced, that will never be the case.

And yes I know they can have children as individuals but if they have children they came because of third party intervention. This does not apply to couples who having married and become fathers or mothers clearly thought that being in love with a reflection of themselves was better than the opposite.

Is there a solution to this complex question? I believe there is and also believe it a better solution than merely covering LGBT unions under the Marriage Act. Not to offend anyone but doing so is like trying to mix oil and water or trying to put square pegs into round holes.

My solution: scrap the current Marriage Act and create two separate acts covered by contract law: The Hetero Union Act and the LGBT Union Act will create contracts of union that couples will have to sign. Both contracts will spell out the differences between hetero and same sex union based on how each can be affected by host of societal issues.

The contracts will grant each couple the same legal rights with the latter group having to accept that nature has never seen their union as equating to hetero unions nor will it ever do so. Churches can, if they wish, bless the contract as has been done in days gone by.

As a last paragraph, the words same sex marriage has become a marketing slogan iterated by many people who know nothing about it or the people involved. Indeed I think many of them say they support same sex marriage because they think it makes them radical and up to date.

Comments welcome.

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

The Assembly’s lucky number – ?

Choosing the number of MLAs the ACT should have is becoming more and more like a lucky dip every day. What will the winning number be?  Will the number of MLAs stay at 17 or will it increase to 21, 25, 27, 33 or 35. Get your crystal ball out because the answer it will give you is as likely to be right one as the number finally agreed on, not that agreement will be unanimous. As a result the lack of agreement could undermine the workings of the Assembly for years ahead.

Permeating many of the arguments about how many members the ACT needs comes from current ACT Ministers who claim that because their workload is too heavy, the Government doesn’t work as effectively as it should.

They base their workload argument on the fact that ACT Ministers are responsible for functions that in the States would be administered by local councils. That being the case, it is argued, makes an increase in MLAs necessary.

Speaking personally, I would not be unhappy at the number of MLAs increasing to 21, albeit that many people think the best governments seem to be those with fewer parliamentarians. That said, the obvious question is: would the workload of ACT Ministers decrease if their efficiency increased?

The number of MLAs has been a source of contention since the Assembly first sat 24 years ago. Right at the start people not only argued for more politicians but a change in the system used to elect them. Please don’t be confused that this argument meant that Canberrans in general were interested in government. The people interested in changing the system did so because they  wanted as system that would make it easier for their favourite candidates to be elected.

Fortunately however, most of the people elected were serious about the ACT having good government but it must be said also that some of the people elected were more carpetbagger than politician something that quickly showed. In retrospect 17 MLAs was the right number and while some changes to the system ocurred at the nect election the number of MLA was not changed.

So are the arguments of those in favour of change of the number of MLAs now so clear that people will bow to their logic. While I don’t doubt the intellectual capacity of the reference group members appointed by the ACT Government, who I’m sure would give completely unbiased advice, I am convinced nevertheless, that the best reference group would be the ACT Electorate.

This, of course, would necessitate a referendum that could be done by post. The referendum question would also be simple. Do you think Assembly numbers should remain as is 17 or should there be an increase to: 21, 25, 27, 33 or 35 until 2020

The referendum form could be sent out with stamped return envelope so that  the completed form could be returened to the electoral office.

With the electors deciding how many MLAs they think the ACT needs to provide efficient and effective management of the Territory, arrangements could then be put in hand for the next election.

Another advantage of a referendum is that party politics would play no part in the selection process.

Finally, if it’s of any interest, in 1994 former Chief Minister Rosemary Follett also thought that only the electorate should decide on any increase in MLAs.

Comments welcome.



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