Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

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

Procrastination, Politics and other contentions

There’s a saying that procrastination is the thief of time but I’ve come to the conclusion it’s more the thief of mind than of time.  I say that because I’ve been procrastinating all day on what to write about.

Not at there‘s a shortage of material but in these days of free speech by the time you’ve finished checking up on what you might like to write about a you could end up passing a day in procrastinating. For example you might think that instead of speaking freely about race, what you write could end up with you being accused of discrimination. And when you add ethnicity, colour, gender, or religion to the list of things you might like to write about, your procrastinating could take a long time.

In all probability religion would be an issue that would cause you to procrastinate at length partly because many people adopt a religion depending on circumstances or when they think it convenient. Over the years people many people who claim to be Christians have, at various times, identified as Catholic, Anglican or Episcopalian. At the same time some have identified themselves variously as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian or one of the many other Christian Sects that exist. Of course in Western Christian circles it could be hard to identify as Zen Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or one of the many African, Middle Eastern, or Far Eastern religions. Agnostics and atheists have been omitted for obvious reasons.

Today, of course, we have instant religions.  By that I mean people adopt an issue and turn it into a belief they think so obvious that everyone else should see it in the same light. When other people do not adopt the belief they are often dismissed as intellectually deficient of mind in that area of life when, in fact, it is they who are deficient in that area.

Over the ages many people of intellect have suffered from this problem to the extent that while they might have managed to force people to accept their view ether by force of arms or force of law they also have managed to divide society. They are unwilling to compromise. For them, only their view is acceptable. In other words they have become disciples of righteousness. As a result they alienate people in society and reinforce the alienation they said they were removing.

Sadly, many of those who adopt this attitude are members of the judiciary, doctors of medicine, academics, scientist and members of religious orders, people from a plethora of disciplines. In their own mind, and even more sadly, they have elevated themselves to their own special pantheon of the wise who should be consulted on the course of action society should follow.

Included in this group are writers and journalists whose writings can influence society for good or bad. Their writings are often quoted by others as if equal to the wisdom handed down like the mythological tablets of advice handed down by the mythological God to Moses. Unfortunately, many people believe their writings not because they understood them but because they had been endorsed by others of similar ilk.

Underlying these religions is another religion called politics whose many sects whose leaders worship power and at election time promise – if we support them at the ballot box – good governance and a cornucopia of social delights that will turn the earth which politicians have helped turn into something woeful into an earth of unending joy and happiness.

In years to come not only will our descendants wonder at the thinking processes used by the pantheon of the wise in their decision making process. As for me let me sum up my feelings with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s often misquoted words in the poem, ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and say: ours is not to reason why ours is but to do and die..

A Happy Easter to all.

Comments welcome

In 1689 two momentous acts occurred in England’s Parliament that would echo down the ages: it passed a Bill of Rights that granted ‘freedom of speech in Parliament,’ and made the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.’ Article 11 of the declaration provides for freedom of expression thus: “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.’

Exactly one hundred years later in 1789, the French Revolution also affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right.’ And as many people will know, later still, the American Constitution also carries the same right.

Most Australians and Britons probably think human rights legislation was introduced by either the American or French Republics and have no idea that human rights and freedom of speech legislation was the idea of upper class English men who were Members of the English Parliament because of their wealth.

Silly as it is Britons became so obsessed by class that moving up the class system became a burning goal. This accounts for why countries that Britain had added to its possessions as it sought to bestride the world have much the same system. And despite the resounding words of professed egalitarianism in many of those societies the class system still flourishes.

Unfortunately some countries became more class obsessed than the English, or British as they became later. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they were paying tribute to the British class system.

It is still happening in Australia because many older Australians and later migrants are people brought up in a British type culture. Not that Australia is alone in this. While other countries deny it, examination of American, Canadian, New Zealand, Australian and most African countries show a class system modelled on Britain’s. That some of them are republics and some want to be is of little import.

Indeed Monarchies and Republics are two sides of the same coin; like the farthing they are redundant. Indeed since time immemorial countries have changed from Monarchy to Republic much as people change their mind, although not for the same reason.

In most cases ambition for power was the driver of change. Xerxes, Alexander, Caesar, Various Vikings, Genghis Khan and more recent leaders such as Hitler, Stalin. Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi (and that’s only a few of them) wanted power so much they became dictators. In my opinion todays leaders are driven by the same ambition.

Despite alleged advances in civilisation many ambitious people still actively pursue power. Will such ambition ever die? I suspect not. A thousand years from now no matter on how many planets humanity lives, people will still be pursuing power.

In an article ‘Deadly decision of man or machine’ by Tom Malinowski (Opinion 9, November 27) posited that ‘Science is catching up to fiction.’ Malinowski makes mention of science fiction and films such as The Terminator and The Matrix.

Malinowski’s proposition raises some interesting questions. Will robots like the Terminator become reality? We already know that some robots have extraordinary skills. They perform delicate surgical operations, defuse bombs, operate complex machinery and also undertake domestic work that humans think beneath their dignity to undertake.

Indeed many tasks that humans once performed have succumbed to the advance of robots. This is not science fiction but reality. And nor is it inconceivable that in the not too distant future when, as Malinowski says, science has caught up to fiction, perhaps robots will not only have caught up with fiction but also started to create science fiction of its own and be making decisions on behalf of humans.

When that happens what will happen to freedom of speech? Will owners of a robot with decision making powers be answerable if it breaks the law? And what will happen if robots become self-replicating? While these are theoretical scenarios it seems likely that a whole new section of laws will need to be thought about and written to meet the possibility of a world with a population of robots almost indistinguishable from humans.

Bearing this in mind you might need to start making preparations now?

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com

A difference problem

As I write this piece I look back to the distant past then look ahead and try to imagine the distant future. Unfortunately too few people have any real idea of the past and not enough imagination to conjure up a realistic image of a distant future. However, the past that many people think they know is a created past they feel comfortable with that is set in a society that never existed.

This caused many problems when, following the advent of mass travel and in hope of advancing themselves materially they decided to travel and settle in Australia, America, Canada and Africa. Like Alfred trying to stem the tide the residents of these of lands objected when the travellers tried to impose on them their customs and cultures. This caused confrontation and its accompanying brutality and, as has been the case for centuries, the people who came to dominate were the people best prepared for confrontation.

In the case of Australia the dominant people at the time were the British, the less dominant, people from Asia and Europe and Australia’s Aboriginal inhabitants. I am in doubt either that what accounts for some of the internal problems America and Australia are experiencing today, is due to the fact that they started life as British penal colonies.

It is also natural that they would use the British system of society with its attendant racial class and creed problems, as the role model for Australia. Had they been able to see into the future they may have done things differently. That said, it is unfortunate that, as Australia has progressed and its society changed, some people continue to exhibit those original cultures of race, class and creed.

If only a country had existed that Australia could have copied where those problems have been solved. That said, there is no use Australia looking back at those days through rose coloured glasses and wishing things were different.

At the same time Australians would forget the history of the land from whence past generations had come and so too would Australia’s Aboriginals. Thus it was inevitable that, over time, Australia would develop new customs, culture and to some degree language and as was common in many cultures would experience miscegenation. The result: as time went by it would become very difficult if not impossible to recognise some people as Aboriginal.

Sadly this has resulted today in a man who would fight tooth and nail to ensure that every person, white, black, brown or any of the various shades of white such as Arabic would be treated as he himself would like to be treated, being called a racist.

This man is not an Aboriginal but Indigenous, having been born, brought up and educated in Australia. His genetic background would be celtic, perhaps with viking genes. His colour is white.

To help flesh out the picture I am an Indigenous not an Aboriginal Scot (I only wish I could claim that distinction) whose genetic heritage might be the same as the accused man but without the same dose of the intelligence gene.

The fact that this man is being sued for $6 million for having passed a comment that he couldn’t see his accuser as other than white would put him among millions of other Australians, including non miscegenated Aboriginals, who think the same.

The only thing this suit will achieve is to further widen the divide between Aboriginal Australians and Indigenous Australians that the accused man has spent a good part of his life trying to eradicate.
I think his accuser should think carefully before going further.

What say you?

Blog: Allan Takes Aim; web: https://donallan.wordpress.com

This is the full text of the article, abreviated for lack of space,published in The Chronicle, Tuesday, 6 December, 2011

Why do I, a non – scientist, believe in cold fusion? It’s not because I suffer from the martyr syndrome having been laughed at for my belief and been described as deluded and a cent short of a dollar. But let my detractors laugh: I will have the last laugh even if it comes from the urn containing my ashes.

The fact is I am entitled to believe in cold fusion just as much as IPCC scientists, economists such as Stern and Garnaut, not to mention Al Gore, the High Priest of the global warming/climate change religion whose bible is his film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Unlike them, my belief is not based on models but on the work of two Italian physicists, Professor Focardi and Professor Rossi from the University of Bologna. Like the Americans Fleischman and Pons, they claim to have developed Cold Fusion (LENR) in a small device called the e-cat. However, unlike Fleischman and Pons their device has been demonstrated publicly and successfully. The latest demonstration was early in November.

After this demonstration, a big US organisation purchased a device and while it wished to keep its identity secret, on November 6, Fox News said it was the US Navy. That the US Navy, with it huge number of ships, would want to use their device is not surprising. A small device that could produce limitless clean energy that would power ships without the need to refuel would clearly be of benefit to any navy. But that leading media outlets – Wired, Discovery, CBS News, Fox, Yahoo News, Daily Mail, MSNBC, LiveScience, Forbes, EE Times – have now reported favourably on the device shows that cold fusion has come in from the cold.

Adding to the credibility of the device, eminent Swedish physicist Professor Hanno Essen, a member of the Swedish Skeptics Society (recently President) an observer at the last demonstration, has given the device his stamp of approval. So too has Eminent physicist, Emeritus Professor George H Miley from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

The fact also, that a further thirteen devices have been sold also helps rebut the idea that cold fusion is a hoax and Focardi and Ross modern alchemists. That some physicists still regard the device as a hoax smacks to me of jealousy, a condition not unknown among the less talented. The inconvenient truth: they are sceptics.

This leads me to ask what these sceptics would say to the physicists at Daresbury, England (an Oxford campus), currently working on a large cold fusion reactor they hope will be commercially available in 2019 or physicists working hard on cold fusion in research establishments around the world. Were he still alive, I’m sure world-renowned Australian physicist Sir Mark Oliphant would be pleased and be pleased also that his idea of fusion as a power source has now been confirmed.

That said, rather than persist in demanding money be spent on updating wind turbines et al, why aren’t environmentalists shouting from the rooftops for the accelerated development of fusion to reduce pollution and provide an inexhaustible supply of clean energy?

More to the point, why isn’t the Australian government giving more money to Australian physicists working on cold fusion, something that should have been done long ago, rather than burdening people with a carbon tax instead of entrenching themselves as politicians (and not to repeat my Galileo phrase of last week) of whom I would say: there’s none so blind as those who will not see.

If only to give heart to the fossil fuel industries and various purveyors of clean energy, let me end on a positive note. It will take time to introduce Cold Fusion. It will be introduced progressively and so, for some time to come, coal and oil will still be needed. Wind turbines and other clean energy technologies will also continue to be used, but like coal and oil, their future will be limited.

However, by investing in the development of Cold Fusion, Australia has the opportunity to lead the world and become the clean energy country. And so I say to those who want a clean environment for their children and grandchildren, start campaigning now for cold fusion.
dca@netspeed.com.au; http://www.donallan.wordpress.com
The Chronicle, for Canberra’s best Community News. Published every Tuesday

This is not a Chronicle article but the follow up to an article “An agnostics view of same sex marriage” published in Online Opinion some weeks ago.

Regardless of what pop star philosopher Sir Elton John, some politicians in a few parliaments around the world and some members of Australia’s Labor Party think, marriage has long been understood by the wider society as a contract between a man and a woman whether or not the woman would bear children. Indeed, in centuries past, when obviously the latter would never occur, many marriages took place for business reasons or consolidation of power.

It must be said also that even before men began to put their faith in gods, wise people created what eventually became the institution called marriage to ensure that couples who bore children would also be responsible for them. The couples also became known as father and mother in a system that has served the world well and as it hasn’t broken down, it doesn’t need fixing.

However, supporters of same sex marriage – though gay is the word commonly used – claim that the Marriage Act does not treat them as equals of couples who become mothers and fathers. In Australia the fact that by adding Gay Marriage to its policy platform the Australian Labor Party (ALP) wearing its Utopian cloak, has bowed to one of the world’s silliest pieces of political correctness. In effect it has said that when it comes to marriage, homosexuals and lesbians whose sexual coupling cannot produce children are the same as heterosexuals. It seems to me this proposition lacks credibility a condition not unknown among politicians.

But unfortunate as it might be, no man made law can force nature to make it possible for two male homosexuals or two lesbians to produce children. It is that fact that bears on the Marriage Act fact because the law recognises that same sex couple will never face the physical pain attached to childbearing, the legal responsibilities of mothers and fathers or, for the benefit of society, participate in the continuation of family.

As a non-religious person however let me pose the question: is marriage really a right? This question would make for an interesting televised national debate along competition lines between competing groups of Australian Lawyers and Philosophers. The debate would, I feel sure, rate well. And if viewers were polled a few days later the result might well show whether or not the claim by supporters of Gay Marriage that the majority of Australians support same sex marriage is true.

More to the point, what concerns me about Gay Marriage in multicultural Australia is: what is the opinion of its many non Christians – Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and a whole raft of people who follow other faiths? Does their opinion count for nothing?

The claim by some homosexuals and lesbians that they are fathers or mothers because they have children is spurious. The fact is, the children they have are the product of heterosexual coupling or in-vitro fertilisation.

And Gay people often talk about love as if their love is the same as that experienced by heterosexuals. The love I felt, and still feel for my wife, that led to marriage is clearly not the same as the love experienced by non – heterosexuals because it was driven by a wish for family continuity, not something Gay Couples can claim.

With my niece in Scotland in a civil union, let me add that many homosexuals and lesbians do not want marriage. Why? According to my niece it is because they want to be accepted for what they are: they do not want to hide their difference in the “Marriage Act.” I agree with them.

Recently while discussing Gay Marriage with close friends in Canberra who are homosexual, some said that to try and put Gay Marriage in the same category as marriage between heterosexuals is the equivalent of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ears; others said it was the equivalent of making mountains out of molehills. And yet another suggestion was that a Gay Marriage Act should be enacted because it would ensure equality and recognise the difference.

It seems to me this last suggestion is worth discussing. While some parts of such an Act might follow the Marriage Act it would be different because the responsibilities applying to a heterosexual couple’s married life – particularly if they have children would be different. These responsibilities, so numerous I won’t deign to try and catalogue them, would not be the same as those that would face a Gay couple.

What say you?
dca@netspeed.com.au; web: http://www.donallan.wordpress.com

Originally published www.onlineopinion.com.au Friday, 14 October 2011

As a former Canberra Branch President of Friends of the ABC, I write, reluctantly, that ABC radio and Radio National in particular, seems to have become the propaganda arm of the same sex marriage movement. But what finally made me overcome my reluctance to write was ‘Encounter,’ Sunday morning 9 October.

My decision was influenced also by how often the word ‘gay’ manages to crop up in many ABC radio programmes that have nothing to do with same sex issues. Indeed I am tempted to think of it as subliminal advertising. 

The panel of speakers convened to discuss same sex marriage on Encounter contained no surprises. It comprised Rodney Croome spokesperson for the Tasmanian and Lesbian Rights Group and campaign co-ordinator of Australian Marriage Equality; Lee Badgett, Director of the Center for Public Policy & Administration and Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts; Benny Hazlehurst, Anglican Priest and a founding member of Accepting Evangelicals; Rod Benson, Baptist Minister and ethicist at Sydney’s Morling College; Peter Comensoli, an auxiliary Bishop in the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney; Frank Brennan, Jesuit Priest and Professor of law in the Public Policy Institute, the Australian Catholic University; Sandy Miller and Louise Bucke, a Lesbian couple living in Sydney with their children; and David Riddell and Peter Kingston a homosexual couple living in Sydney.   

Unfortunately this panel lacked balance, the pro group outnumbering the anti group. But why no Aborigines, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or Taoists, declared Agnostics or Atheists or other non – Christian groups?

The premise of the programme – a wrong premise- was that Christians were the only people who opposed same sex marriage. This premise disturbed me as did host Gary Bryson who, in his summing up at the end of the programme, seemed to suggest that Christians were fighting a losing battle trying to prevent same sex marriage becoming legal.

Rodney Croome was the panel’s opening speaker. In presenting his case for making same sex marriage legal he spoke as if marriage was a Western Christian concept whereas it has existed for millenniums. His other arguments: the marriage act is based on property; it is discriminatory; and that the early Christian Church had hijacked it to ensure a continuing source of adherents.

But had he researched more thoroughly, he would have found that marriage was common in civilisations long before 2000. And had he looked up Hammurabi’s law, of 3,500 years ago, he would have found that while the law allowed homosexuals to enjoy sexual freedom and gave them rights, same sex marriage was not included. The list goes on.

I also found it odd that Mr Croome was not questioned on his statement that the vast majority of Australians supported same sex marriage. So let me ask: How was this information gained? Had it been gained through surveys? If so, where had they been carried out and who carried them out? And, last but not least: who framed the questions?

 These same questions should have been put to Professor Badgett from Massachusetts University. With Massachusetts the first US State to legalise same sex marriage, Professor Badgett’s arguments, based on economic, health and welfare issues said surveys had shown that same sex marriages were beneficial rather than harmful to children. Coming from Massachusetts one might be inclined to think’ she would say that.’ Unfortunately she didn’t say how many of the people surveyed were heterosexual couples with children.

Next came Anglican priest, Benny Hazlehurst, a supporter of same sex marriage who said he came to this view after being anti for a long time.  The reason for changing his mind seemed less than convincing. He changed his mind after re-reading the bible and studying the sections that commented on homosexuality. As a result of his reading he came to the conclusion that marriage was not exclusive to a man and a woman.

The next three speakers, Baptist Minister Rod Benson, Catholic Bishop Peter Comensoli and Jesuit lawyer Frank Brennan presented their arguments as to why marriage could only take place between a man and a woman. But as committed Christians the comments applying to them are as those for Professor Bagget, ‘they would say that’, wouldn’t they?

My reason for raising this issue is because there seems to be view that agnostic and atheists must be on the side of same sex marriage. Not so. I am agnostic and against same sex marriage. My view is that same sex marriage is not a religious matter but a legal matter and that marriage should be the subject of a legal contract specifically for a man and a woman. It seems to me also, that if the men and women who sign such contracts are of strong religious belief, they will try to keep to the contract’s conditions. As for a church ceremony: that will be between them and their Church.

An identical legally binding contract conferring the same social benefits on same sex couples as a marriage contract confers on man and a woman should also be created. What should it be called? I am in no doubt that sensible homosexual, lesbian and transgender couples could suggest an appropriate name. And if they were of strong religious faith they would also observe the terms of their contracts. A church ceremony is also a matter for them and their Church. But what is of importance is that both contracts are equal under these arrangements.

During the discussion the subject of children was raised On this question it seems to me more care needs to be taken when the wording accompanying pictures of two homosexuals, two lesbians or two transgender people posing with children suggest that the couple’s sexual coupling was what caused their conception. The fact is, and much as they might otherwise wish, this cannot be. I also think acceptance would be easier if they stopped using and displaying children in their care like trophies won in what seems to have become an unseemly sex war. 

Finally, perhaps both the religious and same sex groups should cast aside their prejudices for a moment and consider the following: in the future religion might disappear but without children there will be no future.



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