Wednesday, October 10, 2018
I put up here a great deal in support of Christians and Christian causes but since I am myself an extreme atheist in the manner of analytical philosophers like Rudolf Carnap, it seems only reasonable that I present an atheist POV occasionally. None of the difficulties for theism presented below will disdturb committed Christians but they deserve to be presented.
It always amuses me that both Christians and atheists consider one another to be totally unreasonable. They both have a point. Atheists consider it unreasonanble to believe in an undetectable object and Christians believe it unreasonable to believe the vast complexity around us happened by chance. Partly for that reason I never argue for or against belief in God, Thor, Zeus or whoever he is
I do however believe in the Devil. I think Islam is ample proof of his influence
The fact reported below that Australian young people are much more religious than their elders is certainly an interesting finding. I suspect it reflects the uncertainties of the modern world -- where the Left have done a pretty good job of throwing all values into question. The existence of God is much better argued for than most traditional beliefs are so young people cling on to the only firm anchor they can find. And they find in Christianity a rich system of thinking and values that guides them well through life and its challenges.
I myself am profoundly grateful for my fundamentalist youth. It was much more helpful to me than believing in the absurd Leftist gospel that "There is no such thing as Right and Wrong". How can they expect anyone to draw philosophical nourishment from such an etiolated body of thought?
I am still mostly guided in my life by Christian principles. They work for me. I even "take a little wine for my stomach's sake" from time to time (1 Timothy 5:23)
The promise of an afterlife – to meet departed family and friends – appeals to many, but especially younger Australians. Are private religious schools playing a part? And why do they dismiss the evidence of physics, asks Brian Morris.
Against all odds, it seems the concept of going to heaven holds far greater significance for the young than for those who are closer – numerically – to death! We need to confront ‘the D word’ itself, but let’s first get a handle on why the idea of paradise has gripped contemporary youth – more so than pensioners.
A national Essential poll shows 40% of all Australians believe in heaven. But the crucial figure is that a staggering 51% of those aged 18-34 hold such a belief! This compares to just 29% of the public who are over 55 years old. The young are almost twice as fixated with an afterlife than those closer to pension age! Why is that?
Is it insecurity or religiosity? One suggestion points to the fact that 40% of secondary students now attend private religious schools – a rate far higher than all other Western nations. There has been an exponential growth in government funding for private Catholic and Anglican schools since the 1960s – from a base of almost zero.
Others suggest that a similar rise in Special Religious Instruction (SRI) and chaplains in public schools has led to the Christianisation of education across the nation. These government-funded programs are run by evangelical Christian organisations in each state – with Catholic and Anglican private schools proselytising their own religions. And do millennials then stay at home too long, with a childhood faith, instead of getting out into the real world?
Since colonisation, Christianity instilled belief in an afterlife. It’s reflected on a daily basis in mainstream media, in film and on television – and in our obsession with sport. No game passes without players pointing skyward when scoring a goal, or honouring a deceased team or family member with hands reaching towards heaven.
But the biggest problem is that we don’t talk about death!
Society needs to get over this end-of-life taboo – to discuss and challenge the sugar-coated religious myth that claims we will all meet up with our loved ones (and pets) when we die and go to heaven. Before confronting the concrete scientific evidence (below) – and how we can better handle the emotional aspects of death – just dwell on this thought for one moment.
Isn’t paradise already just a little crowded? Think about who those you would meet – not only the entire cohort of your departed relatives, your friends and ancestors – but all the people you have detested; and those who gave you so much grief during your lifetime.
Then there’s the rest – every human who died! Research shows that, by 2050, an estimated 113 billion people will have lived and died on planet Earth; so heaven is already a seething mass of ‘souls’. For eternity!
The average punter has great difficulty conceptualising ‘eternity’. Most can’t even grasp the fact of our universe being 13.8 billion years old – or Earth a mere 4.5 billion. The concept is starkly illustrated in a fascinating book, A History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters. While fictional, it focuses the mind on a serious problem with infinity.
Chapter 10 sees our hero arrive in heaven, choosing to spend all his time eating luxurious food, having endless sex, and playing golf. After several thousand years he’s sick of food and sex, and on each heavenly golf course he hits holes-in-one on every par 3. He pleads to be released from this endless “perfect existence” and asks if others finally yearn to be free; to actually “die”. With a short pause for effect, the answer was plain. “Everyone!”
Books on near-death experiences, and visits to heaven, are legion. A recent best seller was Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander – a neurosurgeon, no less. Alexander sold more than 2 million copies before his claims were debunked. Among those who contested his story was Professor Sean Carroll, a particle physicist and high-profile science communicator. Carroll said there could only be two possibilities for Alexander’s spiritual encounter:
(1) Either some ill-defined metaphysical substance, not subject to the known laws of physics, interacted with the atoms of his brain in ways that have eluded every controlled experiment ever performed in the history of science; or
(2) People hallucinate when they are nearly dead.
Professor Carroll’s detailed explanation of Physics and Immortality spells out precisely why an immaterial ‘soul’ does not exist.
Carroll worked with the team that discovered the Higgs Boson at Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider. He could not be more explicit;
“If there are other waves, particles or forces sufficient to externally influence the brain, then we would know about them … Within Quantum Field Theory, there can’t be a new collection of ‘spirit particles’ and ‘spirit forces’ that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments… You would have to demonstrate evidence of a completely new realm of reality, obeying very different rules than everything we know about physics.”
The 3 links above are needed to fully understand why there is no ‘soul’. But science does not devalue the need for compassion and empathy in the face of raw emotions that come with our personal experiences of death. It is necessary to face up to reality – but there are alternatives to religion in coping with end of life crises.
Discussing death openly and honestly – and publicly through the media – is a first step in helping to ease the extreme distress that many suffer with their own fear of death.
The ‘Golden Age of Athens’ pre-dates Christianity by four centuries – it led to a crucial period of new philosophical thought about life and death, about government and democracy, and how ordinary people could live a more fulfilled and contented life.
The philosophical principles of stoicism remain popular today. It’s based on three central themes. ‘Perception’, how we choose to view events; ‘Action’, how we deal with events we can control (and those we can’t); and then there’s ‘Will’ – training ourselves to deal honestly and ethically with events in our own lives. Following the full regime of stoicism may seem daunting; but after filtering the basic principles it becomes somewhat easier to apply.
The stoic approach to dealing with death – of family, friends, or oneself – is particularly relevant. Initially, it may appear morbid to periodically remind ourselves of one’s mortality. But if we consider this approach to death deeply enough, we soon come to realise the benefits of a greatly improved mental state.
The stark alternative for most people is to ignore the inevitable, and to be completely consumed by grief when family or friends die unexpectedly. Religion holds its privileged status based on fear – fear of not believing in God, fear of the unknown, and especially the fear of death. It’s a cruel deception that society needs to overcome.
By sugar-coating mortality with the myth of everlasting heaven, religion simply deprives us all of the ways and means to better cope with the end of life. While stoicism may not be the complete solution for all, it is clear that the basic principles of ‘philosophical ethics’ – honesty, reason, compassion, and love – would be a far better alternative than teaching schoolchildren obedience to God and religious ritual.
Future generations would avoid the trap of today’s millennials who continue to shun science and instead cling to religious concepts of an afterlife.
A ‘soul’ that miraculously ascends to heaven, only to re-unite with 113 billion other souls – for the whole of eternity! Just like our golfing hero, that sounds more like purgatory!
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
I don't know why I occasionally put up rejoinders to Leftist screeches. I guess I feel that a full picture of the matters concerned has to be available. And Leftist writing usually leaves out such an enormous amount of the full story that I really feel annoyed at such deception.
The woman writing below, Caitlin Prince, apparently works in some sort of welfare role among Aborigines and appears to do so largely as a result of her political convictions. And a big part of those convictions is that Australians generally are racist. But what evidence does she muster for that conviction? Just three anecdotes. But you can prove anything by anecdotes. I could report far more anecdotes that prove Australians generally to be racially tolerant. So she falls at the first hurdle in her rant.
So her claim that "defensive anger" is the common response to accounts of the deplorable situation of Aborigines is also just another anecdote. That she is a racist is however clear. She criticizes "white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background." Why does she have to bring their race into it? Why can she not outline the words and deeds of particular people in her criticisms? Instead she resorts to lazy generalizations with no detectible substance in them.
Another of her broad brush strokes is to say that "mostly racism is unconscious and internalised". How does she know? Does she have a mind-reading machine? She does not. Instead she relies on her deductions about the motives behind various words and deeds that she has observed. There is a very long history in psychology of failed attempts to read minds but she is not humbled by that. She knows better.
One of her observations, however, is probably right. She says that the poor state of Aborigines evokes feelings of powerlessness in whites. She does not however confront a major reason why. Successive Australian governments, State and Federal, Left and Right have all set in train big efforts to improve the situation of Aborigines -- but nothing works. If anything, the situation of Aborigines has gone downhill since the era of the missionaries. People of all sorts have racked their brains to come up with solutions but none have succeeded. People feel powerless in the face of Aboriginal degradation because they really ARE powerless.
She says that the problem for Aborigines is "the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations". If that were so, how come that so many government programs have over a long period been tried in an attempt to help Aborigines?
So the sad state of Aborigines is NOT the result of racism. It is something in Aboriginals themselves. And that something is not too mysterious. They have over many thousands of years adapted brilliantly to a hunter-gatherer life -- but that life is no more.
So what is her solution to the undoubted problems of Aborigines? It is pathetic. It is a "national conversation". She is completely oblivious of all the conversations that have gone before. She lives only in the present, as Leftists usually do.
As it happens, the lady in my life spent many years among Aborigines providing them with real professional services -- medical services -- paid for by one of those "racist" Australian governments. She tells me something that the angry sourpuss below gives no hint of. She tells me that she LIKES Aborigines. And having seen much of what has been done to and for Aborigines by well-intentioned governments, she is firm in her view that no outside help will do much for Aborigines. She believes that any solution for their plight must arise from among Aborigines themselves. I think she is right.
Last week, a nine-year-old refused to stand for the national anthem to protest its lack of recognition of First Nations, and the country erupted in anger. High profile, fully grown adults publicly called her a brat and threatened to “kick her up the backside”.
In the same week, Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams was criticised internationally as racist, and Australian media doubled down to defend it. “Welcome to PC world” the Herald Sun published on its front page, while Knight accused the world of “going crazy” and suspended his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, two Aboriginal teenagers died in Perth running away from police, and communities pushed again for government action on the high rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yeah — how dare people suggest Australia is racist!
I can’t imagine how it felt to be Aboriginal during this (not atypical) week. Although I don’t have to imagine — Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana), the Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted:
"We’re constantly stuck trying to remind white people of the humanity of Aboriginal people – particularly Aboriginal women and children. It’s tiring, devastating and as we continually end up back in the same place, clearly not working. Sort your shit out, Australia"
— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 17, 2018
Emotions run high when it comes to the topic of racism and First Nations people. The fact that a nine-year-old can elicit such a venomous rebuke from senators and media personalities is testament to that. In my experience though, it isn’t only alt-right conservatives who have strong emotions about this topic. In the past eight years that I’ve worked in remote Aboriginal communities, every non-Aboriginal person I’ve worked with has experienced a strong reaction to the interface of Australia’s race relations.
Defensive anger is a common reaction to having your worldview challenged. Researcher Megan Boler believes it’s an attempt to protect not only one’s beliefs but one’s “precarious sense of identity”; a defence of one’s investment in the values of the dominant culture.
The problem with growing up within the dominant culture is that it’s easy to be oblivious to anything outside of it. As Tim Soutphommasane, the outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, recently pointed out in The Griffith Review, Australia’s media and political structures are still dominated by white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background. While in reality, Australia is far more culturally diverse, the positions that shape both the nation’s policies and stories we tell about it, are still dominated by Anglo-Australians.
When voices from outside the dominant culture do reach us, their perspectives are unexpected, drawn from life experience beyond our shared frames of reference. Their criticism can feel like it’s come out of the blue.
Knight said his cartoon wasn’t about race. Perhaps he was naive to the history of caricature that represented black people as infantile sambos. His intention may not have been racist. As white people, we often mistakenly believe that racism requires a conscious belief that black people are less human than us, but mostly racism is unconscious and internalised.
It’s all the more bewildering to be accused of racism when it isn’t your intention, such as a health professional who wants to help, discovering they’ve unknowingly offended their Aboriginal client; or a well-intentioned teacher, who had no idea teaching only in English to a community with a different first language, might cause harm. Or perhaps a cartoonist, who prided himself on insightful social commentary, but had his blind spots pointed out.
Frequently, we react defensively and insist our actions aren’t racist when we’d be better served by realising we didn’t know it was racist and listening to people of colour to understand why, without minimising or denying their concerns.
Anger is not the only emotional response I see in non-Aboriginal people when confronted with our country’s racism. Some people respond with grief and sadness, others with guilt and shame. Nearly always, there are feelings of helplessness that easily flick over into dissociation, numbness and denial. Megan Boler writes that denial “feeds on our lack of awareness of how powerlessness functions, effects, feeds on, and drains our sense of agency and power as active creators of self and world-representations. By powerlessness I mean a state that is usually silent and mutates into guilt and denial that gnaws at us….”
Our country struggles with meaningful recognition of our First Nations, in part due to these feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. We are divided, black from white, by the privilege of being able to drift off into denial. Aboriginal people remain pressed up against the painful consequences of racism with the daily deaths, incarceration, and illness of their family members. Non-Aboriginal Australians on the other hand, bump along, failing to grapple with the overwhelming task of reckoning with our genocidal history and its ongoing legacy.
People of colour refer to “white fragility”, and while I think the term is fair (if the suffering could be weighed, there would be no competition), unless we respond wisely to emotions triggered by discussions of racism, we’re not going to progress the national conversation. Emerging from denial is like thawing from ice; it comes with the pins and needles of moving out of a long-held, contracted position. It’s painful, and people react emotionally.
I’ve worked for eight years now in remote health. I often feel paralysed, at a loss as to how to break through the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations.
How can I, as one voice, possibly affect it? I want to run away, to not face it. And right there, in the choice to not confront racism, is white privilege.
The moment I choose to do nothing, the moment I stop wrestling with my emotions and slip instead into denial and avoidance, I act out the privilege that has and continues to cause so much harm to our First Nations.
To do nothing is to be complicit.
What a painful thing to have to face.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Under the heading "It’s OK To Be Right, But Careful What You Wish For Lauren Southern" there is an article in the far-left "New Matilda" by Dr Petra Bueskens, a Melbourne feminist, who offers several criticisms of Lauren Southern. Her article is very long-winded, like most offerings in New Matilda, but I will try to pick out a few salient passages to reproduce below.
She has obviously been collecting for a long time examples of female assertiveness going well back into history and she spends a lot of time giving us those examples. She uses those examples to claim that feminism is not a new thing and that it has always been influential in the development of Western civilization.
But there are two problems with that. The examples she gives are NOT representative examples of thinking in those times so any influence they had is purely conjectural. The second problem is that she assumes that her feminine protesters in the past were similar to feminists today. I would argue that they are a totally different ilk.
Female protest througout history was protesting about formal rules and customs that limited the opportunities for women to show all their talents. They protested discrimination against women. Modern-day feminists are not like that. They achieved equal opportunities long ago. Testimony to that is the fact that there are now more female graduates than male coming out of our universities.
So modern day feminsts, having overcome discrimination, now discriminate against men. They want equal numbers of males and females in all walks of life and are not at all slow to discriminate against men to achieve that. If there is, for instance, a vacancy on a company board, feminists clamour for a female to be appointed, even if there is a male available who is better qualified for the post. It is now males who are denied opportunities to show all their talents. Females are a privileged caste.
So modern-day feminists are hateful bigots. And that is what Lauren protests about. Dr Bueskens says Lauren cuts her nose off to spite her face when she criticizes feminists. She does not. She simply dissasociates herself from a gang of angry Harpies. Females do perfectly well without the "assistance" of female haters.
And the follies go on. Dr Bueskens says that the emergence of successful colonial societies such as Canada and Australia proves that multiculturalism is a good thing. It does not. It proves that SOME immigrants can form an integrated society. But that was never in question. What disturbs many conservatives is that all immigrants are not equal and that some immigrants -- mainly Africans and Muslims -- just create problems for society while contributing little that is positive. A big majority in the two groups mentioned are welfare dependent so do not even contribute their labour.
All men are NOT born equal nor are all immigrants . And all societies that I know of have criteria for who can be admitted and who cannot. So Lauren is not going far in arguing that "indigestible" groups should be excluded where possible.
Dr Bueskens sees Lauren only though the lens of her conventional Leftist prejudices, blindnesses, and contestable assumptions and therefore misses the real person. I could go on to challenge more of her assertions but I am in no doubt that I will never be able to clean out the Augean stables. But I think I have shown that, despite her lengthy article, she leaves out a lot of the relevant arguments and considerations.
Southern arrived in Australia wearing an ‘It’s okay to be white’ t-shirt, designed purely to stir controversy and point out what she identifies as an asymmetrical discourse on race. Her core message on this tour is that “multiculturalism doesn’t work”, with little attention to the fact that colonial settler societies like Australia (like her home country of Canada) were built on immigration.
One of the key platforms of Southern’s videos is that the discourse of “political correctness” has become an orthodoxy shutting down free speech, and that the left should respond with ideas and debate rather than with protest, aggression, public take-downs and no-platforming. On this we can agree!
It is something the globally famous intellectual Jordan Peterson has forcefully put on the map in the last two years. However, I invoke Peterson not because of his position on free speech or because, like Southern, he is a “darling of the alt-right”, rather it is to point out something he often says about people at the very beginning of adulthood: you know nothing! While I am not in full agreement with him on this (I have a daughter Southern’s age), it is clear, for all her defensive protestations, she knows nothing about the history of “western civilization” and nor, for that matter, do Peterson or Molyneux if they cannot see feminism as an integral part of it.
From Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies to the Querelle de Femme, from Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies to Mary Wollstoncraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, from the bluestockings to the fight for the Married Women’s Property Acts, from the Seneca Falls Convention to J.S. Mill and Harriet Taylor’s The Subjection of Women, from the suffrage movement and the New Woman to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex; from Betty Friedan’s ‘problem with no name’ to Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch we have the clear articulation of a feminist voice invested in reason and rights that is the very epitome of free speech marshalled against the prevailing orthodoxy.
In Southern’s infinite wisdom – though here she is following the ignorance that characterises the alt-right’s approach to feminism – she assumes that feminism had nothing to do with the creation of “the west”, by which she is mostly referring to the transformations in society and culture associated with the European Enlightenment. In fact feminism was an integral and defining voice! You weren’t anybody unless you were invited to Madame de Staël’s salon and all the well-known philosophes, with the notable exception of Rousseau, were “feminists” (though this of course was not a term in use at the time).
The other assumption – again commonplace on the right – is that feminism is anti-rationality and illiberal. This is patently absurd since it was the desire to have “Woman right” (as it was then called) and the vote enshrined in law that was central to early modern feminist campaigns, as was the desire to own property, including property in the person, and enjoy equal civil rights.
It is interesting to me that Canada is producing so many of these social media stars: people who were once on the left or saw themselves as liberals and have now undergone a YouTube conversion and seen the alt-right light – Jordan Peterson, Janice Fiamengo, Lindsay Shepherd and Karen Straughan, as well as more established stars such as Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. In the US there is Sam, Harris, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro and, more recently, Candace Owens. The so-called “intellectual dark web” of left-to-right converts (as well as left-to-critical left converts) is growing apace.
In any event, the twist in this narrative is that with the institutionalisation of progressive agendas, the new right emerge as the “radicals”, the one’s “shaking the joint up”. Conversely, those shutting down free speech, the supposed progressives, become the face of the establishment, the arbiters of what is and what is not allowed to be said. Hence the concerns – that I too share – about the left’s more recent propensity to shut down free speech on contentious issues.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Globally, nuclear power, in case you were wondering, generates just over 2,000 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, about 8 times more than solar and more than double wind power.
Now let’s run some basic numbers and compare the ecological impact of renewables with that of nuclear power.
First let’s deal with the inevitable cry from people who are anti-nuclear without ever having thought much about it: “Nuclear isn’t clean, think about the mining and the waste!!!”.
Mines? Nuclear power is miserly on mines. The amount of mining required for hydro, solar or wind is many times greater. The recent ACOLA report made this point, let me repeat the relevant graph from a previous article.
As you can see, nuclear requires minimal mining.
So why do so many people seem to think mining is some kind of nuclear achilles heel? That’s an interesting question. I’ll try to answer it later. But the graph massively underestimates the mining required for renewables on two fronts; it ignores mining for batteries and it ignores mining for all the extra transmission lines needed by wind and solar. I’ve dealt with the relative ease of nuclear waste handling many times in the past … most recently here.
But mining is a minor issue compared to the massive habitat destruction associated with renewables.
Hydro-electricity, as we’ve seen produces roughly 4,000 terawatt hours per year globally from reservoirs covering 343,000 square kilometres, so, using global averages, you need to flood about 82 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Let’s compare that with the land used by nuclear power. The power station itself uses very little land, but what about the mines?
The Ranger Uranium mine is about 16 square kilometres of open cut mine (including the tailings dam) producing enough uranium on average each year during the past decade to generate 148 terawatt hours of electricity per year. To get that using hydro electricity, you’d need to flood, on average, about (148×82) 12,136 square kilometres.
And what about generating 148 terawatt hours with wood? Vaclav Smil is an expert’s expert on energy. He estimates that using wood to power a 1 gigawatt electric power plant with a 70 percent capacity factor requires about 3,300 square kilometres of fast growing tree plantations. That works out at about 538 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Which means that matching the output of the 16 square kilometre Ranger mine, you’d need to be harvesting 79,647 square kilometres of tree plantations; and considerably more if you were harvesting non-plantation forests.
How much uranium do you need to power a 1 gigawatt reactor for a year? With current reactors, about 200 tonnes. With those of the future? About 2 tonnes.
We can summarise the relative land use impacts of nuclear and renewables in one simple image. When the Fukushima Daiichi reactors failed in 2011 the Japanese effectively lost 4.7 gigawatts of power from their grid. Should the Japanese rebuild with new reactors on or near the site? New reactors of the same power but modern reliability could deliver about 37 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. So how much land would renewables need to generate 37 terawatt-hours annually?
The following figure tells the story. If you wanted to use solar, then you’d need to level most of the 20 km “evacuation” zone to install panels. I’ve seriously underestimated the land required by assuming Japan had Australian levels of sunshine!
If you used hydro power, you’d be flooding a semicircle with a radius of 44 kms.
And what if you did what Germany and the UK are doing, and just started burning forests? Then the semicircle would have a radius of 114 kms.
Here’s a summary map. You can imagine the size of the biggest possible uranium mine (open cut) required to supply uranium to a plant like this. It’s about a square with sides of 2km.
Remember when the environment movement was about protecting forests and rivers? Remember when they cared about maximising habitat for wildlife? Not anymore.
The obvious alternative to hydro and biomass electricity is nuclear, but globally and locally the Green movement is either anti-science or counts far too many in that group among its voting base. Either way it bases its rejection of nuclear power on science formulated in the DNA dark ages; meaning well before the most basic of information on radiation, DNA and cancer was understood.
At the dawn of the anti-nuclear movement, nobody knew anything about the daily churn of normal DNA damage and repair; they didn’t even know that repair of DNA damage was possible; let alone an essential part of staying alive.
The best scientists back in the 1950s and 60s thought DNA damage was an incredibly rare chance event which was permanent and cumulative. But those who study such things now know that both damage and repair are ongoing during every second of your life; due to the entirely normal processes of energy metabolism, simply staying alive.
Let’s suppose you wanted to raise background radiation levels to the kinds of levels that would cause the level of serious DNA damage caused by normal energy metabolism. What do I mean by serious? Breaks across both strands of DNA. Those kinds of breaks are tough to fix and may go on to cause cancer. You get about 50 of these in every cell every day.
How much would you need to increase background radiation to cause this level of double strand breaks? About 219,000 times.
When Japanese Prime Minister Nato Kan ordered the evacuation of Fukushima, he was acting contrary to the best expert opinion, based on 30 years of science, as specified in the IAEA guidelines.
The result of Nato Kan’s fear, ignorance and defiance of the best available science, was cruel and deadly. Sick, frail and elderly people died after being shunted onto busses in the middle of the night in a crazy and totally unnecessary panic spawned by decades of anti-nuclear propaganda; some younger people committed suicide. One radiation expert called the Japanese handling of the Fukushima accident “stark staring mad”; which it was. And continues to be.
No radiotherapist, geneticist, oncologist or DNA biologist trained in the past 40 years believes the assumptions that were used back in 1959 by Linus Pauling to predict cancer and birth defects from weapons test radioactive fallout… except the anti-nuclear movement which those predictions spawned.
Look at any textbook on DNA or cell biology and you’ll find a chapter or two or three on DNA repair. There are whole textbooks on DNA repair. The IAEA guidelines didn’t spring out of the imagination of the nuclear industry, but from bog-standard science. But it’s only bog-standard science if you are paying attention and not stuck in the oral tradition of Green policy which involves passing down mantras about radiation that go back to the 1950s.
Environmentalist George Monbiot called the movement out for its misleading claims about radiation back in 2011, during the Fukushima meltdowns. He began what was a devastating critique of Helen Caldicott as follows:
"Over the past fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong."
When he questioned Helen Caldicott over her many failed disaster predictions, she retreated to a grand conspiracy theory about a cover up by the United Nations.
Starting some time before Monbiot’s devastating critique, many environmental scientists had already rejected the fear-mongering and were shifting toward nuclear as simply the cleanest, greenest, safest energy on the planet, including some of the world’s leading climate scientists. Many, like me, had gone back to the basic science and found, like Monbiot, that the anti-nuclear position was built on, at best, misinformation and obsolete science.
What do you say of people that simply refuse to read any kind of information which may challenge their radiation slogans? Technically it isn’t lying if you believe it, but deliberate ignorance is arguably worse; particularly when it threatens so many horrid consequences.
The Green movement has been incredibly effective in using misinformation to make people frightened of nuclear power. Which has been an absolute godsend for those who love building dams, pelletising forests, fracking gas and, yes, even digging coal.
The climate needs fixing and wildlife habitat needs protecting. The latter has been shrinking for decades as wildlife is replaced by more and more animals for those who eat them. The global environment movement doesn’t get that either.
The consequences of basing policy on slogans and populist ignorance rather than evidence are dire for the planet. It’s time for the global Green movement to move to rational evidenced-based policies. Many luddite supporters may abandon it in the short term, but it has to lead and transform it’s support base rather than pander to dangerous ignorant populist bullshit.
We desperately need a strong global evidence-based environmental movement, given that both politics-as-usual and the Trump/Brexit alternative are both just minor variations on poll-based populism.
More <a href="https://newmatilda.com/2018/06/18/flooded-valleys-burning-forests-global-face-renewable-energy-part-iii/">HERE</a>
Monday, May 28, 2018
The Star Chamber lives on in Australia. Wikipedia: "The term star chamber has come to mean any lawless and oppressive tribunal, especially one that meets in secret".
The Victorian Department of Public Prosecutions has narrowed its application for a complete ban on media reporting of the trials of Cardinal George Pell, but is still seeking an order that will have the effect of a ‘super injunction’.
Yesterday, New Matilda reported than the DPP was seeking a complete ban on any media reportage of Cardinal Pell’s upcoming trial related to a number of offences. The application was so broad that if granted, it would also have the affect of banning any reporting of the ban itself – known legally as a ‘super injunction’.
However late this afternoon, the DPP submitted an amended application, which narrowed the ban on media.
Cardinal Pell is facing two separate trials related to allegations of a number of historical sexual offences.
The DPP is currently only seeking to ban media coverage of the first trial, although if granted tomorrow morning, it will still have the effect of banning reporting of the trial and the injunction until the second trial concludes.
At this stage, media may be able to report some of the second trial as it proceeds, provided the DPP does not seek a fresh suppression order.
The application, to be heard in the Melbourne County Court tomorrow morning before Chief Judge Peter Kidd, requests that:
“Publication is prohibited of any report of the whole or any part of these proceedings and any information derived from this proceeding and any court documents associated with this proceeding.
“The order will expire upon commencement of the final trial save that publication of any report of the whole or any part of previous proceedings and any information derived from previous proceedings and any court documents associated with previous proceedings will be prohibited until verdict in the final trial.
“For the avoidance of doubt, publication is prohibited of the number of complainants, the number of charges, the nature of the charges and the fact of multiple trials.
The DPP will argue that the order is “necessary to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice that cannot be prevented by other reasonably available means”.
Further it is “to ensure that jurors and potential jurors in the prosecution for alleged sexual offences against George Pell do not become aware of the matters the subject of these proceedings other than those in which they are directly involved”.
In other words, the DPP appears to be trying to ensure that potential jurors in each of the trials are not made aware of the trials in which they are not participating. Reporting of the details of the first trial during the course of the second trial would ordinarily be limited on account of contempt laws, regardless of any suppression order.
While ‘super injunctions’ have, traditionally, been a relatively uncommon mechanism in the courts, they’re becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Victoria.
If granted, this story and other New Matilda reporting from earlier in the week will have to be removed from publication.
Cardinal Pell, aged 76, is the most senior Catholic charged with sexual offences anywhere in the world. Cardinal Pell has strongly denied the allegations leveled against him, and has already formally pled ‘Not Guilty’.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Wind and solar are still currently small in global terms. Which is why advocates never mention absolute size or even relative size, but focus on growth rates. They also never talk about the wildlife impacts.
In Australia, there is little research on such matters, but some figures are coming in from the US. The Gibson paper cites estimates that wind farms are killing 600,000 to 880,000 bats a year, which now makes them the second biggest risk to bats behind White Nose Syndrome. Birds are also getting killed in large numbers, but not large enough to rate next to motor vehicles and transmission lines; unless you are a bird.
But intermittent renewables like wind and solar need a much bigger transmission network than traditional grids, so they will also increase the avian transmission line death and injury toll. How much bigger does the transmission network need to be for wind and solar? 5-10 times. And those 600,000+ bats killed annually in the US are being killed for a power source that generates just 6.3 percent of US electricity.
The Jacobson plan (see Part I or critique here) calls to expand the 82 GW of wind turbine capacity in the US to 2449 GW; so we can expect this to also cost 18 to 26 million dead bats a year. We can also expect the current wind farm toll of half a million birds annually, including 83,000 raptors, to rise by perhaps a factor of 32.
But all these animal and environmental problems wouldn’t be so bad if the technology could both provide a reliable grid while also solving our climate problem… but it can’t.
In Germany, solar power is still only about 6 percent of electricity, but is already stuck.
The following figure shows that solar power growth is levelling off in all the key European countries who spent big on subsidising solar growth. The German data for solar output in 2017 is available and is much the same as for 2016.
Some of this is due to simply running out of money. But the much bigger problem is structural. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is if you can’t sell it. Solar power output in Germany will certainly rise a little more, but it’s unlikely to pass its predicted maximum of about 11 percent of German electricity.
Prediction? What prediction? I don’t know who spotted it first, but this article contains a description of why intermittent renewables will tend to level of at around what’s called the capacity factor… 11 percent for solar power in Germany, and 16 percent for solar power in sunny Australia.
Why? Put briefly, and using wind power, as an example, when you have enough wind turbines to meet 100 percent of the electricity demand on windy days, then the incentive to build more turbines starts to decline. Why? Think about what will happen on windy days after you double the amount of wind power? You’ll simply have to throw half of your electricity out; you can’t sell it.
How much electricity will you get from wind over a year if you satisfy 100 percent of the demand on windy days? This number is called the capacity factor. It’s just the annual average output divided by the theoretical maximum if every day was maximally windy at all turbine locations. It’s about 33 percent, give or take a bit.
So without large amounts of storage, profitability ceases and growth gradually stops, rather like what you can see in the graph.
The largest battery in the world was recently installed with great fanfare in South Australia, but can it store large amounts of energy? No. That was never the intention; as an energy storage device, it’s tiny.
SA typically uses 1,500 megawatt-hours of energy each hour, and the battery could store about 4 minutes worth of this. The battery was never intended to store energy; that’s just a side effect. Its purpose is to reduce frequency fluctuations during generator outages. Not that it will do that particularly well either. ACOLA reckoned it would need to be 6 times bigger to have prevented the September 2016 blackout.
So it won’t store much energy and won’t be much use to stop blackouts; so what’s it for? As a means of securing votes from renewable energy junkies, it’s priceless.
The only available technology which can store significant amounts of electricity to allow renewables to expand beyond their capacity factor is… can you guess? … flooded valleys; otherwise known as pumped-hydro.
So while renewable advocates cheered early exponential growth of solar and wind power, the rates were always destined to be logistic… meaning that they grow exponentially until hit by limiting factors which cause an equally fast levelling off.
If I had included China in the graph, you’d see a massive solar increase during the past few years, because she’s still on the exponential growth segment of the curve. But the limiting factors will eventually kick in, exactly as they have done in the EU countries. In fact, at a local level throwing out excess wind power in China is already a problem.
A few years back AEMO did a study on how to meet Australia’s electricity demand with 100 percent renewable sources. They put forward two plans, both involved putting a baseload sub-system underneath wind and solar; one plan was based on burning forests and the other on geonuclear.
Geonuclear is where you drill a hole in the earth’s crust deep enough to tap into the heat generated by radioactive decay in the earth’s mantle and crust. You might know it as geothermal, but it’s a power source based on radioactive decay so why not call a spade a spade? And did I mention the radioactive material being bought to the surface and spread over the landscape by this industry?
Is it a problem? Absolutely not. Meaning that it is a well understood micro-problem which people solve in many similar industries. But could I construct a true but totally misleading scare story about it?
For some people, I probably just did. Not everybody appreciates the irony of opposition to digging big holes to drop radioactive material down (nuclear waste repositories) while supporting digging big holes down to where extraordinary quantities of radioactive material is generating heat.
And what if you don’t want burning forests or geonuclear? A recent study of the US showed what happens when you try and power the US with just wind, solar and storage. It quantifies the lack of end game with these technologies. It’s like trying to build a 10-story building with inadequate materials and design. Things may go brilliantly until level 9 and then you suddenly realise you are screwed.
The US electricity grid is currently about 99.97 reliable, ours is generally even better. The study found that that you can get an 80 per cent reliable grid with wind and solar without too much trouble. And then it starts getting hard; really quickly. By without too much trouble, I mean lots of overbuilding and extra transmission lines.
Look at the bottom graph, which assumes 75 per cent wind and 25 per cent solar. The black line shows how big an overbuild you need if you want a grid of specified reliability. The reliability is given along the X axis and the overbuild factor on the right.
Draw a horizontal line with your eyes from the overbuild factor of 10 and see where it hits the black line. Somewhere about 99.8 percent reliability. So if you want a 99.8 percent reliable supply of 1 gigawatt, then you need to build 7.5 gigawatts of wind and 2.5 gigawatts of solar.
This is very much an optimistic estimate. There are plenty of unrealistic assumptions here, like a perfect transmission system and all your turbines in the best spots. It’s the best you can do; it’s just that the best isn’t really very good.
Now draw a horizontal line with your eyes from the overbuild factor of 5 to the 12 hour storage line. This shows that you can get a 96 per cent reliable supply of 1 gigawatt by building 3.75 GW of wind and 1.25 GW of solar if you have 12 gigwatt-hours of storage.
You’d have to repeat the study with Australian data to see what happens here, but it’s worth thinking about what 12 hours of storage looks like. In Australia, our average power use is about 28 gigawatts, so to store 12 hours worth of energy would require about 3,100 of those ‘biggest battery in the world’ devices in South Australia. There are plenty of other tiny storage systems that it’s fun to pretend might one day scale to the sizes required, but only flooded valleys have a proven track record.
As it happens, someone has done a very similar study using Australian data. The recently released ACF report A Plan to Repowe Australia lists the study (by Manfred Lenzen of UNSW and others) among its evidence base. It finds pretty much what the US study found; namely that you could power Australia, meaning supply our 28 gigawatts worth of demand) with wind, sun and storage and all you’d need to do is build 160 gigawatts worth of wind and solar farms, including 19 gigawatts worth of biomass burning backup.
A one gigawatt power plant is a large structure, whether it’s burning wood, coal or gas. The 19 biomass burners would be doing nothing for 90 percent of the time, but we’d need them just to plug the holes when there are low wind and sunshine periods. Oh, and they also postulate 15 hours of storage for the 61 gigawatts of solar farms.
How would this be provided? The main paper didn’t say, and I didn’t buy the Supplementary material. But you could do it with about 8,000 “biggest battery in the world” Li-ion batteries. Alternatively you could use fertiliser; otherwise known as molten salt. This is a mix of sodium and potassium nitrate. All you’d need would be about 26 million tonnes, which is over 8 years worth of the entire planet’s annual global production (see here and here); all of which is currently ear marked to grow food.
In South Australia, our wind energy supplies us with a little over the capacity factor percentage of energy; which means we are starting to throw away electricity when it’s windy, while relying on gas or coal power from Victoria when it isn’t.
Which is why the new Liberal Government wants to build another inter-connector. That’s fine as a short-term fix, but eventually the whole NEM will saturate with wind and solar. And then where do you build an inter-connector to?
The statewide blackout of 2016 was also a wakeup call that the automatic frequency control delivered by synchronous energy sources but not by wind and solar actually mattered; big time. Without it you are in trouble when events of any kind take out some of your generation capacity.
But ignoring the problems and assuming the US results apply, then we could surely plough on and build another 6.5 times more wind power plus considerably more solar and also buy another 180 of those Elon Musk special batteries and we could have a working, but sub-standard, grid.
This assumes we added all the rest of the required transmission infrastructure to connect all those wind and solar farms. That’s the thing with solar and wind. It may seem attractive when you kick the problems down the road and rave about the short-term successes. But the devil is in the detail and the total lack of end-game.
<a href="https://newmatilda.com/2018/05/23/flooded-valleys-burning-forests-global-face-renewable-energy-part-ii/">SOURCE</a> (See the original for links, graphics etc.)
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
At least as far back as the early 60s, the Left have been trying to ridicule Anzac day to death. That it is basically a time for us to mourn relatives who died in war seems lost on them. From the French revolution onwards death has never bothered Leftists
In 1958, homosexual playwright Alan Seymour wrote the play "The one day of the year. It portrayed Anzac day as nothing more than drunken debauchery. It became something of a hit, so much so that it was on the high school English curriculum when I was there a few years later.
The contempt has not worked, however. The celebration of the day has gone from strength to strength with young people stepping up to inclusion.
But the contempt rumbles on. Below is what the far-Leftist webzine "New Matilda" has contributed for this year's occasion -- an article which disrespects Anzac day.
The curious thing about Leftist attitudes to Anzac day is that the day is actually a celebration of a big military defeat suffered by allied troops. With the assistance of incompetent British generals, the Turks gave the Anzacs a drubbing.
Leftists normally love any downfall in their own society so one would think that Leftists would feel somewhat kindly towards Anzac day. But it is not so.
Why? Just the usual shallowness of Leftist thinking. They think it is about military men so it must be bad. Leftist guerillas shooting at others from behind cover is fine and honorable but brave soldiers who voluntarily put themselves in the line of fire are contemptible
NEARLY one year since a controversial Anzac Day Facebook post which sparked a major backlash, Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has once again weighed in to the debate.
The author and TV host came under fire last April for writing, “Lest. We. Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine ...)”. Despite deleting the post and apologising for being “disrespectful”, the resulting media firestorm and ultimately led to her leaving Australia, which she later compared to an “abusive boyfriend”.
“Only seven more days before another unsuspecting Australian gets run out of town for some mild criticism of the diggers,” New Matilda journalist Ben Eltham tweeted on Tuesday.
Ms Abdel-Magied replied, “Hot tip — you don’t even need to mention the diggers. You just need to ask for people to extend their empathy to others.”
“We hate asylum seekers and people on welfare and animal rights activists and those who seek a more just society. My dad fought in Vietnam and he would agree with you, Yassmin — and I agree with you.”
Last week, Ms Abdel-Magied was denied entry to the US where she was scheduled to speak at a New York event titled “No Country for Young Muslim Women”. US immigration officials said she was put on a plane back to the UK because she did not have the correct visa.
She later told Channel Ten’s The Project she was subjected to “aggressive” treatment, with the officer at one point saying she would “shoot” her. “When the officer got aggressive, my gut instinct to use humour kicked in,” she said. “I jokingly asked if she was going to shoot me. She said, ‘I will’.”
Earlier this year, Ms Abdel-Magied revealed a racism complaint about her tweets had been dismissed by the Australian Human Rights Commission. She recently made her acting debut in the SBS digital series Homecoming Queens, and will host Hijabistas!, a six-part series on Islamic fashion, airing on ABC iView on May 1.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
A wise man once said, ‘The world is your toilet’. He was referring specifically to men. I am a man, therefore it was about me, as much as it was about roughly 50 percent of the world’s other 7 billion people. But what about the other 50 per cent? I’ll come to them.
It’s a strange segue, but my point being, when I head to the BluesFest in Byron Bay every year – an event that attracts about 120,000 people over the course of five days – I always spring the extra cash for a VIP ticket.
Contrary to popular opinion, VIP doesn’t actually stand for ‘Very Important Person’. In my line of work, I’ve met many people who think they are, and it usually turns out they’re not. And so to me, at BluesFest at least, VIP stands for Very Important Piss… in both its forms – urine and alcohol.
Long story short, a VIP ticket at BluesFest reduces the wait for the ‘ins’ part (specifically, beer) and more importantly reduces the wait for the inevitable ‘outs’ part, which comes about as a result of too much ‘ins’.
Unless, that is, you’re a woman. In which case, year after year, I’ve watched a long queue of surprisingly upbeat women wait patiently – in both the VIP section and the general festival area – for their turn on the potty.
I say surprisingly upbeat because as a privileged white male, if I have to wait for a traffic light, I feel oppressed. And yet, women the nation over seem to have blithely accepted their lot in life when it comes to toileting at big events. They just have to wait. Meanwhile, next to the ladies’ queue, men bustle in and out, doing their business and swapping manly jokes about bodily functions.
‘Is this where all the big dicks hang out?’ Guffaw guffaw. Or ‘I’m marking my territory’, as a particularly drunk punter tries to spin in a circle, pissing on everything. Or ‘Stand back lads, shit’s about to get real’. That sort of stuff.
Also, “Mind my beer”. The guy next to me had rested his drink on the ground between his urinal and mine. “Aim before you shoot,” he joked… although it obviously wasn’t really a joke.
The most important part of my BluesFest toilet story is that there is no queue for the men’s loo. Given that, statistically speaking, there are roughly about as many women at the event as there are men, this would be perplexing were it not for the simple reality that men are much quicker in the toilet stakes than women. Which begs the very simple question… why don’t they put in more women’s toilets than men’s?
Does equality of the sexes really mean having the same number of men’s toilet’s as women’s? What about equality of outcome?
Of course, ladies, you could just do what I urged my BluesFest Friend (BFF) to do: Come with.
As men, and for the record, we honestly don’t mind a female invasion of the men’s lavatory at festive events. All are welcome. Robert Plant is about to play on the main stage, and we’re in a lubricated mood. Our smelly man-cave is your smelly man-cave.
If ‘shit really does get real’, and someone objects, your ready-made excuse should be something like, ‘We’re bombing Syria and we cheated in the cricket. There’s bigger things happening. Calm down. Move aside.’
I think this inequality of the bodily functions happens because, respectfully, BluesFest is owned by a man. His name is Peter Noble, and he is clearly no feminist. Nor are the rest of us, because as men, we’ve stood by year-after-year and watched this happen. If the roles were reversed – if men constantly had to ‘wait for the facilities’, cross-legged while their bladders rapidly expanded – something would have been done years ago. Something would have been invented to move things a long a little quicker. Like more f.... toilets.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
The writers below agree that abuse of Aboriginal children is rife in Aboriginal communities and that protrecting the children concerned is difficult. They write primarily to argue that placing Aboriginal children in white foster homes is not the solution. They give no reasoning for that however. Instead their article is suffused with an assumption that Aboriginal children must be brought up amid Aboriginal culture.
But what is so good about Aboriginal culture? Is extensive alcohol abuse, brutal attacks by Aboriginal men on women and children and a widespread incapacity to be economically self-sufficient a good culture? One would think not.
The plain truth is that Aboriginal culture is a failed culture. It fails Aborigines by not giving them lessons they need to thrive in the modern world and instead gives them lessons in dependency and incompetence.
It is true that there are elements in Aboriginal culture which would be considered admirable by some whites: Their emphasis on sharing with one another anything they have, for instance. They are as near to a permanent Communist society as there is.
I think the main thing that talk of Aboriginal culture is about is the group feeling among Aborigines. Aboriginals need to have other Aboriginals around all the time. If you arrest an Aborigine and lock him in solitary confinement his distress will be so great that he will almost always use any means possible to commit suicide.
You see the same thing when an Aboriginal community concludes that one of their members has committed a grave offence. They will"sing" the man to death. It works every time because the "singing" tells the offender that he is rejected by that community and can no longer live among them. He must go somewhere else alone. And he will rapidly die of despair at that prospect.
Let me add a personal anecdote to the two well-known generalizations above. Some time ago, I was the proprietor of a large guest house in a lower socio-economic locality -- Ipswich. Showing how "racist" I am, I used to accept accommodation requests from Aborigines and Maori. In many jurisdictions, acceptance of minority tenants has to be compelled by law but I did it voluntarily. Guest houses are not covered by landlord & tenant legislation in the State of Queensland.
One day a perfectly pleasant Aboriginal man came to the door and asked: "Is Lenny home?". Lenny was an older and much respected Aboriginal man who had lived there for some time. Lenny was out so I told the visitor that. The visitor then said: "Are there any of my people there?". He meant other Aborigines. I told him no, as it happens.
So you see that ANY Aborigines would have met his need for company at that time. Aborigines CANNOT be alone for long.
So the "culture" concerned is the very strong "we" feeling among Aborigines. That must not be disturbed. Any attempt to disturb it threatens death.
So I think I see the Aboriginal side of the argument but I cannot agree that their culture is admirable or worth the cruelty that it includes. If the children grow up in white families and miss out on that overwhelming "we" feeling, something may have been lost but the gain will be some of the individual independence that has enabled white people to be innovative, entrepreneurial and emotionally strong. They will fit in better with a white environment and culture which has many faults but which will nonetheless serve them better.
I could say more about the unhappy state of Aborigines and why they have such problematic lifestyles but I think I should leave it there for today. There are things to like in Aborigines but they are their own worst enemies
Recent comments by Federal Children’s Minister David Gillespie, that we need not hesitate to place ‘abused’ Aboriginal children into adoption arrangements with ‘white families’, have been widely reported in the media, prompting both outcry and support among Indigenous and non-Indigenous commentators.
Gillespie’s argument that we need not be concerned about creating another Stolen Generations is completely unsound. What has failed to rate a mention in the coverage of this issue is the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are already placed in care with non-Indigenous families in large numbers.
Australia’s child protection systems are among the most risk-averse in the world. The state intervenes often into the realm of family to ensure the protection of Australia’s children, investigating 119,173 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect last financial year (2016-17).
More than 36% of all Australian children living in care are Aboriginal, and a sizeable proportion are being looked after by non-Indigenous carers. As one example, in Victoria a 2016 report by the Commission for Children and Young People stated that almost 50% of all Indigenous Australian children in care are looked after by non-Indigenous carers, many of whom lack cultural awareness training.
While placement in care may be necessary for children’s immediate safety, separation from family, community, country and culture places Indigenous children at risk of unstable and culturally inappropriate childrearing, cultural disconnection and subsequent social and emotional problems.
Recent findings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse also highlight the fact that children are not always safe in care. Of the 257 survivors who shared their painful histories, 66% stated that they had been abused in home-based care with either a foster or kinship carer, while 37% said they had been abused in residential care.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being removed from their families at inordinate rates; Indigenous Australian children are nearly 10 times more likely to be removed from their families and placed in care than non-Indigenous children. This disproportionality is nothing less than a crisis. In fact, the Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) expects that the population of Indigenous children in care will more than triple by 2036 if the increasing trend of overrepresentation is not stopped.
But Gillespie is right on one point; something must be done about Aboriginal children living in families where they have been harmed or where there are strong indications that they are likely to be harmed. We all feel the necessity and urgency of doing something transformative. But reductionist and simplistic solutions such as adoption by white families, no matter how well-intentioned, will not achieve the results we desire. Indeed, policies such as this are likely to make the situation worse.
Safeguarding Aboriginal children is full of complexity, uncertainty, dilemmas and tensions. The fact that people who care deeply about this issue cannot agree on a way forward demonstrates the difficulty of the challenge we face. Real and lasting change will only happen if change agents are willing to embrace and work in complexity.
Successful long-term strategies do not come from one individual, but emerge from the continuous, purposeful interaction among people. This means families, communities, professionals, researchers and policymakers must work together purposefully and with a clear vision of the future we want for Aboriginal families and communities in distress. This is to understand and change the deep causes of family and community dysfunction and the deficits in our systems for protecting children.
Three key principles need to guide us in this work. They are Aboriginal self-determination, prevention and early intervention (to avoid harm to children and prevent them from entering the child protection and care systems), and protection of the cultural rights of Aboriginal children already in care.
The latter can be achieved by upholding the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (Aboriginal children placed with Aboriginal carers) and by:
ensuring that workers and carers are culturally competent;
that the fundamental importance of culture is better understood by workers placing children in care;
enhancing collaboration between Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and non-Indigenous agencies; and, ultimately, by acknowledging family as pertinent to the development of a strong cultural identity and connection to Indigenous heritage.
A national Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People in care may provide appropriate monitoring, direction and oversight to improve culturally-responsive practice with Indigenous children in the future.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
I am one of those dreadful people who think most "art" is BS. So I am rather amused by this.
A whole lot of "art" is bought for things other than its appearance. When a famous painting is shown to be a fake, its value drops to about 1% of what it was. Yet the painting remains the same. Which shows that the previous buyers were buying the thing for the name on it, not its appearance. They bought it for essentially snobbish reasons. They can't say they bought it "just because they liked the look of it". If they really did like the look of it, they could just as well have bought a quality print. And it may be that they didn't like the look of it at all.
So in the case below many buyers would have been snobs who were deliberately ripped off. They bought it for its origins, not its appearance. But I am not too sorry for them. They got what they saw. Those who bought it for its looks however, lost nothing. Its looks remain unchanged
With a highly distinctive ‘Aboriginal art’ style , you’ve probably seen Birubi products in tourist shops all over the country. Everything from ‘hand-made’ and ‘hand-painted’ boomerangs and didgeridoos, to bull roarers and even drink coasters.
And you probably thought Aboriginal artists were behind them.
Today, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it’s launching Federal Court action against the company behind the brand – Birubi Art Pty Ltd (Birubi) – alleging it spent years making misleading claims about Aboriginal art.
Between July 2014 and November 2017, Birubi allegedly “contravened the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations that some of its products were made in Australia and/or that Aboriginal people had made or hand painted them, when in fact they were made in Indonesia”.
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said the products displayed a combination of words and artwork including ‘hand painted’, ‘handcrafted’, ‘Aboriginal Art’, and ‘Australia’.
“We allege that Birubi’s conduct is damaging as it is likely to mislead consumers into thinking they are buying genuine handmade Aboriginal art when they are not. This has the potential to undermine the integrity of Aboriginal art and negatively impact Indigenous artists, including by undervaluing their authentic works,” Commissioner Court said in a written statement.
“We allege that over 18,000 of these Birubi products were sold to retail shops in key tourist spots around the country.
“In the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in Australia next month, with tens of thousands of tourists visiting Australia, this action by the ACCC is a timely reminder to traders to ensure that products they are selling as Indigenous cultural objects or art are authentic.”
The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties, injunctions, corrective notices, compliance program orders, and costs.
Ironically, Birubi claims to be a “proud licensed supplier of many items featuring the copyright Aboriginal Flag image designed by Mr Harold Thomas”.
The website adds: “So please, when purchasing Aboriginal flag items, ensure they are authentic licensed products….”
Friday, March 9, 2018
A report on some recent emissions of Helen Razer, a mad Marxist with plaits and a figure
For much of the last decade, Helen Razer has been the staple diet of Crikey readers, a prolific author, and an occasional contributor to New Matilda.
But Australia’s most loved Marxist, and easily one of its best writers, is turning her attention back to the spoken word, with a new ‘occasional podcast’ that makes for highly entertaining listening on topics that generally make the average Australian’s eyes glaze over.
It also, as you might expect, features quite a few swear words.
Razer’s podcast opens thusly: “Welcome, this is an attempt to bring you a critique of the status quo in the FM breakfast radio style, hence the title Knackers and The Vadge.”
With the title – the most difficult bit – out of the way – Razer gets down to the hilariously serious business of skewering the things that bug her the most, in particular the evils of capitalism, and anyone who doesn’t agree with her about the evils of capitalism.
“My name is Helen Razer, it’s profoundly irrelevant, particularly in the present. I used to be a woman of modest prominence but am no longer, and I am tempted to do one or two of these new fangled podcast things, and surprisingly I find when I get onto a topic like the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, or the stupidity of Russiagate, or the false distinction between the so-called left and so-called right without anybody bothering to define those terms, that I go on and on and on.
Renowned Australian writer, Marxist and author, Helen Razer.
“What I lack is an authoritative male co-host to say ‘shut up Helen’. So what I’ve actually got here is a small bear called Knackers. I am The Vadge – refer to me as The Vadge from now on.”
In case you missed that, Razer is running a podcast with a ‘male host’ to keep her under control, who happens to be a stuffed animal. Only the Kyle and Jackie O show is remotely similar.
Razer then introduces her inaugural Knackers and The Vadge guest.
“Happily, after an afternoon of light to moderate drinking, I happen to be joined by my former flat-mate and a gentleman known to many Australians as Francis Leach, for his excellence in sports broadcasting, his musical snobbery, and his ongoing soft leftism that has been pleasuring the nation for many decades.”
Mr Leach obviously knows he’s in for a ride… and that’s precisely what he gets. The first episode of Knackers and The Vadge gives you the general flavor of where the podcast will head over time.
RAZER: Let’s talk about some personal shit shall we? Look, we’ve had a chandy or two. Okay. We’re talking largely out of our fundaments with little bits of ill-remembered history about the end of the Keynsian economic prescipriotns…
LEACH: John Maynard Keynes was a great man.
RAZER: Oh fuck off Francis.
LEACH: He was a great man.
RAZER: No! He was just somebody who wanted to save capitalism. And you and your soft leftie mates…
LEACH: Here we go. Let’s get down to it…
RAZER: You don’t believe that capitalism has internal contradictions which means that it’s a period of time that will inevitably end? I mean how many fucking lives does capitalism need to take? You look at conservative estimates like the world poverty foundation of annual deaths due to poverty (from capitalism)… the conservative estimate is 18 million a year. Any dictator, any economic regime that is not named capitalism that you can think of in the history of meaning, has not claimed as many lives as capitalism. We think about this time of over-abundance, where you get fucking molecular chefs talking about how they might be able to 3-D print an appetizer for our delectation and you’re telling me that we can’t get clean water?”
It gets even better from there… indeed Leach fights back quite admirably. All up, the best Australian political podcast going around.
So over to Razer and Leach… and Knackers and The Vadge, and we’ll keep you updated on episode two, when Razer next hits the piss.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Australian churches and their institutions are generally legally free to hire and fire on religious grounds regardless of anti-discrimination law
The article below by Brian Morris deplores that. It is said to be based on a Religious Freedom Review submission by NSW barrister, Dean Stretton. Something has got lost along the way, however, as the article is founded on a belief that is wrong at law. He says "the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State."
That is utter rubbish. The separation of church and State is not even in the American constitution, though it has been read into the anti-establishment clause of the 1st amendment. But nothing like that exists in the Australian case because our head of State, the Queen, is also head of the Church of England. In her person, the Queen embodies both the church and the State. Try to split that up! So the claim that Australia should be wholly secular is without legal foundation. It is just the preference of the writer
And in the end it all comes down to politics. The churches believe that their mission requires certain freedoms from restrictions and they have the political heft to ensure that they get those freedoms from the politicians. Enough people believe in freedom of religion to ensure that the politicians go along with it.
Australians are for the greatest part happily secular but they are not dogmatic about it. They are happy for AustrAlia to be only partly secular. "One size fits all" is a great Leftist prescription in the simple-minded tradition of Procrustes but not everybody is trapped in that rigid mindset. They can allow exceptions to even a generally good rule where circumstances seem to warrant it.
Quite remarkably, a public majority will be unaware of the likely impact of Prime Minister Turnbull's decision to empower the Religious Freedom Review. Few will grasp its social implications. Some may recall the PM appointing Philip Ruddock to head an ‘expert panel' to take public submissions on ‘religious freedom' — and to identify freedoms believed “lost" when same-sex marriage was legalised.
On 31st March, Ruddock will recommend to parliament measures to restore those “lost" freedoms.
For most, this rather solemn-sounding review will be seen simply as one more political committee — with Ruddock sifting through a few submissions to appease Christians, Muslims, and other faiths who continue to feel aggrieved about gay marriage.
But fundamentalists of all faiths see this as a rare opportunity to win new concessions. One has only to view the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) website, with its 15-point rallying cry for devout Christians to swamp the Review with submissions.
Indisputably, religion asserts its current raft of freedoms through exclusive exemptions from Australian law. They are privileges not accessible to the 78 per cent of citizens who believe the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State.
Under federal law, protection of ‘religious freedom' and legal exemptions include: the Fair Work Act; Migration Act; Age Discrimination Act; Sex Discrimination Act; Evidence Act; and Section 116 of the Constitution. And religions pay no tax under the Charities Act and Tax Act — based on the sole criterion of “Advancing Religion." International and State laws double this list of entitlements to all faiths!
Here's the problem. Religion is now, collectively, one of the largest employers in the nation. Private religious schools currently enrol close to 40 per cent of all children — that alone is a huge workforce. Include, too, all the private hospitals, aged care facilities, employment agencies, charities, shelters, and a raft of commercial enterprises, and the total number of religious employees is staggering.
Church institutions are already free to “hire and fire" on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status. Without question, submissions to the Ruddock Review will call for further entitlements to discriminate in employment in favour of the faithful — the Australian Christian Lobby website makes that clear. The truth is that most of the duties performed are not religious in nature — they are secular.
Ironically, these religious institutions will argue vigorously that it should be illegal to discriminate against them — because of their religious beliefs — but in the same breath insist they should be given further employment entitlements to discriminate against people who do not share those beliefs!
Certainly, it is fair to say many roles within private religious enterprises require training suitable to their ‘mission'. Those engaged in overt religious practice, in pastoral care, theological positions, and for advocacy, will need to meet church criteria. But for the majority of ‘secular' positions, employment opportunities should not be barred to those who do not meet their strict standards of biblical faith.
It would be wrong for the Religious Freedom Review to extend faith-based exemptions for secular positions in education, health or social services. In fact, exemptions should be wound back for all ‘public services' run by religious organisations.
These exemptions are not a matter of genuine religious freedom, because there is no religious law or doctrine that requires its followers to run education, health or social service facilities! Our constitution rejects a ‘religious test' for public office; why not also for secular roles in ‘publicly funded' religious enterprises?
If religious adherents cannot follow laws that apply to all other citizens — and without privileged legal exemptions — they should consider withdrawing from those activities and focus solely on their beliefs and religious worship. One clear example is private religious schools which are free to discriminate against secular employees, while the institutions are publicly funded to the tune of $12.8b.
Religious exemptions undermine our secular constitution; they weaken the basic rule of law that must apply to all people; and they deny the non-religious the right to their own beliefs. Why do we give exclusive entitlements to people of faith when all religion is purely a matter choice? Believers are not compelled to believe — particularly when “doubt" is uppermost in the minds of many. Every religion cannot, by pure logic, be equally true. It raises questions for people of faith to contemplate.
Special entitlements, based on arbitrary faith, are necessarily problematic. Such privileges should be equal to all — or to none. However, there seems little doubt the Ruddock Review will make a number of recommendations to parliament, to rectify the perception of “lost" freedoms.
We can only trust parliament does not acquiesce to further religious entitlements. Indeed, the process needs to be reversed — specifically for non-theological positions in faith-based institutions funded by taxpayers. The level of religious privilege and authority is already inappropriately high — in a nation that claims to be a secular democracy.
Winning a seat in the Senate for a political party, then dumping that political party and either going it solo or joining another party, undermines our parliamentary system, writes Ross Hamilton.
It used to be said that it was harder to get out of the Australian cricket team than it was to get in there. While that may no longer be the case for our cricketers, it is clearly is with our politicians.
Once an individual gets their backside on a red or green leather seat in Parliament House, they generally get to stay there no matter what. They then get to pick and choose who they will represent, with the result of elections simply ignored. This makes a complete farce of our electoral process and it must change. But it won't.
An individual seeks election for a specific political party unless they are an independent from the outset. The Senate results from the 2016 election clearly demonstrate that the majority of Australians vote above the line for party, not the individual.
Voters have every right to expect to continue to be represented by the party that won those positions. But once someone gets into the Senate or House of Representatives, the electorate no longer matters.
When Cory Bernadi quit the Liberal Party, he no longer had the backing of the proportion of the SA vote won by the Liberals. Only approximately 2,000 South Australians had voted for him as an individual. Yet he retained his Senate seat despite not having enough votes to win so much as a part-time position as a Parliamentary shoeshine boy.
Lucy Gichuhi stood for election as Senator in 2016, representing the Family First party in South Australia but was unsuccessful. But after Bob Day lost his senate position on constitutional grounds, Gichuhi was the next cab off the rank on the list of Family First candidates after countback, becoming Senator Gichuhi by default.
Except several weeks later the Family First party no longer even existed as Day had merged it with Bernardi's Australian Conservatives.
So where did that leave the South Australians who voted for the Family First party that no longer existed? What gave Gichuhi the right to then be an Independent Senator when only obtaining 152 votes of her own?
Despite never elected as a Liberal or National, Gichuhi now gets to join the ranks of LNP Senators, becoming an unelected part of the ruling conglomerate. And the outrage of LNP Members and Senators over Bernadi remaining in the Senate after quitting his party, was strangely absent when it was to their advantage to permit Gichuhi to similarly ignore the electorate.
Matters are even more ludicrous when you look at the One Nation situation. Malcolm Roberts also owed his Senate seat entirely to the party's vote – only 77 people voted for him as an individual. But after the High Court gave Roberts his marching orders, the next eligible person on the One Nation list was Fraser Anning, who only received 19 votes.
Yet the moment Anning appeared in the Senate, he announced he had quit One Nation. So now we have someone holding a seat in the Senate with a grand total of 0.0001% of the required quota. In other words, he failed to obtain 99.999% of the quota but still has a Senate seat.
Whether you love or hate One Nation, and I despise them, it cannot be denied that they legitimately won three Senate positions in Queensland. Yet that electoral result was tossed out with last weekend's fish and chip wrappers. But One Nation also benefitted by just such ship jumping when Steve Dickson quit the LNP to join ON and give them a parliamentary seat in Queensland that was never won at the ballot box.
We never seem to be far from political hypocrisy.
The Australian Electoral Commission considered this overall situation after Meg Lees quit the Australian Democrats in 2002 to continue as an unelected Independent. But the AEC position eventually was to recommend doing nothing, suggesting that trying to control these matters by legislation is too difficult. What rubbish.
Legislation is needed to make the position very clear – if you decide to quit your party or change parties, then you lose your seat with by-elections required for the House of Representatives and the next eligible name taken from the electoral list for the Senate. If a political party suddenly disappears then the same process should replace all Members and Senators of that party. This also needs to be enacted at both Federal and State-Territory levels.
Members and Senators cannot continue to decide who or what they want to be part of, after an election. And it will only be through such remedial action that elections can have any hope of regaining any integrity and honesty. As matters currently stand, elections are becoming increasingly meaningless.
Unfortunately, the reality is that no political party in Australia would support any such change. Why? Because, as just proven by the hypocrisy of the Gichuhi matter, the major parties have too much to gain by ignoring the electorate.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
And try a coverup too. Greenie woman below is pissed
A young Greens volunteer was sexually assaulted in Canberra. That's scandalous enough, but the party's response to the assault has added to the injury. Former Greens candidate Christina Hobbs weighs into the debate, in response to a staggering OpEd by party founder Bob Brown.
This week I've realised that in the aftermath of #MeToo, disappointment packs a particular punch when it is your hero who lands the blow.
Bob Brown has been an inspiration for much of my life. It is our common shared values of social justice and environmental sustainability that led me into a career with the United Nations. It is his legacy that inspired my first non-violent civil disobedience to protect the Liverpool Plains. I joined the party he founded, and in 2016 I represented the Greens as the ACT Senate Candidate.
It is with huge sadness therefore to see how Bob has chosen to publicly respond to a story written by the survivor of a sexual assault, seeking to use his clout to discredit and diminish her voice, and failing to recognise the immense courage it took her to speak out.
In an article printed last month in The Saturday Paper, a woman described how she was sexually assaulted by a senior Greens volunteer after leaving an election night party in 2016.
She believes the Greens failed her, and so do I. It should be a moment for radical introspection. Yet Bob began his response to the paper by referring to her as an “anonymous correspondent", and described her criticism of the Greens as “anonymous pillorying".
Bob may not know her identity, but I do. She was one of a number of young women who became the glue of the campaign. She is a hard working, smart, talented and effective campaigner for our movement, passionate about progressive values.
The author is not an anonymous agitator hiding in the shadows; she is a brave survivor using an alias so that this incident is not the first story that future employers, future partners or even future children read about when her name is searched online.
Bob's letter descends into classic victim blaming, stating that she should have “immediately reported" this assault to the police, but “inexplicably" did not do so for many months. I am shocked that Bob does not recognise how difficult it is for survivors to report what has happened to them. Instead of saluting her courage and bravery in seeking justice, he has chosen to blame and criticise her.
This woman did go to the authorities, and it appears the police have decided not to press charges. Bob appears shocked by this, even though you would imagine that the former leader of Australia's most progressive political party would know how hard it is to prosecute this type of case.
In his response, he says the police “should re-open their investigation of what reads as an open-and-shut case of rape".
This kind of comment appears to be an attempt to shift the focus to the police as opposed to scrutinising the failures of the party itself to prevent and respond to such an incident. He says the Greens “could not and should not have been expected to substitute for the criminal justice system handling such a heinous crime".
The young woman in question is not asking the ACT Greens to “substitute" the justice system, and it is absurd to suggest this. She does however believe that the response of the party to her earlier reports of harassment, prior to the assault, fell on deaf ears. She considers that the assault was not properly followed up when she did report it, and that the Greens haven't fully acknowledged failings or offered her a genuine apology.
In part, this is because she disputes ACT Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury's current public account of how the matter was handled.
Volunteers are generally entitled to the same protections as employees under workplace health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. There are also laws that mean that, in certain situations, organisations can be held legally responsible for the actions of volunteers.
If the ACT Greens had stronger processes and guidelines in place before the election began; if senior officials and staff had been trained on strategies for creating safe workspaces; and if those in oversight positions had been empowered to properly monitor the campaign, this assault may never have happened.
Looking back, I also should have done more to raise issues relating to culture in the early months of the campaign.
If nothing is clearer it is that progressive political ideology is not enough to protect women. Rape is the consequence of unbalanced power. If checks and balances to power are not in place to support all employees or volunteers to thrive, then the #MeToo movement has shown us that sexual assault and harassment will prevail no matter what sector of our society.
As a young woman, our volunteer has never held the power in this story, and following Bob's letter in The Saturday Paper, even less so.
Publicly detailing a sexual assault is incredibly brave. As a powerful man in the progressive movement, Bob could have used his influence to listen, to understand, and to help mediate. This could be a powerful moment for the Greens to say, “Yes #UsToo".
Instead, Bob has used his clout to back the words of another powerful man – a Greens Minister who can hold his own.
There is no shame in admitting that we can and must do better. Our membership demands it. The ACT Greens, including Minister Rattenbury, have stated that they are already working on it.
Will our party go far enough in order for this young woman to gain closure? I don't know. But if progressive organisations cannot be leaders in protecting and promoting women in the workplace, then we will lose authority to advocate on fundamental issues of workers rights, gender equality and justice.
The elected leaders of the Australian Greens should immediately distance themselves from Bob's remarks. The nation's most progressive political party must ensure such an incident never occurs again.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
The article below by Cat Moir is generally sensible even though it is from a strongly Leftist source. In the last of her words below she sees a paradox that is not, however. It is a widely held view that all speech should be free except speech that promotes violence. And it is pretty clear that Muslim teaching leads in the direction of violence. Jihad is not a Presbyterian idea and the Middle East is hardly an oasis of peace. So careful oversight of Muslim speech is warranted caution
On 8 January, Quality Indicators for Teaching and Learning (QILT) published the results of the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey. The survey stated that 84% of employers were satisfied overall with the skills of the university graduates they employed, with 93% saying that the graduates they employed were prepared ‘very well', or ‘well' for their current employment.
Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham released a statement on the survey, saying that these results were encouraging because they allow students to compare how courses “are viewed by their prospective employers as part of a clearer picture of our higher education system". According to Senator Birmingham, the survey will allow students to make better decisions “when considering the courses and careers they choose to embark on".
However, as QILT's Graduate Outcomes Survey also makes clear, whatever path they embark on, up to 38% of graduates leaving Australian universities today will not find full-time work. According to that data, the last decade has seen a rise of 17% in the number of university leavers in part-time employment.
In response to these figures, Senator Birmingham demands “more accountability of universities for the students they take on". He insists that universities must “take responsibility" for the outcomes of their graduates.
One might be tempted to argue at this juncture that universities are not just employability factories, but rather spaces for intellectual enquiry, self-discovery, and collective endeavour. Whatever their remit, though, no university would dispute that HE institutions must do everything in their power to provide students with the best possible standard of education, encouragement, and support.
But even if we conceive of the role of universities only in narrow economic terms, the implication that what happens within their walls can or should somehow guarantee the outcomes of students once they leave the campus and enter an increasingly volatile and precarious global labour market is false.
As the GOS makes clear, one of the main causes of the increase in part-time graduate work was the GFC in 2008: a less stable global labour market, combined with an influx of increasingly highly-qualified young people, makes it more difficult to get a job.
The paradox here, if you hadn't already guessed, is that if the point of universities is supposed to be to produce employable graduates, then there have to be jobs in which these graduates can be employed. But that is not something for which universities can be held responsible.
In the UK, the universities sector has confronted both a type-1 and a type-2 paradox this last week. Since they're related, let's group them together as the ‘freedom of speech paradox'.
The UK government has recently established a new Office for Students, a regulatory body that merges HEFCE and the Office for Fair Access. It has extensive powers: it will administer university funding, degree award powers, university title, the Teaching and Research Excellence Frameworks for measuring academic performance, and fair access to higher education.
It will also be responsible for ensuring that universities allow freedom of speech for controversial guest speakers.
The freedom of speech issue is familiar here in Australia: it has to do with universities no-platforming figures who publicly espouse violently racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise discriminatory views.
The argument of no-platforming advocates is that ‘free speech' is so often used as a cover by those whose right to speak has historically been protected (more or less well off white men) to incite hatred and even violence towards those whose right to speak has historically not enjoyed the same protection: women, people of colour, gender non-binary people, the poor.
Whatever stance one takes on the no-platforming issue, it seems to be irreconcilable with the OfS' other duty: to enforce the government's Prevent strategy, which is designed to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism by — among other things — monitoring the potential presence of extremist views on campus.
The OfS is therefore in the (type-1) paradoxical situation of having to say that universities must protect the freedom of controversial figures to speak on campus… except if they're a radical Islamist, in which case they will be no-platformed after all.