Intelligent Design

October 25, 2005

The issue of teaching intelligent design along with evolution in the classroom seems to be getting quite a bit of media attention recently (or at least on the letters page of the Australian for the last three days).

Personally, I don’t ever remember being taught evolution in high school science, but that’s obviously because I never did senior biology. Somewhat ironically, my exposure to the theory of evolution came in logic class (read: discrete mathematics + psychology + philosophy).

Scientists claim that ID is not science, and is nothing but a ploy to get God in the classroom. ID supporters say kids should be exposed to both theories and make their minds up for themselves. Some say that scientists also make a ‘leap of faith’ when they think they can understand the world around them.

I’m not a scientist, and I won’t comment on the science behind ID, but I do know a few things – The theory of evolution has been around for around a hundred and fifty years. It has undergone extensive research and scientific evaluation and review, with tens of thousands of books and journal articles being written on it. This is why it is being taught in classrooms.

ID on the other hand, has been around for less than fifteen years. The amount of research and analysis into ID in the form of books and journal articles pales in comparison with that of evolution (are there even any credible journal articles on ID?).

Whether or not we are able to understand the world through science is irrelevant. If ID supporters really want to get their theory being taught in schools – do the research. Have a real debate with scientists over the science behind ID instead of hiding behind that leap of faith/let the kids decide crap. Shut the hell up otherwise.


Stupid Australians

October 24, 2005

One doesn’t have to wander far to know why Nguyen Tuong Van is hardly a household name in the country, despite having spent the last three years on death row in Singapore for drug possession.

Nguyen Tuong Van is neither white, nor has any tits, which of course means he’s of no interest to the mainstream-tabloid-reading Australian public, and is probably guilty anyway. Plus, ‘Our Tuong Van’ just doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as ‘Our Schapelle’.


Industrial Relations

October 21, 2005

I’ve been meaning to do a post on the whole industrial relations issue for a while. Both the Government and the ACTU have spent an awful lot of time and money trying to convince us that they’re right, even though not one word of the legislation has been released. I think one thing is certain – it definitely will not be the doom and gloom which the unions will have us believe.

One the centrepieces of the Government’s proposal is that the Industrial Relations Commission will be replaced by a new Fair Pay Commission to set minimum wages. The FPC will set the minimum wage based on ‘parameters set in legislation to ensure minimum wages operate as a genuine safety net for agreement making’. Whatever this means, and how this differs from the current IRC, I don’t know. I gather that both the unions and business groups will continue to make wage submissions to the FPC, as they have done so in the past.

The other ‘big’ change being touted around is the elimination of unfair dismissal laws for businesses with less than one hundred employees, although it turns out that firing someone on discriminatory grounds such as race, sex, union membership, pregnancy and so on will still be illegal. Fair enough I guess, but then what other forms of dismissals are ‘unfair’? If you’re lazy, can’t handle the job, or steal from work, then surely the employer has every right to sack you. I’d imagine that even under the current unfair dismissal laws, these are not considered ‘unfair’.

There was a similar, if not much bigger, scare campaign against the Government before the introduction of the GST. These days, no one’s bothered. Although having said that, I suppose the difference with the GST and industrial relations is that people knew what they will gain directly with the implantation of the GST (income tax cuts, removal of a dozen or so other taxes etc.), but no one can really pinpoint how exactly the IR reforms will benefit them.

I don’t think anything will change drastically. Australia’s low unemployment is due to its healthy economic growth over the past decade or so, not its current industrial relations laws. Friendly IR laws will not help save jobs if the economy goes in the shits. I don’t think the current proposals will do change much at all. If the Government really wants to make its mark on IR, it may as well abolish unions and do away with the minimum wage. But that wouldn’t be very politically smart now, would it?


Hello WordPress

October 19, 2005

Let’s see how this goes.

Initial reactions, and comparisons with Blogger:

Pros –

  • Good, clean interface
  • Able to import posts from Blogger
  • Categories! Yes, Categories! Ah… I’ll get over it…
  • Can create sub-pages

Cons –

  • Can’t really edit or create your own template in any great way like you can with Blogger (hopefully this will change soon)

More to come for sure, as I try and figure the nuts and bolts of this.


Some good news from the UK

October 17, 2005

About bloody time.


Shit

October 13, 2005

Uruguay again.

I guess the good news is that this will be the last time Australia will have to qualify for the World Cup via a cross-confederation play-off, with us joining Asia next time. The whole ‘revenge’ factor will make next month’s games exciting, and hopefully attract the media attention the game so desperately deserves in this country. Plus, this time we have Hooos! On a personal note, whoever decided to schedule the games smack bang in the middle of final exams week should be shot.


Electoral reform

October 8, 2005

There’s been talk this week of electoral reform, with the biggest attention focused on introducing voluntary voting, and excluding prisoners from voting. I haven’t really made up my mind up on either issue. I suppose that compulsory voting does kind of contradict the nature of a liberal democracy, although Australians already do, to an extent, enjoy voluntary voting. There is nothing ‘compulsory’ about the actual voting process. The only compulsory part is registering and then showing up at the local polling booth. What one then does with the ballot paper is completely up to them. I guess the real issue here is whether we should have compulsory enrolment.