Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Giving Thanks

In the spirit of the US holiday of thanksgiving that occurred so recently (Ok it was a week ago now almost), and that I got a chance to participate in due to a friend of ours from the states hosting a thanksgiving dinner, I would like to post some thoughts I had about the general tradition of giving thanks before meals (rather than the tradition specific to this holiday).

Yes I have some thoughts about saying grace before meal.

It is supposed to be sauying thanks for the food that we are about to receive but how inconsiderate is it to not give thanks to the people who actually provided the food the farmers who grew it, those invovled in the processing of it (ie bakers butchers etc) and possibly most importantly in our consumer age the person who earned the money to buy it. (ok I could really get pedantic and talk about the ancients who domesticated the crops and cattle - by genetic modification through cross breading and artificial selecttion but then that really should be a subject for its own whole history of science post).

How arogant is it to ignore all the effort that goes into the food we eat and give thanks only to god.

If you take the farmer or the baker out of the equation it pretty much falls over for most people in this day and age so it is to them that the bulk of thanks should go.

Continue Reading...

Monday, 5 November 2007

How to...prevent the prevention of cancer

Well you may have heard the word about the 'tubes' several months ago about a vaccine for Human papillomavirus (HPV) and how this will lead to a reduction in cases of cervical cancer.

Well it has been recently announced here that the government intends to fund it for preteens (I remember hearing 12 year olds mentioned on the radio this morning- have not been able to find much recent information on the web to follow up this). Religious groups (mostly with "family" in the name) are up in arms about this since HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and so promotion of this vaccine, is seen (by them) as a free pass for young girls to have sex.

Mostly this ranting by religious groups is done in relation with the promotion of abstinence only sex education which has been shown in studies to not work. So unsuccessful is the idea of abstinence only sex education, that some regions have experience higher STI rates, higher teen pregnancy rates (and abortions), and most importantly lower ages of first sexual experience.

Even if the abstinence only education programs worked, that would still not be a reason for the fallacious argument being made here. Unfortunately whatever you do teens will have sex mostly when they want to rather than when you want them to, largely because they are trying to be adult and have some control over their own lives. A lot of young teens will regret experiences that that try, such as having sex, but for them to have to deal with cancer as a possible repercussion of that, when they can be protected against it, is cruel and unusual.

Now I am in agreement that young teens are not ready to have sex (in fact some older teens aren't either) it is a complex mental and emotional development issue which tends to run contrary to the physical development and urges of puberty. But what is the best way to get some one to do something - forbid them to do it, and then provide no further information.

If you are going to teach adolescents responsibility you have to give them all the information about it and let them be responsible. Teach them about safe sex practices, and tell them about the consequences and counsel them so that they know when they are ready.

So whatever high horse the religious groups are on they should get off it before they fall. Of course this would not have been a problem in the days when girls where married off at 13 (or younger), no need to worry about premarital sex then.

Continue Reading...

My favourite holiday

Well this one I did mean to have up last week but well things happen. So I wanted to just pass on a happy Halloween to all out there.

It is my favourite holiday, mainly because it is one that the christians can actually claim most of the credit for unlike christmas and easter where they just stuck there own ideas over pre-existing events (winter solstice and spring equinox - to give them the northern hemisphere names) and yes I know Halloween is near the autumnal equinox, but what I am trying to get at is that despite many christian churches trying to dismiss the ghosts and ghouls these are the christian creations (actually to be fair to christmas so is santa).

Halloween is the night before All Saints day and the day after that is All Souls day, so it was customary to think that the spirits of the dead in particular the saints (those who are hallowed) to be active. So don't any christian tell you anything about Halloween and worship satan or witches, this one is all theirs.

Continue Reading...

Recent Comments

Ok well I have had a bunch of spam comments appearing on some of the old posts, mostly this one, and so I have turned on the comment moderation just because I don't really want people advertising things here.

Any comments that are real feel free to leave them even if you want to honestly plug for something I will have a look at it but please out of dencency for me do to be sensible. If this standard is kept to then I will unmoderate them.

I really want people to leave comments here, both to add to what I have written and to prove that my site meter is not just making things up, I will endeavour to moderate the comments as fast as possible.

Continue Reading...