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Faith and rational thought

If I believe (and I am really wary about using the word!) about anything associated with ‘religion’, it is that those who seek power have used religion to turn something which could have been a force for good into, in many cases, a force for evil.

I was brought up in a Christian household, I was a Sunday School teacher in my mid-teens and an agnostic by my mid-20s.

Growing up in the UK in my youth was to be in a society which paid lip-service to the Church of England (or Scotland, etc) as being the basis for the national religion, which had been, damagingly, transported to all the colonies in Africa, Asia and North America.

As an aside – the Spanish and Portuguese divided the world between them and transported the Catholic faith, while Germany and the Netherlands would have taken Lutheranism and Protestant Christianity to their colonies. All sort of well-intentioned but eventually damaging!

The ethics which underpinned my upbringing remain, but I share Stephen Fry’s attitude towards the existence of a god.

A second link involving Stephen Fry gives you a longer and just as delightfully iconoclastic insight into religion, life and death. Please make the time to watch it.

In today’s’ world, education has, IMHO, been much too much linked to religion, when it should be solely concerned with knowledge. Science, in particular, encourages asking questions and seeking answers, while accepting that there will often be more accurate information gleaned later, which updates accepted truths.

Opinions are also too often accepted as truths, and questioning accepted truths is, again, often seen as a bad thing. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, it is often condemned as heresy if it seriously conflicts with their accepted dogmas, whereas it is the only way to increase the accuracy of information currently accepted as fact.

A witness of truth bore testimony against George Pell, which convinced a jury of 12 citizens that Pell was indeed guilty of the charges laid against him of sexual abuse of a child. The Court of Appeal has confirmed this verdict, yet we have self-opinionated people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones – who gravitate to (preferably male) people of importance – refusing to accept that verdict. Their hubris is – in my personal opinion – disgusting!

True, Pell’s legal team are considering seeking leave to appeal to the High Court, but they will need very strong grounds to obtain that leave and would then still have to convince the High Court justices.

‘Belief’ involves acceptance of authorised information as being truth without seeking evidence. Science conducts a continual search for evidence – and in doing so has, over the centuries, upset religious institutions by demonstrating that their accepted ‘truths’ are often ill-founded. Galileo?

In Australia, instead of imposing a common curriculum on all schools which receive funding from governments, the ‘faith’-based schools are allowed to teach incorrect information because the truth does not agree with their beliefs, which in turn are based on ancient ignorance. (How much acquaintance did the authors of the Book of Leviticus and the letters of Paul the Apostle have with the modern scientific knowledge of the development of the foetus?)

For a school to be able to refuse to employ a teacher – let alone enrol a student – whose sexuality does nor align with their commonly-accepted dichotomy, is totally unacceptable. Based on current knowledge, ALL people are equal, irrespective of their sexual identity, and ALL are entitled to equal opportunity.

Growing up in England, which had multiple Christian sects, but a Catholic minority, Guy Fawke’s Night was celebrated annually and there was then (I cannot speak for now – nearly 50 years later) a deep underlying mistrust of Catholics.

In 1957, I graduated from Imperial College London with an honours maths degree. This was a time in the Space Age when authorities were finding a severe shortage of secondary school maths and science teachers, capable of laying a foundation to bring students up to the level required to continue studies at tertiary level in these areas.

So instead of having to spend another year studying for a Graduate Diploma in Education, we were allowed to go straight into teaching, while being on probation for our first year. Maths in particular, in those days, was very textbook-oriented which made this process easier.

If we passed our year on probation, we were then granted qualified teacher status. (Sadly, when I later came to Australia, despite its sharing the shortage of maths teachers, my qualifications and experience were not deemed acceptable to be employed except casually! These uppity colonies!)

So – in 1957, not expecting easy acceptance, I applied to 3 schools who had advertised in the Times Education Supplement – and was immediately offered positions at all three! So – I chose the nearest, which was in west London and easily accessible by the Underground from my home.

It was, as had been my C of E secondary school, a State-aided, all-girls school and the Principal, a charming and very astute woman, was the Mother Superior of the Convent! The level of acceptance of the variety of others under her governance was a lesson for all!

Approximately one-third of the teaching staff were lay non-Catholics, the rest splitting fairly evenly between lay and nuns, and ALL being suitably qualified academically. Those of us in the lay non-Catholic category were not given pastoral care for a ‘homeroom’ group, nor were we expected to attend mass on Thursdays. As with most schools at that time, we started the day with a school assembly, including a hymn, a prayer, a bible reading and then general notices. As a pianist, I played the piano for the hymn.

In lieu of the pastoral care, I did yard duty for half the daily lunch hour. Because England relied on teachers having relevant academic qualifications, there were no problems in my being employed and the school syllabus was identical with that taught at all other grammar schools. At that time in the UK, there were various levels of secondary schooling and Grammar Schools were geared to preparing students for tertiary education.

Well before I left the UK, salaries for female teachers were brought up to parity with male teachers with equivalent qualifications over a seven-year period, so coming to Australia was quite a shock on many issues.

Firstly, there was an element of time travel. Australia, in general, seemed to be about 10 years behind the UK on most issues and for Queensland, that gap was 20 years! Secondly, there were odd social differences which were gender-related. Women did not shake hands with men and at social functions, the men all kept in a bunch and predominantly seemed to talk sport, while the women also kept together.

Also. at major social functions where there was often a smorgasbord arrangement, I was amazed to see women queuing up with two plates, and waiting on their male partner, a complete reverse of what I was accustomed to. And if one of the women wanted to go to the toilet, they always seemed to go in pairs! The attitudes often reminded me of the experience of Leslie, the young woman at the centre of Edna Ferber’s novel ‘Giant’!

But the most confronting difference was religion and the pervasive influence of the Catholic Church!

We are literally in the throes of a dramatic change with the last of the jurisdictions, NSW – decriminalising abortion. And it is 2019!

The law allowing abortions to be delivered legally (after meeting several criteria) and free, under the NHS in the UK, was passed in 1967 and I had an abortion – legally – following contraceptive failure in 1969! THAT WAS HALF A CENTURY AGO!!

Small wonder that Australia not only seems to be behind the UK – but it also seems to be falling further behind. And it is religion – remember: Fred Nile is involved in this? – acting as the brake.

We now have a Prime Minister, whose strange and – to me – un-Christian cult is defying our Constitution and dragging us further into the thrall of those who misguidedly believe that religion should be our guide to life.

I have no quarrel with the ethics which are recorded as having been espoused by Jesus Christ. They are, for me, excellent guides to living in harmony with all others. “Do unto others as you would they would do unto you.”

But once you delve into the minutiae of the rules recorded in the Old Testament, the Torah (which has much in common with the OT) and the Qur’an, you realise that they are based on the then-current knowledge, yet science has advanced our knowledge massively, making those rules totally inappropriate for today’s world.

Cults like the Pentecostal and Evangelical bear little relation to the teachings of Jesus Christ, with his instructions to give to the poor, and mislead people into attitudes which are far from ethical.

The current – and in my view totally unnecessary – push for legislation to protect religious practices appears to me to be close to breaching Constitution S 116:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

The current government seems to be ignoring the fact that Islam is well established for a minority of Australians, as are several other religions, a large proportion of us do not practice any religion, and – as has been only too well illustrated during the Same-Sex Marriage plebiscite and the Israel Folau family church hiatus – it is those claiming to be religious observers who are doing the damage!

This is a secular country. The Constitution leaves everyone free to practice – or not – their chosen religion. Many of us are agnostic or atheists as well as Muslim, Hindu, etc (the Buddhists practice a way of life which is generally less contentious) and, until John Howard decided to try to prevent SSM, we were all getting along just fine!

Please, can we ensure that modern science is taught in ALL schools, including the facts of the LGBTIQ sexuality spectrum, allow the safe schools project in ALL schools, to reduce inappropriate prejudices being retained because of ignorant parents, and let the religious practice in ways which do not harm the rest of the population!

We are all capable of thinking for ourselves – even our children, who are fighting a battle to force our recalcitrant government to accept the reality of the Climate Emergency and take action before it is too late to prevent the worst outcomes – and which will cause more harm to our children with their whole lives ahead of them!



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  1. Cynthia M

    May I quote Clive James: “Religion is an Advertising Campaign for a product which does not exist”.

  2. totaram

    Cynthia M: the product does exist. It is called delusion.

  3. Aortic

    Having been brought up in Scotland within the very strict Plymouth Brethren, it took me years to disabuse myself of the nonsense that was espoused. It was child abuse and coloured too much of my early adult life. Hey all you religious nutters and those who for any reason whatever think that their culture is superior to any other Google Carl Sagan’s ” Pale Blue Dot” and get some perspective. Science and reason are inherently more fascinating and alluring that sitting in some dreary building listening to some generally old fart dressed in all,their finery, drone on about some text supposedly inspired by some diety. Fine if that’s your thing but is it really worth fighting and dying for?

  4. Win Jeavons

    I was raised Methodist in a parsonage, my parents raught me to respect science and hold that which was consistent with it, with the faith ethic . I was educated in a fine government school, did a science degree plus a year of education theory and practice. From further studies I added environmental science generally and the climate science specifically. All this was acceptable and encouraged in the system. I am still a Methodist, my theology is not simple or common, but it is consistent with my understanding of science, in several branches. My pastor and church are not exactly standard either. He takes no salary, and the congregation sees itself as a loving family who care for each other and reach out to the least fortunate in our town. Consequently it is growing, not contracting. We own no property more expensive than an electric jug, and rent the premises as we need . I know this is uncommon, but I am happy to be part of it.

  5. RosemaryJ36

    I have absolutely no quarrel with any individual with a religious faith who can live and let live. The ethics underlying the recorded teachings of Jesus Christ are admirable.
    But many, claiming to be religious, see it as their duty to proselytise and, like Israel Folau, tout ill-founded beliefs with no basis in reality and harm others, such as, in Folau’s case, vulnerable young men in the throes of recognising their non-binary sexuality.
    As for the cultish beliefs of the Pentecostalists and born again Christians with their misplaced fervour – least said, soonest mended!

  6. Andrew Smith

    Interesting how some suboptimal democracies led by coalitions, often have minority right wing partners who ask for defence, security and education portfolios

    They understand well the influence of education curricula to influence and reinforce their ideology, masquerading as nebulous ‘values’.

  7. Aortic

    Michael Taylor, West End Gospel Hall, Whitburn West Lothian.

  8. Barry Thompson.

    Rosemary; thank you for a well written and most sensible article.

  9. Joseph Carli

    One can’t help but notice the almost gushing accolades supporting those attitudes promoting the very best in humanity while cursing to the lowest levels of sheol the evil intentions of “certain people” that grace the pages of blog and social media with such agreeable sentiment…you’d be excused for believing that the redemption of the worst of humanity was but an article away…yet if a person dares to venture ONE STEP outside the dance routine of the waltz of the status quo, the first murmurings of suspicious accusations are quickly ramped up to verbal hysteria when a victim of outrage against that same status quo is exposed to have the inherent weakness of that same humanity..let them be too rigid nationalist, too determined multiculturaist, too strictly singular politics, too loose moralist, too intense religoist…any number of things clipped from the human condition and the wrath of the well-schooled, well-fed (both financially and ethically) majority come down on them like a tonne of bricks!….and please…don’t start on me, because I can speak from experience …..

    No bullshit…I get so jack of reading the gushing loquatiousness of “the fair go” of the “good people”, that I have to wonder where all the “normal people”..you know…those ones who actuallly LIVE a life of accrued mistakes..have gone!…after all, it was the general “mistakes” of humanity first gave religion, philosophy and the moral majority their raison d’être…now….god spare us all their “humble” advice!

  10. Kaye Lee

    It really annoys me how some religious people are casting themselves as victims at the moment.

    No-one will ever force them to have a same-sex relationship or to have an abortion. No-one will ever deny them employment or services because of their religious beliefs. No-one will rant at them that they will burn in hell forever unless they repent.

    But these holier-than thou types think that, unless they can make the rules for the rest of us, THEY are being persecuted? They call women murderers and gays an abomination but then claim that THEY are the ones under attack?

  11. Andrew Smith

    Kaye Lee It’s a mostly Conservatives tactic of projection, double speak, inversion and confusion in social narratives. Claiming ‘others’ are infringing or threatening some supposed values or ethics, when it’s fringe Conservatives crossing lines or behaving unethically, and especially important, playing the victim to avoid blame or responsibility.

  12. Miriam English

    Well said Rosemary. I’d only argue with your use of the word “belief” that starts your 10th paragraph. The word “faith” would probably suit better. “Belief” can be used in many ways, including the one you mean, but can also be used for a person’s relationship with verifiable facts. (For example: I believe the Earth is round like a ball, because I can watch a ship sail over the horizon, and I’ve seen satellite photos.)

    The religious fanatics and the long list of damage they cause to individuals and society are speeding the decline of religion, thankfully.

    To my mind, probably the most convincing argument against religion — all religion — is the fact that wherever religion is strongest so are the things religion itself condemns as moral failings: murder, divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, disease (especially sexually transmitted disease), infant mortality, ignorance, shorter lifespan, and unhappiness are all worse in places where religion dominates. The most atheist places have the lowest rates of murder, divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, disease, infant mortality, and have the highest levels of education, longest lifespans, and top the world happiness index every year. If there truly was a god then it would be the exact reverse of this.

    The Bible is a mess of contradictions, which is not surprising given that most of it is fake. The Old Testament is a collection of myths from older civilisations. It has 2 contradictory versions of creation in Genesis, in the first couple of pages of the Bible, which should sound the alarm bells for anyone paying attention. The New Testament contains 27 books (they should really be called chapters). Several (8) of its books are falsely attributed (including all the ‘eyewitness’ apostle accounts of the crucifixion) having unknown authors, and were written at least a lifetime, sometimes centuries, after the events they describe. An astounding 11 of the books are outright, obvious forgeries. Only 8 books are commonly accepted to be genuine — 7 were probably written by Paul of Tarsus writing decades after Jesus was supposedly killed. (Note that of 13 books supposedly written by Paul, 6 of them are forgeries.) The only other book that is usually thought to be genuine is, I think one of John’s ‘books’ (I’m not sure, but I think it may be the hallucinatory Revelation). None of this is very contentious. Biblical scholars all know this, but they are reluctant to say so publicly… for obvious reasons. It isn’t an evil conspiracy, just very uncomfortable for them.

    Here is a talk by Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman on the reliability of the Bible:

    and another, this one on the topic of forgery in the Bible:

  13. johno

    Kaye Lee, your last comment, fully agree. These halo wielding morons need to look in the mirror.

  14. Zathras

    Kaye Lee – “It really annoys me how some religious people are casting themselves as victims at the moment”.

    It’s part of the deal and comes with the territory. The religious have an in-built fetish for persecution and martyrdom, as if these things somehow make their faith “stronger”.

    We see it every Easter and Christmas with bogus claims about “banning” both events and constant straw man arguments about social changes like marriage equality.

    Miriam –
    it also depends on which Bible you are examining – The Orthodox, the Catholic or the Protestant version. They differ from each other in several ways including the number of books included.
    Then there’s the popular King James version – more a re-interpretation than a translation and deliberately made to be slanted in favour of authority (clerical and regal) at the expense of the individual as well as the combining of different words into single ones which often changes meaning. It was also commissioned to make it seem more profound by the deliberate use of language itself.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Thanks, Aortic. I’ve not been there. The closest I’ve come is on the road from Ballachulish to Edinburgh, via Stirling. Maybe next year.

  16. Karen Kyle

    Those people who put faith and reason into direct competition with each other are barking up the wrong tree. Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion stiches things together to create meaning. It is called logos, or word and mythos, or speech, subject and imagination. And they both work together and always will.

    Bart D Ehrman who relies on the lower criticism, or textual criticism,of the New Testament is bound to run into changes and mistakes given that all the manuscripts were copied by hand.

    Wrong attribution has been well known for over a century, and as for forgeries it is hard to know why he categorises some books as forgeries. He works himself up into a froth by pretending to have discovered that which has been known for decades. And no, it wasn’t kept secret.In fact publicity about the true nature of the New Testament was the driving force behind the rise of Christian Fundamentalism in the USA. It went underground for decades and suddenly exploded onto the scene during the Civil Rights.Protests.

    And that is why Christianity feels itself to be under seige.It began with Biblical Criticism and continued in the post Christian era with increasing secularism etc.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls were a revelation. Mostly the Hebrew Bible and apart from some minor mistakes in the copy the same as today’s Hebrew Bible and manuscripts one thousand years older than the oldest at that time.

    It is important to know why the Hebrew Bible was written as it was and when. Then it begins to make sense. The historical beginnings of the Hebew Bible are clearer than the beginnings of the New Testament, because the Jews carefully recorded their history some of it in allegory and myth and taught it Christianity has no such traditions and neither does Islam..

  17. New England Cocky

    The most effective method of dealing with priestly pederasty of poor parishioners progeny is to immediately cut any diocese from funding for private schools on th grounds that the Commonwealth may be considered complicit in pederasty by funding the institutions where the administrators have done nothing, or protected, any religious or lay staff convicted of these crimes.

  18. Aortic

    Michael that’s close enough. Nice enough wee place but nothing really outstanding to recommend a visit. Wish you well in your voyages.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Aortic, in Scotland there’s no such place as “nothing really outstanding.” If it’s in Scotland, then it’s outstanding. 😉

  20. Miriam English

    Karen Kyle, I know it sounds nice to say that “Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion stitches things together to create meaning. It is called logos, or word and mythos, or speech, subject and imagination. And they both work together.” But it really isn’t true… unless you include all of fiction in what you call “religion”. There is no traditional religion that works together with science.

    What meaning does religion give us? That we can live again after we die if we abide by the absurdities in their foundational texts? It is a harmful lie. It gives money and power to some of the worst, most regressive forces in human society and encourages people to postpone their lives. How is that a good thing? It’s easy to show that there is no soul and that our death is our final end. We should concentrate on being good and moral people and maximising our potential because this brief time is the only chance we get.

    Many religious people try to say that religion gives us moral guidelines, but that isn’t true either. Much of our morality is innate; the remainder is bestowed by secular society. Science has helped there too. Religion has pulled backward on most of our morals. We now understand that slavery is almost as bad as murder, that women’s rights must be equal to those of men, that children are not the possessions of their parents, that gay people are normal people, that left-handed people are normal people, and much more. All this moral good sense is opposed by all the religious texts I’ve read, and they often make the most outrageously immoral statements imaginable.

  21. Joseph Carli

    ” Christopher stood as instructed before the first small icon of the Stations of the Cross The pictures were at some height above his tiny frame, he craned his neck to see it. Sister Mary Joseph placed one arm around his slender child body and in a secretive whisper described the goings on in the painting..she did this to each child in turn , from one station stop to the next, with each station becoming more and more intense with the humiliation and torment of The Christ, her voice too grew in intensity and anger..

    ‘Look!” she’d say, “look how they laugh and mock our lord Jesus……..” and the children’s eyes all wide and staring at the horror of the gore and blood on the crown of thorns and the leering faces of the torturers. The children’s hands clasping and wringing in fear and horror…several of the little girls clung to the habit of the squatting sister as she related the means of cruelty inflicted on the body of the Son of God as “He suffered for our sins here on Earth…He suffered for us..” her eyes alight also with the self-inflicted emotional pain of the scenes she described.

    The young nun then proceeded to instruct the small group of children in the ritual of the journey through The Stations of the Cross..she would say the Leaders chant :

    “We adore thee O Christ, and bless thee.”

    Then she would ask the children to repeat after her..:

    “By your holy cross Thou has redeemed the world”.

    Then she would gather the little cluster of children around her and softly tell them a little maxim of life ; “As a child, we sometimes feel alone..sometimes others do not stand up for me when I am picked on and afraid..so help me Jesus to be strong and protect me in thy light”.

    The chant was repeated at every Station, along with the repeated response and then another little homily on the lessons of life through the eyes of reverence for Jesus. “ As a child, I sometimes repeat stories that are unclean and disrespectful..Help me to keep myself pure and clean…” All while standing before another frame of the torment or torture of Our Lord Jesus Christ. These lurid paintings left nothing to the imagination, from the first of the condemming to death before Pontius Pilate to the meeting of his mother and the women of Jerusalem on the road to crucifixion and the stripping away of his garments to the hammering in of the nails to his hands and feet and the sinking in of the spear into the side of his body…

    These chants, prayers and visuals were displayed in graphic intensity to the ears and gaze of those five year old children, fresh from the comforts and protection of Mother , Father and the safety of home..To Christopher, they were a shocking assault on his quiet nature..He had never seen someone so deliberately hurt..He had never seen someone held down and tortured, He had never seen a person stripped, beaten, speared , gored and nailed to a wooden cross…Yet here was Sister Mary Joseph explaining it all with the soft, gentle, assured voice of a confident adult…it must be so.

    But strangely, the terror didn’t bite into young Christopher. Those carefully designed pictures, those beguiling, persuasive homilies and all the Sister’s gently pitched whispers into his child ears were to be of no avail…for even as a child, Christopher was more of a “touching” child..he was more interested in the tactile nature of things..on the habit of Sister Joseph, he would touch to feel the heavy-starched white cloth parts of her cowl as she cooed , as with a lover’s breath, the corrupting words of indoctrination into his ear, wondering why it was so sharp…he would stand by her side and feel the heavy wooden beads of the Rosary belt that wrapped around her waist then dangled down the side of her habit-skirt..He would be mesmerized at the large, pendulating black cross that swung against her breast as she leant down to him.His was the world of touch, sights and sounds, the child’s world of wonder , when the wind told stories to his ears..alike to the animal kingdom.. windy days telling hurried stories of trees and hills, grasses and ferns, of white-capped ocean waves and gliding sea-gulls under drifts of wind-blown clouds scattered over azure skies. A childs ears and innocence tuned to that elusive pitch and timbre that becomes dulled and destroyed by adulthood and those wailing whispers on the wind are seldom heard again.

    What is lost in the eyes of the child, when such macabre icons are drawn to their gaze..The innocence that must be destroyed so guilt can be created, hatred infused before a depraved love constructed, fear before security, doubt in place of certainty, death before life. What is religion that would need to do such to a child..for it is surely children to which all it’s cunning indoctrination are delivered…as the adult convert must be a relatively low number in proportion, so it is the child that must be coaxed out of it’s dreamy cocoon into the adult world of conditioned certainty..where “trigger words” or scenarios are imbedded into the vernacular to be drawn upon when needed by civic state or religion..for they do work fist in glove in collusion with each other..how else could it be explained or excused, for what were these series of cameos of horror and degradation but in reality a kind of ecclesiastical pornography pushed into the subliminal thoughts of the children’s minds, a “sleeper” awaiting the right moment to respond.

    After the last Station was reflected upon, the last homily spoke, the last humiliation imbedded into their child minds..the children were lined up and marched back single-file to the classroom near the row of huge old pine trees..Christopher looked at the radiating branches ascending high up into the depth of the foliage..

    “ Wow! what a great place for a tree-house “ he was thinking. ”

    (From..: “The Twelve Caesars”…a journey.)

  22. Karen Kyle


    The gospel according to St John.

    And in the beginning was the WORD logos. And the WORD was with GOD mythos
    And the WORD was GOD logos and mythos.
    And the WORD was made flesh and came to dwell among us.

    This verse is supposed to be about Jesus, but if we take Jesus out of it and look at it as poetry the extraordinary nature of this wonderful verse becomes clear.

    In the beginning was the Word is exactly right and literally true. Word is language. And without language there would never have been human progress, there would not have been anything. The Word came before anything else was possible and we are the only creatures to have truly developed language.

    And the WORD was with GOD. Yeah, if we think of GOD as a creative force and the development of language as imagination and creativity, then of course the WORD is GOD.

    And the WORD was made flesh and came to dwell among us. You bet it did. The first stone toolmaker was the WORD made flesh and he through words passed his skill on down through millions of years, by using words. Aristotle and his investigations of the natural world was the WORD made flesh. Your local motor mechanic is the WORD made flesh, in fact every practical thing we as humans have ever done is the WORD made flesh.

    Scientists are the WORD made flesh and scientists also Mythologise, because they hypothesize and develop theories which is the use of imagination and creative thought. In fact as a species we continue to mythologise. Harry Potter is mythologising…..all story telling is mythologising and as a species we would never have survived and thrived without the extraordinary accomplishments of imagination. Think music architecture etc as well as science.

    Steven Hawkins tried to fit everything into a mathematical equation before he died. An equation which explained everything. He didn’t succeed. Nor did he realise that it has already been done. In spoken language, or poetry the highest form of language and it just hppens to be in the New Testament.

    Lets hear it for the WORD. YES yes yes.

    Listen to the humming bird whose wings you cannot see,
    Don’tlisten to me
    Listen to the butterfly whose days but number three
    Dont listen to me.
    Listen to the mind of God which doesn’t need to be
    Listen to the mind of God
    Don’t listen to me.

    Leonard Cohen.

  23. Joseph Carli

    Oh Karen…your words and the words of your beliefs are so vacant and empty next to the brutal cruelty inflicted upon those children both physically and emotionally that I wonder what medication one would have to take to assuage oneself of any associated complicity in their actions.

    ” What is lost in the eyes of the child, when such macabre icons are drawn to their gaze..The innocence that must be destroyed so guilt can be created, hatred infused before a depraved love constructed, fear before security, doubt in place of certainty, death before life. What is religion that would need to do such to a child.”

  24. Karen Kyle

    I am talking about the poetry of the Bible, not Jesus. I am talking about the wisdom and depth to be found in scripture when stripped of dogma and propaganda. The higher criticism of the Bible resulted in a new understanding and respect for the Bible among scholars world wide. There is a young woman in the UK who has become a public intellectual. She is a professor of comparative religion at one of the Universities. She is an athiest. She loves the Bible and is spending her life studying and teaching it..

  25. Peter F

    Karen, I accept that you are comfortable with your beliefs: I do not share them, and feel comfortable with that. I trust that you are able to accept this.

  26. Joseph Carli

    ” so it is the child that must be coaxed out of it’s dreamy cocoon into the adult world of conditioned certainty..where “trigger words” or scenarios are imbedded into the vernacular to be drawn upon when needed by civic state or religion..for they do work fist in glove in collusion with each other..how else could it be explained or excused, for what were these series of cameos of horror and degradation but in reality a kind of ecclesiastical pornography pushed into the subliminal thoughts of the children’s minds, a “sleeper” awaiting the right moment to respond.”

  27. Joseph Carli

    If any want to read of the lunacy, the insanity, the determined imbecility that blind faith can do, they cannot read a better manuscript of the tragic fortunes of those foolish folk who followed a mad hermit ; “Peter the Hermit” and his crazed first lieutenant, “Walter the Penniless” on a fool’s errand of the crusades…Here..: https://www.ccel.org/g/gibbon/decline/volume2/chap58.htm You will never read any greater absudity of reason, vacancy of thought and desertion of morals than that account of an episode of human futility and waste.

    A sample..: ” Departure of the first crusaders, A.D. 1096, March and May etc.

    The fifteenth of August had been fixed in the council of Clermont for the departure of the pilgrims; but the day was anticipated by the thoughtless and needy crowd of plebeians, and I shall briefly despatch the calamities which they inflicted and suffered, before I enter on the more serious and successful enterprise of the chiefs. Early in the spring, from the confines of France and Lorraine, above sixty thousand of the populace of both sexes flocked round the first missionary of the crusade, and pressed him with clamorous importunity to lead them to the holy sepulchre. The hermit, assuming the character, without the talents or authority, of a general, impelled or obeyed the forward impulse of his votaries along the banks of the Rhine and Danube. Their wants and numbers soon compelled them to separate, and his lieutenant, Walter the Penniless, a valiant though needy soldier, conducted a van guard of pilgrims, whose condition may be determined from the proportion of eight horsemen to fifteen thousand foot. The example and footsteps of Peter were closely pursued by another fanatic, the monk Godescal, whose sermons had swept away fifteen or twenty thousand peasants from the villages of Germany. Their rear was again pressed by a herd of two hundred thousand, the most stupid and savage refuse of the people, who mingled with their devotion a brutal license of rapine, prostitution, and drunkenness. . . ”

    Not even the genius of Dostoyevski at his most descripitive frenzy could describe with adequate colour and form the compelling lunacy of that driven crowd of fanatical believers…and who can doubt, when we..in these times..witness the equal level of absurdity of the followers of Trump or any number of his religeous zealots, that the same catastrophic stupidity cannot happen again in our times?

  28. Karen Kyle

    So determined are some to find nothing of value at all in any religion or anything that is a product of the West they will search history for incidents and atrocities to back up their claims. And pretty often they make some up. And then they engage in shedding of crocodile tears, hand wringing accusations often about what happened a thousand years ago. Or two thousand years ago. Or even three, like Christopher Hitchens carrying on about the Macabees for heaven’s sake. Who cares about the Macabees? Or the Crusades? Vanished and decently buried in history. Let us move on to the problems of today if you don’t mind. They are quite enough I refuse to carry the weight of history. I had nothing to do with the Crusades, or the Macbees and I am not Catholic. I didn’t abuse kids, and most of the abuse took place when I was a child myself. Even if I had known I would have been helpless. Enough already. Don’t guilt trip the entire collective community..As for Christians claiming they are under siege,judging from the comments re this article I would say they are right. So pick on them. Tell them they are delusional and then blame them for paranoia. Still a lot of opinions expressed on this blog are a tad extreme. A refusal to accept or live and let live. Not very democratic.

  29. Joseph Carli

    Stop hogging the joint, liver-lips!…there’s enough dope in that rolly for ALL of us to get high!!…..then ….we can ALLLLL see God, maan!

    No…there’s only one way to deal with all religion…and Mao..the man…showed us the way..

  30. Karen Kyle

    Mao tried to supress religion so he could elevate himself to a cult figure. However he failed. There are five officially recognised religions in China as well as a plethora of differing folk religions. The Chinese still try to supress religion despite freedom of religion being guaranteed in the Constitution. A year or so ago China ran out of Bibles. They didn’t ban Christianity, that would have been too crass. They just made sure Bibles were not available. Now they are having a go at reinventing Confusism spelling……but ignoring the moral and ethical elements in faour of any parts that apparently support a one party dictatorship. They are backing away from Marxist Lenninism as fast as their little legs can carry them. They want to give the Communist Party a Chinese pedigree…..nothing to do with Western thought or Karl Marx…..it was Confausis spelling.They want to turn his birthplace into a Holy Shrine, and the city into a Holy City like Jerusalem. North Korea is doing something similar and now call their ideology by a Korean name. They are getting ready to re write history again. And it will be Oriental without a glance at the West despite Chinese Capitalism and Western technology much of which they pinched.

    As for Russia…..they have re embraced Orthodox Christianity with Putin giving the international press a tour of the cough…….church he attended as a child. After Stalin had purged the Church from fifty five thousand parishes down to five thousand and sent the priests to the Gulag to die. What was left of the Church had to bow to the will of the State. Now the FSB has a church all to itself and so awkward were Communist men in church that when trying to cross themselves they hilariously tapped their foreheads and clutched their genitals.

  31. Joseph Carli

    But seriously, Karen ..the entire evidence for the validation of the Three Abrahamic texts is that they are shielded by the mists of time from solid verification…if those same texts were from a millenia or so later, they would have been dismissed as the ravings of collective lunacy a long time ago…even so, many of the “books” of those religions have been shown through epistemology research of the ancient Greek language used in certain words and sentences etc. to be of a later age than originally claimed or to be fake altogether…

    So to dismiss any historical references to the chaotic lunacy of fanatical religious behaviour from a millenia or two ago, and then to claim legitimacy for gospel texts from perhaps the same or earlier history is to give example of a certain disingenousness….(to be polite!)…

  32. Terence Mills

    The Prime Minister and the Attorney General, Christian Porter have reportedly been consulting widely on the religious protections legislation – they didn’t speak to us unless I missed something (?) – they expect to present to the parliament in the September sitting.

    At the same time the Morrison Government has commissioned the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the framework of religious exemptions in anti-discrimination legislation across Australia. The Commission has been asked to report to the Government by 10 April 2020.

    ‘ Seems that they want to pass the legislation before the ALRC reports back – how does that work ? There are so many pieces of existing legislation that grant exemptions and privileges to religious organisations how can you introduce a new statute without first considering the implications with the existing law ?

    Porter took the draft legislation to cabinet last week and evidently it has been signed off and the government is expected to release an exposure draft of the bill before the September sitting.

    Stitch up !

  33. Karen Kyle

    Great works of literature don’t die. We are still reading Homer and other assorted Greeks. Just as the great myths don’t die. They exist outside of time and space and they describe universal human truths which may not be literal truths but they are truths for all time. And some of them are in the Bible which is why scholars can devote their lives to the study of scripture and ancient languages and so on. This is just a plain simple statement of fact.

  34. Joseph Carli

    Ah!….gulag the lot of them!!…and start with the Pope….

  35. Aortic

    Yeah Michael, I guess you are right about Whitburn, I would imagine it would have been the only place in the world where the swimming pool burnt doon.

  36. Miriam English

    Karen Kyle, there would be more ancient documents to celebrate if the Christians hadn’t burned down the Library of Alexandria. As for letting go of ancient wrongs by the Christians, how about we consider some of the more recent ones:
    – The Nazis were devout Christians, with Hitler carrying a Bible with him everywhere and often quoting from it. His speeches are full of defending god, Jesus, and the family. His hatred of Jews comes directly from the Bible.
    – The Bosnian genocide was conducted by Christians upon their peaceful Muslim neighbors.
    – The Rwandan genocide was facilitated and urged on by Christian priests and nuns.
    – The death squads and child soldiers in Uganda are commanded by Christian minister Joseph Kony.
    – The enormous numbers of gay men and women murdered today in various parts of Africa and South America are driven on by Christian churches.
    – An insane push toward ending the world is coming from present day Christians in the USA government.
    – The seething hatred of LGBT people in Australia comes from Christianity. Remember all the vile and hateful lies propagated by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) during the marriage equality vote?
    – The mind-numbing scale of the sexual abuse of children in all the different denominations of Christian churches.

    I could go on. There’s much, much more…

    Or how about some more beautiful poetry from the Bible:

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.


    If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.


    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. But if the slave’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter.


    Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    I know what you’re thinking, Karen. I’m cherrypicking verses, and you’re right, but I’m doing so to counter you doing exactly the same thing. Yes, the Bible has some nice verses, but they do very little to wash away the horrific bloodstains of urging people to genocide, enabling slavery, justifying the death penalty for a multitude of minor infractions of absurd laws, and propagating a hateful attitude toward women.

    It is a mistake to consider the Bible as much more than an example of humanity’s primitive, superstitious, brutal past, with an occasional pearl to be found in its pages. Plato’s Republic written in 380BC contains much more genuine food for thought.

  37. Miriam English

    Karen, I know it looks like I’m singling out the Bible and Christianity here, but much of what I say applies to all religions. It is a terrible mistake to consider them much more than primitive exercises in emotional blackmail and gullibility. All religions carry with them deeply diseased thought processes, and if it was not for the fact that such vast numbers of people are so appallingly contaminated by them, I sometimes feel we would be better off expunging those religious texts from our history. Unfortunately, things being what they are, we need to learn from those texts in order to find antidotes to the malaise they cause.

    Repellent though religion is, the people they damage are usually trying to be good folk doing the right thing… even while they are murdering or oppressing other innocents. In a sad and revolting way we should pity and help those who are afflicted by religion, even as many of them burn down the world and people around them.

  38. Miriam English

    Terence, it is interesting, isn’t it, that Morrison held talks with many of the religious groups in Australia, but failed to include the largest religious group of all: the “nones” — those who have no religion. He also flatly refused to meet with LGBT representatives who are the people the proposed laws are intended to attack. It really lays bare what his intent is.

    It bothers me that so few religious people realise the danger to them of the “religious freedom” laws. The reason why we have a constitution instructing us to keep religion and government separate is that when they have joined in the past, religious people come under vicious attack and repression. The requirement to separate church and state is to protect religious people, because who do religious people hate more than anything else in the world? Answer: other religious people.

    And if Christians think it’s okay because they figure they’re safe on the winning side, then they need to take a closer look at Morrison’s weird cult and think again.

  39. Matters Not


    who do religious people hate more than anything else in the world? …

    No doubt. Those who are absolutely wrong? Those who construct a reality at odds with ours? And therefore ‘wrong’ by definition. etc.

    If only we could have the Truth – the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth? Why, even philosophers of Science equivocate. Perhaps we need more belief? (Just jokin .. and shakes head.)

  40. Aortic

    Carl Sagan PALE BLUE DOT. Google it.

  41. Karen Kyle

    Miriam Mary. Yes there are things in the Bible we wish were not there. They are a reflection of the times in which they were written. Violent times. And why do you think Christians burned the library at Alexander? this is not verified by history. The library burned several times over the centuries, accidently, once by Julius Caesar also accidently. Finally it fell out of favour because so many other libraries in other cities were built. The library at Alexander just faded away eventually and it is a favourite Marxist fable to blame Christians for burning it down. And if knowledge was lost it is because manuscripts on parchment often don’t survive.

    Perhaps you should check some of your most cherished hatreds of religion to make sure they are historically accurate instead of being propagated for propaganda reasons

    The Nazis were not devout Christians. Hitler used the churches for his own purpose, just as Putin is doing now.. As for Africa, climate change is ruining the country and causing social politicaland economic problems. Under these circumstances violence is likely to erupt and they don’t have well developed governments as yet. Quite a few failed states among them, huge corruption and cruelty. There are usually more serious underlying reasons for large scale poverty than religion.

    Plato’s Republic…….Jesus Christ….well he sure wasn’t Christian but some of his ideas were close to the religious mystic stuff. I have heard it said by a mathematician that some maths gurus are secret Platonists the implication bein.g that they were superstitious.

    Christian and Islamic Fundamealists are a problem to be sure. Part of the reason among many reasons that Christian Fundementalists have become powerful in the US is because mainstream Christianity is dying. There are not enough of the ordinary faithful left to push the lunatic fringes to the edges and pin them there. Islam is quite specific and quite different not to mention unique in their murderous expression of extreme religion. And they unlike others seem to be doing it for religious reasons.

    By the way where do you think Comrade Karl Marx got his revolutionary ideas from? Marx wasn’t technically a Jew because his parents converted, but you can’t throw off three thousand years of Jewish thought in one generation. Revolution comes from the Hebrew Bible, and the first long revolution was the overturning of the old Canaanite religious order and the emergence of monotheism.and the children of Israel. Quite a lot of our thinking has its roots in the Hebrew Bible. And it carries over to the New Testament which is a highly seditious document. The Catholic Church tried to keep it out of the hands of ordinary people.

    Once the printing press was invented and bibles were translated from the latin into many European languages Martin Luther told the poor they had better learn to read. So they did. They wanted to read the Bible. And as a result there was the Protestant revolution and the first political revoluton the French revolution and before either of those the Agrarian Revolution, and afterward the Industrial Revolution. So there you go. Our revolutionary roots come from the Hebrew Bible and ahhh……so do human rights. I will look it up tomorrow. I am too tired and I can’t be bothered.

  42. Miriam English

    Karen Kyle, casually dismissing the bad things in the Bible so that you can focus on the nice things is like saying of a mass murderer, “Sure, he killed all those people, ruined people’s lives, and stole vast amounts of money, but you can overlook that because he has a pretty face and says nice things from time to time.”

    I admit I’m not a historian, so what I learned many years ago about the destruction of the Library of Alexandria may be wrong. It wasn’t from Marxist sources though (I’ve never read Marx and have no idea what he said). I do remember learning about renowned librarian there, Hypatia, who was murdered by Christians — her skin peeled from her living body and her being rolled in salt, if I remember correctly.

    Christians have a bad habit of rewriting history. The idea that Hitler and his inner circle were not Christian is ludicrous. Hitler was raised a devout Catholic, carried a Bible with him wherever he went, quoted often from it, and clearly believed he was doing god’s work. Most of the church agreed, including the Pope. Of Hitler’s inner circle, every single one was devoutly Christian. The innermost were all Catholics, but other close ones were Protestants. Hitler disliked and distrusted atheists.

    Christianity is dying and the extremists seem to be the loudest voices remaining, hence, as you hint, the reason for the rise of extreme fundamentalism in USA. You suggest that violent Islamic extremism is different from Christian extremism, in that the former do it for religious reasons. When you look more closely at violent Christian extremists I think you’ll see their reasons are religious too. The Christian preachers in USA, Australia, and other parts of the world who preach death to gays are using their Bibles to do so.

    I’m not sure of the point that you were making about revolution and the Bible. For a thousand years of the Dark Ages when the Bible reigned supreme over Europe it festered in corruption, poverty, ignorance, and superstition. The Bible set humanity back about a thousand years. Thank goodness the (at that time) more enlightened Islamic world saved much of ancient history or we would have lost it all to the obsessive book-burning of the church.

    Human rights coming from the Bible??? 😀 You’re joking, right?

  43. Karen Kyle


    If you google “The Religious Views of Hitler” you will find a comprehensive Wikipedia article on the subject. I don’t know what you have been reading or who has been talking to you, but your views on the subject match those of many on this blog. It is annoying to find such views expressed by people on the internet where checking facts is so easy.

    As for the Pope, you are talking about Pius the wartime Pope. The Soviets did a job on him smearing him as complicit in Hitler’s crimes.They found this impossible to do after the war. Too many people knew the truth. Pius saved the lives of up to eighty thousand Jews by hidig them in the Vatican, in Catholic schools and hospitals and in Catholic homes the length and breadth of Italy. Pius came from a wealthy family. He had great private wealth and he spent it all saving Jews. If Jewish children found themselves alone during the war and they knocked on the door of a Catholic orphanage they would be taken in and hidden. Pius instucted all his clergy to assist Jews. Pope John Paul the Polish Pope grabbed a little Jewish girl who was alone and in danger and hid her with a Polish Catholic family. They loved her and wanted her baptised. Twice they asked him to baptise her.He refused. They were not about converts. They were about saving Jews.

    Years later when war time memories had faded a play writen by a West German Soviet propagandist called the Deputy was staged in the USA and West Germany smearing Pius. It worked. But the plot has been uncovered, the truth revealed and the reputation of Pius rehabilitated. Pius saved more Jews than any other individual or organisation and just after the war the Israelis sent their symphony orchestra to the Vatican to put on a concert to honour and thank him. There are many photographs of the event. Thats enough for now. I will deal with the rest later.

    PS Hypatia………Yes she is said to have been scraped to death by a mob. But a Christian mob? I doubt it. This is a Marxist fable as is the buildinng up of Hypatia into something she wasn’t. Her father was the brilliant academic in charge of the Library at Alexandria. Hypatia had nothing to do with it. What she did that was unusual for her time was engage in public debate and run a very successful school. She was never head of the Library and she didn’t invent or discover anything. She has been built up to make her murder even worse and the so called anti intellectual Christians are to blame. No historial evidence to back this story.

  44. Karen Kyle

    Miriam. try googling “Human Rights Jewish Virtual Library” It is a big subject explaining the Hebrew Bible roots of Human Rights and it should give you more than enough to go on with.

    Just a few of the more simple and obvious ones…..”Thou shalt not kill” because everyone has a right to life and everyone has an obligation to ensure that right is fullfilled. “Thou shalt not steal” bound up with Jewish property law and the right to accumulate that right applies to everyone. There is also a detailed explanation of Liberty, a Biblical injunction re freedom of movement and the rights of the Individual. You wll be surprised. For a real surprise try Googling Jewish Labor Law. You will find an article written by a New York Jew Named someone Perry. That’ll knock your socks off.

    The story of Rachel and Jacob…..a long complicated story about many things and buried in the heart of it two employment contracts enforcable by law. One copy held by Jacob, one by Rachel’s father and one on file in the Temple.

    In our arrogance we make the mistake of assuming that nothing of importance happened in this world before we got here and all the big achievements are down to the Philosophers of the Enlightenment..Not so.The philosophers just lifted all of it out of the Bible. And then Christianity never hesitating to lift whatever they liked from the Jews got onto the bandwagon and claimed a lot of the credit. While it is true that these ideas were carried over in the New Testament they are certainly not original.

  45. Karen Kyle

    I casually dismiss all the bad bits in the Bible? The Bible as a work of Literature is warts and all, like other great works of Literature. That is what gives them the all too human truths. No holds barred. Greek literature and mythology has also had a big influence on Western thought. And the stories are blood curdling, horrifying and cruel in the extreme. But you don’t criticise them I notice. The Illiad and the Odyssey are bloody horrifying in parts. Murder, incest, rape…..you name it the Greeks wrote about it in their scripture the works of Homer. I would be surprised if you could find scripture of any kind that does not tell stories like these.

  46. guest

    There are many strange things found in the Bible, which is a collection of writings put together by people who believed the same things. But over time the believers split into various groups and sects.

    Think about what is supposed to have happened to Jesus – that he was crucified and then rose again and walked among his disciples, and ate with them, then rose up into heaven to sit on the right hand of God.

    He rose up bodily, in the flesh? He ate food? He is still alive in heaven? He will come again?

    In the next life will people live again? Will they eat food? Will they need some sewerage system? Will they go on living and eating for ever? Where is heaven?

    Or is this just a belief to give people hope? Or for the moral control of people?

    This part of the Biblical teaching is something I find to be really weird and unscientific, against reason. And not the only thing.

  47. Miriam English

    Karen, lots of work to do so I shouldn’t really be replying right now, but just a quick reply: I don’t argue against the ancient Greek stories, or Norse stories, or ancient Egyptian, or Sumerian, or Babylonian myths because people don’t use those myths to justify having gay teachers and pupils fired, or LGBT kids tortured out of their feelings. Those myths aren’t used to rationalise treating us as second-class citizens, and preventing us getting married. Nobody is using those myths to prevent girls or women getting abortions, or to block contraception. There is no danger of theocracy being imposed on us from those other childish myths from civilisation’s lunatic infancy.

    I’ve read many of those other myths, as well as the Bible, much (not all) of the Koran, a little of the truly idiotic Book of Mormon, and a smattering of other religious stories. I’m not particularly impressed by any, except in that I could see humanity beginning to grow. Personally, I prefer modern science and technology information, science fiction stories, and romantic comedies — those have far more beauty, complexity, and relevance to our world and its challenges. I understand other people like those horrible myths, and that’s fair enough; they’re welcome to their preference, but I draw the line at being told that they work with science and provide us with good morals.

  48. Karen Kyle


    You are confusing myth with literal reality. They are not the same and ancients would be shocked to find this attitude so prevalent. A myth illustrates a truth, but it is not a literal truth in and of itself. And it is a mistake to confuse science with myth,although science certainly has it’s own myths. Myths are what we used to make sense of the world, and although many of them were wise and illustrated truths they were not true themselves. They are truths wrapped up in a story that points to the truth often with strong moral overtones. So please….take them for what they are.Illustrations of a kind of human truth and enjoy the stories. The fact that so many Greek Roman and Biblical myths have lived on is because they resonate. We inherently recognise their truths and besides they are cracking good stories.

  49. Nigel Drake

    “We inherently recognise their truths…”

    c.f. the Royal “We”

    You presume much, Karen.

  50. Karen Kyle

    Nigel Drake…..No mate “WE” recognise their truths as in humanity in general. That is why these stories don’t die.

  51. Zathras

    The article should be titled “Faith OR Rational Thought”.

    I believe Hypatia was killed by having the living flesh carved from her bones with razor-sharp sea shells and broken tiles, before being dragged about the town by a chariot and it was indeed done by a Christian mob.

    Christians in those days were particularly savage and some self-appointed ones (I can’t remember their name) carried around little bags of sharp rocks to throw at people who they thought were going the wrong thing. Their punishment for adulteresses was especially gruesome and they were well-known for violently attacking and persecuting Jews in the city.
    The movie “Agora” describes much of what was happening in Alexandria but was criticised for whitewashing some of the brutality but also for not following the usual Hollywood religious fantasy and propaganda formula.

  52. Miriam English

    Karen, careful, you’re stretching the meaning of the word “truth” so much, something is gonna break, or at least its pants will fall down.

  53. Miriam English

    Zathras, those past-times Christians minding other people’s business sound like the nasty jerks in Muslim countries today who walk around with sticks and whack women’s exposed legs or ankles. Religious people are so sweet and inoffensive.

  54. Kaye Lee


    We may recognise the importance of caring for each other and forgiveness for mistakes without having to engage in chanting rituals worshipping some god.

    Doesn’t it give you pause when men, and only men, dressed up in ceremonial regalia wave incense around chanting while the crowd, with one voice, chant responses that they have learned to regurgitate from childhood? My father once asked his class to write out the apostles creed from memory. They could all do it of course, it being a chant one is expected to be able to rattle off, except it was totally phonetic. They had NO idea what they were chanting.

    I like the philosophy of shared responsibility, not mindless devotion. Any god worth its salt wouldn’t need its children to worship it.

  55. corvus boreus

    So Karen Kyle reckons the ‘rumour’ that Hypatia was murdered by a Christian mob is just Marxist propaganda.
    Yet Socrates Scholasticus, a historian who lived contemporary to Hypatia, explicitly describe her violent death as occurring by the hands of a stirred-up mob of Christians

    Funny how religious shills will deliberately ignore or deny atrocities committed in the name of their faith.

  56. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……No it doesn’tgive me pause.I am not Catholic. I don’t go to Church and I don’t care. Some people take comfort in the ritual which is it’s purpose and some don’t. I have been talking about the wisdom inherent in scripture from a literary point of view. The universal truths expressed and so on. There is much wisdom to be found.I simply don’t care about the rest. The history of religion is a sort of blueprint for the development of human civilisation. It is interesting. Thats all.

  57. Karen Kyle

    Corvos Boreus……..From what I read Hypatia unwittingly got in between two Christian rivals at a turbulent time in Alexandrian history. Suspicion has fallen on Cyril and his paid thugs. But nothing was ever proved. And it didn’t seem to hurt Cyril at all who went on to have a successful career. Someone got away with murder. I guess despite the anger the murder caused no one could make it stick Pity.

  58. corvus boreus

    Universal truths?

    Such as;
    *God is a male humanoid a penis who goes by the name of JHWH.
    *God demands exclusive worship and desires blood offerings, especially male genital mutilation.
    *God historically sided with a ‘chosen people’, and sanctioned their violent conquests.
    *God is extremely judgemental about his ‘special people’ doing things like eating shellfish, but is totally cool about them doing things like committing acts of genocide, mass child murder and the sexual enslavement of children.
    *One day soon God will completely destroy the Earth in an apocalypse.

    Do not expect us to share your enthusiasm in claiming a ‘scriptural basis for the concept of human rights, or that religious text has greater wisdom than established methods of scientific enquiry, when you are completely unwilling to address the patently absurd claims, and the outright glorification of serial acts of putrid atrocity, that occurs within the same scriptural texts.

  59. Miriam English

    Karen, “universal truths” and wisdom in religious scripture?

    You mean like love me or I’ll torture you forever? …the rules for selling your daughter into slavery? …the rules for beating the living snot out of your slaves? …curing leprosy with magic? …making livestock copulate in front of white sticks so that the offspring have striped coats? …that you should cover up mistakes by killing (drowning) everybody rather than fix the problem? …a tribe wandering for 40 years through a desert that’s so small you can walk its length in 11 days? .. you should take pleasure in bashing babies’ brains out? …pray for something and you’ll get it, even moving a mountain (no need to actually do something)… yeah, great life lessons, just bubbling over with truth and wisdom.

    But, “blueprint for civilisation”??? I am at a loss. How has the Bible got anything to say about civilisation? …let alone a blueprint for it?

    You don’t think maybe you’re reaching a bit far Karen?

    I can recognise that there are some nice anecdotes in there — my favorite is where the townspeople bring an adulteress to Jesus for stoning and he says that he who is without sin can cast the first stone. It’s a forgery that was inserted hundreds of years later by some nameless monk, but it is a nice story. There are a few others, but precious little among the hideous wasteland of immorality and superstition and faked history. I’m struggling to think of any others… oh, the story of the fishes and the loaves might be about sharing if it wasn’t made into stupid miracle bullshit.

    Maybe if the Bible did have more good lessons and actual morality it wouldn’t have caused so much harm down the centuries. Unfortunately it is so full of psychopathic bullshit that it has wrought immense damage, and continues to do so.

    Thomas Jefferson understood this and edited out most of the awful ridiculous stuff, leaving a much more sane and moral book. It’s called the Jefferson Bible and is a much, much smaller book. When printed at about the density of an average Bible it’s about 20 pages long. The average Bible has about 1,200 pages,so not a lot has much to redeem itself according to that brilliant thinker. Maybe some Christians would actually read it if their Bible was that size.

  60. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..Did you try Human Rights Jewish Virtual Library. Do have a look.

  61. corvus boreus

    Karen Kyle,
    So your opinion about the murder of Hypatia has now shifted from ‘Christians didn’t kill Hypathia, that’s just Marxist propaganda’ into ‘she got in the way of a Christian squabble, but, despite the corroboration of contemporary historical recount, you can’t definitively prove that Christians did it’.

    By the way, here’s a simple task to assess whether religious mania has adversely affected your morality and sanity;
    Are you willing to admit that the ‘mythological character’ of Moses (who is considered by most Abrahamic monotheists to be a ‘divine prophet’), was, as defined by his attributed words and acts, a perverted mass-murderer?

  62. Miriam English

    Karen Kyle, I found what is probably the page that you mean (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/rights-human).
    I don’t intend to sound snarky, but it would have been easier, and I could be sure this was the page you meant, if you simply gave a link.

    The document’s size is such that if printed out on paper it would be about 31 pages long. Can you give a hint where in that I’m supposed to look and what exactly you think I should look for, and why it relates to the point you wanted to make? Perhaps you can summarise. I actually have a lot of work that I should be doing instead of being here, so I’m reluctant to spend time reading a 31 page document that might not even relate to what’s being discussed.

  63. guest

    Karen Kyle,

    You say that the stories in the bible are not literal stories, but are about human truths.

    I was discussing the story about Jesus and his resurrection. Did he rise from the dead literally – or is it just a story not literally true? Did he fly in the air up into Heaven? Is he sitting on the right hand of God? And will humans one day go physically into Heaven and live in glory for ever?

    What human truth is illustrated by this? Or is it just a story?

    Certainly, those writers who mention these details seem to want us to believe them as literal. Paul writes of Jesus being born as the fullness (Gk. pleroma) of God made flesh (Gk. somatikos).

    You yourself make much of the word logos – and that the word was with God and was God. What does that mean? Is it not just a kind of deification of language, especially the written word?

    So how do we explain the Trinity as illustrating some human truth? Or is God three-in-one?

    Some Christians have had some difficulty understanding human sexuality because they believe the Bible’s attitude too literally.

  64. Karen Kyle

    Some facts about the Bible.

    It is the best selling book in human history.
    It is still widely studied by scholars today.
    It is still read today
    It is a book of some of the best poetry ever written.
    It is an historical document of a kind. It has within it nuggets of real history e.g. King David, and Solomon who did exist. There is proof.
    Much of it is myth and allegory. But the myths have profound meaning. We have forgotton how to read myth.
    Ordinary people reading the Bible in their own language was the cause of Revolution. the recognition of the Individual etc.
    It is an ancient book of law Torah which means among other things LAW.
    The Hebrew Bible is about Justice and Law.
    The Christian Bible is about forgivness of sin.
    Genesis is about the human transition from hunter gatherer to farmer.
    Genesis is about the journey to adulthood and self awarness
    Genesis is about growing up.
    Genesis is the Creation Myth developed to be calm and soothing because of the trauma of the loss of the temple and being taken into exile in Babylon.
    The Exodus is about deliverence from slavery which the Jews suffered many times from Egypt. The Biblical story is myth. It really happened but in Israel not Egypt and it happened many times..
    Judaism is the basis for revolution in that they overturned idolatry and paganisn for monotheism.
    The Israelites began to evolve a different culture from within Canaanite society based on monotheism.
    The Flood is a universal myth shared by many cultures.
    It means destruction of existing society. When you build in mud brick and there is a flood you had better worry.
    Jews were egalitarian to a marked extent. They were simple and they took care of widows and the poor. All in the Bible
    A good system of what today we would call social security.
    An elaborate system of law which regulated every aspect of life including slavery.
    They developed an elaborate education system for all.very early on. At a certain point all Jews were literate.
    Every fifty years was a Jubilee year. All slaves were freed, debts cancelled. All property returned to the original owners. This was the law. All in the Hebrew Bible.
    There were strict laws governing slavery and the treatment of slaves.
    There were strict laws governing employment and the payment of wages. Workers had to be paid daily before sunset.
    Workers had rights. Widows and orphans had rights.
    Anyone who was hungry could go into a Synagogue and eat the Show Bread.
    Widows had the right to glean the unharvested corners of wheat fields which were left for them.. They could also pick up any grain in the harvested section.
    All Jews had to be educated it was a religious imperative. Mostly done at home which left the question of what to do about orphans. So they opened schools for orphans. And then they opened schools for everyone. Very early universal education.
    As for Human Rights the recognition of the individual, the dignity of the individual, the freedom to go wherever you liked the roots of all those things are in the Hebrew Bible. I have told you where to find it
    Just one example…. We are all equal in the sight of God…..this was eventually translated to we are all equal before the law, to we are all equal. In the Hebrew Bible. Lots of other examples in the link I spoke about..

  65. corvus boreus

    Karen Kyle,
    Your repeated refusal to acknowledge or condemn biblical atrocities, in this case the incident where the ‘prophet’ Moses orders the mass-murder and sexual slavery of captive non-Jewish children, is duly noted.
    I guess divinely sanctioned child rape doesn’t rate a mention in your discussion of intrinsic biblical morality

  66. Kaye Lee

    Shakespeare’s works are still revered today. Nobody thinks he was divinely inspired. Aesop’s fables are still read today. No-one takes them literally.

    And I certainly don’t need some god to tell me belatedly that we are all equal when the so-called divinely inspired writings of god contain so many hideous instructions like bashing in the brains of the children we have conquered and claiming the young virgins as some sort of conquest prize..

    Religion was and remains a male power play. I refuse to adopt the role of hand maid to their conceit.

  67. Karen Kyle

    Guest….Do you really think I am silly?

    Jesus did not rise from the dead. As a matter of fact his name was not Jesus. It was Yeshua, which translates to Joshua. Christ means anointed. In christian culture we anoint Kings. The Jews anointed everything, all implements and tools etc to do with service in the temple and the Synagogue. So the internet has taken to calling Jesus oily Josh.

    He did exist. He and his mother Miriam which is the Hebrew version of Mary get a mention in the Talmud. And his followers especially his brother James were all known to the Sanhedrin at the time. In fact they appeared before the Sanhedrin and there is a record of it.

    When the Romans crucified Yeshua he would not have been taken down from the cross. They were left there to rot until their bodies fell down to be eaten by animals. So the story of the tomb and the resurrection is bunk.

    Yeshua was a wandering itinerant teacher and preacher one of several at the time and he wasn’t even the most popular. He drew crowds that were big enough to worry the Romans but he hardly caused the Jews a ripple of concern. The fact that he was from Galillee counted against him because it was a hotbed of feverish anti Roman revolutionary activity.

    The Disciples were devastated by his death and it is a common experience of grief to see the person for whom you are grieving and even to hear and feel them.sometimes. We recognise it as grief. Maybe they didn’t. All his sibs were younger and Yeshua was thirty three years old. Apart from Joseph he may have been only the second family death they had experienced. Miriam was still alive. She would have been about forty eight.

    It is also a common experience for the newly bereaved to expect the dead person to come back. The car will pull up in the driveway and the dead person will walk through the door. So the newly bereaved are exhausted from fighting an internal war between knowing the person is gone and not believing it. maybe something like that was going on and it was elevated to divine status. Mostly by saint paul the old bugger.

    We have the New Testament but we have no idea what Yeshua ever said. He wasn’t about bringing a new religion into being. He was a card carrying observant Temple worshiping, Synagogue attending Jew. He never claimed to be divine. He preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand……so we are told and that probably meant getting rid of the Romans. So they got rid of him first. Yeshua was not the founder of Christianity. Saint Paul was. Thats all…

  68. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..thats the page. It is absolutely relevant. Don’t print it out just keep the link and read it when you have time.

  69. Miriam English

    Karen, to be fair, you’re cherrypicking a heck of a lot.

    Rules for slaves? Yeah, you can beat them with a rod no thicker than your thumb, and so long as they don’t die in a couple of days, it’s okay.

    Whatever happened to, “It’s immoral to own people”? Oh not in there? Oops.

    Rights for kids… so long as they don’t say the wrong thing in anger, and then it’s a stoning to the death. And so long as the kid is not female, because girls are so worthless it’s suggested you sell them into slavery.

    I could go on and on, but I won’t.

    As corvus boreus points out, you draw these glowing conclusions (often from very improbable starting points) but refuse to acknowledge the awful, bloodsoaked, immoral stuff there.

    It seems to me that you are taking your secular morals and imposing them onto these awful old tales and forcing them to fit what you’d like to see. At the same time you’re completely ignoring the extraordinary level of immorality in those same messages.

    You interpret the flood myth as renewal, but most people take away a totally different story — one of fearfully obeying god or suffer gruesome consequences. This message is repeated over and over again throughout the Bible, so it’s no wonder that many religious people live in a state of permanent fear and guilt. (Incidentally, what I see in the flood tale is a petulant and irresponsible creator who doesn’t even have the patience or maturity to repair his mistakes, but instead murders everybody, except for one family so the world can be repopulated through incest. It makes me wonder how ignorant and stupid were the originators of the tale.)

    Reinforcing that insane message of obeying god’s orders no matter how cruel and lunatic, there is the story of Abraham being told to murder his son. And in case you wish to ignore the utter blood-dripping horror of that story, because Abraham was let off right at the last moment, there’s always the story of Jephthah who god forces to go through with killing his loving daughter — burning her alive. God, because he’s not a total monster lets her spend a short time in the forest mourning her virginity first. (Whaaaat???)

    And of course there are the weird, pointless bets. Samson’s bet that his 30 friends can’t work out the answer to a riddle, but when his wife tells them the answer he has to pay up to his friends, so god helps him kill 30 people and take their stuff to pay off the bet. And the most famous bet where god bets Satan that Job will worship him even if he’s lost everything. So they proceed to strip him of his wealth and health and kill all his loved ones. Job still bows to god, so god wins and tells Job not to worry that he killed all Job’s loved ones — here are some other people instead. What kind of crazy, warped message is that? I doubt there is any positive spin that can be put on it.

    The thing is, there are so many of these utterly senseless bloody sequences in the Bible… so much injustice perpetrated by god, so much genocide, so much hate… To reinterpret all this as having positive messages, like try to do, requires such heavily tinted glasses that one wonders if you can even see the pages, or whether you’re simply retelling stuff told to you by someone else.

  70. Miriam English

    Karen, sorry, but either you made up that story about Jesus/Joshua or someone else did and you’re simply repeating their confabulation. (Though you are right about the fate of people crucified — they were left on the cross to fall apart and be eaten by animals, as the defilement was part of the punishment. There’s no way Jesus/Joshua would have been given a tomb.)

  71. Karen Kyle

    Corvus Boreus

    According to Israel Finklestein archealogist it is extremly unlikely that Moses or Abraham ever existed. They are more likely to be mythical figures. There is no archeological evidence that there was ever a migration into Israel from the north. Not even a scrap

    And not one scrap of evidence in the Sinai or Egypt for the story of the Exodus. If so many slaves had up and left Egypt at the time of the Exodus the Egyption economy would have collapsed. No such collapse happened.In fact at that time Egypt had soldiers stationed all over Israel. They were under occupation, and enslaved. The story about the chidren of Israel wandering in the wilderness for forty years is probably the amount of time it took for the Egyptian and surrounding economies to spin into a decline which made the Egyptian Army pull out and go home.

    The Egyptians did like to occupy Israel. They could stand on the high ground and see an enemy army coming for miles and fight them in Israel or what is now Jordan instead of Egypt. For the Egyptians it made good stategic sense.

    King David was real and his son Solomon. There is proof. The spooky part is the search for the Kohenim, the Priestly caste descended from Aaron the brother of Moses. Genetic testing of the Kohenim found they have one male ancestor and he lived around the time Moses was supposed to live. As I said spooky. In any event there was never a conquest of Israel by either Abraham or Moses. All the blood curdling stuff was probably sabre rattling to frighten off would be attackers at a time when war was pretty well constant. And that is a reason why getting all hot under the collar about something that coud have happened three thousand years ago and didn’t is stupid.

  72. Karen Kyle

    I got the info re Yeshua Joshua from Rabbinic sources. Two Rabbis. One a Rabbi from Toronto Rabbi Michael Scobac.one a messianic Jew from god knows where.

  73. corvus boreus

    Karen Kyle,
    The lessons of Genesis include the dogma that universal divinity is absolutely restricted to the form of a male humanoid (who created man in HIS own image then cloned a female variant to prevent man from indulging in depressed masturbation), and is a being who despises the curious acquisition of knowledge and is prone to periodic episodes of murderous rage resulting in mass-exterminations.
    Another lesson from Genesis is that if an invisible voice tells you to whimsically murder uour own offspring, it is not only entirely sensible but morally laudable for you to demonstrate a willingness to do so.

  74. Karen Kyle


    Slavery was accepted practise until the American Civil War. Horrible but a fact. And I just can’t work up a head of frothing steam and indignation about slavery three thousand years ago. And neither can you. You are bunging it on and using it as an excuse to hang your hatred on. Sorry. I don’t buy it. Why don’t you worry about slavery today. There is plenty of it. Mostly Arab countries.

  75. Karen Kyle

    Corvus Boreus

    The story of Issac is a myth and there is a powerful message in that myth. STOP SACRIFICING YOUR CHILDREN.
    Got that? And we still do it. Every time we send them to war. And often we don’t seem to have a choice. There is a paradox to blame, but it’s written in the scriptures and it’s not some idle claim. quote.

    Trouble is you take a modern psychological approach to the stories. Wrong approach. Do that in University studing myth and you fail big time.

  76. Michael Taylor

    I’m with Miriam and cb.

    Their arguments are more balanced.

  77. LOVO

    Crikey…..this whole thread has been a blast…. I mean, I’ve learnt …much.
    Thank you Karen for your contributions.(👍)
    Thank you Miriam for yours too. (bows)
    …and thanx to the rest of ya too 😉
    Like I have said previously, which to my mind (shut up Migs) seemingly confirms my very own personal mantra……which goes like this…😲
    ‘I believe that I don’t know
    I believe that you don’t know
    I believe that nobody has ever known
    and I believe that nobody ever will’ ….we ARE . …isn’t that enough.

  78. Zathras

    The Bible as a “blueprint for civilisation”?
    Perhaps – if you ignore the acceptance of slavery, the killing of witches and the oppression of women just to mention a few items.
    The science it incudes is demonstrably false as are many of the “historical” descriptions.
    For example there is no evidence of Jews ever being enslaved in Egypt, let alone being freed and wandering around lost for 40 years, the city of Jericho never had walls and the town of Narareth didn’t even exist during Jesus’ time, and as for a world-wide flood?
    Many conveniently cherry-pick some items as allegories and others as fact, depending entirely on circumstance.

    As for it being the source of morality the idea that the only reason adherents do go about murdering and raping is because of a potential punishment and a promised reward is the most self-damning notion I can think of. I do all the murdering and raping I want – which is nil – and don’t need a carrot-and-stick philosophy to justify it.

    Morality is a mutually agreed standard to continue civilisation and even changes over time. Also ideas like “the Golden Rule” exist in all religions that predate Christianity by centuries so that was no special revelation.

    As for the “poetry”, King James hired wordsmiths to deliberately make his interpretation sound more profound – and it is more an interpretation than a translation, intended to elevate the importance of authority at the expense of individuality.

    As for The Meaning of Life and origin of the universe, I’m prepared to use those three words that seem to terrify the devout and say “I don’t know”. and it’s arrogant to assume that man has the answered those questions any more that a seagull sitting on the roof of the Opera House can possibly conceive what’s happening below it’s feet.

  79. corvus boreus

    Karen Kyle,
    If the ‘exploits’ of Moses et al were just atrocious fiction that would be distasteful enough.
    However, in case you hadn’t noticed, many people fetishise the bible as ‘the literal word of god, and demand that our civil society be structured according to it’s primitive dictates (including the 10 commandments of Moses the mass-murdering child-rapist).

    If you want to gloss over the good book’s endorsement of patent absurdities and vile atrocities and focus exclusively on the positives, that is your prerogative, but I think that in ignoring the hubristic arrogance and prejudicial bigotry that are engendered by people taking mythological fables as religious fact, you are being wilfully ignorant.

    Ps I don’t think that a story where a deity rewards a man for showing a willingness to murder his own son is a particularly strong message against child sacrifice.

  80. Karen Kyle


    You are absolutely right. One hundred per cent.


  81. johno

    Lovo, maybe Sergeant Schultz on hogans heroes was enlightened. ‘I know nothing’

  82. Karen Kyle

    Corvos Borus………..Yes isn’t it strange? Most people contributing to this thread and who say they are non believers take an absolutely literal view of the Bible. And they screech like demented hens. They make the same primitive mistakes the Fundamentalist Christians make. I guess this is what happens in a Post Christian era.

    Religious education obviously has some benefits. People who attended church schools or went to church and Sunday School regularly are much less inclined to these kinds of outrageous mistakes. They probably picked up something of the meaning of myth along the way.

  83. Miriam English

    Karen, you side-step points marvellously, trying first to divert attention away from the Bible’s explicit endorsement of slavery by saying it existed later too, and even now. Yes, that’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact that you (and many religious people) want to see the Bible as some kind of source of uplifting morality, when it actually recommends slavery — probably the second worst crime of all (the absolute worst being murder… and there is plenty of that in the Bible too, because… god).

    Then in a classic diversionary tactic you ask me why don’t I worry about slavery today? Well, this may be a surprise to you, but I regularly take part in campaigns with Amnesty International against slavery in the modern world, and guess what? Many modern slavers are Christian, and yes, many others are Muslim, but I genuinely don’t know who are more numerous. I doubt you know either. I think you were merely making a prejudicial comment to deflect away from Bible-followers. It felt like a safe thing to do because the Muslims had to be worse, right?

    Can you see that you are forcing a secular view of morality on extraordinarily immoral writings in order to extract a nicer lesson from them? It’s odd that you tell people they are not viewing the stories in their historical context when they see the truly gruesome nature of the lessons. The normal take-home message of Abraham’s unquestioning willingness to murder his son for god’s arbitrarily cruel command is that it’s a good thing because it shows his total obedience to god. To distort that into a message that we should not sacrifice our children is bizarre, especially since just a little later Jephthah has to burn his daughter to death for god. So… not sacrificing our children?

  84. Miriam English

    By the way, Karen, as a child I did go to Sunday School, and I received scriptural teaching in school, and I did read lots of myths, including the Biblical ones. I do understand how myths work, but I’m not sure you do. Here is a quick (19 minute) lesson in how myths actually work:

    It really is worth your while to watch that short video. He gets to the main subject 3 minutes 9 seconds in, if you are running short on time.

  85. guest


    were you surprised when two Jews told you that Jesus/Joshua was not the Messiah?

  86. Karen Kyle


    I don’t use tactics, diversionary or otherwise. The first rule of historiaography is, don’t take the events of the past out of the context of the past. In other words don’t impose modern morality on the past. It won’t work. And it makes people who do it look silly.

    As for the bizarre notion that the story of the binding of Issac is an injunction against child sacrifice, well I have some news for you.
    For many years the monotheists were battling paganism within Canaanite society, this is well documented in the Hebrew Bible. The pagan customs included child sacrifice which the monotheists were anxious to stop.

    The story of Abraham and the binding of Issac was specifically designed to stop the sacrifice of children. God stopped the killing in time. God was against it. And this story worked. There were no more child sacrifices in Canaanite society even among those who were still pagans.. Very neatly and effectively done through a story and without force. Today Jews continue to regard this story as an injunction against modern forms of child sacrifice, which includes war, bad or cruel treatment neglect etc.

    Then there is the story of Ruth the daughter in law of Naomi. Naomi and her husband and two sons went to live in the land of Moab, next door to Israel. Both sons married Moabite women. Then the husband and two sons died and Naomi decided to return to her own people in Israel. She tried to send her two daughters in law back to their Moabite families. They refused to go. Finally one did go but Ruth refused. giving voice to some of the most beautifu and memorable lines in the Bible

    “Do not seek to stop me from following you,
    For where thou goest I will go
    Where thou lodgest I will lodge
    Thy people shall be my people
    And thy god shall be my god”.

    Ruth married another Isrealite and was either the grandmother or great grandmother of King David.

    This is a story about inclusion. There must have been trouble between Israel and Moab, and the story is about welcoming the stranger within your midst and the human value of all including the stranger, all done through a story.

    Mind you inclusion is now a modern democratic idea and even so we still wrestle with it from time to time.

    These stories are a good illustration of how religion was used to build a civilization…

  87. Karen Kyle


  88. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..That video is so bad there are no words. I

  89. Miriam English

    Karen, I just tried that video again and it works fine. Must be your computer. Perhaps close some other windows or tasks, or failing that shut the computer down fully then reboot it and try again. It should work fine.

    Regarding imposing modern themes on ancient myths… but you are the one doing that.

    You say that in the myth god was against killing the kid.

    Genesis 22:2 And he [god] said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

    and when god stops Abraham just in a nick of time before Abe cuts the kid’s throat:

    Genesis 22:12 And he [god] said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

    That’s to say, “Don’t kill him after all, now that I’m satisfied you’d to kill your only son on my orders.” He’s not saying don’t sacrifice children… as is proved a little later… in Judges 11-12 when god expects Jephthah to burn his daughter to death as a sacrifice for god.

    You are reading into the Abraham story modern sensibilities that are not in the original.

  90. Karen Kyle

    Miriam. There is often more than one interpretation of a myth, and the interpretation can change over time as outside conditions change. This way layer upon layer of meaning is developed,. And Jews don’t just use the scripture in the Bible. Scripture is like an abrieviated shorthand, like lecture notes. They also consult the much bigger and fuller body of oral history and the Talmud and the opinions of scholars through the ages. The most modern interpretation of the story not only functions as an injunction against child sacrifice, it is also an injunction against treating children as the property of the parents. After all sacrificing a child is an extreme way of demonstrating total ownership.

    It was vital that children be recognised as autonomous beings owned by god and no-one else. Only with that recognition and acceptance could the notion of the Individual and Individual rights be developed. And you are right when you say this is a modern interpretation of an old myth. And that is exactly what Jews do.It keeps Judaism alive and stops it from fossilizing into rigid uncompromising forms. Very wise. .

  91. Karen Kyle

    Miriam. It pays to check a story out before you complain about it. The story of Jephthah is obviously a myth. It mirrors two other Greek myths , the story of Idomeneus who vowed to sarifice the first living thing he saw on reaching home after the gods calmed a storm for him. It was his son. And the story of Agamenmon and Iphigenia.

    At this time in history Israel was unique because it was the only country in the ancient world which did not practice human sacrifice..Jephthah could easily have freed himself of the vow by consulting the laws pertaining to sacrifice human sacrifice was illegal, or he could have applied to the high priest to have the vow anulled…spelling? His judgement was poor his behaviour was immoral and illegal and it would have angered god and it probably didn’t happen. It is just too much like the Greek stories.

    Israel Finklestein thinks the story might have arisen as the result of a boundary dispute between Isrealite and Ammonite settlements.Jephthah fought a battle with the Ammonites and won. And the sacrifice was supposed to be as the result of a vow to god in return for victory.Once again too much like the Greek myths to be believable.

  92. Miriam English

    Karen, do you see that you keep shifting the rules that you, yourself have given? First, you say the myths have to be understood in context, not using modern sensibilities. Then you say that you must update the meaning of the stories with modern understanding. You say that one story has to be accepted for its meaning (even though it is almost certainly fabrication), then another story which rejects your meaning of the first one is dismissed because it is fabrication. Can you see that you are randomly altering the rules of interpretation to whatever you wish at the moment?

    As for the Jephthah story, I agree is it almost certainly fake… just as the Abraham and Isaac story is, but it still confirms what I say: that the story about Abraham is NOT about prohibiting child sacrifice. Why? Because it is there.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad your Jewish elder friends are taking the anti-child-sacrifice meaning from it, but I’m certain that’s not what the original intention was. It is very evident from reading it, that it was a hideous lesson about obedience to god.

    Be careful about applying your own meaning to myths. Much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is very simple-minded, with very little depth. See, for instance, the two contradictory versions of creation in just the first couple of pages. If there had been much thought applied that would not have happened. Likewise the two contradictory versions of Noah’s flood. We’re talking about primitive, superstitious, illiterate goat herders, mostly, who know sweet F.A. about the world. Often malnourished in childhood, what natural intelligence they had was usually stunted. These were not complex people. The average modern 8-year-old could think circles around most of them.

    Uh-oh… lightning… gotta shut all my electronics down. Probably won’t be online for a while.

  93. Karen Kyle

    Oh dear. You really don’t get it do you? The cruelty, slavery, war and violence in the Hebrew Bible are there because that is what life was like in those times That was reality. . Survival was of paramount importance and not at all assured. We live in different times. So we can’t impose our values on their historical circumstances.

    We live under different historical circumstances, and the people of Biblical times were struggling against their historical circumstances. Abraham was said to have left UR with his followers because he and they wanted peace. Of course that isn’t literally true but it points to the motivation of the early Canaanite people. They valued peace which was in short supply. And it was this long long struggle which gave rise to the moral principles which they worked out pragmatically and incorporated into their law and religious observance..Their religious and civic life evolved and changed over time just as ours does today.

    And I told you they don’t just use Biblical Scripture. You don’t listen. The Jews began to write their Bible during the Babylonian captivity. When the second Temple fell in seventy AD or whenever it was they began to write the Oral Law which is a huge body of work, the accumulation of centuries. When that was finished, and it took them a thousand years, they wrote a commentary on the Bible to flesh it out. That took a thousand years. Then they wrote a commentary on the commentary and that added up to three thousand years of work on Law, Scripture, the dietry laws the celebrations and holidays etc.

    And the work goes on. It will never stop. Because society goes on and never stops. There is also the written work of the Sages another huge body of work which is still studied and consulted every day.

    You see the thing is…..they keep their history. They relive their history every year and they keep developing new history. They are as old as human civilisation and as modern as the minute in some important respects. And thats why they are strong. Thats why they have survived under impossible circumstances. And all that study over millenia is probably why they are clever.

    They are a most interesting group and I am so glad we have got them. But I couldn’t do what they do, and I couldn’t live the life. .

  94. Miriam English

    Karen, I have to say, I’m quite puzzled by your statement:
    “Oh dear. You really don’t get it do you? The cruelty, slavery, war and violence in the Hebrew Bible are there because that is what life was like in those times That was reality. . Survival was of paramount importance and not at all assured. We live in different times. So we can’t impose our values on their historical circumstances.”

    All I can assume is that you read just a few words of my responses, assumed you knew what I was saying, and replied to what you thought I said. I’ve been saying you can’t put modern interpretations onto their ancient worldview. It is you who have been giving sophisticated reinterpretations to simple stories.

    You seem to think I’ve said something against modern Jewish people. I haven’t. I’ve had the very great pleasure of having many Jewish friends over my life and with only one exception I’ve always enjoyed their company and had the highest respect for their intelligence. The only time I mentioned modern Jewish folk was when I said that I’m glad your Jewish elder friends are taking the anti-child-sacrifice meaning from it, but that they are wrong to do so, because you only have to read the actual passages. (Perhaps I wrongly assumed they were older than you, but I doubt you took offense at that.)

    I’m actually in favor of all religious people taking positive, modern, secular messages from their “holy” books because that makes religion more gentle and peaceful, but at the same time I have to acknowledge that those reinterpretations must be wrong, because those insane texts were mostly written by horrible, brutal barbarians whose world was unimaginably cruel and impoverished. Unfortunately, the repellent religious fundamentalists of all religions quite often (though not always) have more “accurate” readings of their awful books.

    Later shoehorning of more modern meanings into the ancient writings make them seem more sane and less outrageously violent. This is why I’m glad of efforts like the Jefferson Bible. They consciously delete the worst, craziest stuff to give the dangerous fundamentalists less ammunition.

    But perhaps I’m wasting my time, as it seems you’re not actually reading my comments anyway.

  95. corvus boreus

    Don’t you get how this works?
    The tale of Abraham earning divine favour by demonstrating a willingness to murder his son is actually a message against child sacrifice, because …historical subtext (in this case bible/torah references are to be considered historically authorative).
    However, the salaciously expressed tales of JHWH sanctioning the atrocities committed by Moses (child murder and sexual slavery) and Joshua (outright genocide) are mere fables (in these cases bible/tprah references are not to be considered historically authorative), and these accounts of god demanding that his exclusively chosen people commit acts of genocide against their neighbours are entirely lacking in any underlying message or subtext.

  96. Karen Kyle

    Corvus Borus,

    Early human historyis full of war, raiding, pillaging, rape sexusl slavery and incest. Life was hard and desperate. And this is all of early human history, it is not specific to Jews. So get over it.

  97. Kaye Lee

    It’s also not specific to early human history.

  98. Karen Kyle


    I was talking about the evolution of human society and the part that myth played in that. And because of myth we understand a little, but not a lot about the ancients of all the cultures for which we have stories.

    And if the Abraham story is not about child sacrifice I wonder why our mythical god stopped it, thus demonstrating that blind obedience to him can be a mistake. And I wonder why there was a handy ram caught in a thicket and available for sacrifice..
    Surely this is a very plain lesson. Don’t sacrifice children. Sacrifice animals.

    According to Karen Armstong the internationally renowned scholar of religion the Bible was never read literally.until the Christian Fundamentalists did it and it crept into other parts of Christianity. The ancients certainly didn’t do it and they would have thought that anyone who did was crazy. They knew the stories were aids to teaching and illustrating before literacy was common.

    As for the rest, the study of mythology continues around the world not just with Jews. Lately psychologists have entered the ring to give their interpretations which annoys the hell out of the classical scholars. But these stories do belong to all of us and in the case of the Hebrew Bible they show us where and how the beginnings of civilisation developed..

  99. Michael Taylor

    But these stories do belong to all of us and in the case of the Hebrew Bible they show us where and how the beginnings of civilisation developed.

    As a person who has studied elements of archaeology, anthropology and history … I can’t believe that we haven’t advanced very far along the evolutionary path if this statement is …

    Nah, I can’t say it. I’ll be attacked relentlessly for belittling a commenter if I do.

  100. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee

    Perhaps my use of language was less than precise. I should have said early human civilisation…..you know cities and city states. They rose and fell like ninepins.

  101. Kaye Lee

    And they still do. Have a look at Poland during the 20th century. Or Yugoslavia. An atlas of Africa from a few decades ago would be useless.

    If we want to talk sexual slavery, look at ISIS and Boko Haram. Or how many Western men go to Asia for sex. Read Somaly Mam’s excellent book The Road to Lost Innocence. Look at the thousands of children who were abused by religious people. Look at the epidemic of domestic violence in Australia.

    The shocking violence throughout the bible and other religious texts continues today and religion plays some part in that. One of the pedophile priests said he though he wasn’t breaking his vows of celibacy when he abused young boys. They still claim that the sanctity of confession outweighs any obligation to protect a child from sexual abuse.

    An enormous amount of harm has been done and is still being done by people who purport to be following the bible’s teachings.

  102. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee.

    Yes. We are still fighting the same old demons. It is very likely that we always will.

    The Catholic Church was or maybe is a mecca for sexual perverts. They could get ready access to children, they could hide behind the clerical collar, they could claim to be respectable and most would never have entertained any suspicions about them. They didn’t have to marry……so people would not ask questions re their sexual status. And there was no screening. A man had only to say he had got the calling.

    Boko Haram and ISIS are not typical Muslims. The Muslim faith has good elements just as Christianity and Judaism do. When in the hands of fanatics who take scripture as literal truth then there is trouble.

    And these practitioners are not religious. They are criminals perverts and dysfuntional invididuals.

    And some people on this blog absolutely insist on taking scripture literally. The fanatacism spreads and the hatred and contempt.

  103. corvus boreus

    Karen Kyle,
    Indeed, aggressive war and associated rapine have been a common thread throughout human history, although genocide (actual or attempted ) is comparatively rare.
    However, the early bible/torah is one of the rare occasions where the perpetrators of such acts (real or fictitious) are, to this day, religiously fetishized and romanticized as being both heroes and prophets.
    The pervasive continuance of indoctrination in such amoral teachings perverts both reason and decency.

  104. Karen Kyle

    Corvus Boreus……………..No the Greeks had their heroic culture, and the Vikings not to mention the Spartans and the Romans. Such a culture was common. It is not surprising that the Jews also had heros. And such a culture which vanished log ago seems not to have had much effect, especially these days. Fundamentalists in the USA are staring down the barrell of oblivian and they know it. And it seems to have peaked in Australia and it doesn’t have much to do with heros or prophets. These days Jews revere their great scholars and thinkers and those who contribute to popular culture, science and technology etc.

  105. Miriam English

    …and some people insist on taking scripture literally sometimes, or metaphorically sometimes, or other interpretations to support other thoughts (all without a shred of evidence or reference), and will repeatedly change their reasons for interpretation.

    Karen, I have looked into how Jewish scholars explain the end of child sacrifice. While it is true that some Jewish scholars see the story of Abraham and Isaac as a suggestion to end the practice, it seems most think differently. The weight of opinion disagrees with you.
    See http://archive.jewishagency.org/jewish-culture/content/25449

    On that and other pages discussing this, what struck me the most is that they were all at very great pains to take the words literally, as one would expect, because they are studying writings they consider holy.

    By the way, there are many other cases of child sacrifice ordered by god after that. What sealed the end of child sacrifice among the Jews was the condemnation of it in Leviticus 18:21, 20:2-5, and Deuteronomy 18:10.

    And I catch myself at this point wondering why I let myself be roped into this again. You’ve made it clear you will misrepresent what I say. Why do I bother?

  106. Kaye Lee

    Of course most people are good people. Is that because they are religious?

    And the Jews don’t get a leave pass. Every day, male Jews recite/chant – “Blessed are you O God, King of the Universe, Who has not made me…”, respectively, “a goy [Gentile],” “a slave,” and “a woman”. Oh really? How would they feel if I chanted thank christ I don’t have to wear a silly hat and have a silly hairdo to show how ‘devout’ I am.

  107. Miriam English

    At this point we could probably enjoy a bit of light-hearted humor. Here is a surprisingly funny article, especially considering the topic. I have much admiration for the author’s ability to make light of such pathological behavior.

    God’s 12 Biggest Dick Moves In The Old Testament

    God’s 12 Biggest Dick Moves In The Old Testament

  108. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Not all male jews chant that bigoted crap, just the ones defined as ‘jewish’ by their religious adherence.

  109. Karen Kyle

    What the Jews do with their scriptures and how they interpret them varies with whatever brand of the faith they follow. And often with whatever Rabbi they follow. There are many. And they are different. The interpretation I gave you was from Rabbi Johnathon Sacks who was the Chief Rabbi for the UK. I presume he is Orthodox but I am not sure I will have to look it up. In any event he is one of the most important leaders of Judaism in the world. His views are not likely to be extreme.

  110. Karen Kyle

    Yes he is Orthodox which is probably the biggest religious group in Judaism. You can find him on Wikipedia. A most impressive man with many achievements.

  111. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…… Silly hats and silly hairdos belong to the Hassidic or ultra Orthodox. A rather more extreme group.

  112. Karen Kyle

    Miriam….Google “The Binding of Issac”Vayera .This is Rabbi Sacks on the subject.

  113. LOVO

    i for one, can’t wait for a day when religions become an historical footnote…an ‘holy cow I can’t believe people did that shit’ kinda thinga me what zits. A time when the sorta discussion going on in this thread become an absurdity, an aberration…if you will……round and round she goes where it will stop know one knows………… HELLO. .
    One can have the most intellectual discussion inclusive of historical context, mythical brouhaha , moral and ethical dooveys etc. …and having said that, I do find the convo interesting…but it’s just intellectual shit.
    Religions are man-made constructs, their import is a negative….a brake….an impedance…..an retrograde step,no matter how allegorical ya wanna dress ’em up.
    Pfft… 😴
    There is only one race and it’s human. Let’s start working that out……..’intellectual’ that….ay!

  114. Karen Kyle

    Lovo…….I don’t think religion will ever become a footnote. It will undergo some radical changes though and I can’t imagine what. Maybe a bowing of the head in awe of the Cosmos and prayers to an unknown deityi.e. the creative force. Who knows? But it seems to be an inherent need for some.. We are entering a new epoch in human history. Humanity without religion for the first time ever? Interesting. And scary.

  115. Kaye Lee

    Not scary for me. People taking responsibility for their own actions rather than thinking chanting ‘hail mary full of grace shoot me off to outer space’ exonerates them. People studying for an exam rather than praying they will do well. People listening to the doctors and scientists rather than consulting ancient fables. Spending money on caring for the vulnerable rather than building cathedrals and palaces for cardinals. Caring for each other while we are alive rather than waiting for some heavenly reward where we meet up later.

    Worship of anything is an unhealthy waste of time and money. There are many of us who have broken the yoke Karen and feel no need to pray to anything at all. Science comforts me much much more than religion ever did (though I do love bashing out a good hymn on the piano provided I don’t think about the words. Actually, I also love singing show tunes at the top of my voice so scrub the hymn reference – I just like singing and playing piano – badly)

  116. LOVO

    Kaye, ‘hail mary full of grace shoot me off to outer space’…classic 😂

  117. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee

    Recently we celebrated the anniversary of the moon landing. A friend sent me a newspaper article via e-mail about the effects of the journey on the three astronauts, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.

    Armstrong took what he needed to take Holy Communion on the moon. Afterwards he regretted that he had confined the small ceremony to Christianity. He would have liked to have included all the people and all the religions on earth.The moon landing had a transformative and profound effect on all three men. They all became deeply religious and remained so all their lives..

    I emailed my friend…..What other response was even possible?


  118. Kaye Lee

    Oh great. The first time we make it to another place in the solar system we perform a cannibalistic ritual. As you say, that was 50 years ago. I still went to Sunday school then and had to wear gloves and some lace contraption on my head. They said Mass in Latin FFS. (That probably stopped a tad earlier but it was in my lifetime)

    I prefer the response of being amazed at how the big bang caused celestial bodies to form and how their size influences gravity which along with temperature influences escape velocity which determines their atmosphere which plays a part in whether other stuff bumps into it and what sort of life can evolve.

    I would have started thinking about space junk that we seem to feel we can just let float around up there. Here we go again using new space to dump garbage.

    I would have marvelled at the ingenuity of the engineers and technicians and manufacturers and boffins that made such a trip possible. I would have speculated on where it could lead.

    Think about god? Not so much. In fact, the complete opposite. We don’t have to think a bright star is the sign of a virgin giving birth to a supernatural being anymore. We don’t have to think that we can stop volcanoes erupting by killing some poor creature.

    Sure, it’s amazing. But god had nothing whatsoever to do with us landing on the moon. Or, for that matter, the moon being there in the first place.

    PS It was Aldrin that took the communion stuff. He was already an elder in the Presbyterian church. I don’t think the other two were particularly religious.

  119. Karen Kyle

    I will take the overwhelming experience of the astronauts which is lived experience over what you think your reaction would be, Strange that it happened to all three of them..

  120. Michael Taylor

    Karen Kyle, conversely, a number of the astronauts who went to the Moon returned with the firm belief that we are not alone in the Universe.

    The most famous of these was the late Dr Edgar Mitchell, the sixth person to walk on the Moon. He maintained until his death that he was being watched by extra terrestrial entities.

  121. Kaye Lee

    Karen, could you please provide a link showing that Collins “got religion”. Or something showing that he or Armstrong became “deeply religious”. I will take some proof of that over you just saying they did. As I said, Aldrin was an elder in the church so he didn’t “get” religion, he took it with him.

  122. Miriam English

    Karen, sadly someone lied to you. (What a surprise, religious people lying to promote their faith.) Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins did not become religious through their Moon experience. Aldrin was already religious and disobeyed NASA’s instructions about doing anything about any particular faith on the moon. He brought a little bread and wine to do communion on the moon. Armstrong was always atheist and remained so all his life. Collins didn’t seem to be particularly religious, nor atheist.

  123. Michael Taylor

    But her emails, Miriam, her emails!

    Gawd, I sound like Trump. 😳

  124. Karen Kyle

    Try ABC News Moon Landing Aniversary……..As the moon landing unfolded.

    It was Aldrin who took communion, not Armstrong. My mistake.

  125. Karen Kyle

    Armstrong was said to be athiest which he neither confirmed or denied. The ABC article said he was a Deist. That would explain his non specific religious beliefs.

    Apparently Collins was an athiest. I was wrong.. Sorry..

  126. Miriam English

    Hmmm… I think I mixed up Armstrong and Collins. My mistake.

  127. Karen Kyle

    Did any of you look up Rabbi Sacks on the Binding of Issac? He explains very well the evolution of meaning in myth. He also mentions slavery and women’s rights which came a long time after. First came child sacrifice and the autonomy of children.and the individual etc. If Miriam just won’t believe what I say maybe she will take note of what Rabbi Sacks has to say. And all of it has to fit within Jewish law and religion.

  128. Miriam English

    Karen, I’m convinced you don’t read my replies. I already acknowledged that some (a minority of) Jewish scholars reinterpret the Abraham-Isaac story to be an anti-child-sacrifice story, but that others (a majority, I think) don’t. It really doesn’t matter what Rabbi Sacks says about the story when anybody can easily read it and see what it actually says, and that child sacrifice continues in the Bible until it is later condemned.

    But in the end, who cares? The Bible is absolutely full of the most reprehensible immoral crap. Why would anybody take it as a moral book? It is bad enough cherry-picking the few good bits, but it is utterly insane to try perverting bad messages to take on a good meaning as a way to validate a horrible book.

    For crying out loud! You’d be much better off taking the stories about Pooh Bear as moral lessons. At least the nonsense in them is harmless, and the good stuff is genuinely beautiful, and nobody can mistake it as being real. Certainly nobody will get killed over it.

  129. Karen Kyle

    These stories are important because they show the evolution of thinking and where some of our most important civilisation building ideas come from. Now, you can read a minority Jewish opinion and it will be slightly different, in fact there are many different sects within Judaism just as there are in Protestant Christianity.

    Rabbi Sacks as an Orthodox Jew is the majority opinion. There are more Orthodox Jews than any other Religious Jews. He explains it well.

  130. Miriam English

    Karen, as I said, who cares? The Bible is not a good influence. Stop excusing it with absurdities like “shows the evolution of thinking and where some of our most important civilisation building ideas come from”. That’s bullshit.

    Perhaps as a curiosity it might usefully be referred to by some odd academics… maybe archaeological psychologists to understand the early minds of people in one tiny, barbaric region of the planet, thousands of years ago, but it has absolutely no relationship to the modern world except in one awful, tragic sense: crazy people keep trying to misapply it to our world and force its sick immoralities upon us as if the past few thousand years never occurred.

  131. Karen Kyle

    Not bullshit. Fact. A closed mind with a steaming hatred of religion will never admit to the debt. Pity.

  132. Miriam English

    Karen, by the way, just because one Orthodox Jewish guy thinks something doesn’t mean all Orthodox Jewish people do… or even most.

    Cardinal Pell thinks climate change is bullshit (he justifies that belief through the Bible), but that’s far from a standard belief. Pell thinks abortion is worse than sexually assaulting children. Considering that abortion is way more popular among Christians than atheists, I doubt most Christians agree with him.

  133. Miriam English

    Damn. I new I shouldn’t have said “That’s bullshit” — I realised afterward you would stop reading at that point.

  134. Michael Taylor

    Perhaps as a curiosity it might usefully be referred to by some odd academics… maybe archaeological psychologists to understand the early minds of people…

    That’s right up my alley, Miriam, and I’m glad you raised it.

    The study of history has evolved over the last couple of decades which adopts that line of learning. The early years of colonial Australia provide us with a pertinent example. No longer were the dates of events in history the “things to know”, but what was in the minds of the people who played out those events. I’m babbling on a bit, and trying to find the best way to describe it, so bear with me (lack of sleep) …

    OK, I’ll try this …

    We all know how Aborigines were treated by the early explorers, but we need to know why they treated them that way. What was in the minds of the early explorers and colonists? To better understand what was in their minds we had to understand their way of learning.

    I’m struggling with this. I’ll give up. Hopefully you’ll get my meaning.

    Regardless, I apologise for my vagueness.

    I need sleep.

  135. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..I am talking about Biblical Scholarship from a world renowned Rabbi and scholar. Not George Pell and climate change.

  136. Miriam English

    Karen… and I’m talking about Biblical scholarship from other world renowned scholars. (You didn’t check out the link.)

    I’m also pointing out, despite what you think, or what they think, it has zero impact on how we make clocks, or design microprocessors, or build electric cars, or grow crops, or encode video+sound+subtitles+metadata into a single mp4 file, or cure bacterial infections, or study wildlife, or put satellites into orbit, or how to cook veggies, or search for habitable planets, or knit garments, or learn to play the piano, or grind lenses for glasses, or design hearing aids, or use 3D printers, or walk in parks, or make love to our partners, or sew buttons on shirts, or feel affection for our dogs, or teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, or how to photograph Euglena, or make plastics, or make glass, or make metal, or do woodwork, or swim, or fly airplanes, or compete in steeplechase, or juggle, or watch romantic comedies… or even prosecute child murderers.

    The Bible is only relevant in the minds of those rapidly falling number who believe it. Even for most of them, it has zero bearing on almost every aspect of their lives.

    Why are you still arguing this? You are completely missing the point.

    I could say, “Discrete logic chips are more flexible than large scale integrated multi-billion-transistor microprocessor chips” but nobody cares. I might debate the truth or falsity of that statement with some people who could take one side or the other, but I guarantee you would find it totally irrelevant to your ordinary life. Such a thing is only of interest to a vanishingly small number of people and they will have zero effect on the future of anything, including microprocessor design.

    I deeply regret getting sucked into your side-tracking of the discussion down the pointless question of how to interpret certain idiotic Bible verses about events that never even happened! People must be shaking their heads at me, thinking, holy shit! I thought Miriam knew better; she should have just ignored such absurd statements.

    The one about the fake revelations of the spacemen really shows where you’re coming from.

    My deepest apologies to everyone else.

    I have another screenplay to write. I’m outa here.

  137. Karen Kyle

    Fake revelations of the spacemen? Wow. I didn’t think I ever mentioned spacemen. Oh you mean the astronauts. That wasn’t a fake revelation. That was a mistake, caused by the fact that I read the article some time ago. And the article does go on to say that many of those who went to the moon later became very religious. I am not surprised. And I am not surprised that their divorce rate was high and they had a lot of trouble re adjusting to ordinary life.

    I have just been reading Rabbi Sack’s web site. He talks about Genesis, and it is very interesting. He makes total sense of it. You have to know how to read it and fit it into its historical and cultural context. It falls into place like a jigsaw..

  138. LOVO

    Miriam, holy shit, what were you thunk’n, you shoulda just ignored such absurdity…gawd..lord almighty…jesus h luv. shakeshead😤
    I will say this, if’n Christians wanted to be more like Jesus and believe like Jesus believed….they would follow the Jewish faith which was Jesus’s religion 😈

  139. Paul Davis

    Yes siree Bob, “I have just been reading Rabbi Sack’s web site. He talks about Genesis, and it is very interesting. He makes total sense of it. You have to know how to read it and fit it into its historical and cultural context. It falls into place like a jigsaw..”

    Absolutely, it is a “mystery” that you laypeople cannot possibly hope to understand without the guidance of the specially trained and anointed (clergy, pharisees, priests, rabbis, mulahs, bishops, etc). God works in such mysterious ways and having the Holy scriptures translated into the common language of the peasants has been a monumental catastrophe. You just listen carefully to us, say your prayers, do as we instruct you to do in God’s name and everything will be just fine. Oh and don’t forget your offering, they are tax deductable.

  140. Michael Taylor

    Karen Kyle, you really do talk in riddles.

  141. Karen Kyle

    Paul Davies. The Bible is an ancient document.Many would have trouble reading it today for that reason. We have to learn to read Chaucer and Shakespeare and they are thousands of years later than the Bible.

    And the translation of the Bible into European languages caused revolution. First religious followed hard upon by the French Revolution. Some of the Dissenting Protestants did without clergy altogether The Quakers for example. Apart from the bloodshed these revolutions changed European society forever and for the better. It was just a hell of a way to do it. The Dissenting Protestants took a lot of notice of the Hebrew Bible which bought the notion of Individual Rights, Liberty and Equality back into sharp focus all ready for the French Revolution. Thank the dissenters who protested.and who had Bible reading classes. Facts of history..

  142. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor

    How so?

  143. Michael Taylor

    Because you’re all over the shop.

  144. Kaye Lee

    I seem to recall doing this dance with you before Karen – I can’t remember what the end result was – something like you are not religious? – but I remember feeling “oh so I have just been used as some sort of debating practice?” It’s like, rather than reading and considering what others are contributing to the discussion, you always come back with something you prepared earlier (or googled quickly).

  145. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor………….I can’t see how I am all over the shop. History is history. It isn’t bad. It isn’t good. It just is. The Bible narrative is not history per se. But it fits in that It describes the evolution of cultural and religious ideas that evolved into political ideas and finally Democratic principles.

    Kaye Lee…..Not at all interested in practice debates thanks. I am trying to explain where some of our most important ideas originate, especially to those who hate and treat with contempt all religious ideas. They are the foundations of Western Thought, but then I realise that most of you hate Western Thought. This is disturbing. It reeks of self hatred and is as bad as the Nazi glorification of everything white western and wonderful. The saving grace of the West is that we realise our mistakes and stop perpetrating them. And we do try hard to do better and often we fail. We just have to do as we always have done. Keep plugging and trying. Difficult given the politics of today. And besides if we know who we are and we are comfortable with who we are we won’t worry about who anyone else is. Bigotry might take a beating.

  146. LOVO

    I do so like the fact that old places of worship have finally evolved into useful buildings, some have become homes, some have become galleries, some have become (like the one in my town) fine linen and lace shops, some have become offices, some have become local historical society meeting rooms (like my towns old no longer used Synagogue), though, sadly, some have become fallen and broken ruins..alas. But on the whole many of these old edifices of the past have been recycled into useful infrastructure…finally.
    If’n you are looking for a real estate bargain where you live, keep an eye on a Church near you…jest sayin’😆

  147. Paul Davis

    Bottom line for hoomankind….

    Did some omnipotent being create the universe?
    Did this same being create humankind directly rather than merely kickstart evolution?

    If yes, to the above, why the mystery? If it demands our worship why not make itself and its purpose unambiguously clear to all of its creation? Or does it prefer that the words of its prophets are furtively and figuratively scribbled on the subway walls?

    Lots of other questions arising from these basic ones, but if the answers to the first two are no, which seems to be the prevailing view of most of humankind able to count to twenty without using appendages, then let’s all reread Sagan’s ‘blue dot’ message and take it to heart, maybe have it graffitied on the UN building and every parliament in the world….

    By the way, please dont answer any of my questions unless you actually know the truth. Lord Sacks certainly doesn’t know, neither does the Pope nor the Dali Lama.

  148. Kaye Lee

    “The saving grace of the West is that we realise our mistakes and stop perpetrating them.”

    Oh really? Perhaps it would be easier for you to reflect on that than for me to write thousands of words in response.

    In short, the west has been corrupted by greed. Greed drove conquest and missionaries tagged along. Having shareholders removes people from the responsibility of answering to your customers. Reputation no longer matters, Integrity no longer matters. Honesty no longer matters. The wonderful west employs accountants and financial advisers and legal teams to make sure that they contribute as little as they can to the social contract that allows them to accumulate wealth. Politicians employ spin merchants and image consultants.

    And then we get told our Judeo-Christian heritage has provided the moral, ethical and cultural basis for our society and that we should revere the rise of Western civilisation and democracy.

    Like all other systems, power and greed corrupts it and the poor still toil on in slavery and the vulnerable still attract scorn. And the west still thinks their wealth is more important than others’ survival.

  149. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……Yes power and greed corrupts it. And we do as we have always done, as people have always done. We just keep plugging and fighting. Sometimes we lose sometimes we win. Hooray for us.

    Paul….I don’t think of God as an entity. I think of God as whatever force it was that bought the Universe and everything else into being. The force of nature or whatever. I have no idea what it is. I never will. And I don’t give a bugger.

    As for Carl Sagan he lost me when he posed with the cosmic wind whistling through his hair with a glassy fixed smile on his face and pointing to a bubbling pot of something or other. It looked alarmingly like a witches cauldron. “This is the stuff of life” announced Sagan, we can make life with the amino acids or whatever was bubbling in the witches cauldron. My only thought was “Gwan ya silly bugger, lets see ya do it. Ridiculous claim.We can’t make life in a test tube without the right sperm and egg, and we sure as hell can’t make the sperm and egg. let alone make life with assorted amino acids and stuff in a saucepan..Scientific propaganda, and a lot of people fell for it apparently….

  150. corvus boreus

    Note how previously Karen Kyle dismissed the idea that Hypatia was murdered by a mob of Christians as ‘Marxist propaganda’ ‘without a shred of historical evidence’, then, when historical evidence in the form of contemporary accounts were cited, she switched to hypothesising (entirely without evidence) that Hypatia had merely got caught in the middle of a turf war
    (Karen, Do that in ANY form of valid academic studies and you will fail, big time.)

    Notice that she made a bold and bald declarative statement about the religiousifying impact of the noon landing upon the 3 participating astronauts, then, when this claim was evidentially refuted, switched to the fuzzy claim that ‘lots of astronauts found god in space’ citing the authority of a 1/2 remembered article from an un-named newspaper (probably the ‘Zionist Trumpeter’ or the God-botherer’s Gazette’).

    Now the denouncement of scriptural idiocies and atrocities, (like the claims that the universal deity is a humanoid with a dick who demands ritual blood sacrifice and genital mutilation, and sanctioned/facilitated serial acts of genocide and the murder and sexual slavery of children), is deemed by Karen to be sign that you are ‘against Western Thought’, and ‘as bad as Nazis’.

    Karen Kyle is, to be frank, a religious shill who is entirely full of faeces.

  151. Paul Davis

    Thanks Karen for your frank enlightenment: “Paul….I don’t think of God as an entity. I think of God as whatever force it was that bought (sic) the Universe and everything else into being. The force of nature or whatever. I have no idea what it is. I never will. And I don’t give a bugger.”

    I’m not going to contradict your arguments as you have done that yourself. Reread all your comments above. I don’t think as has been suggested that you are a total shill, just someone whose ego gets in the way of reason. Unfortunately like many thought provoking threads on this website the end result is the usual intractables pissing around the boundaries of their intrenched positions. And like you i don’t give a bugger, it’s all a bit of fun.

    Yep like all of us Carl Sagan has feet of clay. But even flawed people sometimes say or do great things, eg, the blue dot message…… or the Lying Rodent and gun control legislation.

  152. corvus boreus

    For those of less mythological focus who, rather than casually dismissing the late Dr Carl Sagan as a ‘silly bugger’, actually have a shred of scientific curiosity about what was in the ‘witches cauldron’, Sagan was referring the long proven ability of laboratory scientists to, by subjecting inorganic elements to energetic agitation, create proteinogenic peptides of amino acids (the basic foundation of organic life).

  153. Karen Kyle

    Corvus Boreus…..The murder of Hypatia took place so long ago that knowing who was responsible is imossib le. Suspicion fell on Cyril and his band of paid thugs, the number of said thugs was cut back and Cyril went on to become the Bishop or whatever it was.. It didn’t hurt Cyril.so obviously nothing could be proved.You can look it up in Wikipedia. And I dismissed it because it is a claim by some that Hypatia ran the library at Alexandria and Christians burned it down which is nonsense.

    The article re the moon landng was from ABC news. And I told you where to find it. Read it yourself.

    And, there is a point to all the murder and mayhem in the Bible. It is the story of the Jews struggle aginst evil and paganism. And the violence and atrocities continue to be a problem in some parts of the world today.and to a lesser extent in all countries.These days most of us don’t blame God for it or accuse God of bloodlust. It is man who is afflicted with bloodlust.

    If you want to insist God is a humanoid with a dick ……..go right ahead. You are welcome…

  154. corvus boreus

    I might also suggest that people expressing the opinion that biological reproduction (ie life making other life) is restricted to insemination might try googling the terms ‘parthenogenesis (for more complex organisms) and ‘autoreproduction’ (for simpler organisms).
    Probably a more relevant and productive educational exercise than listening to some orthodox rabbi rationalising around ancient mythological texts that condone child-murder.

  155. Karen Kyle

    CV….Interesting experimentation. Not at all conclusive as yet. Maybe never will be. Can’t make peptides and sequencing is a problem if I have read it correctly. Carl Sagan was just a tad premature, maybe by a thousand years or so and maybe forever.

  156. corvus boreus

    So the biblical tales of Moses and Joshua unprovokedly invading their neighbours and killing everyone and everything (except the nubile young females) are actually stories about the Jews struggling against evil?
    Interesting take.

    If you meant that the story of Hypatia running the Alexandrian library was ‘without historical evidence’ (which is true) then you should restrict yourself to saying so, rather going on to claim that there is ‘no evidence’ to support the assertion that a Christian mob murdered Hypatia, which is a claim attested to by multiple credible contemporary chronoclers (a primary form of historical evidence).

    Ps, apologies for my assumption that the Abrahamic doctrinal assertion that God is male in image meant that ‘He’ manifested masculine sexual dimorphism, which on humanoids includes external genitalia.
    On reflaction, the distinction of ‘he’ could just be just a chromosomal nuance.
    Myself, based on biological observation, I think that if there actually is a singular deity underpinning the existence of matter and life in space, it is probably hermaphroditic or asexual in nature.

  157. corvus boreus

    Karen Kyle,
    Do you mean to say that you didn’t bother do a basic fact check on lab science conducted and published nearly 70 years ago before before sneeringly dismissing Carl Sagan (an internationally respected career scientist) outright?
    Maybe you should focus less on promoting primitive mythologies and be little more open to modern science..

  158. Karen Kyle

    Paul…….I have read the entire thread.Apart from getting it at least half wrong re Hypatia and the moon landing I have not contradicted myself at all. I have simply tried to describe the evolving nature of meaning in myth along with the evolving nature of human societies.
    And the roots of some of our most important rights which Miriam complained about having to read and I am sure none of you read

    I do read the links posted by Miriam and others. I am not at all surprised by the variety of opinions. If you read Robert Graves on the Greek myths you will find several differnt versions of the same myth,, and you will find the same myth in various cultures. Ideas and stories travel. They always have. And they change along the way.

    Since reading Rabbi Sacks I have become even more interested and determined to investigate the origins of human and democratic rights.. I make no apologies for doing so..And I don’t care about the various insults that have come my way. Not my problem.

  159. Karen Kyle

    CV…..I know bloody well that we can’t make life artificially, therefore fact checking wasn’t necessary. The experiments described are interesting but hardly earth shattering. Perhaps you should open your mind to the exciting evolution of human thinking and ideas.

  160. corvus boreus

    The Genesis Jigsaw (I can’t believe it’s not reality!)

    The Genesis Jigsaw comes as a box filled with odd-shaped little pieces of paper printed with weird and gruesome imagery.
    What you need to do is minutely examine the contents for any pieces with patches of light blue, and remove these pieces.
    Then, using scissors, carefully cut out the light blue bits and trim them into little squares.
    Now, take these little blue squares and place them together to form a light blue rectangle.
    Presto; you have assembled your Genesis Jigsaw.
    Now, every time you see a patch of blue sky, you can point to it and loudly proclaim;’ Wow, that looks just like the picture on the Genesis Jigsaw! (spooky!!!)’.

    Ps To clean up, you should carefully take the trimmed off scrap bits and discreetly place them back in the box, to be retained along with the other non-fitting pieces, which, although unfit for public display, comprise the majority of the packaged contents, and are seemingly intrinsic to the product.

  161. Karen Kyle

    CV You poor man. I said it fits together like a jigsaw. Not it is a jigsaw. In fact it is remrkabley consistent and unified. At least I know from several sources that much. I will continue to research and discover more. Then I will let you know. You can be sure.

  162. Karen Kyle

    CV…..Given that it took a thousand years to write the Hebrew Bible it ought to be consistent and unified. Even with different authors over time.

  163. corvus boreus

    Be sure to let me know about your ‘research’ as I am both fascinated and impressed by your scholarly obsession.
    I always like hearing from people who make spurious over-statements that they can’t evidentially back up, and who flippantly deride credible science in favour of clerical interpretations of archaic mythology.
    I also like people assuming that because I am appalled by the continued religious glorification of fictitious atrocity, this means that I am a Western-Thought hating ‘bad-as-a-nazi’.

    Ps,if you find any other examples of Marxist propaganda perpetrated by 5th century historians, please feel free to let me know.

  164. Joseph Carli

    Karen Kyle’s religious theories are what I would call the “Ansell Condom Promise”…: ‘One size fits all’…. it is just a matter of which way you need to stretch it..; lengthwise or width…it will acomodate any proportion or exaggeration.

  165. Miriam English

    Karen Kyle, you might think you know things, but as with most people afflicted by the Dunning-Kruger effect, you never realise how very little you know, while being extraordinarily quick to open your mouth and spout off your ignorance. You didn’t understand what that brilliant writer, speaker, scientist, Carl Sagan was talking about when he was describing how recreating the Earth’s primitive atmosphere causes amino acids and other complex building blocks of life to spontaneously form, but that didn’t stop you slagging him off. And when your error was shown you, then you moved the goalposts (as you continually do), spouting nonsense again that you “know bloody well that we can’t make life artificially, therefore fact checking wasn’t necessary”. But unfortunately for you, you’re wrong again. Craig Venter has created life, from scratch: a very simple living cell containing just 473 genes. He did this a few years ago. He’s been trying to work out the minimum number of genes needed to create a fully functioning cell.

    But of course, coming up hard against actual facts won’t stop Karen. Why bother with facts when barbaric mythological fake history is so very important? And you know we can work out sooo much about our history by twisting fake stories to mean things nobody else thinks they mean, especially if they make some favored people look good.

    Humans were brutal idiots, they slowly gained some respect for each other and grew a body of science. That was largely destroyed when religious lies gained too much power, but in the last 500 years science has begun to grow again and create genuine miracles that make the religious fake ones look pathetic.

    We stand on the threshold of all humanity being brought together under the scientific understanding that all people are brothers and sisters — one family, and knowing that race is a vicious illusion, but people like yourself harp on about being proud of Western exceptionalism and our mythical heritage while trying to cover over, lie about, and excuse its history of senselessly vicious brutality. In truth all people share similar brutal origins. Nobody is better or worse, and we who descended from our forebears can take neither pride nor shame in it. They were then; we are now.

    We must learn about the reality around us and press onward if we are to fix this world, not pretend to know things we don’t.

  166. Karen Kyle

    The so calles Christian burning of the library in Alexandria is an example of the Marxist rewriting of old history. And a good deal of the history of the ME both old and modern, and world war one.. Now the Chinese and Koreans are at it….only they are getting ready to deny Marxism in favour of a Chinese and Korean pedigree re the Communist Revolution and all that. Marxists are up against it these day. Five Marxist countries left and two of them are backing away from Marxism in favour of further glorification of Chinese and Korean culture. They still use Marxist tactics of oppression and control though. They won’t give that up. And if necessary they will kill their own again. Hong Kong is a problem. China can sniff Hong Kong up it’s left nostril and probably will and to hell with the opinion of the world.
    Jesus……… and you go on about the bloody Bible. Did you forget the Soviet Union and China?.

  167. Miriam English

    Yeah, the Bible all fits together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle…

    Genesis contains two creation stories.
    The first one:
    day 1 – light and dark
    day 2 – heaven and waters
    day 3 – dry land, grass, herbs, fruit trees
    day 4 – sun and moon
    day 5 – aquatic life including whales, birds
    day 6 – land animals, man and woman
    day 7 – rest

    The second one:
    1 – plants and rain
    2 – man
    3 – trees and the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil
    4 – animals
    5 – woman

    And both these accounts contradict the real history of life on Earth.
    Yeah, fits together if you keep your eyes firmly closed and ignore the fact that they don’t fit at all.

    The flood story is a problem too. It consists of two contradictory stories woven together.

    The flood lasts for forty days.
    The flood lasts for a hundred and fifty days.

    All animals, clean and unclean, two by two, went into the Ark.
    All clean animals went in seven by seven.

  168. Kaye Lee

    Karen, what do you think Marxism means? You seem inordinately afraid and very quick to label things “Marxist” (cue scary music). You make it sound like some sort of contagious disease.

  169. Miriam English

    Karen rushes to Wikipedia to quickly find out what she means by Marxism.
    Or… she might bless us with another of her off-the-cuff invented definitions.
    I wait with bated breath.

    I am often accused of being Marxist, but I have absolutely no idea what it means. I’ve never read Marx… unless we’re talking about Groucho…

  170. Karen Kyle

    Yes I know about the discredited theories of race. I am not talking about Western Exceptionalism. I am talking about accepting who and what we are with a modicum of comfort. This does not mean uncricical evaluation of anything in particular let alone our history and culture. Critical thinking is invaluable and it something that is enttirely lacking in the ever shrinking Communist world. That’s the difference between them and us, between our society and theirs.

    Thank you for the article on the creation of artificial life. It is interesting, but I note some problems with it and a limited range of uses given other methods using already existing and natural genomes. Who knows what the future will bring?. I don’t. Neither do you.

  171. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..actually there are three creation stories. One written after the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

  172. Michael Taylor

    I still haven’t read Hawkins’ “A Brief History of Time” … am I the only person who hasn’t?

    I know all that stuff anyway, although it does go against my personal belief that all things in time and space are equal.

  173. Miriam English

    Michael, someone once said “A Brief History of Time” must be the most-owned, least-read book, apart from the Bible.

    I have “A Brief History of Time”, but haven’t read it yet, I’m ashamed to say. I will one day. So much to do… argue with stupid people about idiotic myths, and with other people about imbecilic definitions of words (elsewhere, not on this site).

    And… I just finished writing ten screenplays!!! Yay me!

    It’s not as big a feat as it sounds. Nine of them are actually adapted from existing stories I’ve previously written — actually fairly difficult to adapt a short story to a screenplay. Only one was purpose-written for the project, and that was written today. I came into this site afterward, riding high on accomplishment and relief… I should have resisted the temptation to respond to idiotic Karen.

    Maybe I’ll try to write an eleventh screenplay before sending them off to the film company tomorrow…

    [Rubs hands together…]

  174. corvus boreus

    Pedantically correct historica/linguistic observation;
    Not all the Jews were expelled from Spain, just the ones who refused to renounce the Judaic religion.

    Ps, generalised use of the term ‘Jew’, like the even vaguer term ‘Semite’, can be …um…definitionally problematic

  175. Michael Taylor

    There are more than three creation stories, Karen Kyle. You’re forgetting the Dreaming. The Maori have their own story, as do the various Native American nations.

  176. Karen Kyle

    MT. The Jews have three creation myths

  177. corvus boreus

    Michael Taylor,
    I reckon pretty much every human culture has made up/passed down creation stories to answer the mystery of ‘how’d this happen?’
    They make a more authorative/interesting answer than ”dunno’, and are a much easier one than ‘I’ll try to find out’.

  178. Kaye Lee

    Labels divide us. They are words which highlight our differences. If everyone was tolerant enough to embrace diversity and respectful enough to allow individuals to make their own decisions about their own lives (within the parameters of peaceful co-existence) then we could perhaps put survival in front of arguments about transubstantiation or abiogenesis.

    If we concentrated on lifting people out of abject poverty, violence might decrease. We don’t find many people in Australia willing to put their hand up to be suicide bombers. Mental health issues can arise from making people feel alienated and excluded. If you are looked on with suspicion purely because of your skin colour, ethnicity, or religion, you may be more susceptible to those who prey on the vulnerable.

    This has been an exhausting conversation that has bounced around like a ping pong ball, moving further and further away from anything constructive. I find convos with Karen tend to do that. The scattergun approach aka the Gish gallop

  179. Karen Kyle

    The creation myths in the Hebrew Bible which Miriam goes on about is really one myth written by two different sources. That’s why they vary. The same goes for the Flood myth.

  180. Michael Taylor

    My favourite creation story is the old told by archaeological evidence.

  181. paul walter

    Oddly enough. a little sympathy for Karen Kyle from a brief scan of the thread.

  182. paul walter

    Back for a second look. Too may postings but of the early ones the conversation between Karen Kyle and Miriam English was one of the more interesting ones.

    With Argument from Design I’d commend more quickly the Bertrand Russel type of critique than fundamentalist literalist cooptions, Because the Argument from Design is plausible (yes, of course it is plausible, look around you!) certainly in a broad sense if not narrow, does not mean a given religion, particularly a fundamentalist one, has the good oil on how the processes work, if any oil at all.

    I think metaphysics would postulate a possible meaning or purpose to life (or not, which can morale sapping), maybe one we lack the capacity to understand for the obvious limitation of our humanity

    So can it be valid to propose an existentialist view that we create our own meaning and that is derived of the Human Condition, eg limit, curiosity, reconciliation etc as valid human processes.

    Thus, accept the possibility that there is stuff we DON’t know about and do what Rosemary 36 was proposing and maintain a gentle scepticism without a rush to judgmentalism.

    I find it logically impossible to believe that it is possible to say conclusively that there IS a God, yet find the blanket dismissal of the possibility a bit like the unquestioning bland acceptance of the Flat Earth in the thirteenth century.

    And does rationality versus heart always have to be binary?

    Give m e the concept of Socrates, to do with inner voice, conscience, intuition etc, etc, perhaps as part of a process that is interactive that we do’t fully understand, as we don’t understand so many things.

  183. paul walter

    Afterthought. in mind of Joe Carli.

    I wondered above if the idea of life without purpose value or meaning could be morale sapping, but Epicurus was happy to abandon the concept of god as in fact liberating. For him, earthly satisfaction is derived from companionship
    shared ideas,free of the fear of a (punishing) God etc, which also a little existentialist.
    I understand he led a quiet and humble life not considering that an absence of god gave him carte blanche to go out do rape and mass slaughter because he wouldnt get punished. He must have still had some sense of conscience, retribution, truth, karma, nature of reality

    Foucault thought religion was just part of the mechanism of socialisation, a bit like commodification, but isn’t it difficult to live in a completely structureless hermeneutic?

    Life in a vacuum devoid of ANYthing? Lost in Space, or living something wormlike. We just seem not like worms.

    If there is no meaning why do even we feel joy, sorrow etc and is it part of a didactic process?

  184. Karen Kyle

    Paul Walter.

    At last. The voice of sanity.

  185. Kaye Lee

    Karen, it is your dismissive attitude towards anyone who doesn’t just accept what you say that grates sometimes. There have been many sane voices in this discussion.

  186. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee

    I rather thought that what I was saying was dismissed by all of you in a deliberately insulting and and often crude way. i.e Corvus Borus.
    Just as well I have a thick skin.

  187. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor

    Of course you are sweetheart.

  188. Kaye Lee

    Karen, have you ever said “wow that’s interesting I didn’t know that”? Do you ever feel like you learn anything from the conversations here? I agree that you have copped criticism, including from me, and that is perhaps unfair if your motivation is genuine discussion – it’s just that it doesn’t seem that it is.

    PS How to prove my point about dismissive. “Sweetheart”? It is Michael that pays to give you and I a place to express our views sunshine 🙂

  189. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee

    Yes I have found some information interesting and said so. The science re synthetic life was interesting in a horrifying kind of way. I suspect that it will come to a stop owing to our human inability to understand and know, and I can’t really see much point to it when real life is so abundant..

    AI is also a worry. The answer would be to regulate science, but even that would open a nasty can of worms and risk further politicising science. The science of climate change is already a political football. Do we want to make the situation re politics and science even worse? Science has brought many benefits and improved human life and health by huge margins, but it also gave us the atomic bomb. Science is like anything else. A two edged sword. How to handle it with balance and common sense is going to be difficult.

  190. Kaye Lee

    It’s not synthetic life Karen – it is recreating the conditions that existed that generated life in the first place. It’s not horrifying – it’s learning. Why on earth would we want to stop working out how it happened?

    AI isn’t a worry. It opens up huge possibilities. I find the “science gave us the atomic bomb” argument facile. It wasn’t the science that was at fault, it was the application of that science by politicians and warmongers. Fission and fusion are not to blame for man’s greed.

    I would much rather balance the ethics of how we apply scientific knowledge than accept the blind faith and intolerance and judgement and archaic rituals of fundamentalist religion.

  191. paul walter

    Half way between Kaye and Karen. Science DOES offer so much , yet so often the road to hell is paved with initial good intentions.

  192. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee

    If I remember correctly synthetic life is what they call it, because that’s what it is. And you are using the same arguments as the Gun Lobby in the US. Bad guys kill…..not guns…..i.e. People kill, not atomic bombs. Facile argument? I disagree.

  193. Kaye Lee

    Probably the point I was trying to make is that we often get accused of being an echo chamber and even within that, some form of factional cliques. That just is not the case. I would say most of us share the commonality of being what people label as “progressive” but the great thing about this site is how well-informed the contributors are. These are people with their own knowledge, experience, and opinions. The articles aren’t didactic – they invite discussion which is often as or more informative than the opener. It is a great place to learn.

    I continue to learn from my mistakes in interactions with people and am trying to do better (but don’t always succeed).

  194. Kaye Lee


    the original evolution of life or living organisms from inorganic or inanimate substances.
    “to construct any convincing theory of abiogenesis, we must take into account the condition of the Earth about 4 billion years ago”

    I find no similarities with the gun lobby? Fission and fusion have many positive applications. Guns? Not so much.

  195. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee. Fusion doesn’t exist. And it would produce very expensive power. Fission power is dirty and dangerous and leaves toxic nuclear waste which well take millions of years to decontaminate. Two edged sword.

  196. Miriam English

    Karen, you seem to argue just to argue… there often is little rhyme or reason. Weirdly, from time to time you take a stand contrary to your original one and insist that you never deviated.

    Paul, I can understand your feelings that a world without a god might also be without meaning, as this is something often promoted by religion. But it actually isn’t so.

    Religion pretends to add meaning, but it doesn’t really. It uses a strange bait-and-switch. It is easiest to see when something bad happens and religious people are quick to say that nobody can know the mind of god. So they say that this life is a trial-run, and god has a final plan for you, but you can’t know what it is. That’s not really a life of meaning. That’s about as close to a life devoid of meaning that I can imagine.

    Without religion, life becomes infinitely more meaningful and valuable. We know that we have just this short time, this tiny window, and just one shot at living a good life. That makes our life infinitely important. As for deriving meaning, there are two kinds of matter in the universe, non-living, and living. Living things have a purpose: to make more life — that’s what life does. That’s its purpose. Some life has evolved brains to help them in their bid to live. A brain gives life an additional purpose: to learn. That’s what brains do. Some living things form societies (ants, termites, herds of elephants, wolf packs, chimp tribes, humans). These societies give life yet another purpose: to care for your fellows. So, without religion we have plenty of meaning: to foster more life, to learn, and to help each other.

    But being the exceedingly intelligent creatures we are, we can add many more meanings that grow out of our personal pleasures. I like to write stories, create artwork, write computer programs, build virtual worlds, and I’m at the beginning of creating an artificial intelligence (AI) to help me navigate my old age. All these meanings I add to the basic three. No religion needed, or desired.

    Religion blinds people to the genuine wonder of the universe. I’ve often asked religious people why they tie themselves to the words of primitive people when if there is a god this world is his direct hand… so why don’t they study that? They often look at me as if I just said something to them in Lauan. There is a very good reason why the overwhelming majority of scientists are not religious, and why religious people are so often appallingly ignorant about, and afraid of, the real world around them.

  197. Miriam English

    Karen, showing your ignorance again.

    Fusion power most certainly exists. The sun is a giant fusion reactor. The hydrogen bomb is a fusion power device. We have a number of real fusion reactors around the world. They work, but so far nobody has been able to sustain the reaction in a way that gets more energy out than pumped in. Doubtless the problem will be solved one day, but it is a very difficult one.

    The great attraction of fusion is that it will produce extremely cheap power. From memory, a kilogram of ordinary hydrogen could produce the energy to run an average household for a person’s entire lifetime. (I’ll double-check that amount later, but I’m pretty sure my memory is correct there.)

    At last you got something right: fission is exceedingly dangerous. It is far too dangerous for the infantile minds of politicians, military people, and corporate executives to mess with. And that problem is magnified a hundredfold when you let fission get into the hands of religious people.

  198. Karen Kyle

    Can you please tell me which countries have Fusion Nuclear Reactors. According to the World Atomic oranisation as of July this year there are none. The problems have yet to be solved. And yes I knew the sun is a Fusion Reactor. Apparently god does it better. LOL.

  199. Michael Taylor

    First you sat it doesn’t exist, then you say it does exist.

    I’m sure I’m not the only person you confuse.

  200. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor……As far as I know there are no working Fusion Power Reactors on planet earth generating electricity for the huddled masses.

  201. Michael Taylor

    “As far as I know”.

    So it’s not conclusive.

  202. Karen Kyle

    It’s what the World Atomic Energy people say. I take their word for it.

  203. paul walter

    Miriam, you may have missed an attempted subtle distinction I was trying to make. I was not saying that a godless universe is pointless, I was talking of a meaningless (ergo, life) universe as a plausible possibie reality.

    That is why I included the example of Epicurus in a para. which coincides with your point as to a liberating rather than frightening conception of such a universe and also mentioned existentialism.

    I do smile at the idea that altruism is no more than a biological adaptation and accept that there are dark connotations to that as well as the positive one you raise.

    You are right to bring all back to lived experience: the joy of living, ideas, conversations like this one leading to the effort of thought and empathy that rewards a person with a sense of accomplishment at the activation of an epiphany. altruism and caring and sharing as rewarding experiences in themselves. Life can be so exhilarating as to obliterate the sense of its possibly finity and the attendant solipsism and depression that can go with a nihilist conception.

    I guess I dont want to exclude or exile God from his/her own universe because as a human I have a sense of what ostracism means.

    At the same time, I cant tell for sure if there is a deity, although I believe there is spirituality and want to trace it to its origins which is perhaps pointless like trying to stop the irresistible flow of time.

    It seems sometimes, there are some things I am bound to know about with any consolations that brings and perhaps some things I am not to know about, perhaps through complexity or even the game given away, as some religions may suggest.

    The best of my thinking gets to the point of confessing that,.” All I know is that I know nothing”, after Socrates. From this humbling comes an unexpected relief bearing epiphany that if I am not god and maybe only along for the ride, best to sit down, shut up and enjoy the view, whilst realising that the universe can do quite well without me though I need it for survival and that it all so much huger and so much more majestic than I can even begin to conceive it to be now that I find out it is not about me.

  204. Michael Taylor

    So now you’re saying it’s conclusive, KK?

  205. Karen Kyle

    I think that is the point Paul. Realising that it is not about self. Realising there is something much bigger than self and expressing that through religious buildings, religious music and art works etc. Of course it can also be expressed in other ways, in whatever pursuits and friends you enjoy. Life is for living and quiet enjoyment. And worship as well,whether t is in a religious sevice or just sitting happily in the sun.

  206. Miriam English

    Karen, the tokamak design is the most popular, with the most well-known (and oldest?) in France. There are currently 35 tokamak fusion reactors operating worldwide. There are lots of other designs, many of which probably never have a chance of producing sustained reaction (more energy out than in).

    for more info.

    🙂 I just noticed Karen backpedalled, changing it from blanket none, to none making power for the world, after I pointed out that such reactors do exist, just not producing more energy out than in.

    Karen is a slippery one. Always changing her stand while pretending it’s what she always said. She HATES to be proven wrong.

  207. Lambert Simpleton

    Speaking of decentring, I whimsically add this digression, but not to give offence.


    I just wonder, if it is not ok for Iran to interfere with international shipping, how so the Brits and US?

    These powers would make an unholy racket if any one else attempted to interfere with THEIR shipping.

    And Iran being “terrorist”, for selling its oil to whom it wants to, really isnt it a decision the US has not the right to decide upon, it would be God alone who could decide definitively that that is the case and wipe out Iran if it was any more “evil” than anyone else?

    So how come the US and co and arrogate God’s sole right to sit in judgement of others?

    Ok, just askin’

    A whimsy.

  208. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..Fusion power is a “proposed power” according to what I have read. I take that to mean there isn’t any and it will have to wait for the problems to be solved. As you said. That’s why I said it doesn’t exist. I didn’t think of the sun because it ain’t down here generating electricity except through solar power. Pedantic aren’t you?

  209. Miriam English

    Paul, if all religious people looked at things the way you do, I’d be delighted to never need to argue with them ever again. It’s difficult to imagine your point of view giving rise to the bigotries of racism and formal religions where one group insists their primitive text is better than another, while they rattle on about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and the “right” way to interpret their primitive texts.

    I can understand not absolutely ruling out the idea of a creator. I wrote a story in which I explored a way a creator could genuinely exist:

    However, even if a creator does, by some unlikely chance, actually exist, there is still no rationale that I can see for spiritualism. It doesn’t affect the question of a creator, and it becomes a way of stultifying the urge to question. It blunts curiosity.

    Be uplifted by the beauty of a butterfly and its extraordinary ability as such a light and fragile creature to drive itself through the air sometimes faster than a person can run.

    Enjoy the scintillating, diffracting colors on a chicken’s black feathers, but understand how the light waves constructively and destructively interfere to create those colors.

    Marvel at the size of the cosmos and our ability to apprehend that, but learn about the various telescopes, on the ground, atop mountains, flying in airplanes above much of the atmosphere, and in space, that view that cosmos through various electromagnetic spectra, from radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, to x-rays, which let us work out what we are seeing.

    Thrill at beautiful computer-generated mathematical designs, but try to comprehend what that maths is doing and how the box of billions of complexly cascading microscopic on-off switches performs that for you.

    Soak up with your senses this warm, life-filled world around you, but find out about the specialised cells, each descended from a single cell, that transform heat, pressure, light, sound, and contact with chemicals, to produce electrical signals that are encoded by branching structures and associated with other, parallel signals to generate our feeling of being.

    Be careful that you don’t merely let the “mystery” become a substitute for using your wondrous brain for the learning it does so well… when allowed to.

    Religion uses mystery and paradox to stop people learning, or channels it into absurd dead-ends, such wasting life by substituting nonsense superstitions for reality.

  210. Miriam English

    Karen, “Fusion doesn’t exist. And it would produce very expensive power.”

    Most people here, if shown they were wrong to say such things, would be interested to find out they were wrong. They might say, “Oops, I forgot about the sun and hydrogen bombs. And I didn’t realise that fusion reactors do exist. Of course there’s that small problem of getting more energy out than put in, so I guess I can be excused for not knowing about them.”

    Not Karen. She pretends that she was right all along adding qualifiers to her original statement in an attempt to somehow make herself right.

    Look, Karen, I really don’t want to hit you over the head with this shit. Just please don’t be so damned abrasive while pretending to know crap you don’t know.

    Truce: you behave and so will I.

  211. Karen Kyle

    Miriam….. I read English the same way most people do. When I read that Fusion Power is a proposed power as far as my understanding of English goes that means it doesn’t yet exist. You seem to have problems with nuances and categorisation.

    The sun maybe a Fusion Reactor but it is natural and not an achievement of man, and we can’t use that Fusion Power to generate electricity. I didn’t know about the Hydrogen Bomb and I am not at all sure that is a worthwhile achievement.

    Scientists are like everyone else most are trusworthy. Some are not. It was reported in the press some time ago thaat a surgeon somewhere was going to try to transplant a head. Absolutely horrifying. There was such an outcry he changed his mind and didn’t go through with it. Learning and experimentation can go too far.

  212. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..It was an Italian Scientist working in China. He could get bodies for practise and China does not have the same ethical standards that we do. He had already transplanted heads on animals and Chinese corpses.

  213. paul walter

    In recall of the illustration a the start of the thread, of Jesus and Albert’s armwrestle, I got the impulse to google up what have been Albert Einstein’s thoughts on God and the Universe.


    Turns out he is a Spinoza-ist agnostic or Pantheist (in 1936, at least- remember he ended up having grave misgivings about the A bomb a half a dozen years later). Spinoza was not liked by the clergy in his time, including the Jewish rabbis of Amsterdam, but is regarded as something of a great thinker in later times.

    I’m not sure if goes a bit far in his Aristotelian Prime Mover thinking- a long bow here- but the piece makes for interesting reading and his question as to the actual composition of the universe transcends reason despite its simplicity.

  214. Kaye Lee

    No Karen. You said “fusion doesn’t exist” – a statement which is completely incorrect. Your inference that “there isn’t any” is also incorrect which you would have learned had you read past the first sentence. There are many different projects going on. It is a matter of making the process commercially viable. It is not “pedantic” to pull you up when you make patently wrong statements just like you did about the astronauts all becoming deeply religious. You are just wrong.

  215. Karen Kyle

    That was a beaut article Paul.Thanks for posting it. He was a bit of a sweetheart was Albert. I do believe that later in life he did believe in God……sort of. He did not have a personal relationship with God but he felt something was manifest in the cosmos, which is pretty much what your article says. A man of depth.

    The picture on the top of the page is interesting. Both men who shook the world in different ways and both Jews. And they are fighting…..as Jews usually do..

  216. Kaye Lee

    ” I do believe that later in life he did believe in God”

    Actually, Einstein wrote a letter a year before his death to the German Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind in response to Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt”, a religious, optimistic, humanistic manifesto based on biblical teachings.

    In his letter, which was auctioned off last year, Einstein didn’t mince words.

    “The word ‘God’ is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses; the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends,”

  217. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…….I did read the bloody article. And about the research. And the research has yet to produce viable commercial results. therefore Nuclear Fusion does NOT YET EXIST. They are working on it. They have been working on it for years. They have not had much success It is too expensive. It is not reliable as yet. There are problems with it. Do give over.

  218. Kaye Lee

    Ummmm…..does that mean that anything expensive doesn’t exist?

  219. paul walter

    Kaye Lee, you know that is what
    Coles and Woolworths say about everything in their shops…”better values”, nothing “expensive”.in the sanctuary.

    Albert was of course probably dying of cancer by this time and it is possible the optimism of younger days might have dissipated some what.

    Albert is fairly safe in his viewpoint. I am sure that if God wants me know something (s)he will let me know soon enough, given the workable definition of God as being an entity for whom nothing is impossible. But then again, maybe my conscience (or conditioning if you like) does that job so God gets a break.

    Perhaps it would bell the cat, God doing my chores for me, favouritism and so forth when the aim of the game may be for me to work things out for myself over time and derive a little satisfaction from this stay both long and short on planet Earth.

    I wonder that God would bother with someone like me anyway- or most other people. What would we have to offer to a morally perfect being?

    Always thought Spinoza interesting. Smiles. It is almost an argument from the argument from design that we are here at this of all times pondering this stuff.

    We are not to know too soon, if at all.

  220. Karen Kyle

    Scientists have been working on it for eighty seven years. Nuclear Fusion . MIT reckon they have had a breakthrough. They will have electricity on the grid in fifteen years. That was a year ago. One down and fourteen to go. All being well. YIPPEE. But until then. There isn’t any. Got that.

  221. Michael Taylor

    So please tell us, Karen – and stick by your answer without later contradicting it – does, or does not, fusion exist.

    I don’t care what answer you give. I just would like you to stay with it.

  222. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee……………You didn’t read what I said re Einstein. He believed god was manifest in the universe. He did not believe in a personal god. He believed the universe is impersonal. And this might well be how religion will go in the future. Man looked at the sun and the moon and worshiped them. Go into space, and find the cosmos imbued with mystery and beauty and religious feelings arise…..probably. Time will tell and you and I won’t be here to know.

  223. Michael Taylor

    I prefer Newton’s explanation, which was later echoed by Marx:

    God didn’t creat Man. Man created God.

    … or words to that effect.

  224. paul walter

    For God’s sake, what is this constant to-ing and fro-ing over f…..g fusion. Meanwhile, upstairs, a benign smile and “told you so” as to the human condition.

    I want to avoid being con-fused!.

  225. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor…… Fusion exists in the minds and imaginations of scientists Mythos. But until it exists in a reactor on the ground producing electricity it will not be logos…therefore in practical terms it does not yet exist.

  226. Kaye Lee

    The concept of fusion was proven in the 1990s, and now it seems that we are less than a decade from a fully up-and-running reactor. In March, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that its SPARC reactor could begin producing energy from nuclear fusion by 2025.

    The reactor is not expected to produce commercial power, but it could represent the first instance of positive net energy from fusion, a hugely important milestone. The power that the reactor will produce will be limited to 50MW-100MW.

    “The project [SPARC] is enabled by the arrival of a breakthrough technology, high-temperature superconductors, which opens the ‘smaller, faster, cheaper’ path we are pursuing,” says MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center deputy director Martin Greenwald.


    Karen, it is not some esoteric concept only existing in the scientists minds – it is something they are doing and refining right now.

  227. Karen Kyle

    Paul …Sorry some people refuse to understand English, more likely pretending to misunderstand so they can play head games.

  228. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor Yes…one of man’s better achievements despite all the problems, And I will let you know how. Promise.

  229. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…..The article talks about small reactors that won’t generate a lot of power and might be useful in the mix. The big reactors are some way of about twenty fifty they think, if they can be made competative re cost. Still a way to go yet. And still problems.

  230. Miriam English

    So much for a truce…

    Geez Karen, you keep saying bullshit and trying to back yourself up, but it just makes you look more stupid. The worse you look the more you try to put others down.

    Yes, we have fusion. Revolting though they are, fusion bombs (aka hydrogen bombs) work through the release of energy through fusion.

    Yes, fusion reactors work. They actually do fuse light nuclei together to make heavier ones, releasing great amounts of energy in the process. That’s what fusion is. Unfortunately, scientists are having trouble getting it to sustain itself. It gets started, works for a short time, then dissipates. Getting fusion is not the hard part — that works. Sustaining it is the difficulty.

    I don’t know why you keep pushing the bullshit instead of simply saying, “Okay, I made a mistake.”

  231. Karen Kyle

    Scientists bug me sometimes. They can announce on the news a new cancer breakthrough. Every cancer patient and every family with a cancer patient snaps to attention with hopes soaring. Only to be told that animal testing has finished and this new treatment will be available in fifteen years. Why bother to announce it?

  232. Kaye Lee

    Because others use their breakthrough and take it further. Knowledge builds.

  233. Miriam English

    Often many breakthroughs are needed to make a final product.
    But at least they do something about it instead of praying to a non-existent god.

  234. Miriam English

    Karen, next time you’re in a newsagent buy a copy of New Scientist magazine. It will be a genuine revelation for you. There is so much amazing, uplifting knowledge in every issue.

    Scientific American is great too.

  235. Karen Kyle

    Kay Lee…..yes I am aware of how knowledge builds especially scientific knowledge.

    Miriam….stop beiing sarcastic and nasty.Don’t invalidate religion it means a lot to billions all over the world. Have some respect for other people.

  236. Karen Kyle

    Surely though they would put medical breakthroughs in a Journal and not broadcast it on the news.I thought thats what Journals were for. And these days they can send out bulk e-mails..

  237. Miriam English

    Karen, they do put it in journals, and email lists. Where do you think the news services get the information? For a person who knows all about how scientific knowledge builds it is strange that you don’t know this. Oops. Of course you know this. You just meant something completely different, except the same, but different. If you look at the page just this way, squint, hold your tongue just right, then you’ll almost see that it’s what Karen meant all along.

  238. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…. You mean reporters go through medical journals looking for stories on slow news days? And stop it with the nasty cracks otherwise I might crack back, because I am truly amazed at things you don’t know.

  239. Miriam English

    Karen, I don’t need to invalidate religion. It invalidates itself.

    It always struck me as a very patronising thing to say, that I shouldn’t say religion is wrong simply because a lot of people like to believe its lies. Not patronising to me, but to the people who believe the lies: “They love their chains. Don’t unlock them.”

    It seems to me much more respectful to that they are capable of being free and thinking for themselves.

    Why would I respect a lie?

  240. Kaye Lee

    Karen, of course journalists go through medical and scientific and technical journals. Information is shared and people get excited. The news gets out. As Miriam says, interested parties are on email lists. It’s not the researchers who contact the news channels. They get contacted if their research is newsworthy.

    It may surprise you to know that I await government reports I know are coming and contact ministers when they are late. I read the latest emissions data first through my daily check of the tracking site. Reports from journalists followed not long after.

    One doesn’t invalidate religion by not believing in it. Nor does one disrespect others by not believing in it. The problem is that religious people think they are being persecuted if we say we don’t believe in it and disagree with their right to dictate laws to us.

  241. Miriam English

    Oh no, Karen might crack back. Oh, the terror!

    Don’t worry, Karen. I’m amazed at the amount of things I don’t know too. The more I learn, the more questions I have. Somehow I seriously doubt you’re genuinely amazed though.

    I can give you a list of things I don’t know so you can try to publicly shame me if you want. 🙂

  242. Miriam English

    Apologies to everyone (except Karen). I’ve been working really hard the last few days and finally finished it earlier today. Just letting off a bit of steam and having a bit of fun. I don’t drink or use any other drugs, so poking a fool is kinda silly fun.

    I’ll stop now. (I hope I haven’t annoyed anyone… other than Karen, that is.)

  243. Miriam English

    Well said Kaye — the bit about not invalidating religion by disbelieving. I think I’ll snaffle that for my quotes folder.

    It would seem strange if every atheist squealed that a religious person was disrespecting them every time they talked about god as if it was real, or suggested the Bible was holy, or said that they’d pray for them, or that we have to embrace Jesus to avoid going to hell. It is just expected that atheists should just let that garbage go by. On the other hand if we dare say that the idea of a god is childish nonsense and that the Bible is a load of superstitious lies then we’re being disrespectful.

    It’s pretty amazing when you consider that it’s pretty easy to show that there is no afterlife (and all religion depends on an afterlife), and that almost all of the Bible is fabricated, and that if there was a creator it sure wouldn’t be so pathologically needy as to require people to bow down and constantly praise it.

  244. RosemaryJ36

    Observation indicates to me that there are two groups of people to whom religion is important:
    Those who seek power and those whose life is so miserable that they cling on to the hope of a better life in the next world.
    I accept that many who practice a religion are also interested in helping other people, but you really do not need a god to be a philanthropist.
    Personally, if for a short time after I die, a few people remember me favourably then I will indeed enjoy a life after death.
    But I shall never know it!

  245. Lambert Simnel

    Do you need a god to be a philanthropist?


    But selflessness needs all the help it can get.

  246. Miriam English

    Rosemary, that seems the most sensible way to look at it.

    Much of religion seems intent on making people deeply unhappy — many are obsessed with sin and guilt and avoiding being tortured forever in eternal flame (ugh!) and are convinced that the world is degenerating into immorality and violence, to be consummated in the horrific end of times (see crazy John’s Revelation).

    When I was a kid I used to read a lot of psychology books, and at one point became very interested in learning how brainwashing works. The basic form is that the candidate is put into a position where everything is terrible and worsening and there is no escape, then suddenly they are given a single shining hope — a way out. If the accept it, they are saved. Sound familiar? Basically it is the modus operandi for every fundamentalist religion ever.

    On the other hand there are, undeniably, a lot of genuinely good, gentle, optimistic religious folk. They seem to avoid all the nasty crap. (I’ve never been quite sure how.) I’ve been very lucky to know more than a few of these, especially my Mum’s two lovely sisters, who were very religious, but unfailingly sweet people. And one of my best friends (one of the smartest people I’ve ever known) was a gentle, but very religious person. As young kids we used to talk about all kinds of amazing stuff, from the idea that space itself might be quantised, to the pros and cons of Big Bang vs Steady State, to ways to construct electronic logic circuits, but every time we encountered anything to do with religion there was this resounding “clunk!” as my dear, brilliant friend ran into an impenetrable barrier and was unable to think beyond it.

    The only afterlife we have is how we linger in the minds of the people we’ve known. If we do good then we are remembered fondly.

  247. Miriam English

    Oh, by the way, on the topic of myths… yeah I know, we left that ages ago… well anyway, I found this enormously entertaining:

    Sleeping Beauty’s HORRIFYING Origins

  248. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…….Thanks for the video. Sleeping Beauty isn’t a myth.It is a Fairy Tale. But even so it has some of the characteristics of all old stories whether they are folk tales, fairy tales fiction or myth. There are different versions of the same story. And the story changes over time. Sleeping Beauty is usually regarded as the story of sexual awakening and maturation. Attaining adulthood. There are other stories with this theme, and there is usually some sort of point even to fairy tales,. And a lot of them are violent and have a dreamlike or nightmarish quality. Just us hoomans letting of steam.

  249. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..The characteristics of myth are quite different in some important respects.With myth there can often be several version of the same story. Your two different creation and flood myths were written by different authors probably at different times. The Hebrew Bible also contains the old Canaanite creation myths a couple of versions I think.

    Although there are differnt versions of myth the stories don’t change over time, but as our understanding grows so does the meaning we attibute to myth Myths are trueisms wrapped in a universal story even though that story comes from a specific culture.
    And myth often reflects harsh reality like child sacrifice, and is also serving a moral and teaching purpose. Myths exist outside time and space and are true for all time because they are universal. Great stuff.

    With the Hebrew Bible all the stories whether mythical or folk lore must fit within the tight framework of Judaism. and the theology of Judaism. Like all religions it must present as a unified whole. Quite an achievement

  250. Miriam English

    Woah! I won’t get into all the contradictions in those latest two posts, Karen. No wonder you can look at the Bible and think there is a “unified whole”.

    Nevertheless, I just have to admit that I was wrong about something. When Karen had said it can be useful to study myths I denied her statement. Ridiculous! And to be fair, the way Karen suggested it was useful was ridiculous. But it turns out there was a grain of truth there. Scientists have been studying the Red Riding Hood tale (and probably others) to see how it evolves with different groups of people, letting them trace migration patterns. Interesting! I haven’t read the article yet (skimmed part of it).

    The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood

  251. Karen Kyle

    Miriam….you really are the dizzy limit. Please point out all the contrdictions in the last two posts.

  252. Karen Kyle

    Phyllogenetics……a branch of biological science applied to folk and fairy tales. God give me strength. A young Israeli did that and set about making a huge noise about it. He was laughed off the academic platform. Not appropriate. Can’t categorise. Need to do Philosophy One.

  253. Miriam English

    You just continue to make arrogant comments, Karen. Do you think at all before you open your mouth, or start tapping away on your keyboard? Or do you just blather out whatever stream-of-consciousness stuff occurs to you at the time? You certainly don’t seem to fact-check anything… unless (sometimes) if someone notes your errors… and then instead of thanking them and stepping up to it like a big girl you make excuses and try to redefine stuff to excuse your reckless relationship with the truth.

    I’ll begin by noting that phylogenetics is about trying to understand the sequence of things that produce evolutionary change, usually in biology. The Iranian-UK (not Israeli) professor Jamshid J Tehrani who did the research also studies the spread of conspiracy theories and urban legends. In this era of fake news I’d consider it fairly important. He doesn’t appear to have been “laughed off the academic platform”. Where do you get this crap from Karen? Do you just make it up off the top of your head?

    As for the contradictions in your earlier 2 posts, I’m a bit reluctant to as it’s more trouble than it’s worth and I’m sure everybody else here is way past the eye-rolling stage, but I do wonder how you came up with the idea that “Sleeping Beauty is usually regarded as the story of sexual awakening and maturation. Attaining adulthood.” Just made that up, did you? Sounded right to you, did it? So you figured it was safe to pretend some expertise. I mean, any story with a male and a female could be stretched to fit that. There really isn’t any generally agreed meaning for the tale. Also it depends upon which of the versions you’re talking about. In the oldest version I know of, by Giambattista Basile, the king (who is already married) finds sleeping beauty in another castle while she’s dead/unconscious and rapes her, cheating on his wife. Months later Sleeping Beauty gives birth to 2 kids (she’s still dead/unconscious) and invisible fairies make sure the babies don’t starve, by guiding the babies to her breasts so they can feed. The story goes on through attempted murder, child-butchering, and cannibalism. But then I guess you didn’t bother with the video… but that never stops you from telling people what it is about, right?

  254. Miriam English

    Nah. I can’t be bothered. Find your own contradictions Karen. If I point them out to you, you’ll just argue that black is white and up is down anyway. What’s the point?

  255. Michael Taylor

    Similarly, Miriam, there was a ripper on Twitter earlier …

    A lady (a bot, I presume) made the claim that 95% of mass shooters in America are Democrat voters, adding that facts are important.

    I replied that truth was more important and that she had avoided it.

    She replied with something idiot like; “Do some research and you’ll see that I’m right.”

    My simply reply was; “I will not do any research. YOU made the claim, YOU provide the evidence.”

    I don’t know what happened next because she blocked me. 🙄

  256. Phil

    Karen Kyle says with a wry smile
    I am right and you are just wrong
    It wasn’t books that educated me
    But the smoking of my crack BONG.

    What an insufferable know all.

    You have the patience of a Saint Mr Taylor. Aye me too I need a wee dram.

  257. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..The Israeli scientist I was refering to was cited by Joseph Carli in a comment he was making. I have forgotten what the subject was about, but on investigation I discovered that this line of research is not considered valid by academia in general, and the young man in question who thought he was making his career might well be ruining it.

    And no I didn’t make up the stuff about Sleeping Beauty. It is the generally accepted meaning of the story. Remember it was her fifteenth birthday. There was a celebration. She wandered into a back room in the house and found a woman at work on a spindle.She touched the spindle and what happened?. She bled. And then she fell asleep. And then she was woken with a kiss. How obvious can it be. It is a story of maturation and sexual awakening. I don’t know about the earlier story. I have not heard it before and it usually isn’t the story that is subject to interpretation.

    Evolutionary change is all very well. Stories certainly evolve, but it is a mistake of categorization to confuse biological evolution with cultural evolution i.e the evolution of stories.. They are not the same And to confuse them is not only silly it is downright ignorant..And to get indignant about a very early version of a fairy tale which died centuries ago is just a bit silly isn’t it?

    As for not bothering to point out my so called contradictions in those two posts…..you can’t point them out because there are no contradictions. You are gas lighting again. And it won’t work.

  258. Miriam English

    Michael, it is amazing the concerted campaign of misinformation being indulged in by the right-wing these days.

    I guess the lie about shooters being Democrats was in response to FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying in July this year that most of the mass shooters are white supremacists. White supremacists are invariably Republican voters and Trumpers. Interestingly, they are usually fanatically Christian too. Hence the need to blow smoke and confuse the information.

    Republicans don’t want people realising that the real terrorists are white men — their main voting base! The Republicans are already laboring under a terrific disadvantage: they only have a tiny minority of votes. So the only way they can stay in power is by all kinds of dirty tricks, sneaky use of fake news, disenfranchising black and Latino voters, using Murdoch’s lying propaganda machine to brainwash people, and careful gerrymandering of districts.

  259. Miriam English

    Honestly, Karen, the Disney Sleeping Beauty??? That’s your reference?

  260. Miriam English

    What about Disney’s other Sleeping Beauty story, titled “Maleficent”? It tells exactly the same story, but through another character. It is brilliant. Is it still about “sexual awakening and maturation. Attaining adulthood.”?

    Perhaps you don’t know that Sleeping Beauty is an ancient story, handed down over centuries and only recently sanitised by Disney.

    Goddamn! Why am I bothering? What a sucker I am! I know you’ll just bullshit your way onward.

  261. Karen Kyle

    Miriam Disney changed the story as Disney always does. I mean the man invented Mickey Mouse. And Donald Duck. Changing an old fairy tale was nothing to him and it probably made money. I am talking about the traditional non Disney story.

  262. Karen Kyle

    The Grimm Brothers story which is the best known European version. The Australian Ballet did it well. I presume it was the Grimm Brothers version. It sounds like it.

  263. Karen Kyle

    There is a fairly good interpretation entitled The Sexual Content of Sleeping Beauty on a site called Willow Web. She interprets the version that most of us know.

  264. LOVO

    Happy Wattle Day everybody. 😇

  265. Kaye Lee

    Sleeping Beauty has underlying sexual content? Who knew?

    I have to say that I find the fixation on sex by religious people creepy. Because they aren’t allowed to enjoy it, they make it some sort of depravity? They feel they must control the sex life of other people? We have supposedly celibate people dictating to us under what circumstances we may have sex? And now we look for the smut in fairy tales?

    Happy Southern Fertility Day LOVO.

  266. Michael Taylor

    Ah, LOVO, me old mate.

    Happy Wattle Day back at ya.

    Years ago Carol were in Pisa, sipping on a disgraceful coffee at a table in a lane opposite the famous tower, and what was in the vase on the table? Aussie wattles. I kid you not.

    Now … back to Sleeping Beauty’s erotic dreams.

  267. Pere Duchesne

    She marries the prince so it is about the baton passing of male control of women’s fertility from the old patrimonial male to the future alpha male.

    The sleeping beauty is so vapid, so commodified, that she is unaware of the actual processes being enacted ( a bit like Kerry Ann Kennerly, only much younger)..

  268. LOVO

    Kaye Lee, is that a deep fried day with a breaded coating…..jest ask’n 😛

  269. Kaye Lee

    Secret recipe LOVO . With the right partner you add your own combination of spices to reach peak satisfaction.

  270. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee

    Sleeping Beauty has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION. It has magic as one of it’s themes. IT IS A FAIRY STORY. And sex is a common theme in all kinds of literature all over the world. And I suppose you didn’t look up the source I gave you. You really don’t want to know and usually you demand proof. Not very consistent And very closed minded. Oh well….it can’t be helped that’s the way you are. I have a feeling you don’t read much literature. A lot of great Literature deals with sex. I can’t believe I had to say this to adults..

  271. Michael Taylor

    I repeat my earlier comment … O.M.F.G.

  272. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor What is the matter with you?

  273. Michael Taylor

    What’s the matter with me? I’ve been reading your rubbish, that’s what.

    I’ve never known a person (apart from Donald Trump) to come out with the most bizarre waddle than you.

    I really think it’s time you said goodbye.

  274. Karen Kyle

    My education was in the Humanities. Literature…..including myth, folklore and fairy tales along the way. Historyand Philosophy and Western Traditions. In fact the entire course across all subjects were different elemens of Western Thought., Different to the maths science education. After some years without Humaities or a stripped down version of it, panic has set in We are turning out University educated people who can’t think. Demonstrated by terrific mistakes governments make because they no longer have Philosophy majors in the Public Service.

    Remember Yes Minister? Bernard and Sir Humphrey were Philosophy majors with a first from Oxford.Thats why they liked to play silly word games. And philosophy majors were vital in Government And the lack shows in Victoria with Health and Safety legislation and other things.

    We are also turning out people whose reading skills are not fully developed. It takes a long time to develop reading skills and we are turning out reletively poor readers who can’t cope with poetry, myth,and litrerature in general. They don’t understand it. Such skills take a long time to develop and these days few people get the chance. We are using Universities to turn out people with marketable skills which is absolutely necessary but it is at the expense of education. We should be doing both. In some quarters it is recognised that it is essential to put humanities back into Universities. All science courses in the US include some form of humanities, or at least they did. I suppose they still do. A lack of education in the population as a whole and a lack of understanding of our own culture is not good at all. And it shows.

  275. Zathras

    If you could reason with religious people, there wouldn’t be any religious people.

    In the same way, you can’t reason your way into religion so it’s hard to reason your way out of it.

    Except for people who have been “broken in some way” (recovering drug addicts etc) the remainder were probably imprinted at a very young age but the most devout pre-religious atheists got that way by actually reading the whole Bible and not the selective quotes and seeing it for what it really is. A bit of simple Biblical history also helps.

  276. Miriam English

    Karen, I beg of you, please don’t offer yourself as an example of university trained intelligence, knowledge, and reading ability.

    As a perfect example of your inability to read, Kaye wasn’t speaking of the Sleeping Beauty story as about religion. In the first line she gently questioned your assertion that it was about sex. Then, in the main part of her response she went on to wonder why religious people are so unhealthily obsessed with sex.

    Michael, I was wondering something similar about Karen’s ability to spout nonsense. Perhaps that’s how Trump, and some other politicians survive. They gush bullshit in such an unending stream, it’s difficult to argue with it because it just makes us wee mortals look picky, and by the time you’ve responded to one there’s twenty more, so it becomes a futile and frustrating exercise. What’s particularly disturbing is that they have absolutely no problem with contradicting themselves or speaking on topics they know nothing about.

    I do wonder if they ever notice they are not as expert as they think they are (for example, Trump’s astonishing claim that he’s a very stable genius and Karen’s claim to understand of how scientific knowledge builds, when she clearly doesn’t). Their inability to re-read their own statements and question themselves is surprising.

    Perhaps there is some hope for Karen; she did admit error… ummm… once, in all the crap above, even if she defends all her other misstatements to the death.

    One of the most unnerving aspects is the dire need to appear correct even if wrong. (This, I think, is one of the biggest problems with religion and politics.) This burning need to adhere to something false actually guarantees being wrong, so that even if they’re able to hoodwink some people into thinking they’re right, or merely silence those who would question, they are still wrong. And by stopping the questions they remain wrong.

    (And I talk far too much. Apologies.)

  277. Miriam English

    Sorry, just one more aspect to this that occurs to me: there is the “boy who cried wolf” effect too. Trump bullshits so much that we all ignore and laugh at what he says, so that if some day he says something that is correct, we would dismiss that too. That, just by itself, makes it a dangerously counterproductive strategy. Trump probably thinks it is worth it in order to appear to “win” so much of the time… if he has the self-awareness to think about it at all.

  278. Kaye Lee


    If you want someone to read something, you should provide a link. As it turns out, I did google the article you referred to. I find it a very very long stretch.

    Thanks for pointing out that Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale. Could I also point out that Yes Minister was a scripted tv show and Bernard and Sir Humphrey were actors reciting lines – not enlightened philosophy majors.

    As for my education, it is ongoing and will be until the day I die and it is not confined to any particular field. I just love learning.

    I wonder if you have an opinion on why religious people are so fixated on sex?

  279. Karen Kyle

    YES Minister was scripted TV employing actors. Good grief.But the show did illustrate the snobbishness attached to education in the UK. Sir Humphrey and Bernard were both Oxford graduates and Jim Hacker went to the London School of Economics. The actors were playing the part of Philosophy majors..And the writers knew their subject well and part of the comedy was rooted in that snobbishness.

    So Kaye Lee goes on about the fixation by religious people on sex. I suppose some are, but what that has to do with Sleeping Beauty I utterly fail to see. And Kaye Lee says she finds ithe interpretation a stretch. Well that is just too bad. That is the accepted interpretation. Many stories have layers of meaning and often sex is in the mix.And as I said before…….I have to explain this to adults????? Weird.

    And I am not putting myself forward as all that is good in University education. I am saying that my education was different. I was flummoxed to read of Feminist objections to Sleeping Beauty as a story. Feminists are a bit extreme in that respect and they apparenly also fail to read well.. They see everything through the lens of Feminism…….even old fairy tales. Also weird.

    As for supplying links my computer will not comply. I will have to get it seen to at some point. Meanwhile I can easily explain where to look.

    To pass exams in Literature you have to be able to read and understand the layers of meaning. Same to a lesser extent with Art.,have to read art and fathom the underlying meaning. Sometimes it’s easy sometimes not. In any event there is great wealth to be tapped from stories and art.

  280. Michael Taylor

    Quick question for you Karen: Have you ever completed a jigsaw puzzle?

  281. Miriam English

    What kind of computer are you using, Karen?

  282. Michael Taylor

    Karen, without looking, what’s the colour of your neighbour’s roof?

    (There is logic behind this question).

  283. Kaye Lee

    Firstly, feminists are not some sort of homogeneous bunch who indulge in group think.

    Secondly, you have an interpretation of Sleeping Beauty as being some sort of allegory for parents not wanting their little girl to reach sexual maturity, the pricking of the finger representing menstruation or the loss of virginity. Others see it differently, even suggesting it is actually a feminist story.

    “The central conflict in Sleeping Beauty is not the romance between Aurora and Philip, therefore, or even the conflict between Maleficent and Aurora’s parents. Instead, the conflict is the Good Fairies’ battle with Maleficent, in which Aurora, Philip, and all the other characters are merely pawns. Not to mention, the Good Fairies are just about the only characters in the film who grow as people in the course of the story, who are different at the end of the story than they are at the beginning, and who the audience identifies with and roots for as people, rather than the stereotypical idealized nonentities Aurora and Philip are, who we are trained to root for by default. Which means, in sum, that all the truly central, important and relatable characters in the entire film are female.”

    Thirdly, not every comment I make has to relate to Sleeping Beauty.

    Fourthly, you do not have to explain anything at all to me Karen, thanks anyway. I suspect I am possibly capable of seeing more layers in things than you will ever be.

  284. Karen Kyle

    You are describing Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. I was describing the brothers Grimm’s version, and that was the interpretation I sourced. She was also describing Grimm. If you rely on the Disney movie you are getting a sanitised and changed version. Suitable for children..

  285. Kaye Lee

    Yes, there have been many versions. You think the Brothers Grimm wrote for adult audiences? What was sanitised out of their version?

  286. Karen Kyle

    Fairy Tales are not really children’s stories. They are often too violent and sexually explicit. They have to be changed to be suitable for children. Nathaniel Hawthorn wrote Tanglewood Tales a children’s version of the Greek myths..

  287. Miriam English

    Karen, you said you were referring to the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale when said that the story’s meaning was “sexual awakening and maturation. Attaining adulthood.”

    In an idle moment, while archiving into a folder on my computer all the versions of Sleeping Beauty I could find (5 so far, not including the Disney versions), I added the Grimm version. Having it there in front of me I re-read it, and I have to say, I don’t believe you did. You were referring to the Disney version, but hoped nobody would check. I’ve looked around on the net for various interpretations of the Grimm story, and they differ widely. Many consider it to be about the number 12 (the 13th wise old woman being the one to curse the baby), and to be about patience (the 100 year sleep), and to relate spinning with life (all the variations have that one item in common, though often a piece of flax caught under a fingernail, not the spindle needle). So, you fibbed when you said yours was the accepted explanation.

    Personally, I rather doubt the story had any metaphorical meaning. I think it was just a whacking good yarn that people liked passing on. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as the saying goes. We are much more sophisticated now than people back then, and if we’re not careful we attribute meaning to things that were just simple stories.

    Decades ago I was showing some of my friends one of my recent (at that time) drawings. One person, who was much given to projecting hidden meanings onto things remarked that my picture was all about sex. This was a surprise to me as I’d drawn it to be about loneliness. He pointed to all the strange rock formations and said these clearly represent penises and testicles. The thing is, I copied the concept of the rocks from a geological structure in South Australia where an ancient lake bed had been compressed into rock and tilted on its side to be eroded away, forming weird tooth-like structures. I liked it, so I used the idea for my picture. The original formations are only several inches tall, I think, not large like in my drawing.

  288. Miriam English

    Karen what kind of computer are you using?

  289. Karen Kyle

    It doesn’t matter much what version of the Sleeping Beauty you are using. The story is basically the same with the same meaning. I don’t know the Disney version. I have never seen it.

  290. Kaye Lee

    Karen 9:51: You are describing Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. I was describing the brothers Grimm’s version, and that was the interpretation I sourced. She was also describing Grimm. If you rely on the Disney movie you are getting a sanitised and changed version. Suitable for children.

    Karen 11:37: It doesn’t matter much what version of the Sleeping Beauty you are using. The story is basically the same with the same meaning. I don’t know the Disney version. I have never seen it.

    This convo gives me a headache. I am out.

  291. Karen Kyle

    Kaye Lee…… Good lord……the basic elements of the Sleeping Beauty are all the same no matter which version you are using. Therefore the meaning is the same even in the Disney version. I presume the shenanigans of the fairies you described is Disney’s version. The wicked fairy in the Grimm version has a much lesser role. Sigh………..

  292. Miriam English

    See, this is what I mean, Karen. You blindly make broad statements as if you are some kind of authority.

    You say you’ve read the Grimm version, though I doubt it.

    You say you’ve not seen the Disney version, and I doubt that very much.

    You say all the versions are basically the same, but that isn’t true. You haven’t read them why would you even feel it worth saying that?

    The Grimm version and the Disney version omit half of the story, in which the princess has two kids which are almost cooked and eaten because of jealousy or greed, depending on the version you read.

    In the Perrault version the prince doesn’t even kiss the princess and his wicked mother has a taste for cooked babies, anyway it gets long and complicated and the evil mother gets tricked and ends up suiciding in rage when she’s found out.

    In the Basile version the princess dies on getting a bit of flax under her fingernail, but is preserved. It isn’t a curse by a bad old woman. Anyway, a neighboring king, who is already married, is out hunting and enters the castle looking for one of his hawks. He accidentally finds the dead princess and has sex with her (ewwww!) and leaves, forgetting all about her… like ya do. Nine months later, while still dead, she gives birth to two children and invisible fairies lift the children up to her breasts to feed. One day a baby sucks on a finger accidentally and sucks the bit of flax out and the princess wakes up to find she somehow has two kids. Some time later the necrophiliac king remembers the dead girl he screwed and visits again, finding her now alive and with 2 kids. He has a loose tongue, and his wife (remember he’s married) becomes enrages and tricks the dopey princess to send her kids to the king. The queen orders the chef to cook the kids and feed them to the king, but the chef hides the kids. Later the queen wants the same done to the princess, but long story short she’s found out just as she’s about to kill the princess and the king burns her alive. Basile even gives a moral: “for those who are lucky, good rains down even when they are sleeping.”

    In the earliest version, in Perceforest, princess Zellandine falls asleep mysteriously and a Scottish knight who loves her travels to Zelland (Zeeland — Holland) to try to save her. It is a very long and complicated story, including consulting the goddess Venus who gives him a cryptic clue. He tries kissing Zellandine, but that doesn’t wake her. He gets angry at Venus for not simply telling him. She says she told him what to do — something about plucking the fruit from within the slit. He’s embarrassed about this, thinking he’s being told to rape the sleeping girl, which he has the decency not to want to do, but Venus “inflames” him to do it, so he does. Nine months later a baby is born, which suckles on her finger, sucking out a shard of linen and she wakes up. It was actually the result of a curse from an affronted goddess(?) at not being given a knife at a feast. (Weird.) Troylus and Zellandine run away to live happily ever after… except her kid was stolen, and she mourns her rape, even though she loves Troylus.

    So… all the same????

  293. Miriam English

    Karen, there is no wicked fairy in the Grimm version. That’s the Disney version… which you supposedly haven’t seen.

  294. Karen Kyle

    I don’t know what the story of the Ogre is about. Unless the Prince had the same problem as SB in that Mummy resented him growing up. And I don’t care. I was talking about the Grimm Bros story which is the version most of us know. And yes I have read it, and yes all the fairies including the wicked one played a lesser role. They are metaphors or symbols, not personalities or characters as such. Now let us close the subject. It is getting a bit tiresome.

  295. Miriam English

    Wait… you’re going to say they all have a sleeping or dead princess because of a spinning wheel spindle or a shard of flax, who is woken by a knight, or a prince, or a king, or a baby, automatically after 100 years is up, or when she’s kissed, or when a baby sucks out a splinter. Some are very long stories that focus on what happens after she wakes, one is mostly about the hero on the quest to save her.

    Well… ummm… if you put it like that… uh, no.

  296. Miriam English

    Sleeping Beauty’s mother resented her growing up???? The prince’s mother resented him growing up??? Where on Earth do you get that from? Honestly, Karen, you just leave me gobsmacked sometimes.

  297. Miriam English

    What kind of computer do you have, Karen?

  298. Phil

    Michael Taylor
    September 2, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Quick question for you Karen: Have you ever completed a jigsaw puzzle?

    Indeed she has. A one piece puzzle. Most of us with a normal cerebral capacity call it a tile. A very plain tile btw.

  299. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..Yeah. Didn’t you read the source I gave you ?. And I don’t know about the Ogres, and I don’t care. And the wicked wise woman or fairy in the Grimm story is the one that cursed the SB. Jesus Christ. Talk about gas lighting. It won’t work you know.

    If there was no wicked fairy or wise woman in the Grimm story who cursed the Sleeping Beauty?

  300. Miriam English

    You are getting paranoid Karen. I have never gas lighted you.

    The only one who has spoken about an ogre is you. In the version by Charles Perrault the prince’s mother comes from a race of ogres and as such finds it difficult to resist eating children. She doesn’t dislike her son. Perhaps if you read the stories instead of making pronouncements from a vantage point of ignorance…

  301. Miriam English

    What I was saying before is that there were no fairies in the Grimm story. There were 13 wise old women, the 13th one was angry at being left out out of the celebrations at the princess’ birth. (She was left out because the King only had 12 gold plates.) She is the one who made the curse.

    I can upload the stories to my website if you want.
    I’ve searched all over the net for them so that I could read them and be able to actually say what’s in them.
    It would save you having to do the same.

  302. Michael Taylor

    Phil, I was wondering if she was able to join pieces together, like in a thought, or a conversation. 😉

    Now, I have a tough decision to make: do I have a wee dram of Stroma, Glayva, or Drambuie? Help me out here!

  303. Miriam English

    Michael, don’t have any of them.
    Alcohol, especially as liquor, has a lot of nasty downsides.

  304. Karen Kyle

    Wise women who practised magic. Fairies or Witches.

  305. Miriam English

    ergh!!!! I’ve been up since about 3am. I’m off to bed before I fall off my perch. 🙂

  306. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, I reckon you see things my way. We all interpret stories, fables or poems different to the next person.

    Reminds me of something I heard at uni years ago …

    The class were asked to interpret the meaning of a poem – the name of said poem or author I don’t recall. The following morning a certain mature-age student offered his interpretation, and the response he received from the lecturer was one of mockery before providing the class with her own interpretation, which was clearly and indisputably correct.

    The certain mature-age student – the one who was mocked – hit back with; “I think I should know the poem’s meaning better than anyone else … because … I wrote it.”

    I love that story.

  307. Miriam English

    Geez Karen, there you go again. Instead of saying, “Oops. My mistake. I got confused with all the other fairies, yes, wise old women” you instead try to surreptitiously rewrite what you meant. That’s dishonest — not only to those you are conversing with, but to yourself as well.

  308. Michael Taylor

    Miriam, I gave up alcohol years ago. A trip to Scotland cured that, and now Carol and I enjoy a wee dram on the odd occasion. We don’t overindulge, though. Like I said, just a wee dram.

  309. Miriam English

    Michael, that is wonderful!

    Yes, exactly how I felt in having my motivation for my picture misrepresented to me.
    I wasn’t outraged, so much as mystified.

    The metaphorical meaning supposedly extracted from a creative work often says more about the person finding the meaning than the actual creator.

    I often wondered why my friend saw rows of penises instead of rocks.

  310. Phil

    Phil, I was wondering if she was able to join pieces together, like in a thought, or a conversation. 😉

    Indeed hence my reference to a tile. She gives a new meaning to the word narrow minded. As I said, a know all of epic proportion. The best bit is, she claims she is not a Tory, laughable. I have noticed a lot of blogs and indeed Facebook has been swamped by these Trolls.

    But to the wee dram. For me Drambuie is the go. Stroma to my palette which being used to the delights of the if not cheap but exquisite Grants, taste to me like a combination of lion shit, old hospital dressings and a fluid that has been maturing in a pig farmers wellington boot for a couple of months.

  311. Miriam English

    Cool. 🙂 My Dad always said, “Everything in moderation.”

  312. Michael Taylor

    Phil, we only have some Stroma as our order from the UK arrived. We feel blessed.

  313. Phil

    Oh I do love poems. The deep and meaningful ones full of colour, creativity and sometimes romance. i.e.

    Old mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to fetch poor Rover a bone, when she bent over Rover came over and found he had a bone of his own. Shakespeare would have no doubt loved this one.

  314. Karen Kyle

    Miriam. Wise Women, Fairies, Witches in story are synonymous. Especially when they practise powerful magic. Look it up.

  315. Miriam English

    Karen, still being dishonest I see. Oh well, I tried.

  316. Karen Kyle

    How dare you call me dishonest.Who do you think you are.? Gaslighting again. Do you do that with everyone who disagrees with you? Look it up woman. Black magic and white magic as practised by the Fairies/Witches?Wiise Women in Sleeping Beauty. Good grief I give up.. Try Googling Wise Women Witches and Faries in story. There is quite a good article which includes Grimm and Brair Rose as well as Harry Potter.

  317. Miriam English

    I’m not calling you dishonest; you are being dishonest.

    You say one thing then change it and pretend it was the same thing all along. That’s dishonest. You repeatedly do it. You’ve been doing that over and over again during this thread. It’s very frustrating.

    Trying to discuss anything with you gets turned into a strange kind of struggle, where you first make extremely bold, often incorrect statements, then when it is pointed out to you that you’re wrong to say these things, you either redefine them and pretend that’s what you meant all along, or you completely contradict yourself, refusing to acknowledge that you’ve done so.

    The weird thing is that you do this on a forum where anybody can scroll back and see exactly what you said.

  318. Michael Taylor

    Karen Kyle,

    I think it’s about time you bid us farewell.

    My wife and I don’t pay $1250 a month and put in six hours a day to keep this site open for only for you to hijack all posts you comment on, to repeatedly abuse one of our writers (Dr George Venturini), and to deter people from visiting The AIMN or to comment here.

    Our number of visitors and commenters fall dramatically whenever you are here. At this rate, we could no longer afford to remain open.

    This site does not exist for you to try and turn it into to one that chases your will conspiracy theories. You are no longer tolerated here. You are no longer welcome here.

    It’s up to you.

  319. Miriam English

    I’m sorry about my part in that. If I’d stopped responding ages ago maybe the thread would have remained sane. I find it difficult to let go sometimes. My apologies.

    One thing I don’t regret is that I was prompted to collect all these Sleeping Beauty stories. That’s pretty damn amazing.

    And I wouldn’t have heard about the mature-age student who was belittled for the meaning of his poem. That was a hoot. (I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to find the original story.)

  320. Michael Taylor

    You are not to blame for anything, Miriam. I’ve been losing my patience with KK for quite a while.

  321. LOVO

    This may ….finally. …be the last comment on this thread.
    What say, you, Karen?…….😈😈😈😈

  322. paul walter

    KK does say some odd things but not sure if overreacting is the best way to respond. I think you have to take into account her likely conservative conditioning and the reality that she may not know some of the stuff we know. If she stays there is a learning curve and to send her off is bit sad if we already have the mental equipment to discern when she is talking nonsenses and when she is sincere.

    I don’t get her early comments here about the Library at Alexandria (Hypatia the philosopher was torn apart by an Xtian mob about 400 AD, for example) and some comments over different times about “communist propaganda ” also are weird, indicating a conditioning inculcated to close the mind.

    But because she disagrees with us does not mean she is always wrong and some of us have been harsh on her too.

    I’d say let it continue, the conversations between her and us, She is not familiar with many of our ideas and we would benefit from knowing how and why she things as she sees them. Sending her away wont make her a better informed person and we have to cop dissent a little if we want to persuade people like Dutton to tolerate it.

  323. Michael Taylor

    Paul, you would have missed her comments that didn’t make it past the moderators. Most people here only see what gets published.

  324. Karen Kyle

    Michael Taylor,

    There were no comments that didn’t pass the moderator.

  325. Michael Taylor

    You are lying. There were many.

  326. paul walter


    Well, one of you will know the truth unless some sort of mistake is involved.

    Am off to bed. Can’t see why either of you would porky pie when the truth is at stake Wow..

  327. Michael Taylor

    Paul, I think you’ve known me long enough to know I wouldn’t lie about this matter.

    Before placing her in moderation KK’s comments went straight into the Deleted folder and were checked from there. Carol also saw the comments, as too did any of the admin. Some were approved, but most weren’t.

  328. Karen Kyle


    Trot them out and let everyone have a look

  329. Michael Taylor

    All comments that don’t pass moderation are deleted.

  330. paul walter

    Back for one last look. I still think it has been a good thread and on different levels. Karen’s nitpicking about Marxist plots has an equivalent in the theological nitpickings of others on some at her generalised comments re the old religions.

    Maybe some are a little brainwashed as to religion, maybe some against it. Also ideology. What does it say about humans, culture belief and conditioning?

    Karen, you DID back off a bit on Hypatia’s death and that I think might have engendered some of the hostility toward you.

    But I still don’t find much of what she says on religion itself all that wrong, I just wish she’d let the McCarthyism drop same as I wish some of the more zealot Dawkinsites would let that ease a bit. A lot of what she said corresponded with stuff I did at uni myself, but I do think her weak spot is pol economic theory.

    I think she is jaundiced as to politics, as was demonstrated in the Venturini threads, but so are some others way too dismissive when it comes to religion including as a component of culture, what it shows of humanity history and truth or falsity when it comes to proving or disproving the existence of god (who or whatever god is). I would recall the early discussion about the sacrifice or otherwise of Isaac as being of help to a new reader.

    Anyway, I feel I am knee deep in shit so I can only add that I hope some of the developing irascibility from all concerned does not prevent the inclusion of further threads of this nature.

  331. Joseph Carli

    Paul Walter…If you Google ; “The many interpretations of Christian belief”, Mr.Google returns..: “About 176,000,000 results (0.50 seconds)”….so you can see that KK. had only just begun!…think yourself lucky..

  332. Karen Kyle

    Joseph Cari

    I wasn’t talking about Christian belief. I was talking about the Hebrew Bible, Judaism.

  333. Joseph Carli

    From; “The Captain is a Card” by Nelson Algren (An analogy)…:

    The Captain of police questions a man arrested for running a house of ill-repute…:

    “It wasn’t a brothel” the man protests “it was a sports and social club”.

    “Oh..then who were the scantily clad ladies?” The officer asks..

    “They were the social part”..the man replies.

    “Ah!..that’s different then” the Captain perks up “For a moment I thought you were going to tell me they were lady wrestlers!”…

  334. Miriam English

    Paul, I’m pretty sure I could have pleasant and civil argument with you over many hours about religion, humanity, myth, and the meaning of life without ruffling either person’s hair. Perhaps neither would ever convince the other. Perhaps our views would shift in some small or large ways. All in all, I think the experience would be positive… even if inconclusive.

    Several things made discussion with Karen extremely frustrating.

    One was the way she made unnecessarily outlandish statements, and then, when called out on them, absolutely refused to back down.

    It seems to me that she primarily resorted to two tactics:
    ✦ stretching her original definitions so that they might seem to incorporate the truth, and
    ✦ swapping her position to the other side while insisting that this was what she’d always said.

    Add to that the constant stream of false statements, so that by the time one had been fact checked, there were many more. (This is a common tactic used by many religious apologists and by many politicians, most notably Trump and Bolsonaro.)

    Lastly, the puzzling way she airily insisted people google the things she referred to, instead of giving the actual links. This discouraged people from verifying or falsifying her claims. She said that it was a problem with her computer, but I’ve been repairing and modifying computers and fiddling with operating systems for decades and I’ve never found anything that makes it impossible to copy the address of a web page so it can’t be pasted into a discussion. That doesn’t mean such a problem can’t exist, but I admit it seems improbable to me. I asked her several times what kind of computer she has, as I wanted to help her copy/paste addresses, but she always ignored my question.

    So, I agree that I, and some others, were harsh with Karen, but I think our frustration was warranted. Do I wish that we could have kept our normally polite natures? Yes. But I also think that would have required near superhuman powers.

    So, in the end, it is a pity. It was an insanely frustrating ride.

    But I did end up with many versions of Sleeping Beauty — 8 of them!!!! — added to my personal archive. So there’s that. 😀

  335. Joseph Carli

    Or there’s this one..:
    A group of us tradies were sitting around at smoko and somehow the conversation got around to waterfalls..One of the group..a Kiwi…proudly announced that : “In New Zealand, we have the highest waterfall in the world….30 thousand feet!”

    There was a moments silence while this bit of information sank in…then, one of the better educated of the group spoke up..
    “Hang on…the highest mountain in the world. Mt Everest is 29 thousand feet!”
    To which the piqued Kiwi responded…”Yeah..well I’m not talking about f#cking mountains, I’m talking about waterfalls!”

    Oh..another analogy…btw.

  336. Karen Kyle

    Miriam……..You think I am impossible. I think you are impossible. When I was being “slippery as you call it re Hypatia etc it was because I was incorporating new facts recently learned fom people on this site. There are a lot of falsehood and misconceptions around Hypatia and the burning of the Library in Alexandria. They are often linked together, falsely as it happens. Christians were accused of burning the Library, and I knew that wasn’t so, and murdering Hypatia. I wrongly assumed the Hypatia story was as false or rather unknown as the Library story. To an extent I still hold that view in that so much time has passed that we can never know, but we can be suspicious of Cryril.and we should say suspicion falls on whoever. and explain why. An historian’s view Socrates Ecclesiastic and so on.

    Nuclear Fusion. It is still some way off.We are not generating electricity by this method as yet. For now it remains a “proposed”source of electricity. To take me to task for saying that it doesn’t exist because the sun is a fusion reactor is beside the point when talking about man’s attempt to dublicate nature. As for Hydrogen bombs I didn’t know they were a result of Fusion energy. I was wrong on this account. And it is a terrible use of Fusion energy.

    Artificial Life…..I hardly know what to say, except that it is difficult in the extreme, in it’s infancy and I hope it doesn’t succeed. I can’t see the point and I doubt it;s success in the long run. I might be wrong, but that is how I feel about it. Real life naturally made is so abundant.

    My computer is all sorts of a mess. I have a friend who builds them. I can ask him for help when I get around to it. And I will do it in my own time. I have a lot else to do first and good reasons for doing them.

  337. Miriam English

    I don’t really want to get roped into this again…

    Karen, yes, you are difficult to converse with because you change what you say in the ways I mentioned.

    Hypatia… on the evidence of contemporaries, she was murdered by Christians. Did Christians burn the Library of Alexandria? I’m not sure. I quite possibly was wrong on that. Was she a librarian? Yes, I believe so.

    Fusion… you said flatly, no. I’ll credit that you agreed that the Sun is a fusion reactor, but you shifted the goalposts (as you do continually) to Earth only, so you lose that credit for dishonest tactics. You get a credit for admitting you didn’t know hydrogen bombs are fusion devices. I agree that it is a terrible use, but that doesn’t change the fact that it exists. Fusion reactors exist and they do fuse atoms into heavier ones. You dishonestly moved the goalposts again by changing it from “fusion doesn’t exist” to ruling it out because it isn’t yet commercially useful.

    Artificial life… it does exist, difficult or not, infancy or not, whether you fear it or not, it has already succeeded, by definition. I forgot that there is a second kind of artificial life, which has existed for decades (hard to believe I overlooked it, as I’m deeply interested in this myself and have dabbled in it). Computers can support artificial life, often inside artificial worlds, though not always so restricted. Many different kinds have been made. The simplest kind are also the most destructive — computer viruses. (I haven’t ever made viruses, which I consider an immoral use of computers.)

    Your computer… if your friend builds them then it is probably running Microsoft Windows, though it might be Linux or BSD Unix.

    To copy and paste a web address all you have to do is look near the top of whatever web browser you use, and you’ll see the address bar.

    While reading this page right now the address bar will begin with:

    If you double-click on that address bar (not the text I just wrote) it will become highlighted (change color).

    Now you can copy the highlighted text into your computer’s clipboard by either:
    ✦ using your keyboard: press CTRL-C which means hold down the “Ctrl” key and while it is held down tap the letter “c” key, then release the “Ctrl” key.
    ✦ using your mouse: right-click the highlighted text (using the right mouse button instead of the left mouse button) and choose “Copy” from the small menu that pops up.

    Now you can paste that text anywhere that the text cursor is sitting, patiently blinking, waiting for you to type something, by either:
    ✦ using your keyboard: press CTRL-V (as before hold down the “Ctrl” key and tap the letter “v” key).
    ✦ using your mouse: right-click where you want the text to go, then choose “Paste” from the pop-up menu.

    I know that looks like a lot, but it’s actually very simple. I gave detailed instructions because I don’t know how much you understand about computer use.

    If perchance you’re using Linux then it’s even easier: double-click the address bar, then move the mouse to where you want it pasted and press the middle mouse button (That’s the mouse wheel, but it can be pressed as a button too).

  338. paul walter

    The library at Alexandria has a long history, but was damaged by Julius Caesar about 48 BC. It apparently did recover somewhat but never scaled quite the heights of reputation and fame it reached during the Hellenistic era.

    Here is a good Wiki summary about the library and Hypatia and her downfall.


    Ps, I think under fire from several others KK may have got a little rattled and fired off a few a bit defensively. We have to be nice to each other.

  339. Karen Kyle

    Paul…..Thanks. Good article. It makes the Hypatia stuff a bit clearer. Poor Hypatia.

  340. Miriam English

    Karen… so, have you tried my suggestions for copy/paste of addresses?

  341. Phil

    Joseph Carli’

    What is going on my man? It is unusual for you to be taking the piss.

    You are not taking this deep conversation serious at all.

    Along the same lines the waterfalls got me thinking.

    The Australian plumber standing on the viewing platform listening to some insufferable Yank wax lyrically about the size of the Niagara Falls said. ‘ If I had my tools with me I could stop that leak. ‘

  342. Lambert Simpleton

    But it was his tool causing the leak?

  343. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..I tried. It didn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t. My computer needs a Doctor. Thanks anyway.

  344. Miriam English

    Karen, what kind of computer is it? That is to say, what operating system? Microsoft Windows? Linux? Mac? BSD Unix? Android? Amiga? Solaris?

    Have you had success copy/pasting text on any other machine, for example, at the library?

    I can’t help wondering if copy/paste works, but my instructions were just not clear enough. Perhaps if you open a text editor (notepad on MSWindows; leafpad or geany on Linux), type in some random text, and try copying and pasting text right there in the one window. The difficulty might be in understanding that the text-insertion point has to be moved appropriately. Experimenting inside a text editor might help clarify that, if that’s the case. In my experience, it is extremely unlikely to be a problem with the computer. That said, I have been known to be wrong. If I am wrong, I’d really like to know of it.

  345. Kaye Lee

    The day my son taught me about Ctrl F and Ctrl Z my life became a whole lot easier.

  346. Karen Kyle

    Yeah the computer I used at work was fine, but I don’t think this one was set up properly to begin with. It has always been a problem.It’s a good computer and useable but needs someone knowledgable to diagnose and fix. And I will have to do it, it keeps sending me messages and complaining. The poor thing. The computer at work used to send me complaining messages as well but that one was lying.

  347. Miriam English

    I’m puzzled that you didn’t answer any of the questions. Those answers might help us solve the problem and greatly improve your experience with your computer. I don’t know how I’d manage without copy and paste in my day to day use of my computer.

  348. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..I know what the problem is. A tragic story re e-mail and ISP providers. I just hope my friend can fix it.

  349. Miriam English

    Karen, I realise that you think you know, but please believe me, email and ISP problems will NOT affect your ability to copy and paste.
    Please, please try my earlier suggestions and/or my suggestions below.

    ✦ Open a text editor
    ✦ type in some text: “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”
    ✦ highlight some text by double-clicking on the word “brown”
    ✦ press CTRL-C (hold down the “Ctrl” key with one hand and briefly tap the “c” key with the other hand, then release the “Ctrl” key) to copy the highlighted text into the computer’s clipboard
    ✦ click the mouse on the space between “lazy” and “dog”
    ✦ press CTRL-V (hold down “Ctrl” key and briefly tap the “v” key) to paste the text from the clipboard into the page at the text cursor

    You should see the word “brown” appear between “lazy” and “dog”.
    Ta-da!!! You have just copy/pasted text.

    If you have any problems with this, please describe them to me in as much detail as possible and I will do my honest best to help.

    Please, please try this, Karen. Please don’t just dismiss this.
    The first time you do it it can be a bit confusing, but it will quickly become second nature and very easy.
    If you learn how to copy/paste you will make your time on the computer immeasureably easier… for you and for those communicating with you.

  350. LOVO

    Miriam, using computer ‘science’ as a Lance.
    Touché Miriam. ….touché.
    Jest sayin’😆

  351. Karen Kyle

    Miriam…..Please…….It just so happens I do know. Jesus Christ……there is a problem re e-mail addresses, typos re e-mail addresses, a now nonexistent e-mail address. And a problem with an e-mail account I have been unable to fix. Do you mind? Thank you for offering to help, but I will get my mate to come and have a look.

  352. Karen Kyle

    My computer says the AIMN site is not secure therefore it won’t allow me to highlight the address….but it has the padlock symbol on it and that is just for starters.

  353. Michael Taylor

    Karen, it certainly is a secure site. We paid a heap of money to make it so.

    If the address you see in the address bar starts with https:// then you are guaranteed it is a secure site. If it starts with http:// then you are accessing the site through our old server. (If you are accessing the site through an old shortcut or icon then that is quite possible).

    To be sure, access us through this address https://theaimn.com and then create a new shortcut.

  354. Karen Kyle

    Thank you Michael. I am sure the site is secure and that might be one problem solved…..maybe. I think I will just get my friend to come and have a look.

  355. LOVO

    Karen seems noice……(cut n’ paste that) …..no, really 😇
    The term ‘player’ comes to mind.
    Jest sayin’😆

  356. Miriam English

    Karen, I am genuinely trying to help. Please, please don’t dismiss my suggestions. They are offered in the spirit of honestly wanting to understand and fix your computer problem.

    What kind of computer are you using? That is to say, what operating system? For example Android, Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux…?

    Is your computer a desktop machine, or a tablet computer, or a phone? At home I normally use my ancient desktop computer which runs a Linux operating system, but I’m at my folks’ place at the moment and using my tablet computer which has the Android operating system. If you’re using a tablet computer you probably won’t be using a mouse (though you can). Android can be installed on a desktop computer, though that’s unlikely.

    Problems with email will not affect being able to copy/paste text.

    Did you click on the text of the address? Or did you click on the little icon next to it? It may be that a single click is enough to highlight the addess. I think I made an error suggesting you double-click the address. For most text double-clicking highlights a word, but many web browsers treat their address bar differently, and a single-click is sufficient.

    I have never seen a web browser that prevents a secure web address being highlighted. That doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist, just that I haven’t seen one. Can you tell me the name of your web browser please? For example Firefox, Chrome, InternetExplorer, Safari, Tor, Opera, PaleMoon, Midori…?

    Did you try the example I gave you about copy/pasting text within a text editor?

    I often help local people with their computers. I was helping one woman over the phone whose problem was that her computer would not turn on. When I asked her if her computer was plugged in at the wall and the wall switch was on, she angrily hung up on me. I was very surprised. I always go through a checklist of things to rule out when fixing something. And it is best to start with at the simple end first. That’s why I want to make sure you understand copy/paste.

  357. Miriam English

    Lambert, thanks for the link. The secrecy and attacks on journalists and whistleblowers is getting very creepy. I was reading the article linked below written by Greg Barnes, barrister, human rights lawyer, and former advisor to state and federal Liberal governments.
    Division and hatred are hallmarks of authoritarian regimes

    Seems to be behind a paywall. I’ll try to add the text here…

  358. Miriam English

    Talking Point: Division and hatred are hallmarks of authoritarian regimes
    September 2, 2019 12:03am

    IF you had any doubt that Australian authoritarianism is alive and that democracy is dying then the events of the past week should have put paid to such a delusion.

    The Government of Scott Morrison has, in the course of the past seven days, released draft legislation that is a charter for hatred and prejudice, defended in the public interest the prosecution of a lawyer and his client who dared to reveal the criminal activities of the deep state in East Timor more than a decade a ago, and used crude propaganda to smear asylum-seekers, yet again.

    To add to this is that finally the mainstream media in this country, because its self-interest has been rattled, is realising what has been going on, and that is that Australia is a nation with the trappings of a democracy but little else.

    The so-called religious freedom legislation released in draft form last week by the Attorney-General Christian Porter is designed for one purpose only. There are many in the Liberal Party and its extremist followers who think that it’s fine to be able to use the bully pulpit (excuse the pun) and smear any individual who is not a white heterosexual. Rugby player Israel Folau is the current pin-up boy for those who think it is OK to spew out hatred in the name of “Christianity”. The Catholic Archbishop of Tasmania Julian Porteous is another.

    Archbishop Porteous no doubt is a catalyst for the authoritarian Right’s obsession with “religious freedom”. In 2015 Porteous had distributed to Catholics in Tasmania, during the same-sex marriage debate, a pamphlet that included this statement: “‘Messing with marriage’, therefore, is also ‘messing with kids’. It is gravely unjust to them. We know that marriages and families are already under very considerable pressure today and that there is already much confusion about what they mean and how best to live marital and family life. The Church devotes much of her pastoral energy to supporting people to live married and family life well and to assisting the victims of marital and family breakdown. This convinces us that a further tearing away at the traditional understanding of marriage and family will only hurt more people — and especially more young people who, because of their vulnerability, demand particular care.”

    To appease the supporters of Folau and Porteous and the authoritarian religious Right of the Liberal Party, A-G Porter has drafted a piece of legislation which can only be seen as a charter for hatred and prejudice. As prominent Tasmanian and human rights advocate Rodney Croome rightly put it in The Age, the new law is a “licence to hate … The Porter Bill isn’t about religious freedom. It is about giving special legal privileges to prejudice. It’s about importing the American culture war that seeks to take rights away from LGBTI people and many other minorities in the name of ‘religious freedom’,” Croome observed. But then of course division and hatred are the hallmarks of authoritarian governments.

    The other hallmark of authoritarian government is that it is manipulated by, and does the bidding of, the dangerous zealots in the security state. In this case ASIO, ASIS and other more targeted agencies. The security state thinks its fine to commit crimes in the name of national security. And so that is why the Howard government approved the burglary and bugging of the East Timorese government in 2004 as part of Australia’s bullying of the world’s poorest nation in relation to oil and gas revenues. Fortunately one security agent, Witness K, wouldn’t stand for it. He hired Bernard Collaery, a Canberra lawyer, and they both rightly told the world about this evil committed in the name of this democracy. The price to be paid is the persecution of Mr Collaery and Witness K through a prosecution which Mr Porter has allowed to occur. There will be secret proceedings of course. But it is in the public interest according to Mr Porter this week. Of course it is. Destroying the rule of law is the authoritarian government’s aim.

    And linked to the Witness K case is the war the deep state in Australia has declared on the mainstream media. The very same media that has, in many instances, supported legislation in the post 9/11 environment, now finds this legal weaponry turned on it. Now the mainstream media is holding meetings, including one last week in Sydney, to proclaim that there must be legislatively enshrined freedom for them. No member of the Morrison Government attended the meeting. But why would they?

    And now to that vital tool of authoritarian propagandists, smearing minorities. Mr Morrison last week launched into a broadside about “punting” asylum-seekers who commit crimes. Mr Dutton’s loyal sidekick Mike Pezzullo, who runs the Immigration Department, says asylum-seekers have been deliberately self-harming because the medivac law gives them that incentive.

    All this in the past seven days. Do not think for a minute this was an aberration.

    Hobart barrister Greg Barns is a human rights lawyer and a former adviser to state and federal Liberal governments. He is author of Rise of the Right: The war on Australia’s liberal values.

  359. Lambert Simnel

    Marvellous posting Miriam.

    Morrison should be drowning in his own dishonesty by now.

  360. johno


  361. Miriam English

    Lambert, I can’t take credit for that article. It was an opinion piece by Greg Barnes in the Mercury.

  362. Miriam English

    Karen, no response regarding my post at 4:54 am today?

  363. LOVO

    …and exhale…….mm, …………..and yet……………….

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