Confusing ignorance for the burden of proof: the key to successful anti-science claptrap

kingdom-of-anti

If it is true, where then is the evidence?

It is noble and dignified to stand firm not to an idea but the pursuit of certainty. It is humble to acknowledge the less-than completeness of our knowledge base.

Yet such an enlightened cap is too easily placed on the scalp more fitting a dunce’s cone.

Anti-science is the core kingdom of all phyla of irrationality, be it climate change “scepticism”, 911, Obama birth or moon landing truthism, creation, anti-vaccination and anti-fluoridation. A central trait of this kingdom is wilful ignorance.

Interestingly, the anti-climate-science movement has marketed itself cleverly in this regard through the tacking on of the word “scepticism” to their cause.

However, there are light years between wilful ignorance and this pretence of scepticism.

How Ignorance Differs

Whether it is the creationist demanding for the “missing link”, the climate change sceptic insisting they merely want the evidence, the anti-fluoridation advocate pleading that the science has not yet been done convincingly… whatever the anti-science angle may be; in each case the individual attempts to mask their wilful ignorance behind the burden of proof – a core scientific method.

It sounds reasonable; if the evidence is so compelling, give it to me and make me a believer.

Firstly, it is not a matter of belief, but entirely a rejection of bad belief / ideas. One accepts that all other known alternatives have been tested and found to be erroneous and thus is drawn to the pool of ideas that remain and cannot be refuted – to the best of our current knowledge.

What exposes such people for their position however is not merely that they ignore the body of scientific evidence when presented to them, not simply that they jump feverishly to the odd paper hot off the peer-reviewed press that their media outlets inform them is the “final nail in the coffin” of the given topic and not just that they continue this argument against the scientific literature completely outside of the peer-review / scientific method process; but because they do all these things simultaneously.

Choosing ignorance or to avoid scientific understanding is not scepticism of presented proof at all.

Where the Debate is Now

We have moved pass this burden in the public “debate” or better termed, conversation and are now really talking about the burden of understanding. The ball is in the court of the anti-science advocate – the burden of proof has been fulfilled – and it is not the fault of science if the enthusiast came without a racket.

Simple tests prove what greenhouse gases are and that we emit them. Only slightly more complex tests show that these greenhouse gases we emit are changing their concentration in the atmosphere. Simple tests show the world is warming. More complex tests have removed the solar or astrological radiation or other meteorological processes as the source of this change. Regardless of whether the result will be 1, 2 or 5 degrees Celsius, we are witnessing anthropogenic climate change.

Equally, the fossil record, genetics and geology all place evolution beyond a shadow of a doubt. Furthermore, Richard Lenski’s work and the body of ecological science have truly left the ball bouncing around the creationist’s court with their response little better than a Three Stooges slap-stick performance.

Again and again, the various phyla of anti-science prove that they have yet to critically review and illustrate fundamental lapses in the science, but rather attempt to pass off ignorance as valid scepticism of the body of evidence provided as proof.

This is what I spend my time writing about on NewAnthro. The anti-science advocate will not challenge the science, but offer another position instead as a competing idea and suggest that the science isn’t settled. In other words, it’s doubt mongering, it’s a sleight of hand designed to distract and confuse. Yet, I take their hypothesis, test it and show why it fails to provide a convincing argument and avoids the science completely.

Science is not about absolutes, but about drawing reasonable conclusions from the highest level of certainty available… with the error bars noted. The kingdom of anti-science instead doesn’t like the conclusion and would like something else to be concluded instead. And so all anti-science phyla ignore inconvenient evidence to pretend they stroll along the high road; sceptics surefooted on the burden of proof. Of course, the only proof they can accept acknowledges their conclusions and so they are walking backwards, down the road of dark age myth.

Eugenie Scott: Frustrations, distortions and teaching bad ideas in schools

Eugenie Scott is always an interesting and thoughtful communicator. In her recent interview with Inside Climate News, she provided a number of gems, including;

“The thing that frustrates me, and is a constant annoyance, is when you see science distorted. As a scientist, I know the process that scientists go through to come up with the conclusions. It is not like we wake up one morning and say, ‘I think it is getting warmer.’ There is a long process of data collection and analysis, constant questioning from your colleagues, and the back and forth of disputes, and presentations of more data and more models. Finally you reach a consensus. That is the way it was with evolution. That is the way it was with climate change.

But people just show up with an ideological agenda, whether political or religious or something else, and distort the conclusions that have been so hard won. This is the sort of thing that really pisses off scientists, and me.”

and;

“Creationists certainly have a right to challenge the science and present their own views to the public for consideration. And the climate change deniers can do the same thing. It is free speech.

However, you really need to think about the goal of education. We are trying to teach kids the basics of the scientific fields. You barely have time to teach them these basics, so why would you argue that students should be learning information that the scientific community has looked at and rejected as being not valid?

Geographers have concluded that the earth is not flat… just as they’ve concluded that species have common ancestors and that climate change is happening. But you don’t see anyone still arguing that we should teach that the earth is flat.”

Read the full interview here.

Sourced from the current issue of Nature, 'Evolution makes the grade'
Sourced from the current issue of Nature, ‘Evolution makes the grade’ by Lauren Morello

In short, she is ever calling for the fair weight of opposing ideas, not equal weight. Interest groups are entitled to their opinions, but this does not instantly elevate the credibility of their ideas. Such credibility is “hard won” and earned through the scientific process.

Haters are going to hate: The latest round of xenophobia in Australia

Yesterday, Ed Husic became Australia’s first Muslim frontbencher. He took his oath of office on the Koran.

Apparently, many Aussies have gone on a haters spree over the action.

Firstly, I’m non-religious, so I don’t care. I couldn’t take an oath over any book and while the exercise is supposed to mean the oath is thus done before the eyes of a certain god, I’ve seen enough poor behaviour from religious people, in the name of their god and philosophy to conclude that such an action is meaningless.

Moreover, isn’t a god supposed to be omnipresent? How many gods have the power to forgive any sin – including not living up to such oaths? Such musings leave traditions like this a little weak.

That said, Mr Husic is a Muslim. Would any of the haters like to take an oath over the Koran? I suspect not. So why should Ed do so over the Bible? Would anyone seriously think that an oath in the sight of the “wrong” religion would be of value to oath-taker in relation to their religious commitment?

More disturbing than this is the obvious Christian flare. It’s Gaynor’s “Christian Australia” which has no place in the public sector and ought to remain at best, the private pursuit of the individual in their own space. If such oath-traditions are to be carried out, let the oath-taker do so over their philosophy and get back to their religious traditions in private.

Haters over this action are an embarrassment to Australia and do nothing to improve the xenophobe image that we tend to export to the world.

“We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society”

I make it a personal rule to avoid anti-science blogs. Simply, it would be a pointless venture. C. H. Spurgeon had it right, long before the Internet was even dreamt up with, “a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on”.

Any half-baked idea can be seriously entertained if one avoids scrutiny, hence why the web is a fertile landscape for the dreamer and mad theorist alike. It takes discipline to adhere to strict guidelines of quality control and even more on such a platform as the Internet, which is why I always back up any statements with citation and/or illustrated mathematics for review.

With that in mind, I have no doubt the anti-science dreamers commonly called climate change “sceptics” would no doubt be foaming over Obama’s recent disregarding statement of their movement. That, or the Monckton’s of the world would loftily stick their noses in the air and pompously write his statement off as the rant’s of an extreme lefty matching none other than Fidel Castro (seriously, Monckton has made this insane claim in the past on “Vattelevision”, about 6:25mins into this video; disregarding strong differences between the two’s idea of leadership – for instance, Obama will step down at the end of this term – economic structure, gay rights / marriage equality, etc etc etc).

It’s good to see not only the US finally getting on-board to tackle climate change, but also China – the “final nail” in the coffin* in the argument against action on the basis of the impotence of these two big countries so far. Further, it’s great that Obama understand the difference between equal and fair weighting of a debate – hopefully he can carry that on into the class rooms regarding biology and geology (in other words, another shameful Flat Earth Society: creationism / ID).

This is the type of action that is required from leadership, which helps to undermine frankly anti-science movements (identifiable in their lack of scientific support or criticism of the basic ideas being challenged by such groups). It’s better to be slow rather than late – it gives our children and those beyond the best chance of prosperity and comfort through the actions we take on their behalf.

* Sorry, I just had to use that cliché, so often used against anthropogenic climate change with every typo in an IPCC report or flimsy scientific paper.

Marriage Equality: Helping to demonstrate just how absurd religious thinking can be

Cory Bernardi’s recent repetition of repugnant comments on marriage equality of course deserve comment and ridicule. I’m often left wondering what goes through the minds of such people whom not only uncritically write-off marriage equality, but oddly take it deeper into bizarre realms, seemingly unassisted by outside influences…

Is it really a reflection supporters of marriage equality or the minds of accusers themselves?

Anyway, the truth of the matter is best summed up in the “slippery slope” comic by B. Deutsch.

Bernardi, however, reminded me of earlier comments by Bernard Gaynor, reporting on the concerns of Bernard Gaynor. This inspired the following comic.

bernard

Dead-Head Denialism: Challenging “Sceptics” of Climate Change to Fluoridation is Zombie Warfare

It has been a while since I’ve commented on much in the way of climate science and the denial movement. Although aware of the recent noise regarding the supposed “proof” of the unfounded “scare” regarding anthropogenic climate change, citing Otto et al (2013) or foaming bile in reply to the Cook et al (2013) study illustrating that experts within relevant fields of science simply do not share the popular “scepticism” and, in fact, have moved beyond proving it – simply taking it for granted – I’ve chosen to say nothing. (see reflections on each, here and here respectively)

Why?

Because it’s the same damned nonsense that proliferated the internet when I started blogging.

The “Sceptics”

The self-titled “sceptics” illustrate their denialism in this continual rejection of the standing body of evidence. The loathed consensus is nothing more than the body of relevant human knowledge which illustrates that our emissions include gases that have a greenhouse effect and those gases are in concentrations great enough to increase the energy load within our atmospheric reservoir, changing our global climate.

The “sceptics” pretend to be reasonable – stating that all they want is sufficient proof for the position – but then reject the available body of scientific evidence and consensus (not simply two sides to the same coin, but effectively, the same thing). Yet, they up and down jump hysterically whenever they catch a whiff of a paper that sounds like it supports their position. That is not scepticism; that’s denial of the potential that one’s position could be wrong.

They don’t wait for sufficient evidence of any position, but instead for their favoured position to be proven right. And just like the creationists, they’ll have to wait for the second coming which will never happen.

The Dead-Heads

On zombies and denial, I came upon a great article by Readfearn, in which he links to a recent publication of the American Behavioral Scientist devoted entirely to the climate change denialism phenomena, which I’ve since been reading.

It all comes back to the same point; denialism, regardless of the subject matter, from climate change or evolution to what I’ve recently challenged – water fluoridation – such positions, that is, a rejection of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, are simply symptomatic of deeper ideological biases.

Creationists understand that they need creation to validate their faith (the most honest of the Abrahamic followers). The anti-vax, anti-fluoridation and even the anti-wind farmers all share a fear in the unknown; “they are exposing us to something – it must be a trap!”

And climate change feeds on many, be it, free market ideologies, fear of imposing governmental input, generational differences that rub people up the wrong way etc.

As such, correcting the wrongs, as we tend to attempt within media, is like wiping the puss without fixing the infection. Or burying the zombie still intact.

This is why the zombies exist; we fail to realise that you must lob off the dead brain within (no Mad Monckton, I’m not suggesting you should be killed – it is a metaphor).

All humans are susceptible to such leanings. We all want to think we have a good handle on the workings of the world and often don’t take too kindly when core principles of this are shattered. It’s easier to go on believing in our core values / beliefs and instead to shoot the messenger, than take the time to reflect on ourselves, admit to personal fault and adapt.

Deniers keep on denying not because they are deniers, but because they are human; individuals with certain principles that make sense to them.

Sceptics will change and can remove themselves from personal attachment to ideas where they need to, but there are far fewer of them than anyone of us is likely to admit.

So, what is the answer?

Change is a slower moving creature than we wish it were.  I have no doubt the deniers of climate change, evolution, anti-vaccination etc will exist beyond my life span. The same will be for individuals and groups opposed to same-sex rights, as do exist pockets of racists and sexists today, even within generally progressive states.

However, to challenge them with any potency, it isn’t enough to expose their denial. In fact, it’ll have little to no effect on the very people one aims the effort at.

Rather, the best approach must be to work instead on the core values leading the charge. If you promote the scientific accuracy of evolution, your primary focus must be the Book of Genesis. Without that, there is no justification for creation.

If it is one of the “they are exposing us to…” mobs, you need to refer to epidemiology as well as get to the root of “they” and the motivations of this entity. For instance, the anti-fluoridation crowd suggest fluoridation is marketing. However, one of the primary benefits pointed out by WHO, alongside the obvious health benefits, is its cheapness. Where are the fat fluoride barons?? These are very much a secret enemy conspiracy ideations.

With climate change, in reality, the question is clearly pointed at how well the free-market ideology can sustain human activity. One doesn’t need to look at climate change, but can look at the accelerated need for primary resources, increasing waste production, the rate of population growth and environmental degradation (from where many goods and services are derived); each one of them is essential to the free-market currently promoted. The nine planetary boundaries highlighted by Rockström et al (2009) are all negatively impacted by our current economic objectives.

Zombies die when you remove the dead head driving the drooling creature aimed solely at bringing everyone down. The dead head in this case is the thoughtless ideological principles driving denial against overwhelming contrary evidence. These outdated memes are the undead that really need to be challenged.

Being Wrong: How we deal with it makes all the difference.

I’ve talked a lot about similarities between the so-called “climate sceptics”, anti-vaccination activists and creationists in the past, and much of those similarities could also be shared with the anti-fluoridation camp as well, but there is one aspect of similarity between each of these four groups that I have yet to discuss.

From my experience, each one is happy to name-call and partake in science paper fight – both pointless, ego-centric activities – but yet typically fall silent when one takes their evidence seriously and finds it lacking.

A very public example which many of us witnessed is that between Peter Hadfield and Christopher Monckton. The latter was pompous, bombastic and feverish in his initial replies to Peter’s work, but when Peter offered to debate with him, the only conclusion an observer can make is that Ol’ Chris scampered.

With my own work, I have increasingly come to the realisation that pointing out where the best science stands does little to convince the true believers – it only solidifies their bogus positions through a supposed arrogance / ignorance within established scientific methodology.

This is the fertile grounds for propagating “ivory tower” conclusions or secret agendas.

Rather, I try to critique the counter evidence provided to me and explore this myself within the real world.

I’ve looked at the arguments provided by The Queenslanders for Safe Water, Food and Air inc. president, Merilyn Haines, after I became aware of her through her comment on NewAnthro. All of my work has been, thus far, devoid of any Merilyn “approved” rebuttals.

Equally, the day and half I wasted exploring data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics relating to bladder and lung cancer on the behalf of Dan Germouse, after his comments on NewAnthro, went by without comment.

In the early years of my blogging, I was foolish enough to play into the hands of such trolls and become frustrated by their personal attacks. I did waste countless hours researching papers to provide the scientific reasoning for a given position, or in reply to their proposed argument, only to be hurled back favoured scientific material (regardless of the quality or the actual standing of the paper); what merely descended into a paper war.

These activities, I felt at first to be worthwhile – I was at least engaging them. However, they are emotionally draining and circular; deliberate attempts to wear one down rather than advance understanding.

Developing my work into my current approach, I’ve noticed that such pet theorists are inclined to avoid arguments they cannot refute. Regardless of my efforts to correct and engage Merilyn, from her recent interview on ABC radio, it is clear that she still parrots off the same nonsensical claims. I suppose Dan moved on to greener pastures following my effort, to continue to moan on supposed “pain and suffering” due to water fluoridation.

The hardened and indeed committed “sceptic” to such matters as anthropogenic climate change, vaccination, evolution, fluoridation and whatever other conspiracy ideation you wish to mention will simply side-step an argument they cannot refute rather than acknowledge personal error.

In reality, the biggest insult they produce is entirely upon themselves. Such avoidance of counter-evidence is as debilitating as that we all seem to shake our heads over, such as parents whom deny their child medical assistance on the basis of religion or “natural medicine”. It’s incapacity to accept fault and improve.

I’m not stating that my work on NewAnthro is faultless and know that some of my analyses must include certain caution, acknowledgement of error bars, due to confounders. For instance, with my look into rates of bladder and lung cancer, I assumed that other factors that may confound my results, such as the average age of the population, immigration and emigration, are more or less homogenous between the study groups at a state level.

My analysis largely hinged on exploring Hirzy et al (2013) whom state that there is additional “pain and suffering of citizens” due to “the use of technical grade fluoridation agents”. I expected that, if there is indeed evidence of this, it should be evident within the Australian dataset with Queensland the obvious control group.

Within my analysis of the Australian Coalition’s Direct Action Plan, I even make a note of criticisms I would expect and attempt to provide my argument in reply.

Being wrong is as valuable as being right, provided you can admit fault and move on. The true believe remains true, entirely at the cost of any credibility they may have held.

How the Enlightenment Has, So Far, Let Us Down

As a child, learning of the Enlightenment, I came to think of it as a revolution. To me, I saw it as a point where our species finally developed a critical tool kit, leading us to empirical evidence and thus a solid basis for understanding. I saw it as a turning point from ancient unfounded thinking to the modern era, leading to the industrial revolution and ultimately all that surrounds us today. I felt pride for our achievements and lucky to have been born in such an enlightened age.

I suspect most people see the Enlightenment in much the same way. However this is entirely wrong.

Yes, a small group of our species turned from philosophical reasoning to the more concrete tools that would develop into scientific methodology which in turn created the technological wonders of recent centuries, but this wasn’t universal.

Even today, in affluent countries where individuals are exposed to greater education than ever before, opinion and reason are simply not given their due weighting. Look for instance at media where the hard won lessons of research compete on even grounds with the cleverly designed opinion of a few and the reader is more often unaware of the absurdity.

How often have I heard, “because I believe in [a favoured holy scripture], I think…” as an opening of an answer to a question about the natural universe as though it were virtuous and sensible.

When one chooses to tackle any alternative to scientific reasoning, from the various alternative medicine ideologies (eg, natural therapy, anti-fluoride, anti-vaccination etc), religion to the popular climate change “scepticism”, one finds the same fundamental problem; faith in an idea that holds little to no empirical grounding. Such belief ultimately rejects reality as it is understood in favour of the unsubstantiated idea.

What’s more, the larger community tends to give them the respect of airing; everyone has an opinion and each opinion deserves a voice.

We don’t honestly believe this as there are many ideas that are abhorrent. For instance, racial discrimination is nowadays increasingly left to pockets of disliked groups to complain about within their sub-communities (I suspect gender preference discrimination will follow the same fate over the coming decades).

Yet where the idea holds no emotional response or social rejection, we fail almost entirely to demand solid evidence for the supposed factual claim as part of its right to airing. The Enlightenment may have provided the conception of modern scientific methodology, but it has not improved the awareness of critical reasoning for the vast majority of our species. We are by and large as drawn to myth and misconception as anyone else beyond the scope of the Enlightenment.

For all the talk, debate and correction one finds within various media in response to a certain falsehood, we achieve meagre returns outside of where doubt already exists within the faithful. The devout remain devout if not even further solidified to their delusions for all the effort undertaken to correct the misinformation.

The emphasis must therefore be on education. Religion has applied this for millennia; knowing all too well faith is more likely ensured if the mind is hijacked at a young age. We must shore up the minds of our youth with dedicated teaching in critical thinking prior to insult of erroneous memes and outright assault from faith. In essence, ensuring our children are not credulous through the provision of a personal critical tool kit – by educating them from a young age how to test an idea (that is, how to think, not what to think) – we are effectively vaccinating them against invasive detrimental memes.

A few generations hence with such dedicated effort and maybe we might be able to come close to the common perception of the Enlightenment.

Misleading: Is Merilyn Haines the Innocent Casting Stones?

Once again, I’ve noticed a spike in the traffic to NewAnthro due to searches on Merilyn Haines and fluoridation. A quick search shows that the anti-fluoride crusaders are blowing their own trumpet over their successes so far this year in denying children additional protection to give their teeth the best chance of surviving a life time of service, not unlike the anti-vax crowd whom high-five one another when another parent chooses to expose their children to polio, measles mumps and rubella, various forms of hepatitis etc.

Further, I found that yesterday, Merilyn Haines was interviewed alongside Dr Michael Foley whom is not only a dentist, but also a former president of the ADA. I’m certain she walked away feeling she had done her cause justice, but anyone unblinkered on the subject could see that she was owned.

One needs only a single Merilyn quote from the interview; “It’s a bit misleading to say that it’s [fluoride] is natural”

So who is misleading?

    • Firstly, I’ve made the point before that you can extract sodium chloride (commonly known as table salt) from many sources; including the ocean and even your own urine! If you extract it well, it remains simply table salt – “industrial waste” is misleading.
    • Dr Foley reminds her that the fluorides used break down to the same ions and molecules found already in the water supply, but lead to a small increase in fluoride levels, which has been proven to increase dental health – Merilyn stating that the raw material prior to being added to the water is a “poison” is misleading.
    • Merilyn states that the fluorides used are allowed to include as much as 600 mg of lead per kilo. Firstly, that doesn’t mean that they do have that much. Secondly, 600 mg is 0.6 % of the mixture; this mixture is then diluted down to 1 part per million, thus such a water supply may have as much as 6 parts of lead per billion! I could understand if the fans of homeopathy may faint at such “high” concentrations, but for everyone else, she is overstating the exposure to lead which of course is misleading.
    • That she instead points to other trace chemicals found in the fluoride mixtures when asked about poisons is, in itself, misleading; if the fluorides are as bad as she states, no bait-and-switch would be required.
    • Merilyn argues that the study comparing tooth decay in Townsville children (fluoridated water supply) to Brisbane children (not fluoridated water supply) showed no significant difference in decay of permanent teeth. However, the children were aged between 5 to 12 years, with permanent teeth only starting to appear at the higher end of this study group, thus not having much exposure time to potential decay. Focusing on adult tooth decay in children, Merilyn, is misleading.
    • Merilyn refers to the 2007 NSW Dental Health Survey to support her case. She states that 25% of children had dental fluorosis. The report on the other hand states, “More than 97% of 8 to 12 year old children do not display any discernible signs of fluorosis.”
      Actually looking at the report, at best, she can only claim that fluoridation increases rates colouration of teeth on any level by 8%, however with the level of agreement between assessors and what is fluorosis and what is not, any more than the 3% is dubious (more here).
      The same report also states, “For all ages, only 40% of children from non-fluoridated areas, compared with 53% of children from  fluoridated areas were caries free
      Merilyn’s representation of the report is misleading.
    • Merilyn points to her access to good information, however, my previous articles and videos on fluoride would argue that this too is misleading. She refers often to bad sources or misrepresents the study, such as;
    • Merilyn, while not naming the paper, refers again to osteosarcoma. This relates to the Bassin et al (2006) which I have previously shown that the researchers involved do not agree with her conclusions, thus she again is misleading.

Merilyn’s “facts”

Dr Foley retorts at one point, “Merilyn, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts”.

The fact is, Merilyn needs to ignore the science and those who challenge her to maintain an erroneous position and her success is base purely upon misleading others over and over again until the scaremongering pulls them in line. There’s no surprise as to why Queensland has a number councils rejecting fluoridation when they have Queenslanders for “Safe” Water, Air and Food to deal with.

Find my previous articles on the subject here.

Bernard Gaynor on Bernard Gaynor’s Feelings Towards Gay Rights

I’ve had brought to my attention the most amazingly stupid article [Thanks you, Simon].

On Bernard Gaynor’s blog, Bernard Gaynor talks about Bernard Gaynor’s comments regarding homosexuality and Bernard Gaynor’s opinion on what the PM and opposition leader’s feelings are towards homosexuality are and what they both would think regarding a teacher’s attitude towards homosexuality (honestly, he speaks about himself in the third person).

Here’s a couple gems reported by Bernard Gaynor quoted from Bernard Gaynor;

“Furthermore, considering both Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard oppose gay marriage it makes perfect sense that they would also be uncomfortable with teachers promoting a lifestyle that has serious negative health consequences and is opposed to the values of the majority of Australians.”

“Australia has always been a Christian country and the vast majority of Australians continue to hold Christian values.”

“It would be a sad day for Australia if its Christian population was prevented from freely practicing its religion.”

Serious negative health consequences? Can he please elaborate?

And why on Earth would a typical teacher spend their time promoting anything but for the syllabus?

As for the religiosity of Australia, the Census data states that of the Christian beliefs, 25.3% of Australians are Catholic, but 22.3% of Australians are list themselves as having no religion in 2006 (stats that have shifted towards no religion in 2011). Yes, if you group all Christians, the majority of Aussies are Christian, but why would you do that? Nowhere else has the religious war been greatest in the past 2000yrs than between different Christian groups.

Lastly, how does having teachers liberal on the subject of gay and lesbian rights prevent a Christian from freely practicing? I must have overlooked The Sydney Mardi Gras’s objective to crush all Christians… or demand they “party down.”

No, the only prevention of human rights being carried is the subjection of the equal rights for all Australians based purely of religious bigotry and stupidity such as that expressed by Bernard Gaynor reporting on Bernard Gaynor.