Homeopathy is a controversy will alternative health practice, the effectiveness of which has been argued about for decades. This BBC News article reports on a Lancet paper which concludes that homeopathy is no better than the placebo effect. Read for article here.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Here's a fascinating article on contemporary research into the causes of homosexual orientation. The article takes, as its starting point, some observations made of two boys who are identical twins but who have developed quite distinct personality traits and behaviours. The fact that they are identical twins means that they have the same genetic make-up. That means there must be some postconception factors which have influenced the two boys development. Read the whole article here.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Read this fascinating story about XXXMinistry - the story of two pastors who believe that God has called them to minister to those who are involved with the porn industry and those who are addicted to pornography. The ministry has created controversy within Christian circles but the two pastors concerned believe that it 'is about so deeply feeling the work of Christ that pulled us out of our gutters that we re-enter the gutters in order to call others out as well.'
- The two pastors have written a book about their ministry called The Gutter
- The website run by the two pastors called XXXMinistry
- A news article at WiredNews about the ministry
- A Newsweek report on the collaboration between XXXMinistry and a pornographer to produce a public service announcements warning children to stay away from pornography.
Julian Baggini has offered an interesting explanation for our phobia of clones. He suggests that we each assume we have a pretty good idea of who we are. But clones of ourselves threaten that assumption because
No matter how scientifically suspect the idea is, we think of clones as duplicates of selves. Since they are not unique, not completely free, and offer a very different perspective on who we are, they threaten all these day-to-day certainties.
Monday, August 15, 2005
A couple of nights ago I was invited to go along to hear the testimony of Tom Papania who claims to have been a member of the mafia before becoming a Christian. He had been invited to speak at two different schools where children I knew attended. In both cases he was described to me as an inspirational speaker. I wasn't able to attend the presentation. But I decided to do some research on this evangelist and discovered that he is considered to be a fraud. Here are some web sites that you might like to check out in regard to Tom Papania:
Websites critical of Tom Papania
- The Story of Tom Papania
- Tom Papania Expose
- Tom Papania Info
- Tom Papania v. Fraud Expose’, Mr. George Adames, and Mr. Joe Baffa aka Rocky Scarfone
Websites supportive of Tom Papania
Sunday, August 14, 2005
the film isn't about pedophilia itself. "[It] is really [about] the emotional journey you go on with these boys and how they deal with the aftermath ..." He [Araki] is specially irritated by the claim made by the Australian Family Association's Richard Egan that the film might encourage pedophilia by showing potential offenders how to operate. "There is no new information in the film in terms of how to do it," Araki says. "We show the cliche of the sex offender having a lot of candy to offer his victim. The idea that this is telling a sex offender how to seduce a child is literally the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, and the fact that it is a serious threat to my movie is depressing."Mysterious Skin is an important movie. It is not about pedophilia per se. It is about the damaging aftermath that follows this crime. It is a gruelling film to watch because we are forced to enter the emotional world of the two boys who experience the results of their abuse in two very different ways. The two main actors brilliantly convey the complexity of the emotions they experience. The film confronts us with a very real horror in our society and gives us the opportunity to understand, at least to some small degree, what it must be like to live with such a traumatic, life changing experience. If it makes us more vigilant and understanding then the film will have been worthwhile. My Rating: **** (out of 5) Positive Review 'A gorgeous, heartbreaking and utterly convincing work of art.' - A O Scott/New York Times Negative Review 'Had Araki chosen to illuminate, rather than exploit, the traumatic aftermath of child molestation, his wallow in the horrors of Mysterious Skin might have had a purpose. As it stands, his film is just another trashy look at America as the land of imbecilic perverts.' - Bill White/Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Ziauddin Sardar has written an important article entitled The Struggle for Islam's Soul which analyses the roots of terrorist activities in Islamic history and thought. He writes:
While most Muslims abhor violence, some terrorists are a product of a specific mindset with deep roots in Islamic history. If Muslims everywhere refuse to confront this, we will all be prey to more terror.
It is very easy to draw simplistic conclusions about Islam and its relationship to violence. But Sardar explains some importantly nuanced understandings on this topic. Read the whole article here.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
We've all read them: movie blurbs that tell us how wonderful the latest movie is along with quotes from the critics that support the claims. Well, all is not as it seems. Many of the quotations we see are taken out of context, modified, or even from non-existent critics! The Blurbs blog exposes these media manipulations. Here's some examples from the blog:
Fantastic Four (Twentieth Century Fox)
Toronto Sun: "Fun!"
Actual line: "There are some fun moments, most generated by red-hot Johnny, and moving moments, all involving the Thing. But the overall effect is still far too juvenile to feel fantastic."
Not quoted: "Fantastic Four falls too far short of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises to be called fantastic. How about The OK Quartet? ... lacks energy and drive ..."
Deseret Morning News: "Fun!"
Actual line: "Evans and Chiklis ... seem to be the only ones having fun here."
Not quoted: "Thanks to the 'X-Men' and 'Spider-Man' movies, and now 'Batman Begins,' we've come to expect great things from movies based on comic books. Unfortunately, 'Fantastic Four' doesn't come close to living up to the standard set by those films, or to those set by 'The Incredibles,' which 'Fantastic Four' resembles to a small degree. ... 'Fantastic Four' is not as horrid as early trailers made it appear. It's sporadically entertaining but never amounts to more than 'Mediocre Four.' "
Star Wars: Episode IIIRevenge of the Sith (Twentieth Century Fox)
A. O. Scott, New York Times: "Better than the original 'Star Wars.' "
Not quoted: Writer and director George "Lucas's indifference to two fairly important aspects of moviemakingacting and writingis remarkable."
It's fascinating reading. Check out The Blurbs here.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
The issue of whether Islam is violent, at its heart, is one which is provoking lots of debate. Here's an article from The Spectator which argues that Moslems '... must with honesty recognise the violence that has existed in their history in the same way that Christians have had to do, for Christianity has a very dark past.' Read the whole article here.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Here's an interesting development: A Palestinian Koranic scholar believes that the Koran predicts that the US will be wiped out by massive tsunamis in 2007, according to Charles Freund in ReasonOnline. According to Ziad Silwadi, passages in the Koran about divine punishment of terrible sins apply to the United States. Freund cites the Jerusalem Post which quotes Silwadi as saying that:
International law penalizes such crimes... If no one on earth is capable of punishing [the U.S.], Allah was and remains able to do so. All these actions have been documented by Allah in a big archive called the Koran.
Apparently, the scholar has arrived at his conclusion by calculations derived from verse counting in the Koran - a typical approach by apocalyptic prognosticators. Check out the whole story here.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Let me tell you a story. A rabbi and a priest attend a boxing match. They watch as the boxers come into the ring. The rabbi sees one of the boxers cross himself. So the rabbi turns to the priest and asks, 'What does that mean?' The priest says, 'Not a damn thing if the man can't fight.'Flight of the Phoenix is an entertaining adventure film that is sure to please the crowds. My Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5) Best Review This is high-carb filmmaking at its finest. When it's all over, you'll have a knot in your stomach. - Michael O'Sullivan/Washington Post Worst Review A moth-eaten stranded-in-the-desert yarn that throws in every cheap trick in the manual to pump up your heartbeat, is so manipulative that the involuntary jolts of adrenaline it produces make you feel like a fool. - Stephen Holden/New York Times Content Warning some language, action and violence Related Links