Feb
24
2011
2

Is Creationism Treason?

creationism as treasonA growing movement in the U.S. is stemming from the concept of “creationism.” Creationism holds two premises. 1 is that science does not hold all the answers to the questions we have about our universe and 2 the teaching of science in schools should be augmented or replaced by literal passages from the Christian Bible. [&hel[more...]

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Jul
07
2010
0

What were Australians discussing from 1968 to 1971?

sydney-opera-house-construction-1968Towards the end of the 1960s Australia found itself embroiled in the unwinnable war in Vietnam, in support of the US Government’s campaign there. A 1968 debate strongly supported withdrawal from the war (by 35 to 5), but the withdrawal didn’t happen until after a change of government in 1972. Of the debates held by [&hel[more...]

Jul
03
2010
0

What were Australians discussing from 1964 to 1967?

australian-steam-engine-fassifernThe mid 1960s was a relatively peaceful time, and the topics discussed by the Mosman Debating Society included only a mixed smattering of international affairs subjects: That Australia should send troops to defend Malaysia against Indonesian aggression (carried) That the United Nations is a lost cause (defeated) That we support Mr Smith on Rhodesia (carried) [&hel[more...]

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Jun
27
2010
1

What were Australians discussing from 1960 to 1963?

the-twistThe debates held by the Mosman Debating Society in the first few years of the 1960s were diverse, but as always included international affairs: That darkest Africa should be declared black (defeated) That we approve of Britain’s entry into the Common Market (carried) That Indonesia is justified in her claim to West New Guinea (no [&hel[more...]

Jun
23
2010
1

What were Australians discussing during the late 1950s?

junior-farmers-picnic-transistor-radioJohnnie Ray’s music was somewhere between jazz and what was about to become rock’n’roll. He also made metaphorical waves with his “animated stage persona”, so it’s not surprising that a lively debate about Johnnie Ray was one of those held in the late 1950s by the Mosman Debating Society. That we would tear the pants [&hel[more...]

Jun
21
2010
0

What were Australians discussing during the early 1950s?

1950s-beachThe early 1950s saw post-war rationing replaced by mass production, and an increased interest in the discussion of lifestyle and cultural issues at the Mosman Debating Society, including these topics: That the influence of Hollywood is beneficial (tied) That the modern emphasis on soap proves we are dirtier than our ancestors (tied) That the arts [&hel[more...]

Jun
15
2010
0

What were Australians debating in the late 1930s?

speed-limit-30Just as the world was lifting itself out of the Great Depression, major tensions were developing in Europe and Japan that would lead to the outbreak of another world war by the end of the 1930s. Not surprisingly, topics relating to world affairs featured heavily in the debates held by the Mosman Debating Society from [&hel[more...]

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Jun
11
2010
0

What were Australians debating during the 1920s?

1920s-retro-hatThe Mosman Debating Society held regular Thursday evening debates in Sydney. I have access to only a few of the topics debated, but they open an interesting window into what was occupying people’s minds at the time. Here are some of the subjects of the debates of the 1920s. That the system of proportional representation [&hel[more...]

May
06
2010
1

What were the positive achievements of the Blair/Brown governments?

drag-huntThe UK governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will probably be long-remembered for starting brutal and unwinnable wars, and for the economic mismanagement that caused the most severe recession for decades. But if we look beyond that, can we identify worthwhile accomplishments that will form part of the legacy of the Blair/Brown years? The [&hel[more...]

Mar
26
2010
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What is Direct Digital Democracy?

votingDirect Digital Democracy is a type of Direct Democracy, where citizens directly make the laws and govern themselves. It contrasts with Representative Democracy, where a country is run by a small number of people who may or may not be elected. Direct Digital Democracy uses digital technology to enable universal participation. In practice, this means [&hel[more...]

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Mar
23
2010
2

Is the Pirate Party a joke party, or does it have real policies?

legalise-happy-birthdayIf judged only by its name, the Pirate Party might seem as wacky as the UK‘s long-established Monster Raving Loony Party. Actually, there are lots of Pirate Parties around the world, affiliated under the banner of Pirate Parties International, a Belgium-registered NGO. Although a relatively new party, the Pirate Party has representatives serving in elected [&hel[more...]

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Jun
05
2009
0

What is a “straw man” argument?

StrawA “straw man” argument is a type of argument in which the arguer attacks not his opponent’s real position, but instead a caricature or misstatement of the opponent’s position. Those who use such arguments may do so because it is more difficult to knock down the “straw man,” a weak or even nonsensical position, rather [&hel[more...]

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May
08
2009
0

Which are the most peaceful countries?

Photo by thegoinggreenboutique - CC-BYIt’s obvious that some countries are much more peaceful than others, but is there a way to measure peace? The Global Peace Index aims to do just that, and they publish their rankings. The ten most peaceful countries (in 2008) won’t surprise you: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg and Austria. [&hel[more...]

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