Friday, June 29, 2007

More Melbourne Meanderings...

One of the great things about living in this city is exploring not just spatially, but temporally as well. For the past two years we have taken the students to Urban Seed, which is situated at 116 Lt Bourke St. This building has had an interesting history and it's fun to tell the kids what activities went on here.

Previous to being the home of Urban Seed, an organisation helping homeless and addicts, it was Ancient Times House. From 1954 till 1999, it used to house a collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean. It famously housed a mummified child. This collection was put together by the Australian Institute of Archaeology. This sounds like a genuine scientific collaboration trying to unravel the past using the time honoured process of critical enquiry. But you would be mistaken. It was basically set up to "prove" that the bible is true.

It used the same logic and archaeological evidence of guys like Sir William Ramsay who is always portrayed as a former atheist who came to believe that the bible was true after much research. Whether he was or not a rabid atheist is disputable. Needless to say, archeology as a science has evolved dramatically since Sir William's time of the late 19th century. His evidence that the bible, more specifically Luke, is true is that place names match. Does this mean that Shane Maloney's books are true because they contain real places? Hang on, didn't I seen Murray Whelan walking down Sydney Rd ? A friend of mine, the Stallion, was once shown a copy of the Ten Commandments (in 1991) on small tablets as they would have been originally written, or so the curator said. Wow. Too bad that there is no current archaeological evidence at all that the exodus happened. In fact, the evidence points against it. The bits and pieces of this collection are mostly housed at Latrobe Uni.

Before housing these artifacts, I've been informed that the building was the home of the Communist Party during the time that Menzies tried to outlaw it (the party, not the building). Is there anyone out there that can confirm this?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stories worth keeping

I've been meandering through the city over the last few days with my students who are discovering many aspects of our city. As part of their experience we headed into ACMI for a presentation on their Digital Stories program. ACMI have recorded stories about people from all walks of life which run for about 3-4 minutes. I didn't expect much, however I was moved to tears whilst watching some of these incredible tales. The presenter really knew which stories would emotionally affect you. The stories of immigrants were the ones that got me going. Images of places where family members also were interned, photos so similar to ones seen on mantle pieces, tales from past worlds, strangers in a strange land. Then there were stories told by those who have led lives so different to the one you have experienced. You got to see how they viewed the world around them.
We all have a story that should be saved for posterity.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ball!!!!! Yes!!!!!!

The community cup is on again this weekend and while cleaning up around the house, I found the footy record from the community cup that I went to in 1998. This is just more reminiscing from me.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How did they know I was a Dandy Warhols fan??

These are the comments from my post I just didn't get it.

Anonymous_1 said...

Godless hippy,

The light wouldn't go out if you were reading the Good Book for once. God would keep it on becuase (sic) he loves you and wants you to be saved.

A-Man said...

Hah! Godless hippy. That's awesome. I can't even tell if anonymous is being sarcastic or serious.

If he/she is actually serious, I have a question...
In the history of electricity and churches, has there ever been a light globe go out in a church or other Christian establishment? Or in fact, at the house of anonymous? Because, if any light globes have ever been replaced even once, then by your logic, God doesn't love you or the patrons of the churches either...

Anonymous_1 said...

Dear A-man,

There is a circle in Hell set aside for people who ask rhetorical questions. They sit next to the sarastics (sic), those who make puns, and those who blind their hearts and minds to the truth by using tricks of language.

Of course lightbulbs eventually go pop. They are man's inventions, not God's creations.

If God wants a person to read the Good News, He will intervene in the world as necessary. That is proved a thousand times in the Old and New Testament. I suggest you educate yourself.

But if you "scientists" want to do the world a service, why don't you get yourself to a church one time, with a pencil and pad, and observe there if a lightbulb blows and observe whether anyone at the time was reading a Bible.

Instead you use poor logic to make the nasty minded joke that if a lightbuld goes out then God has foresaken (sic) his believers. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are a callow youth and do not know what you say.

Anonymous_2 said...

"Proved a thousand times in the Old and New Testament"?

Anonymous, you accuse A-man of poor logic and then base your argument on the assumption that something is in a book, so it must be true? Where is the tangible evidence? This post is about science and proof, which you have provided none of.

I wonder; if Harry Potter was written 2000 years ago, would we take that to be fact also?

This discussion is a good example of the difference between dogma, in particular religious dogma, and science. The dogmatist makes the statement "I am right", while the scientist asks the question, "Am I right?".

So how do we know who is right? Who makes the better argument? Who is using reason and who is using logical fallacies?

Let's start. The burden of proof is always on the claimant.
Evidence has to be provided by the person making the statement or hypothesis. Also, and this is crucial, the hypothesis has to be a non-negative statement. For example, "God exists" is a valid hypothesis whereas "God does not exist" is not. Let's replace the word god with "A teapot in orbit around Jupiter" or "The Flying Spaghetti Monster". Now it is impossible to rule out these two. However, there is just no evidence to suppose these things exist. Also, does the existence or non-existence of the teapot affect our understanding of nature? If not, then we can invoke Occam's Razor and disregard the hypothesis that the teapot exists in its said location.

Now A-Man is just after some evidence that anonymous_1's god exists. It's not up to him to prove that god doesn't exist, it's up to anonymous_1 to prove he/she/it does. What makes good evidence? As anonymous_2 says quite rightly, just because something is written down does not make it true.

So let's have a look at anonymous_1 evidence:
God loves us. Firstly, you have to prove god exists. You can't assume something you want to prove. Next.

That is proved a thousand times in the Old and New Testament. Give me chapter and verse of these instances. Oh, and make sure you specify which book you want to use. Have you read the works that your book has been translated from? Do you agree with its translation? Do you have it in its original tongue? Why do you think that these texts are factual or represent actual people? One assumption made here is that I haven't read the said texts and researched their origins. Doing so was one rationale that led me to the conclusion that there is no possible reason for such a being. In fact, I would even put it that these texts actually provide arguments against god's existence.

But if you "scientists" want to do the world a service, why don't you get yourself to a church one time, with a pencil and pad, and observe there if a lightbulb blows and observe whether anyone at the time was reading a Bible. (I'll just neglect the assumption that I haven't been to church. For 15 years I went to church, ah, and I can't help writing this pun, religiously.) An experiment we can perform. To make this a watertight experiment, the claimant must agree that if a lightbulb blows whilst someone is reading a bible then their god doesn't exist. They must be happy with the experimental conditions. No escape clauses. Then we can have someone continuously reading the bible with lightbulbs on all around.

The rest of the comments are just ad hominem attacks. It is the refuge of those that just can't provide any credible evidence.

Until such time as conclusive evidence can be given, I shall remain a "godless hippy".

(By the way, the day I gave up believing in the invisible being was the most liberating experience of my life so far. It wasn't easy. The entire process took a long time.)

Monday, June 11, 2007


Stuff that's in my head at the moment needing to be let out.

1) Corrections/retractions in a newspaper should be printed on the same page and in the same headline font as the original story.

2) Going to the footy this year (when we are not interstate, which seems to be every second week) has been so much more enjoyable than last year. We (The North Melbourne Football Club, not the Kangaroos) are playing a hard tackling, quick moving, chance taking brand. I'm enjoying the work of 19 (will be a future captain of the club), 11 (soon to join the 300 club), 24 (runs out of the backline like Dench did), 10 (our first father and son, and he will be a gun), 43 (a silent tackling assassin), 20 (not quite Shimma, but doing a magnificent job down back), 1 (he will/is scaring opposition coaches). It would only get better if we could get rid of 16, and bring back 38, 8 and 23. And I'm not reading all the gloom and doom stories in the paper.

3) Correcting exams is so boring. It's that time of the year and I also have to write reports this week. The new reporting system is not going to please some parents. But don't get me started on it.

4) I'm hosting a couple of trivia nights over the next month and I been having fun writing the questions, finding faces for my famous faces section, and putting together a music round that will be slightly different to the music rounds of previous trivia nights. I have this urge to test the questions on everyone, but I can't considering that there could be a leak. Anyway, here are famous faces from a previous trivia night.

5) I need to go out and see some bands. Rock and/or roll, it doesn't matter.

6) Training is going well and I feeling quite fit at the moment. The bodies taken a lickin' but it's kept on tickin'. I should be writing the next weights phase for the squad but I'm procrastinating.

7) Attitude to existence, keep em busy so they don't think, Am I right? versus I am right!. These are just notes to myself for future rants.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Old school III

Time to revisit old nightclubs again.
Chasers was a Melbourne institution and hosted one of the best nights, Outlaw. The Hound Dog and Stratos used to spin excellent tracks and knew their ROCK. Many memories.