Episode 193 – Hugh Harris on Politics, Religion and Sex

Hugh Harris joins the podcast to discuss Politics, Religion and Sex in Australia.

0:56 The 8th of March was International Women’s Day

What better way to celebrate than to get the opinion of another white privileged heterosexual male … Hugh Harris.

1:58 Celia Hammond

It could be worse. We could be the Liberal Party preselecting Celia Hammond for Julie Bishop’s seat.

According to Crikey:

So who is Celia Hammond, the woman walking into one of the safest Coalition seats in the country?

Hammond has spent 21 years at Fremantle’s Catholic University of Notre Dame, and has served as vice chancellor since 2008. During this time, Hammond has had plenty of occasions to comment on various social issues which are now the source of controversy around her candidacy.

… Previously, in an email to staff in 2013, she responded to concerns over the status of campus groups that supported same-sex marriage, by saying some clubs could “compromise the university’s Catholic identity and mission”.

Curtin voted 74% in favour of marriage equality.

Hammond does have one thing in common with her predecessor — she also doesn’t identify as a feminist. A speech from 2013 emerged during the preselection process in which she said she did not identify with the term, because, according to her, the movement had become “pro-abortion, anti-men, anti-tradition and anti-family”.

“One of the results of the militant feminist movement is to say you want to be a mother, to say you want to stay home, that you want to look after the house and raise the children, is not an acceptable life goal.”

She also took a dim view of “premarital casual sex”:

I have never known a single woman who has been able to have a premarital casual sexual encounter, or that sort of relationship, who hasn’t actually, whether they knew or acknowledged it at the time, been searching for something more… What they’re being sold is a pup.

This quote came during a speech delivered to the Dawson Society for Philosophy and Culture— a Catholic think tank in Perth dedicated to the “renewal of Christendom”.

12:57 Catholic Hospitals and Abortion

The Catholic sector will be exempt from federal Labor’s plans to tie hospital funding to the provision of abortion services.

Announcing the opposition’s new women’s health policy on Wednesday, health spokeswoman Catherine King and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said a new funding agreement between a Labor government and the states and territories would “expect that termination services will be provided consistently in public hospitals”.

On Wednesday, Ms King’s office phoned leaders from the Catholic health sector to assure them that a Labor government would not withhold funding from Catholic hospitals refusing to perform terminations on religious grounds.

This is not a normal business refusing to supply a service. This is a hospital providing a basic government function. It is a contractor for the government (like marriage celebrants) and therefore subject to government rules and requirements. It is filled with health professionals that have received subsidised training from the community. All of that would be enough but it also takes government money.

18:11 What about Assisted Dying?

A 2016 Canadian case

Ian Shearer, 84, was rushed to St. Paul’s in August, the closest hospital available, suffering from spinal stenosis, heart disease, kidney failure, and sepsis. As his condition worsened and grew more painful, his daughter, Jan Lackie, said the former Calgary accountant requested euthanasia, but St. Paul’s refused to provide it as a Catholic hospital.

When doctors elsewhere who were willing to euthanize him reduced his dosage of painkillers in order to ensure his conscious consent, the pain increased. When they arranged to move him to another hospital, the ambulance was hours late and the ride, according to Lackie, excruciatingly painful. But once he was safely out of the Catholic hospital, Shearer was quickly dispatched.

“To hear him crying out, screaming … was just horrible,” Lackie told the National Post. “That’s what keeps me from sleeping at night. … I don’t want any other person to go through what he did.”

Shaf Hussain, a spokesman for Providence Health Care, which operates St. Paul’s along with six other Vancouver-area Catholic health facilities, declined to comment on the Shearer case. However, he told the National Post that neither assisted suicide nor euthanasia would be provided at St. Paul’s, but patients who so desired would be transferred to other institutions that offer them.

Hussain said Providence’s policy prohibited the signing of consent forms to euthanasia or assisted suicide at any of its facilities. According to the Post’s story, Vancouver euthanist Dr. Ellen Wiebe snuck into St. Paul’s pretending to be a friend of Shearer’s in order to arrange his death.

22:31 Why Women Don’t Choose Tech

On differences between men and women.

Social justice warrior (SJW) feminists insist the disparity between men and women in select STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields results primarily from sexist oppression by good ol’ boys.

… persistence of stereotypes, …(is) not the whole story. Other reasons for the “gap” center around studies pointing to divergence in interests between human males and females, as well as structural brain differences. These and other areas of research suggest aggregate biological distinctions that account for much of the disparity between the sexes in the more technical and less interpersonal STEM fields.

Men Build Servers for Fun
After Google terminated Damore last year, Megan McArdle offered some insight into the nature of information technology (IT) before embarking on economic analysis. She wrote:

Until the age of 26, I was employed as a technology consultant by a small firm that served the financial industry. I built servers and workstations… I came into work one Monday morning and joined the guys at our work table, and one of them said ‘What did you do this weekend?’ I was in the throes of a brief, doomed romance. I had attended a concert that Saturday night. I answered the question with an account of both. The guys stared blankly. Then silence. Then one of them said: ‘I built a fiber-channel network in my basement,’ and our coworkers fell all over themselves asking him to describe every step in loving detail. At that moment I realized that fundamentally, these are not my people. I liked the work. But I was never going to like it enough to blow a weekend doing more of it for free. Which meant that I was never going to be as good at that job as the guys around me.

This assessment isn’t merely anecdotal. According to Rong Su in Psychological Bulletin, men have generally more interest in things, in contrast to women being more interested in people. Her study shows this difference as quite stark: “Men and women differed by almost a full standard deviation in the Things – People dimension. This mean difference of 0.93 indicates that… up to 82.4% of the male respondents have stronger interests in things-oriented careers than an average female… [and] only 13.3% of female respondents were more interested in engineering than an average man, whereas 74.9% of female respondents showed stronger Social interests than the average man.”

Moreover, while many men and women both possess strong mathematical aptitude, those who also have strong verbal aptitude (more often women) have wider career prospects to select from. Ming-Te Wang observes, “among males and females with comparable outstanding aptitude in math, females are likely to outperform males in verbal ability.” His research indicates “Individuals in the high-math / high-verbal ability group were less likely to have chosen STEM occupations by age 33 than those in the high-math / moderate-verbal ability group. [Thus,] the gender effect on selection of a STEM occupation diminished when the ability-pattern variable was added to the model.”

One can conclude that male nerds stay in STEM partly out of preference, but also because their alternatives offer less promise (such as sleeping under bridges). By contrast, women with mathematical proficiency can more easily navigate into less impersonal careers at their discretion.

What about the hornet’s nest of biological differences?

Various researchers have compared human brain tissues. Madhura Ingalhalikar explored structural brain connections in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study. “Modularity describes how well a complex neural can be delineated into coherent building blocks. Transitivity characterizes the connections of a given region to its neighbors… Both modularity and transitivity were globally higher in males, consistent with stronger intrahemispheric connectivity… [and] numerous regions in the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes had significantly higher participation coefficients in females than in males.” Her study also demonstrated differences in behavioral performance: females surpassed males on attention, word and face memory, and social cognition tests, and the reverse on motor and spatial memory tasks.

Ashley Hill investigated working memory networks and determined that males display greater mathematics and object working memory, while females feature greater verbal memory. Katherine Keller evaluated the neuroanatomy of math cognition and found sex differences in cognitive strategy. Dardo Tomasi discovered lower brain connectivity in men, which suggests more specialized mental processing.

Additional reports supplement these results. Adriene Beltz observed that females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) exhibit much higher preference for objects over people than unaffected females—at levels similar to males, who seem uninfluenced by CAH.

27:55 Giving Women a Bad Name

The new Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds was interviewed on Sky.

30:10 James Boyce

Hugh Harris posted an article where James responded to criticism of his earlier article.

The central question at the heart of the overdue debate about Scott Morrison’s Pentecostalism is this: Do Australians have a right to know the central teachings of the religion of the Prime Minister of the country?

Contrary to the suggestion of Stephen Fogarty my recent article in the Monthly, “The Devil and Scott Morrison,” did not claim that Pentecostalism should be treated differently from other belief systems in public debate. Rather, my view is that it should be treated exactly the same. If an Australian Prime Minister had values that were formulated from a poorly understood sect of Islam, a little-known branch of socialism or a philosophical tradition that few people had knowledge of, my argument would still be that people have the right to be told the fundamentals teachings of that ideology, and that a politician has a responsibility to answer questions in relation to it.

Unlike the mainstream denominational backgrounds of John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbot, few Australians are familiar with the current Prime Minister’s branch of Christianity. It is simply our long-standing democratic right to be informed.

Check out the IFVG index.

The Impossibility of Nothingness

Hugh’s theory

Will Smith and Colourism

An upcoming biopic about the father of Serena and Venus Williams has faced criticism amid reports that Will Smith will play the lead role.

Richard Williams, 77, coached his daughters to become two of the world’s greatest tennis players, despite having no previous experience of the game.

But Smith’s reported casting in the film has angered critics, who say he is too light-skinned for the part.

The actor has not yet commented on the reported casting or the criticism.

Colourism is a form of discrimination against dark-skinned people in favour of those with lighter skin from the same race.

Pie has his say

58:47 The Hipster Effect

The story in the MIT Technology Review detailed a study about the so-called hipster effect — “the counterintuitive phenomenon in which people who oppose mainstream culture all end up looking the same.”

The inclusion of a version of a Getty Images photo of a bearded, flannel-wearing man, tinted with a blue and orange hue, prompted one reader to write to the magazine: “Your lack of basic journalistic ethics in both the manner in which you ‘reported’ this uncredited nonsense, and the slanderous, unnecessary use of my picture without permission demands a response, and I am, of course, pursuing legal action.”

So in the end our creative director … wrote to Getty Images and said,”Look, we have an angry reader who doesn’t like the way we used this photo. Could you check that you know that he signed a model release and the license is all in order?”

They have a team that deals with legal complaints and they went into their archive and checked the details and they came back to us and they said, “Actually the model in this photo does not have the same name as the person who wrote to you.”

They wrote to him and … said, “We don’t think this is you.” And he replied, “Oh, I guess you’re right, it’s not.”

1:01:42 Venezuela and Richard Branson

John Pilger on Venezuela

“Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored,” said former President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center, is a respected monitor of elections around the world, “I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” By way of contrast, said Carter, the U.S. election system, with its emphasis on campaign money, “is one of the worst.”

Since Chavez’s death in 2013, his successor Nicolás Maduro has shed his derisory label in the Western press as a “former bus driver” and become Saddam Hussein incarnate. His media abuse is ridiculous. On his watch, the slide in the price of oil has caused hyperinflation and played havoc with prices in a society that imports almost all its food; yet, as the journalist and film-maker Pablo Navarrete reported this week, (Feb 2019) Venezuela is not the catastrophe it has been painted.

“There is food everywhere,” he wrote. “I have filmed lots of videos of food in markets [all over Caracas] … it’s Friday night and the restaurants are full.”

In 2018, Maduro was re-elected president. A section of the opposition boycotted the election, a tactic tried against Chavez. The boycott failed: 9,389,056 people voted (46% Vs 58% in the USA); 16 parties participated and six candidates stood for the presidency. Maduro won 6,248,864 votes, or 68 percent.

On election day, I spoke to one of the 150 foreign election observers. “It was entirely fair,” he said. “There was no fraud; none of the lurid media claims stood up. Zero. Amazing really.”

Like a page from Alice’s tea party, the Trump administration has presented Juan Guaidó, a pop-up creation of the CIA-front National Endowment for Democracy, as the “legitimate President of Venezuela.” Unheard of by 81 percent of the Venezuelan people, according to The Nation, Guaidó has been elected by no one.

Remember when the US wanted to overthrow the Israeli government for not letting desperately needed humanitarian relief into Gaza and firing tear gas and live bullets at protesters? Weird. Me neither.”

A good article exposing common lies about Venezuela

I was sitting in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, reading the online edition of Time magazine (5/19/16), which carried a report that there was not even something as basic as aspirin to be found anywhere in Venezuela: “Basic medicines like aspirin are nowhere to be found.”

I walked out of the apartment to the nearest pharmacy, four blocks away, where I found plenty of aspirin, as well as acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) and ibuprofen (generic Advil), in a well-stocked pharmacy with a knowledgeable professional staff that would be the envy of any US drugstore.

A few days after the Time story, CNBC (6/22/16) carried a claim that there was no acetaminophen to be found anywhere, either: “Basic things like Tylenol aren’t even available.” That must have taken the Pfizer Corporation by surprise, since it was their Venezuelan subsidiary, Pfizer Venezuela SA, which produced the acetaminophen I purchased. (Neither Time writer Ian Bremer nor CNBC commentator Richard Washington was in Venezuela, and there was no evidence offered that either of them had ever been there.)

I purchased all three products, plus cough syrup and other over-the-counter medications, because I doubted that anyone in the United States would believe me if I couldn’t produce the medications in their packages.

From Caitlin Johnstone: The concert is pure narrative control operation, designed to advance the proven lie that the Venezuelan government is shutting out all humanitarian aid from its people, and the proven lie that it has blockaded a bridge to prevent the aid from getting through.

1:35:03 Beer Sponsors and Patrons

1:36:14 A plug for Shelley Segal

1:37:47 A review of online resources.

1:43:40 The Rationalist Society

Hey ABC RN, enough already with the religious programs! Where are the interviews with Humanists, Rationalists, Skeptics, Atheists, and Secularists? A third of Australians consciously identify as having “No religion”. Where are the programs for us?

Um … well there is one program not on the ABC and most of the time you can’t be bothered plugging it.

Australian Atheists have a policy !! Andrew Rawlings posted this:

The Australian Atheists group is not intended to have policies but on this occasion, how do members feel about a policy against the Catholic Church forcing their religious beliefs on public hospitals that they control?

1:54:09 Elizabeth Warren

Wants to break up big tech companies.

America’s big tech companies provide valuable products but also wield enormous power over our digital lives. Nearly half of all e-commerce goes through Amazon. More than 70% of all Internet traffic goes through sites owned or operated by Google or Facebook.

Companies with an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more and that offer to the public an online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties would be designated as “platform utilities.”

These companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform. Platform utilities would be required to meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users. Platform utilities would not be allowed to transfer or share data with third parties.

Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform utilities under this law. Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well.

Wants a wealth tax. What if Australia implemented the Elizabeth Warren Wealth Tax? Checkout our page.

2:02:10 Holy Man by Shelley Segal

Hi Trevor

Thanks for reaching out and for thinking of me!!
I really appreciate it.
I’d be very happy for you to play Holy Man on your podcast.
You can use the live version we did or if you’d prefer and can wait till the 15th I will have the EP version then.

For a plug I have the EP on Bandcamp: https://shelleysegal.bandcamp.com/album/holy
and it’s also available on my Patreon: www.patreon.com/shelleysegal
The Patreon is pretty cool it has all my solo back catalogue and new content every week for $1 a month

Thanks again.

Warm regards,
Shelley!

Posted in Podcasts

3 comments on “Episode 193 – Hugh Harris on Politics, Religion and Sex
  1. Warren Foster says:

    I have a point to raise regarding Venezuela.
    Was the election carried out fairly or was it only the activities that were carried out on election day fair?
    If Nicolás Maduro’s Party, in the months leading up to election day were using death threats to prevent credible opponents from running, we wouldn’t call that a fair election would we?
    What if Nicolás Maduro’s Party, in the months leading up to election day, encouraged a bunch of incompetent crooks to run as opposition, with the intention only of creating the illusion of their being a fair contest?
    What exactly did the Carter foundation observe? Was it purely activities on election day? It is what the Carter foundation did not or could not observe that makes me suspicious?
    Once upon a time the World’s media could be relied upon to find the truth on these types of issues. Now, I fear, we are only fed lies from both sides and the great investigative journalists of years gone by have left the industry out of protest of it becoming too focused on click bait headlines rather than solid well researched stories.

  2. Warren Foster says:

    If Will Smith were to use a dark shade of make-up for his movie role as the Williams Sister’s Father, would that be considered black faced?

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