“It was once held that music soothed the savage beast; today they’re the ones making it.”
Comment made in the 1970s. How things have changed.
1. Mr B began the meeting by criticising those who laughed when Jim Molan (on the Q&A program) said he was not relying on evidence when trying to decide on whether or not climate change is anthropogenic. Mr B called the laughers smug hypocrites, because had they been asked to provide evidence for their point of view they would have fallen short as well. It’s the scientists who rely on evidence to support their claims, said Mr B, not us, because we wouldn’t know how to interpret that evidence. It’s our job to listen to the experts. The smug audience didn’t see their hypocrisy, so they laughed.
Your scribe agrees with Mr B. We all knew what Jim meant, and to ignore his intentions is mean-spirited and counter-productive. Mocking someone will only further cement their point of view, especially when the mockery isn’t deserved.
A better question would have been, ‘Which scientists have you been listening to and what are their qualifications?’ To ask Jim for the evidence is ‘gotcha’ journalism, and for the smug, self-righteous crowd to laugh is complacent naivety at best.
Uncle Pete objected to Mr B’s claim, saying that Jim Molan is not open-minded, and believes there is no problem. He added that JIm was being careful that night to not reveal his true point-of-view. Uncle Pete may well be right, but Mr B based his remarks on what was seen on the program.
2. A comment prompted a discussion about the indigenous people of Australia. Discussed:
– why many indigenous people don’t want jobs. (And, is it true that they don’t?)
– How would we anglo-Australians feel had the Japanese successfully invaded Australia? What if they had they committed atrocities and been racist ever since? Would we be keen to ‘move on’ and integrate into Japanese society?
– Do some indigenous people still live off the land? To what extent?
– What contact, if any, do they have with non-indigenous people?
– Do those living in Aboriginal-only settlements have the opportunity to enter non-indigenous society?
– If not, what is holding them back? If so, how easy is it for them?
– Why didn’t they develop technology like the Europeans did? (Mr B gave three of his seven reasons.)
– Would they have wanted European technology? Or was the technology they had enough for them?
– What technology did the indigenous people have? At this point Mr B began to flounder.
– Were the indigenous people eco-managers of the land? (Big disagreement on that one.)
– Were they mainly responsible for killing of the mega-fauna thousands of years ago? (Big disagreement on that one, too.)
We were going to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of indigenous culture and of non-indigenous culture, but we didn’t. Next week, perhaps? What do you say, Mr B?
3. Helmut spoke about how U.S.A. boffins looked into developing a bomb that makes use of matter and anti-matter. Most interesting, Helmut! He explained how one anti-matter bomb could blow up an area 180kms (or 112 miles) in diameter. But to make such a bomb was too difficult, too time consuming, and too expensive. Thank goodness.
4. Valentine’s Day had recently passed and that ‘special day’ prompted Mr B to deliver to the young ones in the audience sage dating advice.
Was it a case of ‘an old geezer giving lame advice‘, or ‘an elder sharing his wisdom and experience’? The objections he received from both old and young suggested the former.
5. Mr B also said that if you are going to marry someone, make sure the person is your best friend. That is simple, basic advice, but as you’d expect, his grasshoppers had to take issue with that. They are an ornery lot, his grasshoppers.
6. Steve Maxwell spoke about the book, ‘Fire Power’. It’s about a pill that supposedly cut fuel consumption and reduced emissions. The fraud fooled everyone apparently, including government agencies that should have known better.
7. Two questions.
You’re a guy about to fly in a plane and you sit next to a married woman you don’t know. She looks about 35 years of age. You get talking and you have a long conversation, about your jobs, your spouses, your plans. You’re getting on well.
Q. 1. At a point in the conversation, is it okay to ask her, “Do you have children?”
Disappointingly, each person in Mr B’s audience acted like a mullet hit with a stun-gun. Were they afraid it was a trick question? Finally, two brave souls answered. Then general consensus seemed to suggest that it was probably a harmless question to ask.
So far, so good.
Q2. Is it okay to ask her, “Are you pregnant?”
Well, didn’t that get a different reaction! A definite ‘no!’ Yet, it’s virtually the same question! Mr B pointed out that both questions are benign, but because one question might result in a ‘no’ and prod a woman’s body image, it’s a question that should never be asked. Apparently, the problem rests with the asker, not with the woman’s self-acceptance!
Mr B said he knows better to not ask the question of any woman. He wants to live.
8. Other topics discussed:
– John August spoke about the relationship between population growth and economic growth.
– Ray continued to offer salvation to the poor souls trying to eat in the kiosk.
– Mr B explained why a man losing his virginity to a sex-worker hasn’t really lost his virginity.
– Mr B finally explained why we SHOULD teach history in schools. But the ban at Speakers’ Corner remains. (Not that anyone heeds the ban.)
– Mr B tried a new approach to his ‘two societies’ idea, and wanted feedback, but the reception was cold. So, he ditched the topic.
9. This week’s critter in our Unusual Critter Series is Wallace’s bee, the largest bee in the world. One stung our Facebook page.