REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR MAGAZINE 101 to 102
INVESTIGATOR 101 (2005
ruled that a 15-year-old Jehovah's Witness can be given blood
transfusions despite the objections of his JW parents. The teenager has
cancer and blood transfusion may be needed to treat the effects of
chemotherapy. (Sunday Mail 2005, February 20, p 27)
JWs who require
transfusions are allowed to reject them, but in the case of children
the courts can intervene. The borderline for such coercion seems to be
18 when teenagers are legally adults. A few JWs of that age who
required transfusions have been permitted to choose to die.
INVESTIGATOR 102 (2005
that the Genoese sailor Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492
and was the first European to go there.
the Vikings beat
Columbus by 500 years. They reached the coast of Canada by about 1,000
not in 1492 set foot on the American mainland. In 1492 he reached San
Salvador, Haiti and Cuba. On his second journey, in 1493, Columbus
reached Haiti and Cuba.
1498, Columbus went ashore in Venezuela (South America). On his fourth
journey, 1502, he landed at various spots in Central America. He never,
however, reached North America.
myth is that
Europeans believed the Earth to be flat and feared sailing off the edge
of the world. Since Columbus had hoped to reach China by sailing west
he obviously believed differently.
in Spain St
Isidore of Seville (560-636) produced an encyclopedia, Etymologiae,
wherein it says the Earth is a sphere. This Encyclopedia was the
standard reference work for European scholars throughout the Middle
CONSIDER THE ODDS
the December 26,
2004, tsunami the British Government established the Benfield Hazard
Research Centre in London. Its chief, Professor Bill McGuire,
addressing an Australian conference of re-insurers, estimated the odds
of various potential catastrophes between now and 2075 as follows:
kills hundreds of thousands:
1 in 3
comparable to December 26:
enough to change world climate: 7%
mega-tsunami that kills
tens of millions:
1 in 150
of a 1-kilometre
asteroid kills ¼ of humankind: 1 in 10,000.
Mail 2005, April
PHONE-CAUSED FIRE AN
proliferated in the late 1980s petrol station explosions increased. The
belief developed — promoted on some Internet websites — that the fires
were caused by sparks from mobile phones. 243 suspect fires occurred
worldwide from 1993 to 2004. In some cities the use of mobile phones at
petrol stations is now banned and punishable by fines.
fires may be an urban myth.
conducted investigations in the late 1990s and found that phones could
not generate the necessary sparks and therefore posed no danger.
Coates, BP fire
safety adviser, investigated many of the 243 fires and concluded that
petrol vapour was indeed being ignited by sparks but from static
electricity generated when drivers touched their car, not from phones.
(The Australian 2005, March 29, p4)
relevant to Investigator's
"Transmission of Scripture" debate is the
news that the
1600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus is being digitised. The British
plans: "…to scan the entire book using a technique called
hyper-spectral imaging." (The Australian 2005, March 29, p29)
scanning will be done
in various wavelengths of light from ultraviolet to infrared.
This will not only create a high-resolution copy but also expose all
the layers of ink, corrections and re-writes.
dated to the mid 4th-century AD and was kept at St Catherine's
Monastery at Mount Sinai until 1859. Due to its fragile condition only
four scholars have been allowed access to the parts stored in London.
But after digitisation is complete the Codex Sinaiticus will go
including 129 pages of the Old Testament in Greek and also the oldest
complete New Testament, was retrieved by Constantin Tischendorf a
German Bible scholar, in 1844 and 1859.
Victoria's governor from 1986 to 1992 and founding father of the
Uniting Church died on March 25, 2005, aged 90.
Uniting Church is the
union, in 1977, of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational
churches. (The Advertiser 2005, March 26, p23)
Census put the
Uniting Church membership at 1.3 million, comprising 7.5% of the
population — Australia's third largest denomination.
THE DA VINCI CODE
Vinci Code (2003) by Dan Brown has sold 18 million copies in 44
languages. The book's theme is that Jesus fathered a child with Mary
Magdalene and left a lineage, and that Jesus wanted Mary to be head of
the Church, and that a centuries-long conspiracy by the Church has
concealed all this.
says his book is
fiction. But he weaves historical facts and existing societies together
with imaginary details so convincingly that many readers believe it.
Vatican sees the
book's success as anti-Catholicism and has appointed Cardinal Tarcisio
Bertone, 70, to expose its errors.
A MYTH UNFOLDS
accepted wisdom was
that a piece of paper could not be folded in half more than seven or
an A4 page
1/20mm thick. Fold this in half eight times and the result is an
impossible page almost 13mm thick but only 1.2mm long.
proved? No — the
number of times paper can be folded in half depends on its thickness
high-school student in California, rolled out a 1.2km-long toilet roll
and folded it in half length-wise twelve times!
FINGERING THE EVIDENCE
snail found in a freshly opened bottle of ginger beer led to the famous
case Donoghue v Stevenson.
of insects and animal parts occurring in meals served in restaurants.
And not all are urban myths:
Ayala, 39, of Las
Vegas was dining at a Wendy's fast food venue on March 22 when
something "crunched" in her mouth. She spat it out and — it was a
1½inch well-manicured, cooked finger tip!
officials took a finger count of the staff but no one lacked any.
Police also searched Ms Ayala's home but were, "unable to point the
finger". (The Advertiser April 9, p52) She hired a lawyer for a
legal action against Wendy's.
meanwhile bit into Wendy's sales causing lay-offs and reduced hours. In
an effort to "put the finger on" someone Wendy's offered $50,000 for
has had a history
of, or "a finger in", many law suits. As the Sunday Mail put
it: "Finger of blame points to diner".
time Ayala may have
bitten off more than she can chew. On April 21 police arrested her for
attempted grand larceny.
BIBLE FRANK FIGHTS
(b.1928) began giving away Bibles in Adelaide's Rundle Mall. Investigator
distributes, at his
own expense, free copies of the New Testament… Averaging about twenty
copies an hour on one or two occasions per week his total is now 6,000.
(1993 January, pp 42-44)
article focused on
Frank's conflict with the authorities: "Satan is using the Adelaide
Council to stop me," he said back then.
failed and Frank
kept giving away Bibles in the same place, totalling 180,000 by early
started again — the Council asked Mr Sladek to purchase a "preacher's
permit" which costs $20 annually.
reported: "Known for wearing army fatigues and pushing his Bible-laden
with an Australian flag, Frank says he has never paid for a permit and
will not start now." (February 20, p34)
Council offers of another location. By giving away a "book of morals"
where Adelaide's pedestrian traffic is highest and thus offering "hope
and direction" Frank believes he is doing a community service.
being fined or
moved on by police. Well-wishers of many religions offered to pay for
the permit and some sent the Council $20 cheques.
about-face, Adelaide City Council…decided to drop the charge and…issued
the permit without charge." (Sunday Mail February 27, p24)
Sladek, now 77,
lives frugally in a sooted up shed in the Adelaide Hills without
running water or electricity. He buys the Bibles from his pension and
earnings from part time gardening.
JOHN PAUL II
263rd Roman Catholic
pope, Pope John Paul II, died in April.
Paul II took the
Church to the people. Becoming history's most travelled pope he clocked
up 1,250,000km on 104 foreign trips to 130 countries. He celebrated
mass on six continents including a record attendance of 4 million at
issued about 100 major
documents including 14 encyclicals and held talks with almost 1,600
heads of state and government.
also played an
important role in the collapse of Communism in what was called "the
Hidden History of Our Time". (Reader's Digest, 1996 October)
Poland in May
1920 Karol Jozef Wojtyla joined a secret seminary during World War II,
was elected Pope in September 1978, and survived a murder attempt in
May 1981 when a Turk shot him twice.
affluent nations for inadequate help to the world's poor and also made
frequent statements advocating peace. Critics, however, criticised his
conservative stand on abortion, women's ordination, contraception,
priestly marriage and euthanasia.
Paul II led the
Church for 26 years, the third longest-serving pope, and as head of 1.1
billion Catholics he had more supporters than any other religious
leader in history.
of John Paul in Investigator
Magazine has been infrequent: Investigator
reprinted a newspaper report of the Pope's acceptance of the theory of
evolution (except for the human soul). No. 85 p23 quoted his stand
against child sexual abuse by priests.
Henk of Nebraska,
USA, murdered his 4-year-old son because, "he was the Antichrist — he
had 666 on his forehead."
Gonzalez, disappeared on January 6, 2003.
searches by up
to 100 searchers, trained dogs and dive teams, failed to find Brendan.
29 Henk appeared
in court to be sentenced on charges of reckless driving and obstructing
an officer, charges unrelated to Brendan.
to one year he
then stood up, turned to Brendan's mother, and shouted, "The reason I
killed Brendan is that he was the anti-Christ. He had 666 across his
started crying and
said, "He just said he killed my baby."
tests on dried blood
on a trash bin showed the blood was Brendan's. But 7 weeks of searching
a landfill failed to find the body.
pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and in April was sentenced to
life in prison without parole.
BLACK MAGIC TAKES A
gathering of villagers
near the Ok Tedi copper/gold mine, in western Papua New Guinea, was
planned so as to hand over "sacred things" such as animal blood, sticks
was to eradicate
black magic and sorcery.
was part of local
culture but the villagers had become fed up with sorcery-related deaths
and wanted to put a stop to them.
organize the event.