BRIEF REPORTS from Investigator Magazine 111 to 117



INVESTIGATOR 111 (2006 November)

A GOOD TIME TO LIVE

Do you think the world is "going to the dogs?"

Perhaps because of AIDS? Terrorism? Loss of biodiversity? Climate Change? And war?

If so, then what about the reduction in famines, disease and poverty? What about improved medical treatment and other technology? What about the equality of women with men in many countries? What about increased life expectancy?

An article in Reader's Digest said: "The 20th century … was almost certainly the safest century in history to be alive, when all causes of death are taken into account. Even in the ‘peaceful' 19th century, perhaps 80 million died an 'unnatural death' ." (Michael Hanlon, 2005, August, pp 59-61)


CHILDHOOD WORRIES

A lot of children worry about the future. A survey of 1,000 ten-to-seventeen-year-old children by the Australian Childhood Foundation found that 25% feared the end of the world in their lifetime and 39% feared terrorism. (Sunday Mail 2006, August 6 p21)

The reason for their worry, it's speculated, is graphic violence on television during child viewing times and insufficient time spent with parents too busy due to work pressure.




 
INVESTIGATOR 112 (2007 January)

RADIO CALLS

If you believe the common line in radio quizzes that "We'll take the fifth caller…" and therefore try not to rush to your phone too fast, you're a little naïve:

The fifth caller was actually whoever we decided sounded the spriteliest, the most fun, the happiest. (Sunday Mail 2006, August 27, pp 6-7)

The Sunday Mail report titled "How radio calls fooled listeners" started off: "Adelaide radio stations Triple M and SAFM regularly use bogus callers and false segments, according to current and former staff…"


DARWIN'S GREAT-GREAT-GRAND-DAUGHTER

Do Darwin's descendants believe in evolution by natural selection or in creationism?

Charles Darwin's great-great-grand-daughter, Emma Darwin aged 42, lives in England. She visited Australia in September to attend the 10th annual Brisbane Writers Festival to promote her novel The Mathematics of Love.

Regarding creationism she says, "Sorry, I don't believe a word of it." (The Weekend Australian 2006, September 16-17, p3)





INVESTIGATOR 113 (2007 March)

LIMBO
 
A group of Catholic theologians headed by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) met in December 2005 to examine the doctrine of Limbo — the afterlife for infants — and concluded that the doctrine is in crisis. (Time 2006, January 9, p64)

Catholics believe that dead newborns don't go to heaven but go to an outer parking spot where they'll be happy but miss out on God's presence.

In Catholic doctrine Christ's death on the cross for original sin only covers people united with Christ by being baptized. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) therefore concluded that unbaptized infants who die go to hell. Limbo was later thought up to provide a more palatable belief.

However, the Catholic Church also opposes abortion. In January 2006 Benedict XVI restated that embryos although "shapeless" are "full and complete" human beings.

Why then should "Complete humans" in the form of fetuses who are aborted — and therefore blameless victims — enjoy an inferior eternity than humans who die at a later stage of life? It seems unfair.

Ratzinger has written: "God is powerful enough to draw to himself all those who were unable to receive the sacrament [of baptism]." Indeed the importance of baptism was already downgraded by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) which ruled that unbaptized adults who genuinely seek God will receive salvation.

If being unbaptized does not bar anyone from heaven, and fetuses are "complete humans", then why shouldn't Limbo go out the window?

 



INVESTIGATOR 117 (2007 November)


ELEPHANTS AND MICE

A common belief is that elephants are frightened of mice. But this belief is wrong.

Wild elephants flee from fire. And if they've had bad experiences with people firing guns they'll flee from people firing guns. Elephants do not fear lions or any other animal. Their size makes them safe from attack.

Mice are nocturnal creatures, shy and small and readily flee from animals bigger than themselves. Elephants and mice would not often cross paths in the wild and if they do it's the mouse that would give way.

In zoos and circuses, however, mice may scurry around to feed on food spilled or dropped by the elephant. Elephants have good eyesight and would see the mice. Perhaps the myth of elephant fear originated when humans attributed abnormal behaviour or nervousness associated with captivity to the mice.


REINCARNATION PERMIT

China has moved to "institutionalise the management of reincarnation of living Buddhas." (Weekend Australian 2007 August 4–5)

Living Buddhas are a class of Tibetan religious figures believed to be repeatedly reincarnated. The position carries significant influence and often several people present themselves as the true claimant.

New regulations effective from September 1 require Tibetan living Buddhas to apply to religious-affairs officials of the Chinese Government to have their reincarnation approved. The Communist Party, which is atheist, therefore maintains strict control over the supernatural!


CAT ORIGINS

All humans may have descended from one woman. It now seems that, similarly, all cats have descended from a few initial cats.

A study of mitochondrial DNA samples from 979 wild and domestic cats revealed: "From Persians to Siamese, Bengals to Burmese…All domestic felines are descended from a group of about five in the Middle East about 130,000 years ago... "

The findings overturn the traditional view the first domestic cats were tamed by the Ancient Egyptians just 4000 years ago.

The Daily Mail report by Rebecca English continued: "Researchers have traced the domestic feline family tree back to a small family of wild cats living on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates in modern day Iraq…"  (2007, June 30)


CHILDREN OF GOD

Sisters Kristina and Celeste Jones with their half-sister Juliana Buhring have written a book Not Without My Sister about growing up in the abusive Children of God (CoG) cult.

Paedophile David Berg (1919-1994) founded the cult in 1968 in California. The cult considered itself God's chosen people with salvation only available to members. One of Berg's teachings was the "Law of Love" and "Sharing" by which adult males had sex with anyone they wanted, including children. Teenage girls used "flirty fishing", i.e. offered sex to prospective new members, as a recruitment tactic.

Kristina, 31 and Celeste, 32 have the same mother — who joined the cult at 16 in 1973. Their father dropped out of college in 1973 when he also joined up. Eventually he switched to another CoG partner with whom he had Juliana (now 26).


Kristina was 12 when she escaped with her mother and went to England. Prior to that she was sexually abused, forced into prostitution, and regularly beaten by her mother's boyfriend. She lived those 12 years in many countries. It was a CoG practice to move members frequently to avoid police attention, make it hard for parents to find recruited children, and stop members putting down roots. New members often received new names to better distract authorities and more effectively lose their previous identity.

Celeste lived with her father in Greece, Sri Lanka, Dubai and India. She escaped the cult in 2001. At the age of six, she says, she was filmed dancing naked and again at l3. Her father sympathized with her embarrassment but did nothing. She found him in bed one day with her friend, aged l2.

Celeste stayed in the CoG until her own daughter turned four when she began to fear she could not protect her from abuse indefinitely.

Juliana grew up in Africa and India without parents and also suffered sexual abuse and beatings. She says, "At l4 I tried to jump out of windows and slit my wrists…" She left Uganda in 2004 for Portugal, later joining her mother and sisters.


SKEPTICAL STICKERS ON BIBLES?

There is a move to get warning stickers put on covers of library books that advocate violation of human rights, genocide, deviant sex, and atrocities.

Skeptics are moving with the times and want the following warning on Bibles:

WARNING:  This is a work of fiction.  Do NOT take it literally.

CONTENT ADVISORY: Contains verses descriptive or advocating suicide, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual activity in a violent context, murder, morbid violence, use of drugs or alcohol, homosexuality, voyeurism, revenge, undermining of authority figures, lawlessness, and human rights violations and atrocities.

EXPOSURE WARNING: Exposure to contents for extended periods of time or during formative years in children may cause delusions, hallucinations, decreased cognitive and objective reasoning abilities, and, in extreme cases, pathological disorders, hatred, bigotry, and violence including, but not limited to fanaticism, murder, and genocide.


ASTROLOGY RULES BURMA

The Burmese military junta which recently again suppressed the country's movement for democracy, is guided by astrology, numerology and portents.

Ben Macintyre in The Weekend Australian reports: "When the junta moved the capital from Rangoon to a malarial town deep in the jungle, it did so because an astrologer warned Senior General Than Shwe of an impending catastrophe that could be averted only by shifting the seat of government." (2007, September 29-30, p. 13)

The timing was astrologically calculated and the move occurred 2005, November 6.

The dictator, General Ne Win (1920-2002) who seized power in 1962 had number 9 as his lucky number. He introduced the 45-kyat and 90-kyat banknotes because these were divisible by 9 and added up to 9.

The leading families in the junta each have a family astrologer.

Burma's economy went from prosperous in 1962 to poor by the 1970s and has stayed that way — astrology and superstition can't replace sound economics.


http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/