Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(Premature) Happy Holidays

Ben Stein, CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, 18th December 2005

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Hear, hear.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Qui bene cantat bis orat

I'm genuinely curious and I hope not at all cynical. But why would Mr Ed Miliband, an avowed atheist, sing along with "Oh God, Our Help In Ages Past"?


Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Daveeeeee, Davy Crockett..."

Phil Collins believes he is the reincarnation of someone who fought at the Alamo. It always strikes me that prominent believers in reincarnation always fancy themselves to have been famous characters or close to pivotal events in history.

They never claim to have been medieval dung-gatherers who never left their Lincolnshire village.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Grrrrr! Bidding prayers. Again

FJ was away on a well earned break so (I assume) the visiting Jesuit decided we needed a lesson in Current Affairs (I don't think the wee wifey reading it had written it, but you never know):

"Lord, we pray that in the deliberations of the G20 nations, the rich nations of the world will ensure a fairer distribution of the world's riches from the richest to the poorest and that the NGOs blah, blah, blah...."

It was the nearest I'll get to Bob Geldof in the pulpit shouting "Give us yer f*$%@!# money!"

Yes. Do give alms to poor people and help them out of poverty, here and abroad. Trade with them justly. Give money via ACN or Mary's Meals (but not CAFOD).

One last point. Here is the bidding prayer you will never hear:

"Dear Lord, we pray that Third World despots will pay heed to the seventh commandment and desist from impoverishing their people, while filling up their Swiss bank acconts and sending their wives on shopping trips to Harrods and Cartier and that they will follow the example of Zacchaeus. No, sorry, Lord, I don't mean they need to climb a tree but it might be nice if they repaid all they have fiddled and stolen. And the same goes for dodgy MPs and FIFA 2018 Bid Committee members. Allegedly.

Lord in your mercy..."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Inside the mind of a pro-abortionist

This was broadcast on the BBC about a month ago. Virginia Ironside is 'agony aunt' of The Independent newspaper. Takes something to shock a BBC presenter.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

August Sounding Bodies

Next time you read something by something grand-sounding (e.g The Commission on Assisted Dying,the Islamic Human Rights Commission, or even a Liturgical Music Committee), remember the following:

It would be neither the more nor the less convincing on account of the party it came from. But this is only a vote and resolution. It stands solely on authority; and in this case it is the mere authority of individuals, few of whom appear. Their signatures ought, in my opinion, to have been annexed to their instrument. The world would then have the means of knowing how many they are; who they are; and of what value their opinions may be, from their personal abilities, from their knowledge, their experience, or their lead and authority in this state. To me, who am but a plain man, the proceeding looks a little too refined and too ingenious; it has too much the air of a political strategem adopted for the sake of giving, under a high-sounding name, an importance to the public declarations of this club which, when the matter came to be closely inspected, they did not altogether so well deserve. It is a policy that has very much the complexion of a fraud.

-Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Informed consent, teenage girls, medical ethics.

Set aside for a minute the fact that these girls are sexually active - that's to say having sex,usually with older boys or men who are thus committing statutory rape. Set aside the fact that parents seem to have lost control of what their children do - or can't be arsed finding out and where necessary intervening (no, that's the job of the State, innit?)

It is reported that children as young as 13 will be allowed to obtain oral contraceptives without either seeing a doctor or obtaining the knowledge or consent of their parent or guardian.

The 'pilot scheme', is described as an 'enhancement of services' however in truth it is a clinical trial in all but name. NHS Isle of Wight let the cat out of the bag by announcing on their website that the aim of the project is to reduce the number unwanted pregnacies. This is a hypothesis and the testing ground is this 'pilot scheme'. There will be 'real-time data-reporting'. The subjects of what is effectively a community-based trial will be prescribed - without medical supervision - medication with potentially serious adverse effects. As I understand it, neither they nor their parents will be asked for their informed consent. If it looks like a clinical trial and it sounds like a clinical trial - it is a clinical trial.

The conduct of clinical trials in this country is governed by statute in The Medicines For Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004 and related legislation. Unless this case has not been properly reported in the press, it would seem that NHS Isle of Wight is conducting a clinical trial on vulnerable subjects involving medication with serious adverse effects, without informed consent. If this is the case, how and why have the law and the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki been so flagrantly ignored?

Were I to conduct a clinical trial in which no informed consent was given (I had to get written, informed consent in one of my recent studies to ask people about their faith in the context of a qualitative study), my feet would not touch the ground on the way to the GMC. I would be out of a job before you could say 'Andrew Wakefield'.

How come NHS Isle of Wight get a free pass?