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Thanks for nothing, Adam and Eve

03 September 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Detail from Born Bad book coverJames Boyce claims that contemporary attitudes to politics, human origins, economics and human psychology can be understood only if we recognise the hidden presuppositions imported from the theology of original sin. Theories on human nature such as those proposed by Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud, Richard Dawkins and the US Founding Fathers, tried to emancipate people from religious ideas, but often unwittingly enshrined them.

How to measure HIV stigma

01 September 2014 | Daniel Reeders

Measuring tapeGlobal targets can be used to benchmark countries – but measuring a reduction in stigma is harder than it sounds. As one of my colleagues asked, 'what's the international standard unit for one stigma?'

New Indonesian president offers hope for West Papua

31 August 2014 | Pat Walsh

West Papua independence flagSince its foundation as a modern state in the 1940s, Indonesia has been plagued by a series of conflicts that have threatened the dream of a united republic, inflicted grievous human rights violations and poisoned perceptions of the place, not least in Australia. Only West Papua, perhaps the most complex and intractable of them all, remains. 

Imelda Marcos and the seduction of time

28 August 2014 | Fatima Measham

Imelda Marcos illustrationAs the world marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance on August 30, new generations of Filipinos find it hard to grasp what it meant to express dissent when Ferdinand Marcos was president. Some assert that, compared to the current standard of governance and politics, life must have been better under Marcos. Such perceptions are validated when trusted institutions invite Imelda Marcos as guest of honour.

Sowing dragon's teeth in Iraq

27 August 2014 | Andrew Hamilton

Silhouette of soldiers The vagueness of what is envisaged in the call for military action against the Islamic State makes it difficult to establish whether the harm caused would be proportionate to the good achieved.The record is not good suggesting strongly that Western military intervention will make things worse.

An elusive peace in Ukraine

25 August 2014 | Tony Kevin

Team Australia parody graphicMy optimism in previous essays on Ukraine continues to be undermined by the remarkable capacity of all players in this tragic drama – the government in Kiev, the rebels in East Ukraine, and their respective backers in NATO and Moscow – to dig in stubbornly and refuse to compromise goals in this now very nasty civil war.

Order is not justice in Ferguson

21 August 2014 | Fatima Measham

Protestor in DC for FergusonThe lack of restraint on Wilson's part, the indignity that shrouded Brown's body long after his death, the disproportionate force deployed against protestors and journalists in the aftermath – this has become the canvas upon which the long grievance of racialised oppression has found vivid expression.

I am Gaza, I am bleeding

14 August 2014 | Lyn Bender

'Let's Fully Welcome Refugees' banner at St Paul's Cathedral MelbourneIn the last month, an estimated 2000 Palestinians including 400 children have been killed and 10,000 injured.  Much of Gaza is reduced to rubble and rendered uninhabitable. It was a 30 degree day in Gaza as our small band of around 20 kept vigil in the cold night rain at Melbourne’s Federation Square. A Muslim girl recited a poem, ‘I am Gaza I have a dagger in my heart. I am bleeding’.

Good Christian morality is better than bad science

11 August 2014 | Matthew Beard

Eric AbetzThe lesson from the Eric Abetz 'abortion causes breast cancer' debacle is that Christians are fools to engage in scientific arguments  they cannot win. They should instead stick to what they know best, and not be afraid to give an explicitly Christian moral voice to public debate. 

The unjustified secrecy of the Abbott Government

10 August 2014 | Jack Maxwell

Keyboard 'Access' keyLiberal democracies keep secrecy in check. Where secrecy is justified, this justification should itself be public. The Abbott Government has withheld important information from the public on questionable grounds, and it has shielded itself from criticism by stifling debate on whether that secrecy is justified.

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