eThankfulness for 30 Dec 2012

As the year draws to a close, the time comes to look to the future.

But first, a look back over 2012

It’s been a wonderful, tumultuous year for me and there have been lots of opportunities to be grateful!

Major events:

  • Made a definite decision to move out of Gladstone 1/1
  • Started getting housemates in (technically 27/12/11)
  • Did minor renovations – painted the house etc. 17/5
  • Put my house on the market – 23/5
  • Both my parents turned 60 – Trip to Tasmania to celebrate 4/8
  • Mackay Rally For Marriage Equality 6/10
  • One of my long-time friends got married – 2nd Trip to Tasmania to celebrate 3/11
  • Gladstone Marriage Equality Rally 17/11
  • Sold my house 27/11
  • Moved in with *shudder* people 23/11
  • Contract finished at NRG 31/12
  • Move to Brisbane 31/12

So what am I going to be Thankful for?

Well, this week I’m thankful for:

Fantastic work people at NRG – I’m going to miss a lot of people from that place

My current housemates – apparently sharing with people isn’t as bad if you’re the one renting the room!  Kidding – M and R have been awesome housemates, and it’s a nice place to live – AND I’ve been able to have Alva here

Friends – so many have been making efforts to catch up before I leave, it’s been really nice.

Work – I’ve managed to get all my projects complete before I left, so I’m quite pleased with myself

Christmas – M’s parents invited me to spend Christmas with them by their pool in Boyne Island, where I was treated like one of th family – it was just lovely, a wonderful way to spend Christmas if I had to spend it away from my own family.

Success – I will succeed in my New Year’s Resolution to be in Brisbane for NYE!

and Having time to spend with friends, to pack, everything

But looking back over this year’s events, what are the things I’m most thankful for?

Making a plan with scary goals, and sticking to it.

Getting at least *one* housemate into my house that I want to associate with afterwards

My friends, who helped me paint my entire interior in a single day, and did a damn good job!

Friends helping with moving furniture around and post-reno cleanup etc, ready for open homes

My August trip to tasmania was (Besides a chance to celebrate my parents’ 60ths) an opportunity to catch up with friends I haven’t seen since I was there the year before, and yielded an opportunity to catch up with my cousin Heather who I so rarely get to see (She’s in Melbourne), and whose company I enjoy so very much!

Attending MR4ME in Mackay was amazing – an experience I won’t soon forget, I met so many amazing people!

My November trip – Aside from the opportunity to see my friend tie the knot, I got to spend time with some of my Canberra friends

GMER – There really isn’t much I’m not grateful for there – it all went so well, and was just such a success

I sold my house – Thankyou Margie Richards for your hard work on getting it sold – Look her up at PRD Nationwide Gladstone if you’re looking to buy or sell in this town – she’s fantastic!

As I said before, my current housemates are awesome – and I’m grateful for good housemates!

My Contract finished at NRG, and while that’s kinda sad, I’m grateful that I was able to leave the place wishing I could have stayed longer – it’s a nice way to end things.

And the move to Brisbane? I’m grateful that there’s someone who can look after Alva while I look for work and a pet-friendly home.

Thank you Gladstone, for some wonderful memories.

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Mark Regnerus is at it again…

After the infamous Regnerus Study, you’d hope that Mark Regnerus would have fallen of the face of the sociological planet, would’t you?  Not quite, although his article for The Witherspoon Institute might just make it happen.

His article begins:

 Young adult men’s support for redefining marriage may not be entirely the product of ideals about expansive freedoms, rights, liberties, and fairness. It may be, in part, a byproduct of regular exposure to diverse and graphic sex acts.

It turns out there’s this interesting correlation between the amount of porn men watch, and the level to which they support same sex marriage – these figures come out of the New Family Structures Study which is no surprise, since this data underpinned Regnerus’ last paper.  He has however, steered well clear of the data which was so controversial last time – a good choice on his part.

What baffles me though, is that at the start of the article, you get the block-quote above.  The second-last paragraph starts

Of course, correlation doesn’t mean causation, and I’m not suggesting causation here.

He’s got this partly right, correlation does not mean causation, however, contrast this statement with the following one and the blurb paragraph, and he most certainly is suggesting a causative link.

And the last paragraph in its entirety:

In the end, contrary to what we might wish to think, young adult men’s support for redefining marriage may not be entirely the product of ideals about expansive freedoms, rights, liberties, and a noble commitment to fairness. It may be, at least in part, a byproduct of regular exposure to diverse and graphic sex acts.

Here, I’m going to take Mark to task over sloppy, sloppy language choices:

a byproduct is an unintended or unwanted product of a process, but it is still a product. A product of a process is caused by that process.

The Good Doctor has just said that young men’s support for redefining marriage may be a byproduct of pornography viewing.  One single paragraph after denying that he is suggesting causation, he states that he believes there at least a partial causative link.

I don’t want to get into the pros or cons of porn here.  Regnerus throws up a few straw-men though, particularly to make it look like he’s explicitly denying the causal link.

I can agree with him on one point, I don’t think that same-sex marriage support causes porn viewing.  But his answers to the “alternative explanations” are transparently insufficient – he suggests “Religion? Politics?” and goes on to say “While religiosity indeed matters for perceiving marriage as outdated, it does little to alter the stable link between porn use and same-sex marriage support”

My dear Mark, Religiosity has little to do with same sex marriage support or porn use?  Go back to your data.  Anti-gay sentiment is typically rooted in a religious societal undertone, and disapproval of porn is certainly high on the Church’s list. Someone with religious conviction is (I believe, though I have no data to back it up at the moment) less likely to view porn, and less likely to support same sex marriage.  The perception of marriage as outdated has little to do with either.  With that in mind, someone who is not religious is more likely to both view porn and support same-sex marriage because their world-view doesn’t paint those things as bad!  As for political affiliation, I have no idea – why would you bring it up.

The art of science, Dr Regnerus, is to come up with a hypothesis that explains the data, and then test to see whether it is true, not to come up with answers that could never explain the data, or worse, throw away a hypothesis that could because it doesn’t fit your vantage-point…

If you were given a shred of credibility in Social Science circles (and that open letter of 400 of your peers including 5 colleagues suggests you aren’t) I would weep for the state of Social Science.

Fortunately, it looks like everyone else thinks he’s a quack too.

Dylan Carmichael, signing off

Merry Christmas

I don’t often turn the camera in my laptop on – There’s every chance I might break it, after all.  But I decided to give you all a Christmas Carol to round out the year.

I apologise in advance for sound and video quality – it’s not like I was using a video-camera after all.  Also, my voice isn’t as perfect as I’d like – It *was* 1AM…

I went with “The First Noel” because, well, it seemed appropriate for 1AM when I started this project! I really went looking for something reflective and hopeful, but the best I could find was “Happy Christmas” by John Lennon – and frankly, it was a little too critical and pointed.  This is a time of year where we look back on the year gone, and look forward to the year ahead.  This week, for me at least, is a time of merriment, but also a time of introspection and hope.  This is a time where I tend to think about how I have been in the last year and how I want to be better in the year to come.

My impending move to Brisbane was sort of the result of this period last year – It certainly solidified into a plan of action between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

I encourage you to take some time out of your busy Christmas/NYE Schedules to reflect on your lives to date and consider ways to make your new year better.  Not New Year’s Resolutions, but just think about it.  Set one achievable, measurable goal for the year, and make a plan on how to get there.  Mine was quite quantifiable – Am I in Brisbane on 31 Dec, yes, success! Aim for that – you might be surprised what this bit of reflection can do for you.

Merry Christmas,

Dylan Carmichael

Religion and Sexuality – The Gay Bible

I was surprised when I saw this come across my feeds:

The Queen James Bible

“Sounds kind of interesting” I thought, so I went for a more in-depth look.

The Queen James Bible seeks to resolve interpretive ambiguity in the Bible as it pertains to homosexuality: We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible

“Edited”?  Well that’s a curious one… I don’t believe for a second that there aren’t editors for various translations of the Bible, but this pricked my ears… Why isn’t this a re-translation – even if only of those eight verses?

So, naturally I go to see who thinks this Bible is The Real Deal…  And find that there is no earthly author and no translator who has put their name to the Queen James Edition.

So they started with the King James, for a few reasons that make varying degrees of sense, and they changed:

  • Genesis 19:5
  • Leviticus 18:22
  • Leviticus 20:13
  • Romans 1:26-1:27
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9
  • 1 Timothy 1:10
  • and Jude 1:7
I have opinions on all of these verse changes, and since you’re my readers, I guess you want to know what they are.
You can see the reasoning (Which I’ve read and used in this article) here.
Disclaimer: I am not a biblical scholar, but I am willing to stand by my opinions with my real name – more than the editors of the QJV are willing to do at the moment.

Genesis 19:5

KJV: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”

QJV: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them.”

This is one of the edits that I don’t mind.  It follows the prevailing opinion on the interpretation of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, and is consistent with the word “know” in this context.  I don’t think this really alters the base meaning of the text, just disambiguates it.

Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13

Leviticus 18:22

KJV: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.

QJV: Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination

Leviticus 20:13

KJV: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

QJV: If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

The words added in both verses are “in the temple of Molech”.  I do not disagree with the interpretation that is put forward as “support” for this edit.  It sounds plausible, in fact.  My issue is that it creates a whole limiting clause which did not exist in the original text, for the sake of a bible whose potentially homophobic statements are edited out. If you’re going to limit the “lie with mankind” clause, make it clear. “Thou shalt not lie with temple prostitutes as he lieth with a woman” would have the same effect.  Their entire justification for both changes only references the context of Lev 18:22, not 20:13 at all. The closest verse with reference to Molech is verse 5, and has a stanza-break statement between them in vv 7 and 8 – “(7) Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy, for I am the LORD your God. (8) And ye shall keep my statutes and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you” Verses 10 through 22 are all about sexual sins such as incest, adultery, and beastiality.  I do not believe the “In the temple of Molech” qualifier can be legitimately applied here.  This interpretation information would have been better applied as a footnote, leaving the original text intact.

Romans 1:26-27

KJV: (26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against their nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

QJV: (26) Their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, left of the natural use of the woman, burned in ritual lust, one toward another; (27) Men with men working that which is pagan and unseemly. For this cause God gave the idolators up unto vile affections, receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

(Emphasis mine)

Given Paul’s past suggestions that wives are for the weak, and sex equally so, I don’t know that I put much stock in his opinions on the subject.  This is claimed as the QJV’s crowning glory.  Like the Leviticus 18:22 changes, I think this is possibly how we should interpret the verses, but it should be as a footnote, rather than altering the text, unless there is a legitimate translation reason that these words be included (i.e. it comes to light that the Hebrews used a particular word to imply non-Jewish acts where acts within judaism were referred to differently.

Corinthians 6:9

KJV: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

QJV: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor morally weak,  nor promiscuous,

This change actually does relate to a translation issue. in these verses, “Effeminate” is translated from Greek “malakoi” which means “soft” – both physically such as fabric, or morally soft, undisciplined, decadent, easily influenced.  Traits that were (wrongly) attributed to women at the time. 

And “abusers of themselves with mankind”? it’s a really interesting one.  I’m led to believe that the greek word “Arsenokoitais” has been used exclusively by Paul in his writings, and has not been seen outside of the Pauline letters.  I’m not so sure about their “The man who has many beds” definition, but have heard many potential translators talking about arsenokoitais being those who use male child temple prostitutes (yeuchh!).  I think “fornicators” and “adulterers” has “promiscuous” covered, so I think they’d have been better putting “those who use temple prostitutes”

1 Timothy 1:10

KJV: For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

QJV: For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

I don’t necessarily mind this, I’d suggest that they mean “the perverted”, “the promiscuous” or perhaps, “those that defile themselves with man or woman” since there seemed to be a clear sex message there.  The omission of the second person element loses the meaning of promiscuity that I think the verse implies.

Jude 1:7

KJV: Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

QJV: Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after nonhuman flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

I think the justification for this change highlights that these are people without biblical understanding.  The male mob in Sodom did not rape the angels, because Lot offered them his daughters instead. (Part of how we know that this wasn’t a roving band of homo’s, since that wouldn’t have helped if they were) The angels stuck the mob in Sodom blind so that they couldn’t find the doorway. That said, the mob were pursuing flesh which was strange in that it was “angelic” rather than in the sense of being of the same gender as them.  I think the QJV could have kept some of the poetry of the KJV by using the term “angelic”… but non-human seems fine if clunky.

The Verdict

I like the idea of a less ambiguous, less homophobic bible, and I like the poetry of the King James Version.  But this whole thing from start to finish seems a bit strange.  From “Editing” rather than “Translating” (which just makes me draw parallels with “Revisionist History”), to adding and removing words to alter meaning, to the clumsy slip-up for their Jude justification. (Again, the change is fine, but the justification shows a disturbing lack of understanding.) 

Get a translator on side, put a publisher’s name, a translator’s name, and the names of your editors on the book purchasing page. (Putting “God” as author and “Jesus Christ” as contributor is cutesy and sickening, frankly)

My big concern is that people think they can just edit out the bad rather than taking the time to build a proper translation, even if just for the verses they have a problem with.  The QJV will be attacked on the grounds that it’s an alteration to the Word of God rather than a retranslation.  Sadly, I think there are verses in the Bible which are outright homophobic, but there are better ways to interpret them than editing.  I lean heavily to footnotes giving interpretive assistance, rebuttals, context, history etc, rather than rewriting passages to suit the agenda.

 

In brief: Good idea;  Poor Execution.