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I'm Waleed Aly. Hi there, welcome to Big Ideas, Amongst our Short Cuts today, why he's pro-nuclear, Bill Gates explains outlines the case for deep optimism former Greenpeace boss Paul Gilding of climate change. in facing the challenges on political correctness. Plus a non-PC perspective In the new Huck Finn, over 200 times in the original the word 'nigger' which appears with the word 'slave'. has been replaced

offended too many children The professor worried that the word so that the book would not be read. But as you may know, Southern prejudices of the time. Huck Finn satirises It is in fact, an anti-racist book. from Janet Albrechtsen More on what you can or can't say a little later. have sold books by the millions, In recent years, celebrated atheists pointing out the evils of religion and reason. and how it defies both science the theists have been fighting back, But of late, of inspiration championing faith as a source

the human condition. and an essential aspect of in Sydney, At a packed IQ Squared debate over the existence of God. two sides battled it out who's writing a book on atheism. Later, we'll hear from Jane Caro,

Tracy Rowland, But first, here's Catholic theologian atheists are wrong. explaining why she thinks the debate about God With the new atheists, what it means to be human has become a debate about and I believe the atheists are wrong and of reason, of human rationality because their accounts of love to defend human dignity are so emaciated it's impossible by any reference to them. says about love - Let's consider what Richard Dawkins irrationality mechanism he defines it as a kind of built into the brain, and rearing the young. conferring advantage in mating are survival machines Human beings, he argues, blindly programmed we are robot vehicles known as genes. to preserve the selfish molecules of our DNA, He says, 'We exist for the benefit rather than the other way around.' Human life, he says, of digital information. is just bytes and bytes and bytes and we are cultured as meme machines. We are built as gene machines a creature of fate. Thus the atheist human being is Her deepest personal relationships mechanism in the brain. are explained by an irrationality the achievements of Christianity It was, however, one of the fear of fate, to liberate people from new concept of the person - by offering them a revolutionary and a rational intellect. as a creature with a free will a whole new civilisation Christians built of the Gospel on their belief in the power from an engine of selfish cruelty to transform the human will

capable of love of one's neighbour. into a vessel of divine grace, The love of neighbour principle and orphans and unwanted babies fostered the care of widows who were less popular, including many female babies, and orphans and unwanted babies fostered the care of widows Even Wikipedia acknowledges driven by Christian mercy that the hospital was an invention and Byzantine innovation. By the medieval period, the Hospitaller Order of St John the Benedictine monks and across Europe. ran some 2,000 hospitals the Dominicans built universities At the same time, the Franciscans and a symbiotic relationship because they believed there is between faith and reason. in fundamentalism Faith without reason can end

a Year 10 education and I think any Christian with and would deplore it. would acknowledge that is narrowly instrumental. But reason without faith about values. It can't tell us anything the European universities The greatest of all St Andrews, Edinburgh, the Sorbonne, such as Oxford, Cambridge, the Charles University in Prague, in Krakow and the Jagiellonian University were all Christian foundations. In 18th Century, however, was to separate faith and reason the intellectual fashion and to privatise faith. of pure reason, Philosophers began to speak uncontaminated by religious myths. Then in the 19th Century, Friederich Nietzsche declared was itself a myth that this notion of pure reason and indeed that all we have are myths to the Christian ones and he preferred the Greek myths because he hated Christian morality. of Christian morality Given the version from his two maiden aunts, that Friederich Nietzsche received I can well understand his reaction. all Christian values, But in his enthusiasm to destroy he threw out the rational intellect of Christian anthropology. and the free will He concluded a bundle of drives and urges that human beings are no more than the pre-Christian idea of fate. and he rejoiced in the return of and their fellow atheists The neo-Nietzschians against God have not only gone to war in their fight for limitless freedom, the human person but they have evacuated who might enjoy that freedom. of any self into their materialist shell Sexual relations hollowed out become mutual manipulation. into their materialist shell Political relations hollowed out become brutal power. into their material shell And market relations hollowed out

and status anxiety. give us consumerism If our cultural horizons as meme machines, are determined by our behaviour as Dawkins argues, ended up with a cult of the celebrity then it is no wonder that we have a pair of Dolce & Gabbana underpants and that people pay a fortune for David Beckham wearing them. because they have seen a poster of But I think that even Neitzsche of human life tragic. would have found this idea the homeless ego. This is the sad condition of For the Christian, however, TV survival contest. life is not an episode of a reality

the quest is to obtain real freedom It's more of an epic in which

and real goodness. linked to real love that the quest is futile Now, atheists will tell you

from rationality and it's a symptom of a retreat in order to satisfy infantile desires and that people who are into this sort of thing cause wars. There are two things I would like to make about this - the first is that in the Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod some 1,763 wars are documented, of which 123 have been classified to include religious elements.

This amounts to less than 7% of all wars. My second point is that the standard atheist solution to the fear of tribalism

is to expand the powers of the state. The state becomes our new saviour by fostering secularism. This may seem like a good idea at first but then it is an historical fact that for the last couple of hundred years every serious attempt to do this has gone terribly wrong. The secularist state has been the most prolifically homicidal in human history. and rival political liturgies. The political becomes a parody of the theological. For those who worry about tribalism, I would recommend the Belgian film Joyeux Noel. It is set in the trenches of the Somme, in the midst of a war caused by nationalism which was a return to the idolatry of the state and the idolatry of the tribe. And there was a moment on Christmas Eve when young men left their trenches, (Bell rings) exchanged gifts of cigarettes and alcohol and then their chaplains celebrated midnight mass. The movie shows that Christian universalism is the one thing that can transcend tribalism in the embrace of the universal and the particular. Conversely, the myth of atheistic rationality fails to liberate and incite to love. The principal of the survival of the fittest and its ontology of violence creates a cruel social ethos. In the ideas of the atheists there has been a sort of anthropological mutation so radical as to endanger the basic elements of human experience. Free will is replaced by the fate of genetic determinism, the intellect is truncated to a device for satisfying desire, and human life itself becomes a product and a commodity. The atheists are wrong because human life, human love and human reason cannot possibly be that meaningless. Thank you. The prima facie evidence that all gods are man-made is, of course, their treatment of women. (Laughter and applause) The idea that women are fully human is something that man-made religions seem to struggle with. I love the paradise that is offered to Islamic jihad warriors - apparently, as martyrs for Allah,

they will receive their reward in heaven by desporting themselves with innumerable virgins. As one wit put it, 'Imagine all obedient, God-fearing Muslim women,

who keep themselves pure behind all-encompassing clothing, out of their devout worship of their God, only to find that when they die their reward for all this virginal vigilance is to end up as whores for terrorists. (Laughter and applause)

My own response when I heard about this extraordinarily male-centric view of the eternal reward was to wonder what appalling sin those virgins must've committed to require such punishment - in other words, the terrorist's heaven is clearly the virgin's hell. This fantasy of heaven, by the way,

illustrates religion's use of a classic advertising trick - which I am an expert in - they create fear of damnation in everyone, including the powerless, then offer them hope of salvation. But in the case of the powerless, only after they are dead. Religion has been used this way to keep all sorts of people in their place but in my nine minutes I will concentrate on their effect on women. Conveniently for the blokes who invented them, gods of all kinds are entirely happy to see one half of humanity held in subjection to the other half. According to many of their earthly messengers, they have approved of and even commanded that women be beaten, raped - at least in marriage - and sold as property either to husbands or masters. Gods have stated that a woman's testimony and word is worth less than a man, that she is not to be permitted to speak in public, take part part in public life, take headship over a man, preach religion - Peter and Tracy - or in extreme cases, even appear in public. It was religious belief that drove what maybe the longest and bloodiest pogrom in human history - the persecution and execution of, in the vast majority of cases, vulnerable women accused of witchcraft,

across Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. We never mention that any more. In theocracies, we still watch gods deny women and girls the right to work, travel, drive, get access to healthcare or even walk the streets unaccompanied. In 2002, 14 schoolgirls died in a fire in Mecca after being forced back into the burning boarding house

by religious police because they were not properly covered. That is outrageous. Women's lives only began to improve when feminism emerged, thanks to the secular enlightenment.

Mary Wollstoncraft, author of Vindication of the Rights of Women, was the one who created this marvelous document and she couldn't be in greater contrast to that first Mary in any way. She was no virgin. (Laughter) She was a vulnerable and suffering human being. She was blessed - if you'll excuse the term - with a shining intellect

and the clear-eyed courage it took to see through millenia of male hypocrisy. She was despised and vilified in her own time - most often by the religious.

In the 300 years since she first put pen to paper, the lives of women and girls - at least in the developed world - have changed unarguably for the better. By almost any objective measure women in the secular West are better off than they have ever been. In terms of longevity, mental, physical, reproductive and emotional health, economic independence and human rights, today's women leave her female ancestors for dead. Unfortunately, however, representatives of God have resisted women's progress every step of the way. They have variously opposed higher education for women, higher status employment for women, their right to vote, their right to enter parliament,

their right to their own earnings, income and property,

their right to their own children after divorce or separation, their right to resist domestic violence, their right to learn about their own bodies, their right to refuse sexual intercourse in marriage, or to agree to it outside of marriage and of course their right to contraception, abortion, and sexual information. Less than a century ago, if a woman was so badly damaged by successive childbearing that doctors advised against further pregnancy, churches resisted her right to use or even know about contraception and she had to rely on the goodwill and restraint of her husband to avoid further catastrophic damage or even death. Only last year, a nun was excommunicated for allowing the US hospital she ran to give an abortion to a woman who would have died without it. When chloroform was invented in the 19th Century, doctors immediately heralded it as a boon for birthing women. Church leaders condemned it because they believed women suffering in labour was ordained by God as punishment for Eve's - it's already come up - original sin. (Laughter) Fortunately, for labouring women everywhere, the head of the Church of England, surprisingly enough, was herself a birthing mother. Queen Victoria ignored her spiritual advisors while giving birth to her nine children, grabbed the chloroform with both hands and said, 'Sod off!' (Laughter and applause) A very good argument for having women in all positions of power,

it would seem to me. To be fair, as women have made gains in the secular and developed world, many religious leaders and believers have changed their opinions and been persuaded about the universal benefit of female equality and opportunity. However, it is no coincidence that societies where women enjoy high levels of personal of personal freedom

are the richest and most stable in the world. We know understand that when you educate women and girls the benefits accrue to the entire family, rather than simply to the individual. There's even research to indicate that societies with more women in positions of power and influence, men have longer life expectancy. We're awfully nice to you, you know? (Laughter) Unlike the other way round.

Can it also be a coincidence that these are the societies that are also amongst the most secular and, apart from the US, are often cited as those where belief in a god is dying most rapidly. It is almost as if God and women's rights are diametrically opposed to one another. As one rises, the other falls. The fact that gods and women appear to be so firmly in opposite corners is yet another indication to me that gods are all about men. It is impossible in nine minutes to do justice to the fearful price women have paid as a result of man-made religions. I have not time to mention helped along by the wicked and paranoid misinformation women have paid Suffice to say that four out of ten girls in Kenya are now HIV positive, many of then God-fearing virgins infected on their wedding night. For me, however, it is not just the gross history of religion's treatment of women that informs my Atheism, it is the simple fact of the one-eyed nature of all the world's religions that finally convinces me that all Gods are man-made.

Yes even bloody Buddhism, that last refuge of the fashionable western mystic. (Laughter and applause) Hang on! I've only a minute. Here's my punch line, after all,

why hasn't the Dalai Lama ever been re-incarnated as a girl? (Applause) Communications consultant, Jane Caro, arguing against the proposition that Atheists are wrong. At the IQ Squared debate in Sydney. And you can head to our website if you'd like to see that debate in full and find out who triumphed. Next, Bill Gates on energy innovation. At a Wired Magazine business conference, the world's most famous entrepreneur takes on a tour of what he considers the most promising technologies to replace oil and coal. Solar power is cute, Gates quips. But nuclear is still top of his options for the future. Where do you think reactors will first - new generation reactors will first be built and what technologies do you expect them to use? We've talked about China, South Africa, India etcetera, including the United States - Well historically, the United States was the big leader in all these different types of reactors. There's 400 commercial reactors in the world today 100 of them in the United States, 70 in France, so we're the two biggest. Japan - I'm sorry, China today has 20 that are running and they have 28 that are under construction, so they're on their way to match and exceed the United States in terms of the reactors. India's on a very aggressive path, Russia's on a fairly aggressive path. And so the idea would be if the United States were the best science and understanding of these new materials, the software if it could be built here. That may be tricky, because the kind of funding for these projects right now isn't high enough. Now, you know, I think it should be,

And which technologies do you think are leading that now? Well, the problem in the nuclear industry is it - you know, when nuclear power was invented and they had this design that worked on a submarine, they very quickly took that and turned it into a power reactor. And so the reactors of the 50s and 60s were basically that sub-design modified. Then they went to generation two and did a fairly good job, but then the industry got shut down between Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, low cost everything, coal in particular. The industry just disappeared. So there was almost no innovation. A few companies kept going on these generation three designs, a few in particular, Westinghouse with AP 10000 and then the French company AREVA, with what they called the EPR.

So those are the two most important generation three designs. And the Chinese are building both of those and they will pick one as a standard. To finally get some volume on an identical design, there's never been more than five built that are the same and what the Chinese want to do is build 60 that are the same, of generation three. Then all these countries are saying OK, what about generation four? Is it cheaper? Which we claim we are on paper, we don't have the same waste problem, we don't need fuel like they do, 'cause we burn all the uranium. So there's a lot of advantages, there's about four or five different generation four designs, none of which have a commitment by anyone to build them. And those generation four designs include things like the terra power one, pebble bed. Yeah, there's a tonne of these things and many of them are just kind of cool science and the economics aren't very attractive. Even generation three ended up being more expensive than generation two. So, it's not like we think about in the computer industry where if you have a new generation, it's supposed to be dramatically more powerful,

and its supposed to be less Now generation four can be a lot less expensive. There are ways of doing the design to just make things lot simper,

that's the proposition. Unless you're getting an environmental benefit from being CO2 free, you're competing with Shell gas, which is very prevalent. That's the big revolution in energy of the last decade

is the discovery of natural gas in these new formations. Which has only been exploited in the United States, but now that's moving globally. And coal is unbelievably cheap. And so you have to compete unless someone is giving you credit for not putting out CO2, you've got to compete with those things and they have much lower capital costs and they kill people, but they tend to kill only a few at a time, which is highly preferred by politicians. (Audience laugh) You described there the two classes of energy, factories and energy farming. Let's turn to energy farming, solar, wind, bio, etcetera. Which, obviously we need a portfolio of all of them, it's not a matter of - there are a lot of silver bullets and its not really a matter of choosing. But, when you look at the technological trajectories of those three industries, solar, wind and bio, which one do you think has the most potential long term? Well, clearly the one with the most potential is solar-electric or solar-chemical. All of those things are intermittent sources, that is they're not 24-hours a day whenever you want them. They are only available at certain locations, the wind doesn't blow everywhere, the sun doesn't shine a lot everywhere, you can't grow things everywhere.

And some countries have very little of those nice locations. And so these things are hard, in terms of just the raw physics, the amount of energy that's available for solar is phenomenal and even though its wildly expensive, wind has to be subsidised by about a factor of two, solar by about a factor of five, and that's when they're only a small percentage of the power. When they get to be any meaningful percentage, that's where the problem of their intermittency becomes overwhelming and you can actually spend way more to try and solve that problem than you spend on the over-priced stuff to begin with. But solar its hard, with wind you can actually create a lower bound of what its likely to cost, in terms of the materials and things. With solar you can imagine that it'll get very cheap. Today, even if they gave you the panels for free, the installation costs make you non-competitive. So, you have to think OK, are there gonna be robots, are there gonna be scale for these things.

But you can dream about solar-electric and solar-chemical, and as you said, we should pursue them all. I've got investments in dozens of energy companies, the most interesting portfolio is what Vinod Kholsa has in his venture fund, its quite phenomenal, there's a lot great companies there, battery companies, solar-chemical, solar-thermal. There's a lot of IQ and that's, really I think, if you want a leading indicator that you can feel good about. The amount of IQ working on energy today and the kind of tools they have to communicate and simulate versus twenty years ago, it's night and day. But it's very unpredictable whether we're going to get a break through or not and all three of the problems are serious enough that that uncertainty makes you think 'well, why don't we put more into R and D? Why don't we encourage that, why don't we do more pilot type things.' Just to refresh us, the three problems are - Cost, security and the environment. So, other than the fact it's expensive, you could get cut off at any time and you're destroying the planet,

it's all OK.

How does PV destroy the planet? No, it doesn't destroy the planet, just the current way of doing things - Oh, the current way of doing things, I see. If we don't get the innovation, the break through. But photovovoltaic is, it's intermittency, I think,

If you're trying to design an energy system where PV is more than just a hobby. If you're doing PV as your last three or four percent - you know, it's nice the sun shines people turn their air-conditioners on during the day, it's nice you can catch some of that peaking load. Particularly if you get enough subsidies and its cute, you don't take a photo of your coal plant, you take a photo of your few little panels and its nice. But, the economics are so far from being - in terms of being mainstream energy, so far from being appropriate and that's where subsidies - where do you put the subsidies? Do you put subsidies on R and D, where society always under-invests in basic research. Do you put the subsidies on the deployment, today we're putting overwhelmingly 90 percent of the subsidies are on deployment. This is true in Europe, this is true in the United States, not on the R and D piece. So, unfortunately, you get technologies that no matter how much volume you buy of them, there's no learning curve that takes that stuff and makes it economic, just buy as much as you want - its not gonna happen, you need fundamental break-throughs, which more come out of basic research. You said they were subsidised at five X, do you mean that to be competitive

with natural gas produced electricity, you have to invest four dollars for every dollar - basically a tax break or direct subsidy. Absolutely, yeah. Or you have a thing called a renewed portfolio standard,

where you tell these companies they have to have a little bit of the cute stuff no matter how much they over pay for it. And they mix it into the price and so you're paying - but it works OK. So, say you buy five percent cute stuff and its five times over-priced, big deal.

It only raises your price for electricity a fairly modest amount. But it doesn't change the overall consumption picture? Well, the theory was that you get learning curve benefits, but you have to decide what's the asymptote of any particular technology. If you buy a tonne of it where does it end up? And that's where the politicians get into the mix and - So, we 'we've had, sort of, three trends in solar, there's the big utility style stuff out in the desert,

there is the smaller solar installation on office roofs and large commercial spaces

and theres all the way down to the residential. Each one has its own sort of efficiencies and lack thereof, in terms of generation, but large transmission differences about how to get it onto the grid. Does, the you know, the one in the home makes no sense in terms of the overall energy generation

but might link up with an electric car and some micro-generation forms, local storage, you know, notions like that. When you look at the picture of where should we be focusing, should it be massive stuff in the desert, middle sized stuff on office roofs, or is there a re-invention to be made at the home. If you're going for cuteness the stuff in the home is the place to go because it's really kind of cool - you have that little thing on your roof and everything. If you are interested in the energy problem, it's those big ones in the desert. (Laughter) I mean... Cute is now a pejorative word The problem is rich countries can afford to overpay for things. We can afford to overpay for medicine, we can afford to overpay for energy

we can rig our food prices, we can overpay for sugar, cotton - it doesn't... our politicians aren't told that we're suffering because we are overpaying for these things. In the world where most people live, 80%, energy is going to be bought where it's economic so that they can buy cheap fertiliser and grow enough crops to feed themselves - which would be increasingly difficult with climate change effects that they are experiencing. It's great to have the rich world because we're there to think about long term problems and fund the R and D. The problem is we get sloppy because we are rich and we are used to saying, 'Oh, let's have this market - you know, the guy who sells cotton get cotton get extra money - the guy who sells sugar get extra money.' Ethanol, I mean, has nothing to do with reducing CO2. It's just a form of farm subsidy and yet somebody thinks that's energy related money. And so the rich world is not necessarily the best steward of which solutions are going to work for the world at large. And for the CO2 problem, even if the rich world did very dramatic things, it doesn't come anywhere near to solving the problem. You have to help the rest of the world get energy at a reasonable price in order to have gotten anywhere. So you've been travelling the world a lot, and we'll talk about that in a minute, but where do you look for a more authentic test of what is the right energy technology? So aside - a place where you don't have ability to subsidise, a place where the rich consumers can't emphasize cute over efficiency what country is getting this right? In terms of the the innovation IQ and risk taking and starting up new companies - The United States blows every body else away. Look at the great energy portfolios and see how much of them run in the United States and how much outside the United States. This is the place where the ideas are - even our reactor idea. The people who get what we are doing in materials and the simulations and the heat pipes, that expertise is overwhelmingly in the United States. Yes - some in Europe. A little bit in India and China. Now we should be willing to deploy anywhere and when you have an economy which is growing at nine or ten percent, which is an energy intense economy - say, China - versus an economy which is growing at two percent and is getting less energy intense - if you're in the business where are the big design wins that count, you'd better be selling in Asia, particularly to China,

because that is where coal, natural gas, wind, solar - any energy thing that is even close to economic and Chinese do some subsidisation - The biggest demand is going to be there. So if you believe in scale, that's a market you need to be in. But it's kind of like saying with personal computers, which market you should go after, you've got to look at global scale for any of these technologies. You don't want to just focus on one market.

Now you want to know which markets are the pioneers. So, say, you believe in carbon sequestration - that you can take a coal and a natural gas plant and pull the C02 out and put it somewhere -

It's too bad there is no country that's doing a good job building pilot plants, trying that out,

seeing what the problems with that are. In terms of nuclear - the Russians, the Indians, the Chinese - they are willing to do new and interesting things.

Right now, France, Japan, the United States should have to say it's really questionable - there is no immediate appetite for breakthrough nuclear plants to be built - is that a mistake? In the 1950s, the 1960s we didn't hesitate to do things like that. In the 1970s Japan - and now China's taken on that mantle of not willing to accept the status quo and doing big new projects. Earlier when we were talking about solar and you were de-emphasising the residential as being a largely aesthetic and, let's say, emotional. Imagine a world where we have made transition to electric cars and we do have a smart grid and storage is distributed on some level. Can you imagine a microgeneration would make more sense in a world where we do have the ability to use possibly local cars as local storage and have a micro grid model? No. (Laughter)

I mean. We should all grow our own food. I mean, we really should. I live in Berkely, that's common wisdom there.

Seriously, the energy per square metre you're absorbing, I mean, if you have enough space to energy, you clearly have enough to do food. You should do everything.

you should do your waste re-processing. Scale has some really significant advantages in terms of reliability. Electricity is some thing you want to be reliable. When the wind blows When the hail comes you want it to be reliable. So, I don't think we're gonna turn everybody into running a little power generation thing. This is dangerous stuff. For solar to work well you have to have some very high temperature things going on. We want everybody to have that up on the roof? No. But... So, it's just not going to happen. Suffice to say, we will find no solar cells on the roof on top of the Gates residence? We like to be cute like everyone. (Laughter) And I said rich people can do whatever they want. (Laughter) Bill Gates speaking there with Wired editor, Chris Anderson.

Next, has political correctness gone too far? Now that early episodes of Sesame Street carry 'adults only' warnings, golliwogs and references to spanking have been removed from Enid Blyton's books, and some schools in America have renamed Easter eggs 'spring spheres' so as not to offend the non-Christian, is it time to take stock? Answering the question with a resounding 'yes',

the panellists at You Can't Say That, hosted by the Centre for Independent Studies. Later, we hear from the outspoken British editor of Spiked Online, but first, local opinion writer Janet Albrechtson explains why she thinks the PC Brigade seems to march to an imbecilic beat. When it comes to political correctness, I tend to defer to what Mark Twain said - and he knew something about political correctness, when he said, 'Sometimes I wonder whether the world is run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.'

It's tempting to assume that the PC crowd is having us on, and I could regale you with any number of stories, such as the Seattle school that last year renamed Easter eggs as 'spring spheres', worrying that a chocolate egg might, after all, remind young kids about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Or that Sesame Street has been sanitised,

so that any episodes that were made between 1969 and 1974 now are aired with 'adults only' warnings, and I kid you not. That Enid Blyton has not been spared, of course, that to appease the 'don't smack children' lobby, Dame Slap has now been named Dame Snap, and feminists have been accommodated too, so that Julian and Dick are now required to do household chores, along with the female characters. And the gay lobby, of course, has not been forgotten either. The word, 'gay', has been replaced with the word, 'happy'. And Bessie has been renamed Beth to avoid any connotations to slavery, I must say, that one went completely over my head, and Enid Blyton's golliwogs - well, of course, they've been banished too. The Lion King - well, we could talk about how it's full of racist and homophobic messages, according to Carolyn Newberger from Harvard University, who said that those good-for-nothing hyenas are nothing more than urban blacks, who speak in gay cliches. Surely they're having us on, right? But, of course, we know they're not having us on, and these are not imbeciles who really mean it, either. These are very smart people, who really mean it. Smart because the PC virus has infected so much of what we do, how we live, what we read, and how we think, and I think it's the thinking part that should trouble us the most. Earlier this year, Alan Gribben, an English professor at Auburn University in Alabama, joined with a publisher to produce a new version of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. In the new Huck Finn, the word 'nigger', which appears over 200 times in the original, has been replaced with the word, 'slave'. The professor worried that the word offended too many children, so that the book would not be read. But, as you may know, Huck Finn satirises Southern prejudices of the time. It is, in fact, an anti-racist book, and if you mess with the power of Twain's words,

you mess with the power of Twain's message,

and if school children are to really think about American history, for example, in the deep South, they need to read about 'niggers'. The history and the language are certainly confronting, but then, great literature unsettles us - it's meant to. It forces us to think about our reactions, and if we're offended, we think about why we're offended. By denying us the ability to think, political correctness is a heresy if we're truly committed to liberalism. Political correctness, after all, aims to tell us what to think,

and it seeps into so many parts of society, so often without us even paying attention to its aim. Because the purveyors of political correctness are not imbeciles - because they are smart people armed with clever tricks - we do need to pay more attention. In the last few weeks, some on the left have claimed that those who have raised questions about multiculturalism, immigration, and the relationship between Islam and modernity, have blood on our hands. I say 'our hands', because I've been named as someone

who bears some responsibility for what happened in Oslo. Others named as being complicit in the mass murder include Keith Windschuttle, Andrew Bolt, and Geoffrey Blainey. Now here we have murder being used as a muzzle - used to close down free speech. And this is just the latest addition to what is now a growing list of tactics to curb free speech, or even worse, to stifle genuine inquiry and independent thinking. So let me go quickly through some of the tricks. If you want to immediately close down discussion about, say immigration or border control, you can choose from a range of emotionally-charged tools. You call your opponents racists, and point to xenophobia in the community.

Opponents are not just wrong, they're evil, and therefore their views should not be aired in a civilised society. John Howard, as we know, copped this for years, and even Prime Minister Julia Gillard, when she called for an open debate about these issues last year, well, right on cue, she too was accused of whipping up the racists within Australia.

But remember this - the stifling political correctness that rejected an open debate about immigration in the early 1990s, helped fuel the emergence and popularity of Pauline Hanson, which brings me to the victim game. It's been fuelled by two recent developments. We now live in an age when feelings are treated as a measurement of moral values, so that you measure your feelings against the feelings of others to determine morality. Hence, we live in what author Monica Ali calls 'the marketplace of outrage', where groups vie for victimhood status, each claiming that their feelings have been hurt more than others. Secondly, this focus on vulnerability is used as justification enough to curb Enlightenment values, such as freedom of expression, and as a member of a minority, you need only utter the word 'phobia' to close down debate. Now, over the last few years, we have witnessed what has become a familiar opera of Muslim oppression,

used to shut down debate on this front. The first act starts with something simple - or a silly Danish cartoon, or film called Submission, or even a cheeky episode by South Park that sends up the fact that Mohammed seems to be the only guy free from ridicule. Then comes the libretto - Muslims, or a small but vocal minority of Muslims, scream about hurt feelings. The drama builds in this second act. Death threats are issued, flags and a few effigies are burned, and maybe even a few boycotts imposed. And then, we hear that great aria of all accusations - Islamophobia. The third act, of course, is the most depressing. The West capitulates, preferring the path of least resistance to launching a staunch defence of freedom of expression. Hence, the then US President George H W Bush declared both Salman Rushdie's book, and the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, as equally offensive.

Hence, 20 years later, as Jim mentioned, newspapers across the globe refused to publish the Danish cartoons, and politicians muttered something about hurt feelings. Hence last year, Comedy Central, the channel that broadcasts South Park, inserted audio bleeps and large blocks of black reading, 'censored', at the very mention of Mohammed, to prevent more hurt feelings. And, as those clever guys at South Park said, 'Well, like we lost.'

And we too may lose, if we don't recognise the tactics, let alone the consequences,

because we're left, after all, with a new norm of anticipatory surrender, and self-censorship. The victim game works so well because it's augmented by laws - the apparatus of the state that, again, Jim mentioned. The prosecutions are mounting - Geert Wilders in Holland, writers Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant in Canada, and our own Andrew Bolt in Australia, who is facing a claim by a group of Aborigines, as we've already heard. The PC crowd, after all, is clever, and they're not having us on. They know that there are no useful tests, after all, about hurt feelings, and inciting hate. They enact nice sounding laws, they build bureaucracies and then wait for them for them to blossom, and they bludgeon free speech. My favourite example of political correctness involves the American Navy. In October 2001, after America had invaded Afghanistan, some of its Navy personnel were preparing missiles that were going to be fired at al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds, and one of the Navy men decided to write a message on the side of his missile - a message to express his anger about 9/11. So, in reference to the 9/11 hijackings, he wrote the following message on his missile - 'hijack this, you faggots.' Now, little did he know, that even though the American military had rather a lot on its mind at that time, his message would still cause a massive controversy, and when they heard about what had happened,

the upper echelons of the Navy were outraged. They expressed official disapproval of this homophobic message,

and they issued a warning that military personnel should 'more closely edit their spontaneous acts of penmanship.' And they even issued some unofficial guidelines, covering what could and could not be written on the side of post-9/11 missiles.

So, there should be nothing offensive, the guildelines said. So, for example, it was OK to say something like 'I love New York,' but it's not OK to use words like 'faggot'. That is my favourite story about political correctness for two reasons. Firstly, because it sums how psychotically obsessed with language the PC lobby is, because what these Navy people were effectively saying is that it's OK to kill people, but not to offend them. It's OK to drop a missile on someone's house, or someone's cave, just so long as that missile doesn't have anything inappropriate written on the side of it. Heaven forbid that the last thing a member of the Taliban should see before having his head blown off

is a word reminding him of the existence of homosexuality. And this really captures the warping of morality that is inherent in political correctness, where you become so myopically focused on speech, on representation, that everything else, including matters of life and death, become subordinate to that. And the second reason it's my favourite example of political correctness is because it captures a truth about political correctness that is far too often overlooked, which is that political correctness is not actually the handiwork of small groups of cultural Marxists, or liberal malcontents. The rise and rise of political correctness is not simply down to the activism and agitation of unrepresentative sections of the chattering classes who detest vulgar language and what they consider to be offensive ideas. If it was, then how could we explain the actions of the American Navy? Why would one of the most powerful, well-armed institutions on Earth, buckle under pressure from those kinds of people? From people who read the Guardian or the Age. No, political correctness represents something far more profound. The victory of political correctness is built upon the demise and the decay of traditional forms of authority, and traditional forms of morality. It is parasitical on the crisis of conservative thought. In fact, I would argue that the power of political correctness is directly proportionate to

the weakness of the old, taken-for-granted forms of morality. Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked Online

at the Centre for Independent Studies event, You Can't Say That. Finally today, Paul Gilding is the former boss of Greenpeace. In his new book, The Great Disruption, he argues the Earth is full, and fixing climate change is only the beginning. Most important of all, Gilding argues, we need to smash our delusion that infinite growth is possible on a finite planet. But he's optimistic that humanity's finest traits - compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability - will carry us through. The thing that's going is, the opening line of the book, which is, 'The Earth is full,' as in, there is so much economic activity going on in the Earth, as a result of us, that the Earth can no longer take any more of it, and we're kind of literally bumping up against the edges of the Earth

creaking at the seams - in some cases literally, in Fukushima recently - creaking at the seams in terms of our capacity and our impact and there are now consequences of that, and what we're seeing in all of these events is really the consequences coming home to roost. When we say, 'the Earth is full,' we can look at that in many different ways to make that a factual, physical, chemistry, biological conclusion,

as opposed to an opinion. And one of those, certainly,

is the work of the Global Footprint Network, which talks about, 'Let's translate all of our activity into footprint. Let's think about how many acres of land we need to support the economy.' And the answer, of course, as we well know - we mightn't realise how fast it's gone, but we certainly know now, that we're now using approximately 150% of the Earth's acres to support our economy. Now, that means that the capacity of the Earth to support us is 100%, obviously, and we're using one-and-a-half times that much. so we're kind of galloping ahead now at a great rate. This is not philosophy, this is not belief. This is science. This is physics. This is actual, basic functional activity, which we know and we can measure. We'll talk about the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment - a completely different study, 3,000 of the world's top scientists looking at ecosystem services. Again, not the environment, that's the place we visit on weekends, but ecosystem services - the things that we take from the environment to support our economy. So, when we say that, the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment looks at ecosystem services and says, you know, 'These are the things that we need for our economy to keep going. For humanity to have an economy. To get food, to get water, to get fibre, to have land, et cetera.' So these are very practical things. And what they're saying is - there's about 25 of those ecosystem services. Some of those are more spiritual, recreational things, but most of them are food, fibre, very basic things - and they're saying that 16 out of those 25 are being used unsustainably. So, again, a different approach, saying the same thing. Our current economy is not sustainable,

relative to the capacity of the Earth to support it.

But that's actually not the very big problem. The really, really, very, very big problem, is that we haven't stopped - we're not stopping at 150%. We're planning to go on from that point, and keep on growing the economy - the one idea that we had, remember. Let's think about that. So, from 1.5 times operating capacity,

to somewhere between - allowing for efficiency, and that will come in as well - we go to somewhere between three, four, or five planets worth of activity. And that means that we can't do that. So let's be really clear. The one idea we've got is not going to happen. So, if it doesn't happen, what will happen? And what will it look like? What will it feel like? What it will feel like is kind of what it feels like now, more, without denial. Sustainability expert Paul Gilding speaking there at the RSA in London. And that's it for our taste test of big ideas for this week. Remember, you can find all of the talks you've seen on the show today, and more besides, at the Big Ideas website. Look out for our lunchtime weekend shows on News 24, Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm. I'm Waleed Aly, I'll see you then. # Theme music Closed Captions by CSI 1.. THEME MUSIC Deep in the canyons of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado lies the most important ancient site in the United States. It's our wonder, and its very existence is a riddle. It was created by mysterious people who disappeared without trace long before the Europeans set foot on the Americas. When it was discovered by two cowboys a century ago, Mesa Verde rewrote the history of the West. It showed that native Americans in this region had lived in well-built, organised, and permanent urban communities. Within Mesa Verde are concealed the remains of a mysterious people who flourished here about 1,000 years ago. Very little is known about them, beyond the fact that they were great builders. They were called the Anasazi, the ancient ones, by the Navaho. Their spiritual beliefs are also a mystery, but what we do know has been discovered in their underground ruins. A 'kiva' was a circular subterranean room where families would gather. On the floor was a fireplace, and a smaller hole called a 'sipapu', which was a symbolic connection to the underworld. Inside one of a number of dwellings are wall paintings. Some of the artwork seems to show pyramid structures which have lead some to believe these people may have been descendants of some of the great civilisations of Central America,

perhaps even the Toltecs. This small town known as 'Cliff Palace' has about 220 rooms, and was home to around 250 people. It was one of many small communities and homesteads

built into the Rockies. Mesa Verde means 'green table' in Spanish - a name drawn from the surrounding canyon-tops where the Anasazi were thought to farm, having climbed the steep cliff faces from their towns beneath. Today the Mesa Verde Park is home to over 4,000 archaeological sites and 600 cliff dwellings. Mesa Verde shows the adaptability of the people. They used the natural features of the landscape not only to provide food, but also to provide protection and shelter,

carved from the very rock itself. Closed Captions by CSI

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Plenty that's not on the

agenda for today's forum but

the PM says it's not tax

avoidance. There is no attempt here to discussions. They're spending

almost $1 million to stage what

I think is going to be in the

end a pretty pointless PR

stunt. Safety concerns stop

work for a second day on

Brisbane's Airport Link. The

rise and fall of the little

Aussie battler. Where next for

the dollar? And some sharp eyes

take their first look at the

cosmos. We are so excited

because we're living an

historic moment for science and particularly for