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(generated from captions) how food companies compete In the next program, we'll look at are the ones that we choose. to make sure that their products Australian Caption Centre Supertext Captions This Program is Captioned Live. # Theme music I'm Waleed Aly. Hi there and welcome to Big Ideas. the biggest big idea of them all - Amongst our short cuts today, Is there a God?

and non-believer, Peter Singer, A one-on-one debate between ethicist John Lennox. and Christian mathematician, asks if the death of Osama bin Laden A Monash University panel was lawful or just, Amos Oz, plus the inspiring Israeli writer, muses on how to cure a fanatic. every kind of fanatics, All fanatics, other people's minds and hearts. is always involved in changing The fanatic is a great altruist. than in himself or herself. He is more interested in you for your own good. He wants to change you He wants to save your soul for you. own prejudices or ideas or opinions, He wants to rescue you from your voting habits or praying habits, he wants to cure you from your

or smoking habits. a little bit later. More amusing insights from Amos Oz But first, Paul Wolfowitz. he's either a hero of the free world Depending on your politics But first, Paul Wolfowitz. own prejudices or ideas or opinions, of many thousands of people. or responsible for the deaths under George W Bush, As US Deputy Defence Secretary for the invasion of Iraq. Wolfowitz was a hawkish advocate under George W Bush, As US Deputy Defence Secretary expert on Asia But he's also a highly regarded

and on a recent visit to Australia,

of what he calls 'The Asia Century'. he looked to the future overshadowing the might of Uncle Sam Might we see the dragon in our lifetime? Perhaps Australians are different are so mesmerised but I often find that Americans economic success by China's remarkable that they sometimes seem to forget economic powers there are how many other emerging

in this part of the world. Of course, they're generally aware of more than a billion people, that Indonesia is another country and they may recognise economically, as well, that India has been growing rapidly, but they're not usually aware will continue to grow rapidly that India's labour force for a long period of time,

is already peaking while China's working-age population of the total population at just over 70% that I've read - and is predicted in some places, and this is, by the way - predict with some confidence, demography is one thing that you can 20 years old in ten years because everyone who's gonna be is already born - that China's working-age population to roughly 65% of the total by 2030. will decline even more dramatic That change is gonna be

youth cohort, 15 to 24-year-olds in the very important, energetic 220 million today - who will drop from roughly than most countries in the world - of course, that's bigger

a huge reduction - by 2025. to a mere 160 million - but that's Americans are even less aware - in case it's not clear, and by the way, of the draconian one-child policy all of this is the product dictatorship could impose that only a very powerful on its population population growth are considerable and while the problems of unchecked have avoided it, and one can say the Chinese at the price of a huge disparity but they have avoided it and young women, between the number of young men of one child being responsible they've avoided it at the price and young women, between the number of young men grandparents, for two parents and four of creating a society they've avoided it at the price will have no cousins. where many people And if you stop and think about that, operates on family connections, in a country where so much business very dramatic changes., China's in for some is hard to predict, And how it all comes out but only a one-party dictatorship like that could produce massive change, very dramatic changes., that's not a good thing. and I tend to think less aware of the potential of ASEAN But to continue, Americans are even together and the fact that those ten countries of 600 million people - have a combined population in the mega range themselves - that is, to say, they're getting up half the population of China. roughly $1.3 trillion, A combined GDP of, today, of large countries - but it includes a number and Thailand - and notably, Indonesia, Vietnam rapid economic growth. that are also experiencing 'OK, Japan is number three now, And finally, we tend to say, let's forget about Japan.' That's a huge mistake. in total size, China's economy is past Japan's 'OK, Japan is number three now, still has enormous economic weight but Japan per-capita output and in innovation. and remains far ahead of China in In short, it'll be hard for China the countries of the Asia-Pacific, to dominate include India and the United States, with combined populations, if we of over two billion people. more and more of those countries And, like China, productivity of advanced economies. are approaching the per-capita of the Chinese regime Second, the political legitimacy its continued rapid economic growth. is critically dependent on Officially, rules the world's largest population the Chinese Communist Party and Leninist doctrine on the basis of Marxist believes in anymore. that virtually no-one in China

the government of the United Kingdom It's almost as absurd as if still claimed to rule of the British monarch. on the basis of the divine right where the Chinese government And of course, that isn't derives its real legitimacy. In the absence of popular legitimacy, on its economic performance, China's government depends of course, and that economic performance, has so far delivered impressively. But like a person riding a bicycle, or the bicycle will fall over, who has to keep pedalling China's economy has to keep growing of the regime. in order to sustain the legitimacy

on peaceful world trade So, China is profoundly dependent and on its access to world markets. And that is a good thing. Third, and this is a bit paradoxical, that same rapid economic growth Third, and this is a bit paradoxical, that buys an important degree of legitimacy and stability for China's current rulers also brings with it a large and growing middle class that is increasingly resentful of arbitrary rule. The Beijing regime's sensitivity to that sentiment was reflected recently by the seemingly ridiculous ban on the display of jasmine flowers, a very traditional flower in China, in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. I've read on the Internet - I don't know if that's a reliable source, but you can find there - apparently, even an old video of president Jiang Zemin -

former president, Jiang Zumin, singing some traditional Chinese song about the jasmine flower has now disappeared and you can't find it. That suggests, perhaps, paranoia, but as Henry Kissinger observed, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. (Laughter) that the country has to evolve poltically. There have been halting steps to introduce more representative government at the local level. But here they encounter a dilemma - a dilemma that is captured perfectly by that Chinese proverb that says, 'He who rides a tiger, has to be very careful dismounting.' They take baby steps

to introduce elections at the local level, and they are not quite sure they like the result so they start to ratchet it back. I believe we're seeing that in Hong Kong and we're seeing some considerable resistance to it - if I'm correct, 200,000 people demonstrating in Hong Kong - didn't get much attention, but it should have.

Nevertheless, while change may come slowly and most surely encounter reverses I think China - I don't think, I know - but it should have. China today is a vastly more open country than the one I visited for the first time in 1983 with the Secretary of State Shultz. Back then I remember trying to engage one of my counterparts in the foreign ministry on the subject of his taste in music - and even though I had been told by another government agency, as we like to say, that he liked classical music, I couldn't get him to admit to any such thing. And at first I was a little surprised, and then I realised it wasn't so many years ago that he could be sent to the pig farms for admitting a love of Western classical music. China has changed extraordinarily since then. And however much further it has to go, it's worth remembering that. For example, just recently, two gentlemen - one named Yigong Shi and the other Yi Rao, were the deans of life sciences at two of China's most distinguished universities wrote in a recent editorial in the American Journal of Science, this amazing statement - 'For grants in China ranging from tens to hundreds of million of yuan, it is an open secret,' they said, 'That doing good research is not as important as schmoozing with powerful beaurocatics and their favourite experts. China's current research culture,' they complained, 'wastes resources, corrupts the spirit and stymies innovation.' What a world of difference from being afraid to talk about classical music. Things have changed. And it's just one of many indications that I know of that Chinese elite opinion is not monolithic. I heard some very senior Chinese officials, when I was head of the World Bank, express scepticism about the way Chinese businesses were behaving in Africa. And you can read in state-controlled media, criticisms of the recent high-speed rail crash and even criticsms about how local officials interfere with citizens who go to Beijing attempting to exercise their right, at least their nominal right, to take their greivances to the central authorities. Perhaps most remarkable to me is that I have heard some party members express - admittedly only in private -

that Taiwan could provide a model for China's future. You can read a former general secretary of the Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang, in his book, Prisoner of the State, write that China needs to adopt not merely a democratic constitution, but one based on a three-part division of power. Like we have on the UK or in the US or here in Australia. It's pretty remarkable now - you have to hasten to add that these people are mavericks and Zhao Ziyang wrote that book when he was under house arrest, not when he was general secretary of the party. But nevertheless, I think this debate, which it must be going on, even more than we can observe, has to carry some weight. And in the long run, the authorities will more and more have to accept these dissident views whether they want to or not. For one thing, even by their official statistics

the mesaure, so-called 'mass incidents', which I gather is a euphemism for 'riot' - the number of so-called mass incidents in China

has skyrocketted in the last few years, by their own numbers. And then there's the fact of China's steadily-rising economic levels. I hesitate to say anything that sounds like an economic determinist but I do think there is something relentless about economic growth and the growth of the middle class. If you look at statistics assembled by Freedom House, a very distinguished American human rights organisation, they rank countries according to categories of 'free', 'partly free' and 'not free'. China is firmly, at least for now, in the 'not free' category. But if you look at their rankings, virtually every county that has a per capita GDP level of $17,000 or more, with the notable exception of some of the oil-rich countries, virtually every other country above that level of per-capita income is at least in the 'partly free' category

and the majority are listed as 'fully free.' If that were to hold true for China,

then change would be coming rather soon. Since China will reach that level by 2015 if growth is sustained at the 9-10% per year level, and even if it slips, I guess, that's what we've have to say, to 7% per year, China will reach that level in 2017. Paul Wolfowitz speaking in Sydney as a guest of the Centre for Independent Studies. And you can head to our website if you'd like to see that event in full. Next up, when US President Barack Obama announced to the world that Osama bin Laden was dead, many Americans were filled with joy and relief. But was his assassination really lawful?

What impact has his death had on global terrorism? And perhaps more selfishly, what does it all mean for Australia? Monash University's Global Terrorism Research Centre, where I teach, recently convened a guest panel of experts to tackle these questions. The moderator was Indonesia specialist Professor Greg Barton.

recently convened a guest panel of experts to tackle these questions. is a tipping point for al-Qaeda, Whether or not the death of Osama bin Laden is a tipping point for al-Qaeda, and it becomes less and less powerful, what does seem very clear is that terrorism as a method of political violence, political action,

is not going away and we're going to face this ongoing struggle with groups that use asymmetrical force - small groups, non state actors, that are really basically competing to try and tell the world 'We're the good guys, the freedom fighters, they're the bad guys.' We're trying to say the reverse. How do we act in a world like this? The rhetoric of global War on Terror we know was silly, like the War on Drugs, it's not really a war. Yet there is a sense there's an active conflict going on. How do we act within the confines of this conflict? What should we be doing when it comes to figures like Bin Laden in future? We can take a lesson from what has happened in the Arab world since December last year when we look at the...I guess, look at it as a collapse of the influence of that type of politics, al-Qaeda style politics, in the region. And the resonance of other ideas - ideas about freedom, freedom from authoritarianism, etc. So, for me, that sends a message that it's not arms that make change, it was ideas, it was ideas and persistence -

and certainly resistance and arms are certainly part of it. But it lends itself toward viewing elements of counter-terrorism policy that address those parts of the issue, whether that be issues around de-radicalisation, de-mobilisation, discussions over ideology and narratives, these sorts of things, and these things are happening amongst governments, I mean, governments are very aware of this but, for me, it reaffirms it on an already happening trajectory, particularly in counter-terrorism policy.

Well, picking up on your point, Sarah, and Ben's point just then, could we in fact argue that there's grounds for being optimistic, that although we stumble and make many mistakes,

we're moving steadily towards a situation where international law has some teeth and the legitimacy of governments, of individual figures, of individual actors, depends very much on how they're seen, judged transparently, that people now are really in a position to ask those questions and will act accordingly? I mean, it's hard to predict the future but I think there are some grounds for optimism. I think, I mean, we have in a way somehow - there's been a return to some sort of respect for international law. The International Criminal Court, it's not actually doing an enormous amount on the ground but it's got a very strong symbolic resonance with, you know, Colonel Gaddafi being charged and, um... Bashir? ..Omar Bashir from Sudan has been indicted. He hasn't been arrested - Muburak's been charged. Yeah, he hasn't been arrested and so on, so there's been some - he hasn't been arrested but that doesn't mean he won't be. I mean, Milosevic took a long time. I think there probably is a very real fear among some people in the world about, 'Oh, I could be dragged up before the International Criminal Court,' so I think there is some sort of tentative return. I do feel the Arab Spring, which is hardly resolved at all, but I do see that also as grounds for enormous optimism. It has been said that, you know, it's showing the generations in some of the Arab countries that the way of terrorism is just simply nihilistic and doesn't really achieve anything whereas what they did in Tahrir Square and what they did in Tunisia actually did achieve something and I think it's, I think it's really remarkable, for example, that the Syrians are still going, even though - and they haven't turned to arms yet, there has of course been some - but they haven't turned to arms yet. Neither has Yemen, and Yemen is a country that's been constantly bagged as being - at least prior to its demonstrations - constantly called a failed state and there was even thoughts that the Arab Spring could never come to Yemen. I mean, it's got a very low rate of literacy and so on. It's also a highly armed society and yet after all that they still haven't turned to arms. And I think that's remarkably resilient. And hopefully they won't, and I see that as huge grounds for optimism. Well, they haven't turned to arms and they've been tremendously courageous in all these countries - think of the people in Syria at the moment, the sort of threats they face. They also haven't turned to that other kind of 'arms' - extremist religion. The rhetoric, the narrative of al-Qaeda is not playing a significant role in these Arab Spring events at the moment. You're 100% right and I think it's a beautiful little vignette of that lesson, I think, where it's that sort of battle over those ideas and the very fact that it achieved change, the very fact that Muburak left, for me, in all of this discussion, is 50 times more significant than the death of bin Laden. I mean, that is really telling - the fact that they came close together is actually really interesting, is such a telling comparison. It also seems telling to me that whilst we've heard some voices from the past, from previous administrations saying, 'See, we told you so, torture works', this current administration has had people like General David Petraeus saying, 'No, torture can't be justified. Waterboarding can't be justified.

We didn't get vital intelligence, timely intelligence with this case and there's no justification for doing it in future.' There seems to be a growing realisation that it really does matter what people think of you. And if you don't pay attention to trying to persuade people the right of your cause, you've lost already. Well, I think the war in Iraq would have been a lot more successful for the United States had it been legal.

They would have had more support. And so I think, as I've said, there have been subtle but very profound consequences for all the players - I think the government that seems to have gone right under the radar with regard to Iraq is in fact the John Howard government. That doesn't seem to come up so much in this country but Tony Blair is completely vilified in the United Kingdom mainly because of that one act. And I do think that there are consequences for flagrant breaches of the law. When it comes to bin Laden, I'm not as strong as Gideon in saying 'right, it's a breach,' I think it is, but I think it's a bit more complicated in terms of 'if this, then this' and so on that depends a lot on exactly what happened and when. And also, if I make the assumption, if I give them the benefit of the doubt that it was a 'kill or capture' rather than 'kill' - I agree, if was a 'kill' operation it was a breach - and so, maybe that's another reason why I don't think it's going to have the same consequences for moral authority but one of the other speakers - I think it may have been you, Ben - also brought up that if you continuously breach international law and use things like torture and so on,

how can you possibly expect other countries not to do the same? Mmm. Without, I mean, I'm not even - without any - I'm not saying there were great checks and balances in the US but there were some. But in some other countries there'll be absolutely none

and how can you - how can you justify that? How can you tell another country they can't do what you've just done. And blatantly done. Can I pick up on this question of optimism - is there grounds for optimism? I think there's something going on at the moment that we haven't really touched on tonight at all but it's fairly significant and sort of involves a range of the issues we've been discussing, which of course is the conflict in Libya. And I think there's - I think Libya is a fabulous little example, a little microcosm, of this issue about whether there's cause for optimism in the future in Libya. a little microcosm, of this issue and the way that the world is responding, the euphemistic 'international community' is responding to these sorts of problems. Um, I thought it was really interesting because the Security Council resolution that led to the attacks in Libya in support for the rebel forces

was predicated on an expressed statement that there would be no troops on the ground. So there was a sort of limited action. It was also predicated, I think, on a complete lack of honesty about what history tells us about where these conflicts go. And I think it shows the confusion in the international community, or perhaps mixed messages and mixed feelings in the international community, about how we are to respond to oppressive governance. You know, Syria and Tunisia and Egypt are nice examples of internally driven rebellions. Libya started as an internally driven rebellion that required international force to reinforce it. But what is to be done about Gaddafi? The first thing that happens is that the Security Council says,

about Gaddafi? But what is to be done the International Criminal Court 'We're going to refer this matter to Criminal Court because the International of global justice is the expression and we believe in it and it can address this issue.' is seized, So, the International Criminal Court ultimately it produces indictments it goes about investigating and against Gaddafi and others. the use of armed force, In the meantime, we then authorise of humanitarian intervention invoking this idea Doctrine, or the Responsibility to Protect international law concept which is this very amorphous whereby great powers go in upon rogue states. and enforce their will quite defensible, That seems to me to be defensible, in Security Council resolution, on the grounds set out and the civilian population. which is the protection of civilians That's all fine Gaddafi's premises in Tripoli until we then go and target and start trying to assassinate him. little comparison to be made And it seems to me there's a lovely of Osama bin Laden between the targetted killing targetted killing - and the targetted or attempted which clearly it was - of Moammar Gaddafi. for very different reasons. Both of them were illegal, Both of them are an extension these governments of the mission that was granted by international law. really reflects this confusion And it seems to me that Libya in the international community for troubled regions, about what it is we should be doing be responding the extent to which we should to rogue states, to terrorist groups, this sort of behaviour to governments that support we should be staying out. and the extent to which enormous grounds for optimism. I'm not convinced that there's for optimism than there was I think there's greater grounds back in the noughties, if you like, that we're clear yet but I don't think about where it is we're heading on this. as an international community isn't it, on who's in government Yeah, so much is contingent, the decisions made. and the flavour of that government, I mean, talking about America, a very different administration we can see there was about Afghanistan and Iraq, that made certain choices wouldn't have done so. very likely this administration voted against the Iraq invasion We know Senator Obama trying to work out what he's got - but he's stuck with I mean, will work with what he's got. decisions in Afghanistan? Would've Obama made different I think that Iraq - Iraq. I don't know about Afghanistan, he's on the record that he - I think it's clear another whole can of worms I mean, Afghanistan's however it plays out because we face ongoing engagement and difficult legal challenges - some elements of the Afghani Taliban we're talking about negotiations with and that's legally, morally fraught it's something we have to face up to. but also probably inevitable, isn't it? It's a difficult age we live in, just bringing up Afghanistan, Well, it also - which some people raise one of the arguments about why we should stay is for human rights protect the rights of women. to, in particular, I think, they're negotiating for that's not really the outcome, not the reason we went in and it's also definitely in the first place. women for many years I mean, the Taliban were awful to before we went in in 2001. And so I think the argument, because of the rights of women,' 'Oh, we must stay or not, I think it's a lie. whether that's a good argument I don't think that's why we're there we're going to stay or leave. and I don't think it's why with the Taliban, Especially if we're negotiating I'd be surprised

all about human rights for women. if those negotiations are we walked away from Afghanistan once. No, I think you're right but at arms' length in the 1980s We were sort of involved mostly Afghani fighters, when the mujahideen, fought the Soviets and said, 'that's good, it's done.' and there we just washed our hands And the troubles we face today not following through then. are a result of So there's a sense - Unless they're - getting involved in the first place, unless they're a consequence of also with Libya. which is what you're warning about And Libya, I think, is, my mind on Libya, I mean, I've personally changed I mean, when Libya - first started when the NATO intervention that was almost - sounds odd - of the rule of law but almost a reinforcement because unlike with Iraq the Security Council resolution. they actually did get And the League of Arab Nations. vital in tipping the balance. I mean, the Arab league was really Council most likely pulled back. Now it seems like the Security for the rule of law And, you know, it's a little win but there's certainly no talk like Libya - of going and bombing other places like Syria, for example. it's too logistically difficult, Now, maybe that's because without the Security Council it's also because it will be illegal. not going to authorise, And the Security Council's going to fall for that again. you know, Russia and China aren't Being illegal is OK, significant and worthwhile it just has to be strategically and it's not. at the Monash University event, Gideon Boas and panellists the death of Osama Bin Laden.' 'Mission Accomplished - Next up, 'How to cure a fanatic,' of a talk that was the intriguing title by visiting Israeli writer, Amos Oz. Oz tells his Sydney audience, Fanatics, are the scourge of our time. suicide bombers and Zionist settlers. And fanaticism is what links Hamas

All fanatics, every kind of fanatic, people's minds and hearts. is always involved in changing other The fanatic is a great altruist. than in himself or herself. He is more interested in you for your own good. He wants to change you He wants to save your soul for you. own prejudices or ideas or opinions. He wants to rescue you from your

voting habits or praying habits He wants to cure you from your or smoking habits. Er, fanaticism is very ancient. It's older than Islam. It's older than Christianity or Judaism. It's a basic component in human nature. I think fanaticism is a bad gene. And potentially, there may be something of a fanatic in each and every one of us. So, let's be aware of the potential internal fanatic in every one of us. I think Bin Laden, who died a few months ago, differs from people who blow up abortion clinics in America, in the scope of his action, in the magnitude of his action, but not in the nature of his action. He is out to change other people. He is out to save the world from something. He is out to improve the world as he regards improvement. Ladies and gentlemen, my childhood in Jerusalem rendered me quite an authority in comparative fanaticism. And let me say in passing, that perhaps it's high time that every university and every school in the world start a course in comparative fanaticism because it's all over us, it's everywhere, and it is the syndrome of our time. The Jerusalem of my childhood was full of messiahs, prophets and redeemers. Everyone had his or her personal formula for instant universal redemption. Not everyone was violent. Not everyone was a terrorist. Not everyone, of course, was aggressive. But everyone had a personal formula for redemption. Many people came to Jerusalem claiming, after the old Zionist slogan, that they are in Jerusalem to build it and to be rebuilt by it. But secretly quite a few of them craved to crucify, to get crucified or both. Even in today's Israel, every line by a bus stop is likely to catch a spark

and turn into a fiery street seminary with total strangers passionately arguing about politics and religion and history and political and metaphysical good and evil. With the participants of a such a street seminary, while differing on political and metaphysical good and evil, are nonetheless, elbowing their way to the top of the line. This is not necessarily fanaticism. Not every person with a strong opinion is a fanatic.

not every self-appointed redeemer is a fanatic. The fanatics are the violent ones.

the ones who will force you to change. The love you. They love you dearly. The love you more than they love themselves. The fanatic has no private life. He or she is 100% public, no private life.

The fanatic gives no value to his or her life. He is eager to sacrifice his life for the sake of a cause, whatever the cause, because he doesn't think much of his life. His life is empty. no warmth, No family, no relationship, no human touch to his life. 100% public.

that I was a little fanatic. As a little boy, I have to confess to pronounce in English, The first words I ever learnt except for 'yes' and 'no', were the words, 'British go home.' we Jewish kids in Jerusalem Which is what we kids, used to shout at the British patrols in Jerusalem of the 1940s as we were throwing stones at them to pronounce in English, of the Jews against the British. in the original intifada, As a seven-year-old boy, young friends together with two devoted we built an awesome rocket in London, and aimed it at the Buckingham Palace King of England with an ultimatum. planning to present the Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement, 'Either you give us back our land by or else our Day of Atonement last day of judgement.' is going to become Great Britain's of a broken motorcycle The rocket consisted of an old refrigerator. and the remains my zeal and my friends' zeal, And the reason Britain survived in developing the guiding device is that we didn't quite succeed

and the right fuel, and they pulled out quickly. and the British were smart (Laughter) little chauvinist. But I was a slogan-screaming like any fanatic. I was self righteous, I was utterly convinced

is 100%, 110% right, that the Jewish Zionist cause and every other cause,

is evil, dangerous every opposing cause the face of the earth. and deserved to be wiped off The Arabs hated us, they were evil. they were evil. The British were against us, sympathetic - it's an evil world. The rest of the world was not

Black and white, just like that. from this fanaticism What actually cured me with a British police constable. was a very strange early friendship short of breath, asthmatic, A short, fat man, seven-year-old boy in Jerusalem whom I befriended as a some lessons in Hebrew - and whom I taught seven-year-old boy in Jerusalem whom I befriended as a in biblical Hebrew - he actually had some back ground in modern Hebrew, I gave him some lessons he taught me some English, in a small cafe in Jerusalem - and after our secret, hushed meetings small cafe in Jerusalem, in the back room of a in a small cafe in Jerusalem - and after our secret, hushed meetings for me to hate everybody else. it was no longer possible in a small cafe in Jerusalem - and after our secret, hushed meetings then you fanaticism might be reduced. And once you start making exceptions, When I speak about fanatics, the obvious fanatics. I don't necessarily mean on your television screens Those who you see against the television cameras shaking their fists in the air in languages we cannot understand. and screaming slogans In its more domestic forms,

everywhere around us, fanaticism is present possibly also inside us. and as I said, We all know vegetarians for eating meat. who will eat you alive We all know the anti-smokers for lighting a cigarette. who will burn you alive Do I know the pacifists, in the Israeli peace movement some of my colleagues to shoot me through the head who are willing slightly different idea just because I have a the Palestinians. on how to make peace with Actually, I am not saying voice against something is a fanatic. that everyone who raises his or her with strong opinions is a fanatic. I'm not saying that everyone that the seed of fanaticism I am saying is in uncompromising self righteousness, violent uncompromising the curse of many generations, the curse of our generation. and in particular, there are varying degrees of evil Of course, to differentiate and I will be the first moral obligation of every one of us. and I think differentiating is a Different degrees of evil. Grade evil. cause less harm than a terrorist Militant environmentalists and an ethnic cleanser, may be fanatical. although both of them a special inter-relationship And there is also between fanaticism and kitsch. in the world of kitsch, The fanatic lives in a world of good guys and bad guys, with nice guys and ugly guys. in an ever lasting Hollywood movie Israeli-Palestinian tragedy Many people treat the as a clash between right and wrong, as a Hollywood movie. Essentially, it is not. between right and right. It is a tragic clash between wrong and wrong - Sometimes it's a clash wrong and wrong, often it is a clash between but black and white it is not. to paint it in black and white. The fanatics on all sides are trying by death, Now, the fanatic is also fascinated and charmed by death. attracted by death The fanatic is not a person

looking for a cause The fanatic is a person sacrifice their lives. for which he or she will Amos Oz Israeli writer and journalist, hosted by the Shalom institute. speaking on a recent visit to Sydney, Finally today, is there a god? question of all, It's possibly the biggest still be arguing about and the one we'll probably shuffled off this mortal coil. long after everyone watching this has still be arguing about and the one we'll probably Fixed Point, The US based Christian organisation bio-ethicist and atheist, recently bought together Australian Peter Singer, and Christian, John Lennox. and Oxford maths professor at Melbourne Town Hall. For a public debate For my atheist friends in Oxford, driving force of evolution, tell me that the cognitive faculties, reason included, which eventually produced our human truth at all, but survival. was not primarily concerned with and still happens very often to truth And we all know what has happened, enterprises or nations when individuals or commercial by their selfish genes, motivated perhaps and struggle for survival. feel themselves threatened atheists are obliged Moreover, it appears to me that to regard thought as some kind of neuro-physiological phenomenon. Now, from an evolutionary perspective, the neuro-physiology might well be adaptive,

but why would one think for a moment that the beliefs generated by it should be mostly true? After all as the chemist, J.B Holder pointed out long ago, 'If the thoughts in my mind are just the motions of atoms in my brain, a mechanism that has risen by mindless, unguided processes, why should I believe anything it tells me,

including the fact that it is made of atoms?' Atheist John Gray spells out the implications of this view. 'Modern humanism is the faith that through science that humankind can know the truth and so be free'. But if Darwin's theory of natural selection is true, this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth. And yet my atheist friends still insist that it is rational for them to believe that the evolution of human reason was not directed for the purpose of discovering truth, and yet they say that it is irrational for me to believe that human reason was designed and created by God to enable us to understand and believe the truth.

Where is the sense in that? And I believe American philosopher Alvin Plantinga gets the heart of this. 'If atheists are right,' he says 'that we are the product of mindless, unguided natural processes, then they have given us strong reason to doubt the reliability of human cognitive faculties, and therefore inevitably to doubt the validity of any belief that they produce including their atheism. Their biology and belief in naturalism would, therefore, appear to be at war with each other in a conflict that is nothing at all to do with God. That is, atheism, by it's reductionism, undermines the foundations of the very rationality that is needed to construct or understand or believe in any kind of argument what so ever including scientific and ethical arguments. There's clearly something wrong here, and I suggest it is the fundamental assumption on which atheism is based. And that is that ultimate reality is impersonal mass energy and all the rest including mind and intelligence is derivative. So that atheism is forced to derive the rational from the irrational. By contrast, Biblical theism teaches the exact opposite. It starts by asserting that ultimate reality is personal and intelligent. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God

and the word was God. All things came to be through him. So, God is primary and eternal, it is matter and energy that is derivative. God is a person, not a theory. Human beings reflect his image and that is why science can be done. That makes sense to me as a scientist. Whereas athiesm does not. than intelligence. However there's more to God The existence of God, I argue, of rationality, gives coherence to the notion the ethical reasoning in particular makes possible to Peter Singer. that is rightly so important that ethical concern and behaviour Now, I agree with you, Peter, religious belief. does not itself require an impressive example of this. After all, you are yourself to find, since in my view, But that's exactly what I'd expect believe in God, whether or not human beings

as moral persons with consciences. they are created in his image can be used, However, just as rationality be explained without God, but cannot ultimately the same is true of morality. Again, I would cite history. from Judeo-Christian roots, For just as modern science sprang

so did the concept of human equality of Western society. that lies at the base Jurgen Habermas writes, Atheist thinker which sprang the ideals of freedom 'Universalistic egalitarianism from and a collective life and solidarity, and emancipation, the autonomous conduct of life of conscience, the individual morality

humans rights and democracy Judaic ethic of justice is the direct legacy of the and the Christian ethic of love.' is just idle, post-modern talk. Everything else, he says, such egalitarianism is based, The value of a human being, on which but in what she is. consists not in what she can do, Made in God's image. how often have they said to me My Russian friends - retain the value for human beings, 'We thought we could abolish God and we couldn't. millions of human beings.' We abolished God and we destroyed if you do away with God, I would suggest, with human freedom. you ultimately do away a mindless, unguided process Because you are left with

for a tiny moment, To exist without ultimate hope forces that produced them. only to be crushed by the same blind Some freedom, that. of God seem to me to be not strong. So, the arguments for the existence in the Protestant tradition, Now, interestingly quite a long time ago those arguments fell into disrepute

the arguments and say and so Protestants began to disavow 'what really matters is faith'. But what is faith? believing in something, Faith is really just arguments, nor good evidence. in which you have neither rational by training, I know that John is a mathematician with the 19th century so I'm sure he's familiar William Clifford, mathematician and philosopher, faith, using as an analogy, who wrote a very nice essay about to sea a ship full of immigrants. a ship owner, who was about to send Australia, if you like, We can imagine they're coming to from England since many immigrants did set sail in the 19th century for Australia. And as you know, of course, the Great Ocean Road you only have to go down to of those ships foundered and sank and you find many places where some for example around Loch Ard. with great loss of life, that Clifford imagines, But this ship owner, is seaworthy enough is uncertain whether his ship immigrants to the new land. to make the long voyage to bring the But he thinks about it and he says, there's a divine providence. 'Well look, after all allow these good people And how could a divine providence their futures, who are going to establish who are, at least the children, men, women and children even, innocent of any sin, on the way to the new world?' how could he allow them to drown will not bother to inspect the ship So, I will have faith in God, and I to see whether it's sea worthy, that it will reach Australia.' because I have faith we know that some ships did not. Well, of course as I say, this ship owner and say, And we would fault way, you need to check the evidence, 'You can't just have faith in that you need to look at it.' would have put lives at risk The ship owner's faith in the real world today, and unfortunately faith also puts lives at risk. of the Roman Catholic Church In fact, the refusal to tolerate the use of condoms, of sub-Saharan Africa even in regions would have put lives at risk HIV AIDs is extremely high, where the risk of contracting put lives at risk, has undoubtedly not merely innocent human lives. but cost perhaps millions of for the religious faith We pay a high price of some religious leaders. for God are good, So, I don't think the arguments on faith to replace arguments. and I don't think we should rely belief in the God of the Bible. But I have two arguments against although we may live in a society The first argument is that are Christians or, which most religious believers of the Bible, let's group together, since we're talking about the God and those of the Jewish faith. Christians from one of those two religions Most religious believers here come to the Abrahamic traditions, and if we want to broaden this we can include Muslims as well. as a matter of sociological fact, We know in other cultures that if they had been brought up

with different religious beliefs,

let's say in India, likely to have been Hindus. they would have been much more in Islamic countries, Or if they had been brought up been much more likely the Christian's and Jews would have to be Muslims. about religious belief So, there's a kind of relativism sceptical attitude towards it. that should at least lead us to a that John is a Christian Is it just a coincidence when his parents are Christians?

it's surely that cultural tradition It's surely not just a coincidence, to accept that belief, which made it easier for him Christians do abandon their belief. although of course, children of many make us critical But I think that should at least about those traditions. seems to me much the stronger one, But the second negative argument if we're talking about and this is that

of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the God as a being that God is standardly defined all powerful and all good. who is all knowing, and omni-benevolent. Omnipotent, omniscient And yet there is suffering in the world. How could there be suffering in the world, if there were a God who knew about this suffering, had the power to prevent it, and did not prevent it? Well, Christians of course are not ignorant of this counter-argument and they say many things. For example they say 'but God gave us free will' That was a great gift, worth all the suffering that occurs. But given that we have free will, he could not stop us from causing each other to suffer.' Well, we might question whether the gift of free will is worth the horrendous amount of suffering that there has been in the world, from no doubt as long as there's been beings capable of suffering. But, putting that aside, it's obvious that there is suffering in the world that is not caused by free will. For example, you will all know that for about a dozen years, ending only a year or was it 18 months ago,

south eastern Australia had a terrible drought. And during that drought, many animals died.

They died simply because the water holes dried up, or they could not get enough to eat. It was not human action that caused that suffering.

So there is suffering in the world that is not caused by humans. Caused by earthquakes, droughts and so on. Christians sometimes also say that suffering is the result of sin, but it's impossible to believe that a small child who is crushed by a falling building in an earthquake has sinned, and therefore deserves that suffering. And of course the animals, that I've already mentioned, did not sin and yet they suffer, not only at human hands, but at the hands of nature. I have asked many intelligent, thoughtful Christians, and I am asking John Lennox again tonight, to explain to me how the existence of undeserved suffering, not caused by human activity could be compatible with the idea that an all knowing God created this world, not caused by human activity could be compatible with the idea knows about the suffering, could have predicted the suffering at the time of the creation of the world, and did not change things to reduce this vast amount of suffering that goes on in the world today. Peter Singer and John Lennox in the Fixed Point debate, 'Is there a God?'. And that's it for today's short cuts for Big Ideas. But remember you can find all of the talks you've seen today, and more besides, at the Big Ideas website. Look out for our lunchtime weekend shows on News 24, Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. I'm Waleed Aly, I'll see you then. Closed Captions by CSI THEME MUSIC St Petersburg was the vision of one man, Tsar Peter the Great, who forced thousands of peasants and prisoners-of-war to build it. this site was bleak marsh land. In 1703, Just a few decades later was rising out of the swamp. the magnificent city we see today It remains one of the most impressive in the modern age. and ruthless feats of city building and great public buildings, Lined with palaces that Russia was no longer backward the new prospects showed the world but a great power in Europe. An arch full of military trophies, the masks of dead warriors and neoclassical details of the tsars. leading to the Winter Palace was completed from nothing All this work from Peter's original plan. in less than 100 years But this simple cabin is our wonder.

in St Petersburg. It's the first building created in three days by a party of soldiers. It was built in the summer of 1703 It was built for Peter the Great. his great city of St Petersburg. It was here that he sat imagining only have seen marshland and forest. Through these windows, Peter would the hut's preservation in 1723. Peter himself ordered a myth about Peter, Its simplicity was meant to create a simple, modest, self-effacing man. These artefacts prove the simple, Peter lived here. almost monklike existence It must have aided his concentration. beautiful visions of a city Surely this must be one of the most any man ever had. Closed Captions by CSI This Program Is Captioned


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