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Good morning. Barack Obama is

up ties between the US and the Good morning. Barack Obama is talking

world. During his visit to Indonesia, up ties between the US and the Muslim

the US president has stressed that

relations have improved, while

conceding there's a long way to go.

Also on the agenda - an agreement

covering economic, security,

Qantas education and environmental issues.

carriers have been fined

carriers have been fined a total of Qantas and 11 other air cargo

$1 billion for running a global

cartel. The penalties have been

imposed by the European Commission,

which says it's deplorable that

many airlines coordinated their which says it's deplorable that so

pricing to the detriment of European

business and consumers. As

business and consumers. As well as

Qantas, other airlines

Qantas, other airlines slapped with

fines include British Airways, Air

France-KLM and Japan Airlines. A

shipment of nuclear waste from

has made it to a storage facility in shipment of nuclear waste from France

Germany, after police worked through

the night to clear a road blockade

more than 3,000 protestors. the night to clear a road blockade by

Germany since the government Anti-nuclear feeling has risen in Germany since the

Germany since the government extended

the life of the country's 17 nuclear p

power plants by an average of 12

years. And a 12-year-old chimpanzee

has been sent to a sanctuary in

Brazil after animal rights workers

discovered him

e discovered him smoking cigarettes to

entertain visitors in a Lebanese zoo.

Omega had never climbed a tree or

seen other chimpanzees. New homes

also being found for animals at the seen other chimpanzees. New homes are

private zoo, which has now closed.

More ABC

More ABC news at midday. This Program is Captioned Live THEME MUSIC I'm Tony Jones. Hello and welcome to Big Ideas. On today's show, more highlights of Dangerous Ideas, from the 2010 Festival robot combat and the future of war. including a scary update on Plus, the young upstart winner Soapbox Competition. of the festival's Now, ladies and gentlemen, when I was in this competition, somebody went to me, last year You're only 13.' 'What would you know? (Audience laughter) 14 now.

were brainwashed with fear. I am you before you (Laughter, applause) More from 14-year-old Noah Vaz, on Big Ideas, a little later. our youngest ever speaker equation of justice versus peace. First up, though, the difficult may have ended in bloodshed South African apartheid and his ethos, forgiveness. without Nelson Mandela get real justice But did apartheid's victims over truth? or was reconciliation valued get real justice But did apartheid's victims at this special IQ2 debate That's the topic at the Sydney Opera House of Dangerous Ideas. as part of the Festival for the affirmative. We drop in on the second speaker (Applause) MC: Andrea Durbach. in apartheid South Africa, I grew up and practiced law systematically excluded where a repressive state the majority of its citizens, and humiliated

the mechanism of law. for the most part via For decades cruel apartheid regime began to swell and particularly as resistance to the constructed and enforced laws the South African state to shore up the reach of apartheid,

inhumane state action laws that validated individual freedom. rather than fortified aspirations to justice, The law, despite its noble

and even to kill to imprison, to silence and so the legitimacy of law itself

were undermined and eroded of South Africans, in the eyes of the majority bore no relationship to justice whose experience of the law was increasingly replaced and whose tenuous belief in justice of its promise. by deep suspicion and cynicism and retribution The desire for accountability by thousands of South Africans

of a savage state who suffered at the hands seemed appropriate and undeniable, began to traumatise the nation but as the conflict in South Africa of social and economic destruction, and the country was at risk the levers of state power those who control and pragmatism miraculously saw the wisdom in negotiating a different future tortured and driven into exile. with those who had been imprisoned, ultimately committed South Africa These fragile negotiations

a more just, defensible to a transition towards and democratic political order, a far-sighted, a transition which carried with it but difficult imperative - required the nation that South Africa's survival of hatred, fear, guilt and revenge to transcend a legacy on the negotiation of human rights and yield to a society founded

and peaceful co-existence. This would require an acknowledgement with the holding to account, that the justice that comes and the imposition of punishment, the finding of culpability, and enduring process of resolution. had to make way for a greater not for vengeance. A need for understanding, but not for retaliation. A need for reparation, but not for victimisation. A need for Ubuntu, humanity, of the majority of South Africans This enormous ask emerged in the form of amnesties, following extensive negotiations agreed to process. by a democratic parliamentary and endorsed

and few brains agreed to political acts of inhumanity that those who executed fully disclose their crime

Truth and Reconciliation Commission, before public hearings of the and where amnesty was granted persecution or civil liability perpetrators would not face criminal There are many who will argue and punish these perpetrators that a failure to secure justice denies a victim's right to a remedy, and perpetuates resentment, exacerbates grievances

the conflict of the past. potentially reopening preoccupation with justice We argue that this and fragile journey towards peace. endangers an essential acts of apartheid brutality To successfully prosecute and persuasive evidence would have required extensive and when that evidence has originated during a history characterised by a culture of authoritarianism, secrecy, disappearances and deceit. That evidence is often contaminated, impossible to access and to validate making the chances of securing a conviction and justice, extremely remote - a chance further diminished by the fact that the courts hearing these matters especially in the early stages of the new democracy were still manned - and I use that term deliberately - by judges appointed by the old regime. The failure to secure a conviction after protracted and costly trials can have debilitating effects on the part of victims who are left without any redress and an unremitting need for the truth. And while the emotional cost of unsuccessful prosecutions can inhibit the capacity of victims to become creative participants in their new society the financial cost of prolonged adversarial trails can suspend a nation's necessary reconstruction, diverting limited and essential resources and skills desperately needed to provide food for the hungry, roofs for the homeless and blackboards and desks for those struggling to get into school. The crucial and responsible alternative was the institution of amnesties and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where survivors and dependents of those who were tortured, maimed, killed could express their grief and discover the truth of what had happened and the identity of those responsible for shameful acts. Importantly the perpetrators did not escape some degree of sanction. Their deeds and motivations were exposed in public hearings, broadcast on national television and radio. And those whom they had harmed received the collective recognition from their new nation that they and their loved ones had been wronged. While the victims were also eligible for nominal reparation paid by the state,

all of the parties were given the opportunity

to cross an historic bridge and participate in a new democracy, irrespective of their race, sex, belief or class.

The danger of not awarding amnesties would undoubtedly have put the risk of the agreement by agents of apartheid - put in risk the agreement

by agents of apartheid to release their power. And in the absence of amnesties they would have had no incentive

to publicly disclose the truth of their acts, so allowing a national healing to begin. As a lawyer working primarily with victims of apartheid, our intent was to squeeze out justice from the unbending laws of a despotic state. There were exquisite moments when we won outright

and others where our victories were short lived, were undone by executive decree. But the victories were for individual, not for country and as a lawyer our pursuit of justice had to step back and make way for a more profound victory, to allow peace to take hold. Justice in apartheid was at best unreliable and largely absent, contaminated, scorned and deceptive. Our task was to restore confidence in justice, to build its legitimacy for future generations and to do so required that the foundations be laid for a slow, deliberate, principled and longed-for peace, nurtured by rights and sustained by democracy, so that eventually justice might recover its soul and return to do its intended work. What that would entail was simply to give peace a chance, and we ask you to do the same. (Applause) MC: Ratih Hardjono. (Applause) My experience about justice and peace comes from my experience as a war correspondent. I'd like to focus on Rwanda. People in 1994 focused on the fact that 800,000 to one million Rwandans were slaughtered in six weeks. It is a record. Most of the international world focused on what happened the month before, the year before and the fact that the president, the then president, Habyarimana, was assassinated in a helicopter, when the helicopter dropped. I talked and talked and interviewed, being a young and uninformed journalist at the time. I spoke to the wives, the mothers of the extremist Hutus, who did most of the murdering in Rwanda, and I learned that the memory of history is transferred down from one generation to the next generation. I'm talking about the memory of history, not in the western sense, not in the modern sense that we are all used to, that we take for granted, I'm talking about the memory of history women pass down to their children of what they think happened in an event. In the case of Rwanda I was talking to women who spoke about history 150 years ago when the Tutsis arrived in Rwanda as cattle breeders and took over and enslaved the Hutus. I had no idea that emotions handed down, victimisation, their version of history - and there are many, many versions of history in the world - could end up in the massacres of 1994. People also - the young men I spoke to who were 20s, and we must remember those guys who actually did the murders who slaughtered the community, who killed people with their bare hands,

were mostly, mostly young men aged 18 to 30, talked very proudly about restoring their pride, their dignity of being Hutus, and that they were justified because they had returned Hutu glory to the Hutu communities. And when I said to them, 'But, you know, you're only 19 years of age. How would you know what happened in the Hutu revolution in 1959 that you're talking about, where you talk about the Hutu consciousness that rose in 1959 and began to listen to the voices of your father? You were not even there.' 'It doesn't matter,' these young men said.

'The point is we trust history according to the way it was handed down from our mothers, our grandmothers, our great-grandmothers.' Here lies the danger of peace without justice. It breeds cyclical violence. It breeds cyclical conflict because those people who suffer the violence of peace without justice. Justice must - a community that suffers from such violence must feel there is some kind of justice. Forgetting that means temporary violence. I would like temporary peace. I would like to see long-term peace in my own country. In Indonesia there has been cyclical violence. It is imperative that peace is restored involving everyone, not just the elites who happen to be at the negotiating table when peace was obtained, not just the rich who manage to have a say in the peace process, but the people. Peace must involve all stakeholders at the grassroot level. Also justice - justice does not just mean the western legal system - it can mean many things. Most importantly it must involve all the stakeholders who suffered during that peace process. I was interviewing a young man in the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the late '90s where he took me to a monument and he said, 'Look, this is the cause of war of war in Nagorno-Karabakh.' I looked at the sign and the thing said, '1885'. But I said, 'For God's sake, this is a long time ago.' He says, 'It doesn't matter. Justice was never handed to my family'. I am against the idea of temporary peace. There are so many problems we are facing - just one mention of climate change. Peace must be restored permanently because in the future, we are facing major, major problems globally. The idea of justice, the ideal idea of justice, is to put everyone through the court system and put them to trial and put them to jail. I would like to comment - the strength of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was the fact that it involved people, it involved the local community,

it involved a healing process. That healing process is critical. That healing process is imperative because it stops mothers telling their children the pain of violence caused by war and it allows families, it allows communities, to move on. Justice must be implemented in the wider sense - through the court system but one must start to address the cause of violence. My own experience has taught it's through economic injustices. The Tutsi controlled the Rwandan economy for years and years and years. It is imperative that justice besides the legal umbrella also involves the right for people for dignity

and also to be able to be educated to be able to obtain health, free health, like you have Medicare in Australia. The point is, in Australia, I think a lot of Australians take for granted

that you have a legal system that works. What about countries like Indonesia who don't yet have a strong, reliable legal system?

How do you address such cases, how do you address such conflict and violence? take for granted and community approval on how to proceed to implement justice is important

and it will bring us permanent peace in the future.

Thank you. (Applause)

Indonesian journalist, Ratih Hardjono, putting the case for the negative in the IQ2 event - If You Want Peace, Forget Justice. Watch out for more of that compelling debate on ABC News 24 or for the full event, head to our website -

Well, next up in our highlights package from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, robot warfare. No longer in the realm of science fiction,

war by remote control is happening in the here and now. As controlled drones target Taliban leaders in Afghanistan, the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years. And with 44 nations, including Australia, now buying, building and using ever smarter and more autonomous robots, will traditional moral and psychological barriers to killing simply disappear like dots on a computer screen? Here's PW Singer. These technologies don't merely remove the human operator from risk, they record everything that they see, and in so doing, they're reshaping our relationship to war. Now, being able to see combat footage - there's literally thousands of video clips of combat footage up on sites like YouTube.com right now - being able to see this is arguably a good thing. We're seeing connections between the war front and the home front that never existed before. But, of course, the ability to watch scenes of real world battle on your iPhone is turning, for a lot of people, war into a form of entertainment. And the soldiers have a name for it. They call it 'war porn'.

I got a typical example of this in an email that was sent to me and the title on the email said, 'Watch this.' I got a typical example of this in an email that was sent to me the video clip attached - you know, usually a really cool score in a rugby game or it's a video of some nerdy fat kid dancing in his basement, who doesn't know that we're watching it. Something like that. In this case the video clip was a scene of a Predator drone strike. Hellfire missile drops, goes into target, explosion, bodies riding the crest of the explosion. It was set to music. It was set to the song, I Just Want to Fly by the band Sugar Ray. We turned an act of war into a crappy music video. And the danger of war porn is that it's not just that we're watching but it has a warping effect on us. This ability to watch more but actually experience less tricks us into thinking that we understand what's happening. And I think there's a good sports parallel for this. It's the difference between watching, for example, a rugby match on TV, where the players are these little tiny players on the screen, versus watching a rugby match in the stadium, and seeing what a professional athlete really does look like face to face, which is a very different experience from playing in that match yourself and knowing what it's like to be tackled, or something like that. which is a very different experience from playing in that match yourself But notice how, when we watch the game on TV,

which is a very different experience from playing in that match yourself like, 'How could you do that?' Because we think we understand. But we don't. But YouTube war is even worse

We're watching the sports highlight reel of the war. All the context, all the strategy - it just becomes highlight reels for us to blitz through. The irony in all of this is that, again, it's not the technology that matters but it all comes back to us, it all comes back to our human psychology. And there's a policy example of this that we're wrestling with right now that sounds very science-fiction like - what is the message that we think we are sending when we use robots in war versus what is the message that's being received? And I wanted to know this, so I went around interviewing people. And I thought the best example of the message we thought we were sending was from a senior Pentagon official in the Bush administration who described how our, 'unmanning of war plays to our strength. The thing that scares people is our technology.' But what about when you go ask those people 7,000 miles away? And this is what the leading newspaper editor of Lebanon had to say, and while we were speaking there was actually a drone flying above him at that moment. He said, 'This is just another sign of the cold-hearted, cruel Israelis and Americans who are also cowards because they send out machines to fight us. They don't want to fight us like real men but they're afraid to fight, so all we have to do to defeat them is kill just a few of their soldiers.' I'm not saying that's accurate. It's perceptions. and they're perceptions that are going in completely opposite directions. And the danger, of course, in a counter-insurgency in a war of ideas, perceptions do matter. Another ripple effect, though, is the changing meaning of 'going to war'. I talked about how it's changing for the nation

but it's also changing for the individual. For the last 5,000 years, whether you were talking about the Ancient Greeks going to war against Troy or my grandfather going to war against the Japanese

in the Pacific in World War Two. This meaning of going to war really meant the same exact thing. At its fundamental level it meant going to a place of such danger you might never see your family again. When you went to war you were taking a risk that you might never come home again. That's what it's meant for the last 5,000 years.

And this is what a Predator squadron commander described of what it was like to fight insurgents in Afghanistan while never leaving the state of Nevada from his base just outside Las Vegas. 'You are going to war for 12 hours. You're shooting weapons at targets. You're directing kills on enemy combatants.

And then you get in the car and you drive home and within 20 minutes you're sitting at the dinner table talking to kids about their schoolwork. This is a fundamentally different experience of going to war and actually it's turning out to be a very tough one. These units of remote warriors actually have, in certain cases, as high, and in other cases even higher, levels of combat stress and fatigue than the units physically in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, another ripple effect of this plays out in terms of the demographics of war. Who can do what in war? One of my other favourite stories in the book is about a high school dropout. He dropped out of high school and he wanted to make his dad proud of him again. So he enlisted in the US Army. The recruiting sergeant looked at his high school transcript and he asked him, 'What would you like to be in the army'? And he said, 'I'd like to be a helicopter mechanic'.

He looked at the transcript and said, 'I'm sorry, son, you're not qualified to be a helicopter mechanic because you failed your high school English class. Would you like to be an unmanned aerial systems operator instead?' He turned out to be incredible at this, he turned out to be a 'natural'. It wasn't that he was a natural. It was really that he'd spent his entire life training for this by playing video games which is why, I joke, he failed the high school literature class but the point is he turned out to be so good from it that they brought him back from his first deployment,

they promoted him, they made him a specialist, which is effectively the second-lowest rank in the entire US military. And then they made him an instructor in the pilot training academy. It's a really interesting story.

Because of this technology, this young man found himself, he made his dad proud of him again, he's serving his nation. I told the story at last year's US Air Force National Convention. They didn't like the story. You have a 19-year-old high school drop-out, an enlisted man, not an officer, who's not just an instructor in the pilot training academy right now but has taken out more targets, saved arguably more American lives, than every single F-22 pilot combined. The jet fighter pilots look at him the way the knights looked at the peasants just when the peasants were given guns. Now, as you saw, robotics is not just little things that move beyond us, they're also changing our own bodies. One of the other powerful stories in the book is about the more than 400 soldiers that have lost arms or legs due to these roadside bombs, that have had them replaced with robotic prosthetics, with robotic arms and legs.

Robotic arms and legs that are so good that over 400 soldiers have gone back to serve in their combat units with these artificial arms and legs. The head of the program calls it the Luke Skywalker effect. Now, if you remember your Star Wars, in the second Star Wars movie - or rather, what I believe is the actual second Star Wars movie,

because the other three didn't happen. (Laughter and some applause) In Empire Strikes Back our hero gets his hand cut off by a light sabre, and we go, 'Oh, my gosh, he's done for, Luke's done for.' And then at the very end of the movie, we see him flexing his robot hand. That was science fiction when I was growing up. For over 400 soldiers, that's been their reality. But, of course, we're humans, we're folks that don't stop at replacement, we also want to work on enhancement - bigger, better, faster, stronger. So a good illustration of this is a couple of months ago it was revealed that a British SAS, Special Air Service,

Special Operations trooper had had laser eye surgery. So what? What's the big deal about that? Anyone in this room had laser eye surgery? Raise your hand. OK, so let's compare his laser eye surgery to what you got. Did yours allow you to see 400 metres at night? (Laughter) at night? Much of what you're hearing here is that there are always two sides to every revolution. We may be experiencing Moore's Law, but we haven't gotten rid of Murphy's Law. We're getting incredible science fiction-like capabilities, but we also have incredible science fiction-like dilemmas to figure out, and these dilemmas sometimes evolve from very small things,

from what a vice president of a robotics company called 'oops moments'. When things don't work out with your robot, 'it's just an oops moment', he said. What are examples of oops moments in war, so far? Well, sometimes they're kind of funny, like for example when they tested out a machine gun-armed ground robot. You actually saw a picture of it. It looked a little bit like a lawn mower with a 50-calibre machine gun on top of it. When they did a demonstration of it for a group of VIPs it went, 'squirly'. It started spinning in a circle and pointed its weapon system at the review stand of VIPs. It started spinning in a circle for a group of VIPs (Laughter) They were very happy that there were no bullets in the machine gun at the time. Other times, oops moments can be tragic. Just about two years ago in South Africa, an automated aircraft cannon had a, quote, 'software glitch'.

We've all experienced software glitches before.

Well, in this case, the cannon, which was supposed to fire upwards into the sky during a training exercise instead levelled, and it started firing in a circle. It killed nine soldiers before it ran out of ammunition. It was the scene from the movie Robocop, playing out in reality And the point is not just that this happened, but how do we respond? Imagine you were the young investigator who was asked to resolve this issue.

What system of laws would you turn to for guidance? Because what we have playing out here is 21st-Century technology, like a reaper drone that can take off and land on its own, that is smart enough that if it sees footprints in a field to backtrack those footprints. We have this 21st-Century technology being applied against 21st-Century actors in war, like an insurgent who hides out in a house surrounded by women and children not because they're ignorant of the laws of war, but because they're deliberately violating them, so you have these two 21st-Century poles and the laws of war from the 20th-Century caught in the middle. So for example, the most important technology to come out the year that the Geneva Conventions were written was actually the 45 RPM record player. It's a lot to ask of a law that's so old to keep up with this technology. Actually when I was at Human Rights Watch, doing interviews there, there was a great moment for a writer where two of the leaders, I asked them, "Well, what system of law do we turn to if a predator drone strike goes awry?' And they got in an argument in front of me

rather than answering me directly. One of them was saying, 'It's the Geneva Conventions, like we've always looked to'. and the other one argued back with him, 'No, no, no, Geneva Conventions really don't apply in this circumstance. We should turn to the Star Trek Prime Directive for guidance.' And he was serious. Now, I'm a Trekkie, I love it, but the problem is we can't actually call Captain Kirk

as a real expert in a real court of law. And so, in ending, it sounds like I've been talking about the future, but notice how every single example I gave you, every single picture you saw, is not from the future. The dangerous idea is that it's actually from our present and this sets an incredible challenge before us. Are we going to let the fact that this looks like science fiction, feels like science fiction, keep us from facing the reality of not only technology, but the reality of war today?

That was PW Singer, author of Wired for War:

The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. Watch out for more of that talk on ABC News24 or you can see it in full on our website. But the provocative notions keep coming at the Sydney Opera House and its Festival of Dangerous Ideas, and here's another one.

Shall the religious inherit the earth?

It's the question put by political scientist, Eric Kaufmann. With all the current talk about the revival of religion, Kaufmann takes a look at the stats and muses that if demographics is any guide, the world over the next half century will become much more religious and much more conservative. In the United States, what's one of the fastest growing religions, anybody?

Turns out it's the Old Order Amish, actually, (Laughs) a population that has doubled every 20 to 25 years for several generations. So 5,000 in the year 1900, approximately 250,000 today. Similar with the Hutterites. The Mormons too have had about a one-child advantage over other Americans for a very long time. These are just a few examples of the kind of phenomenon I'm talking about that I think will become more prevalent in the future. Conservative evangelicals and Salafi Muslims are also having larger numbers of children, often dramatically larger than others. Why is this?

Well, it's the case because religious fundamentalists take their pronatalist injunctions They take the injunctions on traditional gender roles seriously. So, in the Bible, it says, 'Go forth and multiply.' In the Hadith of the Qur'an says, 'Marry the women who are prolific so I may outnumber the peoples by you.' These injunctions are not only taken seriously, but they're held up as a badge of distinction, as a badge of distinction between the rest, the others who are not quite as faithful as us. Because fundamentalism is about exaggerating the most anti-modern and austere parts of the faith

in order to draw a hard line against what are seen as theological errors of the mainstream. But it does beg the question, well, if this is the case, if fundamentalists have always had more children, why aren't we all Hutterites now? You know, why has secularism done so well? And this really speaks to the 'why now' question. And there are a couple of major reasons demographically why we are starting to see fundamentalists pull away from the rest of the population. First of all, material incentives used to be overriding in importance when it came to how large a family to have. You needed children to work the land, to pay for you in your old age. You simply didn't have a choice. And also, most of them died, so you had to have a lot. Um. Well, today, between the welfare state, modern medicine and urbanisation, that's no longer playing a role. Secondly, the link between sex and procreation has now been broken

by contraception.

So, how large your family is is increasingly a choice, and when it becomes a choice, your values, whether you're secular or fundamentalist, take on a much greater importance. And so, it's really as we move into modernity that cultural values start to matter more for fertility,

and this comes out of something called Second Demographic Transition theory in demography.

So, the link, the trend towards very low fertility is spearheaded by secular people. Throughout the world, next to a woman's marital status

and her education, religiosity is the most important predictor of how many children she'll have. And so, seculars are spearheading this trend toward very low fertility, and the religious, particularly fundamentalists, are resisting this shift, which is in fact the shift which is driving the great shrinking that we're talking about, or at least one of the causes of the great shrinking. And not only that. As populations decline, as fertility rates drop, the percentage difference between religious and secular increases, because if you think about it - if fundamentalists have five children and seculars four, as fertility rates drop, that's only a 20% advantage. If fundamentalists have two and seculars one, that a 100% advantage. And so, this kind of logic is also playing out. Not only that, we have fundamentalist movements that are explicitly noticing this and saying, 'Hang on, if we breed, we're gonna win here.' A good example of this is the Quiverfull movement in the United States.

The Quiverfull movement, whose unofficial leader is a son - Doug Phillips is the son of one of the founders in the United States. of the Moral Majority in the Unites States, so is well connected to the mainstream of evangelicalism. Doug Phillips' philosophy is that of a 200-year plan for domination of the United States, and he's been extremely explicit about this, that through having large numbers of children while everybody else's fertility drops, their group can increase in power,

and, in fact, Quiverfull men speak of themselves as patriarchs who will preside over dynasties of hundreds of thousands of descendents in a couple of centuries. They're obviously good mathematicians as well as theologians. (Laughs) And they're still small, they're only in the tens of thousands as a movement. However, they are starting to influence the mainstream of conservative religious thinking. In the journal First Things, a prominent Catholic journal, the theologian David Bentley Hart writes, 'Probably the most subversive and effective strategy we might undertake would be one of militant fecundity, abundant, relentless, exuberant and defiant child-bearing. Given the reluctance of modern men and women to be fruitful and multiply, it would not be difficult, surely, for the devout to accomplish in a generation or two to be fruitful and multiply, it would not be difficult, surely, Well, I'm not sure his demography is bang on target, but he has a point, that if they were to pursue this strategy, then we would have an Israeli style result. We see echoes of this in other faiths. In the Muslim world, where actually contraception is increasingly available, and urbanisation is taking place rather quickly, we now see that in the cities of the Muslim world, Muslim women who are most in favour of Sharia Law have twice the number of children as Muslim women who are least in favour, that is a significant effect. In Europe too, white Catholic women in France and Spain have about a half child advantage over white secular women in those countries. And so, this is a phenomenon which may not be as extreme as the ultra-orthodox having three or four times the birth rates of secular Jews, but it's there, and it's shaping society. In Holland, even, the youngest communities in Holland

are the orthodox Calvinist villages. And the point here is that the kids are not just going to become secular, because they're insulated by all of those parallel institutions of these fundamentalist sects. Because fundamentalism is a modern response, and this is the point that the modernisation theorists don't get, that fundamentalism is just as modern a response as secularism. This theory of strong religion really plays a role. So, in the words of one rare defector from ultra-orthodoxy, quote, 'When I made a telephone call on a Jewish holiday,' which is of course a great taboo, 'I felt as though I was tearing apart one of my vital organs. I felt as though I was foolishly opening the door to hell and sending myself into a wilderness where hope for survival was grim. I felt as though I was separating myself,' and here's the crucial point, 'Separating myself from a group I had grown to love, which raised and supported me.' How many of us would leave if it meant never seeing your family again? Or your friends? Much tougher to leave. So, this combination then of tight boundaries

between fundamentalist sects and the mainstream

combined with strong population growth, in an environment of population contraction and fertility decline amongst the secular segment of the population will lead to a magnification of the power and growth of religious conservatives. And this is going to reshape politics. It's not just an abstraction. Already we see this. I would argue, in the Muslim world, I would argue that in the Muslim world religious fundamentalism has already won. I don't mean that we've seen Islamist parties take power, we've only had an Islamic revolution in Iran, and perhaps in Sudan. We haven't seen the success of global jihadism in taking power in many Muslim countries. But what we have seen happening is a creeping moral puritanism, as the agenda of Sharia, the cultural agenda of the Islamists, is usurped by the authoritarian regimes in order to de-fang the jihadis, and take away their appeal. So, you now have increasing restrictions on the freedom of secular intellectuals to speak their mind or to leave Islam, or to advocate for women's rights, gay rights, etcetera.

Not only that, the rights of minorities - the Shia in Pakistan, the Copts in Egypt, have been severely curtailed because of the upsurge of this Islamist cultural agenda. the rights of minorities - Again, Islamist parties are not doing any better. They're sort of stuck in the doldrums in most of the Muslim world. However, culturally their agenda has advanced tremendously. There's no better place to see this than Pakistan, I believe. Likewise, in Israel, the ultra-orthodox have managed - it's almost impossible to get a burial plot, to have your marriage recognised, even to be accepted as a Jew in Israel is very problematic unless you are orthodox by religion

because the ultra-orthodox clergy control so many aspects, private aspects of society. They've been successful in campaigns to curtail driving on the sabbath, and to curtail advertising that they don't like, partly because they're a very powerful consumer lobby, so if they gather their flock together and boycott certain products, companies have to take notice. And because of their growth, because of their population growth, we now see the first ultra-orthodox mayor in Israel, and I would predict the ultra-orthodox will control Israel much like the Irish control Boston and Chicago in the United States, by taking over the mayor's office. Secular Israelis are already fleeing for Tel Aviv and other parts of the country as Jerusalem increasingly becomes dominated by the orthodox and ultra-orthodox. as population overspill crosses the Green Line as Jerusalem increasingly becomes dominated This will also affect the peace process, by the way, as population overspill crosses the Green Line into East Jerusalem and the settlements, the ultra-orthodox have become increasingly hawkish on the whole 'land for peace' question. So there are going to be severe implications for the peace process as well. Now, in the United States it's still possible to step around the religious right,

but importantly, there are areas where the religious right has changed the cultural landscape. It's really this creeping puritanism, the cultural politics where I see fundamentalism succeeding. And so, for example, it's very difficult to get an abortion in many Bible Belt states, and of course it's impossible to run for office unless you have a 100% rating

from the religious right in these states as well. But another area where I think we will start to see religiosity affect politics, is in terms of interfaith activism. If you consider Proposition 8, which is the anti-gay marriage proposition in California,

which passed in 2008. This passed in a state which voted 61% for Barack Obama, and yet it voted against gay marriage. This passed in a state which voted 61% for Barack Obama, it consisted of Latino Catholics, African American Protestants, white evangelicals, Mormons, Catholics, you name it, they were all coming together on an issue they cared about, so in our increasingly plural, western societies, It's not beyond the competence of these diverse religious groups to get together when they have shared interests. And in fact in the United States many of the divisions - Protestant, Catholic, Jewish - that used to exist, have been overlaid by a much stronger division between the religious and the rest. So conservative Jews vote predominantly republican - sorry, Orthodox Jews vote predominantly republican. Conservative Catholics, conservative Protestants, they all vote together, rather than for their own. So a conservative Catholic certainly would not support John Kerry for president, we saw that in the 2004 election. And as Geoffrey Robertson mentioned last night, this is even taking place at the global level. Geoffrey Robertson mentioned that we see Iranian mullahs - Rafsanjani, breaking bread with Sunni fundamentalists such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who incidentally runs a Salafis talk show, that we see Iranian mullahs - a Salafis talk show, you go to Qaradawi. And they are making common cause with the Vatican and with American white evangelicals and Mormons, to combat the spread of family planning

and women's reproductive rights in the United Nations. Again, you see the groups which theologically are very opposed,

can get together very nicely when it come to issues they care about - moral issues.

Mormons - 95% of them vote Republican despite the fact that white evangelicals

think that they are not Christians.

So, just because you have divisions doesn't mean you can't get together on issues you care about like abortion, gay rights and so forth. So, this is a forum about ideas and I've talked a lot about demography and how it shapes politics. Many people when it comes to ideas believe that ideas change because a better more catchy world view comes along, but that's not the only way ideas change, sometimes material factors lead to changes in ideas, so a loss in battle, military defeat and the trauma that followed from military defeat played a very big role in the rise of fascism in Spain and Germany for example. Likewise, according to Marxist theory, but in general if you look at the economy, if there's a change in the mode of production from say to feudal to capitalism, feudalism to capitalism you can have an attendent change in ideology as well and I would say the same for demography. So we may see the fact that we have finished with that 300 to 350 year population explosion from 1700, which was the time when we see the advent of the enlightenment and the ideas of progress

that many of us continue to unconsciously hold. That population growth phase is through and we're going to be entering a population contraction phase. It's not necessarily the case that the ideas of the last 300, 350 years are going to be the ideas of the next 300, 350 years. As John Grey writes - this idea that we're moving linearly, inevitably, in a progressive liberal, more rational direction, which is a myth we tell ourselves, this may just be a bend in the road and we may be moving in a more conservative direction. Finally today, a delightful and gutsy admonition from a 14-year-old who's certainly not afraid to think freely.

Noah Vaz is this year's winner of the festival Soapbox competition.

He's introduced here by Simon Longstaff from the St James Ethics Centre and the co-curator of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. One of the aims of the festival, as you know, and the co-curator of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. into the Opera House, it's an outstanding place for them to pedal their ideas but also to throw open the Opera House to the extent that we can to the voice of many different people. And to do that, one of the important parts of the festival has been the introduction of the Soapbox competition,

which anyone can come to the western side of the Opera House and speak for two minutes, organised by volunteers from Toast Masters. Then in a final which is subsequently judged, in this occasion, by David Marr and Annabel Crabb. Then the winner is given the extraordinary opportunity to stand on this stage with an audience of around 2,000 people, and for 2 minutes, to captivate you with their own ideas. The winner this year was a young man by the name of Noah Vaz. He's aged 14 years of age, a young man indeed. This was his second time to enter into the Soapbox competition. He's recently been to China. He's from an unnamed Catholic school. (Laughter) I wonder why he didn't give me the name before coming out here! And, I think, roughly speaking, he's going to be talking about the topic of segregation and religion. Would you please welcome the winner of the 2010 Soapbox competition, Noah Vaz. (Applause) I'm simply astounded at how we are - at how we have been able to believe the religion that is fed to us. Sorry, let me rephrase that. I am astounded at how we have been able to come to believe at the - (Applause) Pardon me, this is the largest crowd I've ever spoken in front of. (Laughter) I am simply unable to believe at how we have come to believe in the religion that's fed to us. How many of you have really considered what you believe? Imagine that I was an alien traveller that had just come to earth and I take a few people from different religions and ask what they believe. What would the stories sound like?

Almost all of the religious origins are unbelievable and the religious do's and don'ts are just insane sometimes. And most of these stories can't even be proved by fact. It is with this information that religions base their religious dogma. That causes a lot of the segregation in society. It is religions that segregate homosexuals and women, as well. Now ladies and gentleman, in school we learn how to identify fact and opinion. For example, I thought today was a beautiful day today, you may think it was dismal, and that is opinion. But if I were it was 16 degrees today with 60% humidity, that's fact, because you can test it, check it, verify it and record it. If you apply the same logic to religious dogma,

nothing stacks up. Gay people are immoral evil, women can't be priests, contraception should be banned. Ladies and gentlemen, where did these ideas come from? Are they fact or are they opinion? Councils of men make up laws, rules, Sharia law, Canon law and it's, of course, all to guide us or is it to trap us? To trap us with this idea of eternal damnation and hell? And these rules aren't powerful because they are genuinely right, these people aren't powerful because they're right, necessarily. It's because we give them the power, we flock, we gather, we pray, we sing, we bow, we wave, we pledge our support in unison. It's shameful to see the human spirit so captivated and so scared by this collective fear. Now ladies and gentlemen, how do we come to believe the things we believe in? This is the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, and take my dangerous idea - think for yourself. Now ladies and gentlemen... (Cheering and applause) ..if your religion dictates that you act in a certain way, ask why. If your religion condemns homosexuality, if it doesn't allow women to show their hair, if it doesn't allow women priests, if it doesn't allow contraception, ask why.

Ask, is it right, is it morally right, ask if it sits right with you. Don't worry what is written in scriptures and texts, in your hearts and worry about what's written in your conscience. Now, it sounds like I'm completely slamming religion and propagating atheism, but I'm not. Take all the good out of religion like love, peace, compassion, equality and throw out all the rest, like segregation and separation. Now ladies and gentlemen, somebody went to me last year when I was in this competition, 'What would you know, you're only 13?' 14 now. (Laughter) I am you before you were brainwashed with fear. (Laughter and applause) Now ladies and gentlemen, take my dangerous idea. Remove religious dogma from tainting our beliefs, our religion, our society, our values. Ladies and gentlemen, think for yourselves, our religion, our society, our values. now is the time to think dangerously, to question dangerously. Think for yourself. Please? (Cheering and applause) That was 14-year-old Noah Vaz bringing the house down

with his dangerous idea - Think For Yourself. Well that's all from our taste test of the best servings of Big Ideas for this week. Remember you can find all of these talks and more on the Big Ideas website. Look out for more Big Ideas shows on News24, Saturday and Sunday at PM.

I'm Tony Jones, until next time. Closed Captions by CSI