At the weekend, News.com.au published a piece by The Punch’s Daniel Piotrowski. Dan took a tour of the Church of Scientology in the Sydney suburb Glebe and wrote a piece about what he saw.
In the piece, Dan described eerie corridors intentionally filled with white noise, hardcore study camps, and said he found the place “bewildering”. He pointed out that Census figures show the Church’s following in Australia has shrunk recently.
On Saturday morning, representatives of the Australian Church of Scientology, Vicki Dunstan, told Dan the piece “ridiculed” the Church. So The Punch has given Scientology spokeswoman Virginia Stewart room to reply to the piece, below.
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Remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth. And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ‘cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.
Well, except for some astoundingly bright people who do things such as theorise about dark matter and the existence of the Higgs Boson field and who develop fascinating things like the Drake Equation.
One of those enormous and overactive brains belongs to British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell – a tracker of quasars, and discoverer of pulsars.
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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the reject miscreants of a dying civilisation stole a starship and headed to Earth. Their mission? To infiltrate the fashion industry and render it unsuitable for humans.
Every now and then, humans suspect that something has gone terribly wrong. In news today, people are suspicious because the 16-year-old winner of Miss World Fiji Torika Watters doesn’t look “native” enough. According to news.com.au:
“The ugly race row has even included attacks on Watters’ hair, with many claiming the model chosen to represent the island nation should have a “buiniga” - the local word used to describe the naturally-fuzzy Fijian hairstyle.”
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My fellow Earthians. The real tragedy of Bob Brown’s wacky speech last week is that he has pretty much left behind forever his credibility as a man concerned first and foremost with saving and preserving the Australian environment, which is exactly what most Greens voters elected him for.
Like a severed finger or a razed old growth forest, credibility doesn’t grow back. And that’s a shame because Australia needs the leader of its environmental party to be un-nutty. The Tassie devils dying of facial tumours need it, the koalas dying of Chlamydia need it, and the 100 year old sea turtles strangled by plastic bags need it.
Urban dwellers and rural dwellers need it too, so that we can all sensibly debate the balance between economic and environmental concerns. So what have we got in Bob Brown? An enviro-cop framing the big Green issues through an obscurist, metaphorical lens of little green men. Excuse the pun, but that approach is just too alienating.
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It is becoming increasingly clear why the Greens are never going to poll more than 10 per cent of the vote, and why they are facing a national rebuff along the lines seen in Queensland last Saturday where their vote collapsed in an unprecedented conservative whitewash.
It’s because they’re barking mad. The more voters see of the Greens demanding and enjoying power in a minority government, the more obvious it becomes that their views on the economy, jobs, the cost of living and pretty much everything the average person really cares about are completely out of this world. Quite literally.
As an easy listening fan I have always enjoyed the work of The Carpenters but like many bands late in their career they had a shark-jumping moment with the song featured above, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.
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With a total absence of intelligent life in the Capital Hill region of Canberra, we thought we’d ask a Canberra-based academic, the ANU’s Dr Paul Francis, if there’s any hope of something with a pulse up there…
The search for extraterrestrial life has been going on in earnest for decades now. Are we any closer to finding intelligent life?
It’s pretty clear that there is no intelligent life elsewhere in our own solar system. But what about on planets orbiting other stars? If you go out on a starry night, it could be that every star you see has planets with intelligent life, and that aliens are staring back at you from every star. Or it could be that there is no other life in the universe and all those planets are dead and dusty.
Will we ever be able to learn more about those distant worlds?
Going to visit these other stars is far beyond current technology, so the only thing we can do it listen for radio signals from them. Until now nothing has been detected. But our current surveys could only pick something up if one of the nearest few stars had a highly advanced technological race on a planet orbiting it, and this race was broadcasting enormously powerful radio signals in our direction. So it’s not really conclusive.
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Are we alone? Does it matter?
I’ve long come to terms with the idea that there is probably no God, but I’m optimistic there’s something else out there. It’s SETI’s 50th anniversary this year – that’s the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
SETI is both a concept – the search – and an institute dedicated to finding the answer. There is plenty of funding, links with NASA, serious science. It employs 150 professionals. There’s even an Australian SETI centre.
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