Episode 205 – Peter Monk from the NSL

Lots of secular and religious news in this episode.

2:27 The National Secular Lobby

We start off by interviewing  Peter Monk, the president of the National Secular Lobby.

31:59  Metcalfe’s Law

The secular community needs to apply Metcalfe’s Law.

Metcalfe’s law states the effect of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).

The law has often been illustrated using the example of fax machines: a single fax machine is useless, but the value of every fax machine increases with the total number of fax machines in the network, because the total number of people with whom each user may send and receive documents increases. Likewise, in social networks, the greater number of users with the service, the more valuable the service becomes to the community.


35:19   This Labor Opposition Could Roll Over on Religious Privilege

From The Australian:

Anthony Albanese is under pressure from frontbench Labor MPs to “work constructively” with Scott Morrison to pass religious freedom legislation that enshrines the right of schools and charities to teach faith-based ideology, including the traditional view of marriage.

Senior Labor MPs yesterday warned that the swing against the party in faith-based communities — mainly in western Sydney seats — had galvanised support in the new Opposition Leader’s party room for new laws to protect ­religious institutions from being accused of discrimination.

Senator Keneally, Labor’s new deputy leader in the upper house, savaged Labor’s campaign as being “tone deaf” to the concerns of religious people. “We lost them on the more traditional, touchstone culture and social issues,” Senator Keneally said. “I think it is because we were tone deaf. If you take the issue of religious freedom, I see a growing concern of people of faith that in this Twitter world, the instant response world we live in, that they are going to be ganged up upon.

Mr Bowen told The Weekend Australian that anxieties within religious communities had contributed to Labor’s election loss. The former Treasury spokesman … urged the Prime Minister to bring forward legislation on religious freedoms quickly so it could be considered by Labor. “The Labor Party has a strong tradition of people who are socially conservative but economically progressive and we have got to make sure that tradition continues to be represented both in our party and our voters,” Mr Bowen said.

Victorian Labor MP Anthony Byrne, a social conservative, said the party was creating the perception that it did not welcome people of faith. “We are creating a perception that for people of Christian and other faiths that the Labor Party doesn’t have a place for them on the table, doesn’t want to hear their views, doesn’t want to take their beliefs into account,” Mr Byrne said.

39:56 The Sunday Mail

Page 1 – Shesus! Catholic schools are going gender neutral. More on page 7

Page 11 – An article regarding the upcoming Religious Discrimination Act

Page 17 – Falou. He nearly backed down. Historically he went from Mormon to Hillsong to Daddy’s church. Also, Eric Abetz says ” “The vast bulk of people in Australia just get that it is completely unacceptable that Israel Folau has been treated in the way that he has,” Senator Abetz said. “You don’t have to be a man or woman of faith of any kind to understand the huge injustice that has been dealt to Israel Folau.”

Page 62 – Editorial about shesus.

47:18 They didn’t want freedom of religion previously

From Marion Maddox

For years, conservative Christians campaigned against laws to protect religious freedom – because that would mean freedom for everyone. Time and again, what mattered to conservative Christians was “freedom to assert the superiority of their [own] belief system and the inferiority of others”.

In 1984, a landmark New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board report recommended extensive protections for belief and practice. Exemplifying conservative Christian opposition, the Synod Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney declared itself “deeply disturbed” by the report’s “serious bias against mainstream Christian churches”.

In 1988, the federal government proposed widening Section 116’s religious freedom protections to apply to the states and territories. The Central Commission of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference feared a US-style religion-state separation, threatening state aid to church schools. Some Anglican bishops foretold threats to religious instruction and prayer in public schools. Other Christian leaders warned of state-sanctioned stonings and female circumcision.

In 2005, the NSW Legislative Council debated the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Tolerance) Bill. The Christian Democrats thanked “thousands of Christians” for helping secure the bill’s defeat. The Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church applauded.

In 2009, the federal government considered legislating a Charter of Rights. The inquiry, chaired by Jesuit priest Frank Brennan, recommended in favour, including “freedom from coercion or restraint in relation to religion and belief”. The Australian Christian Lobby led the opposition, supported by various church and Christian interest groups.

49:09 NSW and SRE

If it wasn’t so serious it would be comical. From Firis:

All employees and all volunteers who work with children in New South Wales public schools are required to show the principal a Working With Children check, except …  those persons who are taking special religious education classes.

Why? Because we can trust their bosses.

The Minister responded by stating –The management of those requirements for providers of special religious education, including special ethics education, are outlined in the department’s Religious Education Policy. Under the policy, it is the responsibility of approved providers to verify the Working With Children Check of all scripture and ethics teachers.

51:34 New Patron

Hi Trevor

How could any listener not become a patron after listening to your  well reasoned, concise and convincing argument as to patronage

From memory it was “pay up or fuck off”.

I know from time to time you close the show with some music,  are you familiar with Susan Werners agnostic hymn album “the gospel truth” in particular the track “why is your heaven so small”.

Keep up the great work, in particular the interviews.



54:25 Mueller Report

The Russians interfered.

There was no conspiracy by Trump to work with the Russians (mainly because his underlings disobeyed Trump when he told them to work with the Russians).

Probably there was obstruction of justice by Trump in obstructing Mueller’s investigation. The facts are compelling. If innocent, Mueller would have said so. If guilty, Mueller couldn’t indict. he could only lay out the facts for Congress to impeach.

Mueller was not allowed to indict a sitting President (because of the doctrine of the separation of powers) so left it up to Congress to impeach.

The Republican Senate will never impeach so Pelosi is probably right not to start a fight she can’t win. Best to just fish around and say it’s worthy of impeachment but not actually do it.

1:00:10 State of Origin and the National Anthem

From Chanel 7

Lattrell Mitchell – We are not young and free.

The Fist:

I don’t like anthems and I don’t sing them so I don’t care if they sing or not.

I care when they encourage division and pretend to be encouraging unity.

If you create “us” then you automatically create “them” which is fine but don’t be surprised when “them” doesn’t support you.

1:07:54 Last week was episode 204 – what a cracker – plenty of feedback to deal with

1:08:04 Voter Qualifications

How about you can vote on reality tv shows or elections, but not both.–

1:08:42 Jordan Peterson and Enforced Monogamy

I want 3 hours of my life back.

Of all the things I said last week and the thing that got the most heat was my comment about Jordan Peterson!

Last week  I said:

Jordan “Patriarchy” Peterson, the smart person for dumb people, gives his alt-right fanboys permission to dream of “enforced monogamy.”

Peterson, the great white savior, explains how patriarchy and “enforced monogamy” just might be the solution to the incel problem. Commenting on the incel violence in Toronto, Peterson explains:

Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, Mr. Peterson says, and society needs to work to make sure those men are married.

“He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”

The Squeaky Wheel wasn’t happy with us.

Re Peterson. You’re completely misunderstanding what ‘enforced monogamy’ is. It’s a term widely applied in biology and anthropology across many species and related to the social and hierarchical habits that increase assurance of male paternity in some species that pair bond but are not considered naturally monogamous. There is indeed evidence that an increase in males who cannot find a mate results in increased violence and warfare (historically many men would have been drafted and died, which was certainly the case in ancient times). He is certainly not suggesting women should be forced to marry incels.

Go to a Google Scholar and type in ‘enforced monogamy’ as a search term and you’ll see. Polygamous societies do indeed see wealthy high status men with many wives while low status men have none, and are in the whole more violent according to some studies as those young men go marauding in gangs or armies. It’s not excusing them, it’s simply discussing anthropological realities. Personally, I think it’s great that incels have removed themselves from the gene pool.

Guys, you’re buying into claptrap with your Peterson comment. ‘Enforced monogamy’ is a well established term in biology and anthropology. It is common in species that are not considered naturally monogamous (I.e. like swans which mate for life) but pair bond to increase assurance of male paternity. Often manifests as ‘mate guarding’.
In humans it’s a social strategy reinforced by religion but also by attitudes about women. He is arguing these strategies evolved as a way to reduce the number of young celibate men willing to go off marauding for a mate. This is not a new or controversial theory among anthropologists or evolutionary biologists either. He is NOT suggesting women should be forced to marry incels and it is pretty sloppy for you to take a hit piece’s word for it. Type ‘enforced monogamy’ into Google Scholar and see how many papers come up.

Seriously, go to google scholar and enter ‘enforced monogamy’. It is a scientific term that has been in common use for decades. It’s pretty ironic people calling Peterson ‘the dumb person’s smart person’ while not even bothering to check what the term ‘enforced monogamy’ means or understanding its broader context within the fields of biology and anthropology. Don’t you think?
You’ll find plenty of studies about sexual selection strategies. Like this one. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/j.1420-9101.2009.01907.x

So, it turns out, enforced monogamy is a thing. Monogamy enforced by social pressures…..

But, Peterson’s job is to communicate ideas. He used a specific term which was likely to be misinterpreted because the two words have an ordinary meaning and are used in a context where those ordinary meanings make sense. I’m intelligent and well read and I’ve never heard of the term “enforced monogamy”. Peterson should have said “enforced monogamy and by that I mean the anthropological term” because otherwise we don’t know whether he really means the anthropological term or not. He most probably does but given his pro masculine statements of the past and his willingness to mangle the English language with his own unique definitions, anything is possible.  This need to be specific is particularly apparent when you consider he is regularly criticised for outlandish pro-masculine statements.

That doesn’t mean an academic has to highlight every academic term they use but normally the academic words are so unusual that a layperson who doesn’t understand the words at least recognises they must have special meaning and looks them up. If I said a contract was void ab initio a layperson would recognise an unfamiliar term and look it up. If I said my witness turned hostile you might assume they became physically or verbally violent or aggressive when in fact it might just mean they changed their story. I wouldn’t make that statement to a layperson without some explanation. I particularly would clarify if the witness was indigenous and I was often mislabelled as a racist supremacist who often belittled indigenous self-control.

Plus, what does it mean when you say the solution is enforced monogamy when the perpetrator is already living in a society of enforced monogamy? He was a Canadian citizen who had lived in Toronto all his life. How is enforced monogamy the solution if he has lived with it all his life? Was Peterson calling for a stronger kind of enforced monogamy or … was he using the normal meaning of the words? Peterson’s diagnosis doesn’t make sense if you accept he was using the technical meaning.

Finally, the guy in question, Alek Minassian was clearly suffering from personality disorders associated with autism and his problems were not going to be solved by enforced monogamy.

At Thornlea Secondary School, housed in a squat brick building south of Highway 407 in Thornhill, Minassian was in a special education class called “learning strategies,” according to students who knew him. High school classmates described Minassian as an awkward young man with notable physical tics who appeared to have special needs stemming from a disability. Some former classmates expressed surprise at the idea that Minassian could even operate a vehicle, let alone allegedly steer one that caused so much destruction. Will Cornish, 25, who attended Thornlea during Minassian’s time there, said he was shocked by what police were alleging. “I was stunned,” he said. “I was like, how the f— did he get a van? A, who would rent it to him? B, can he even drive? Based on what I knew about him, I didn’t think he could drive. I assumed that he stole it.”

Peterson on Joe Rogan.

Three hours where Peterson sets up strawman cases of crazy left-wing feminist ideas and then proceeds to knock them down.

Ok, the NYT may have misquoted or left out stuff but when offered an opportunity on Joe Rogan he didn’t offer any specifics about how he was misquoted.

And he admits that his promotion of “enforced monogamy” is about seeking equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity and therefore goes against everything he stands for. He normally hates gender quotas. His defence is that this is an exception based on the best interests of children.

In summary, Peterson is still a twat.

1:19:42 Capitalism

We review our death tally argument.

From Bronwyn

For what it’s worth, I found your arguments on deaths caused by capitalism to be quite convincing – in fact, the one I found the most compelling was the one the Velvet Glove pooh-poohed the most, which was African deaths from AIDS caused by the machinations of the WTO, an organisation which specifically exists to represent the interests of capitalists.

1:24:20 From Rod

Just caught your last episode (204). In it one of your co-hosts mentioned America invades other countries often to help install liberal democracies. However the US has either installed or currently supports nearly three quarters of the worlds dictatorships.


For decades, the American people have been repeatedly told by their government and corporate-run media that acts of war ordered by their president have been largely motivated by the need to counter acts of aggression or oppression by “evil dictators.” We were told we had to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. We had to bomb Libya because Muammar Gaddafi was an evil dictator, bent on unleashing a “bloodbath” on his own people. Today, of course, we are told that we should support insurgents in Syria because Bashar al-Assad is an evil dictator, and we must repeatedly rattle our sabers at North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin because they, too, are evil dictators.

I set out to answer a simple question: Is it true? Does the US government actually oppose dictatorships and champion democracy around the world, as we are repeatedly told?

The truth is not easy to find, but federal sources do provide an answer: No. According to Freedom House‘s rating system of political rights around the world, there were 49 nations in the world, as of 2015, that can be fairly categorized as “dictatorships.” As of fiscal year 2015, the last year for which we have publicly available data, the federal government of the United States had been providing military assistance to 36 of themThe United States currently supports over 73 percent of the world’s dictatorships!

1:26:07 Cam Reilly Chips in

1:32:36 Falou on Satan

1:33:59 An Adani Theory From Joe

The rumour that I’d heard was that Adani himself owns Abbot Point and gets paid per tonne of coal shipped through it. The Adani mine is a public company with his name on it. If Adani mining makes a loss on digging the coal out of the ground, it doesn’t matter because it’s about tonnage shipped through the port that’s driving this decision. Of course, this could all be wrong, but it would explain why a seemingly economically unviable mine is still being pushed ahead.

1:35:05 Michael West explains Adani financial arrangements

From the Michael West blog.

Despite the commercial viability of this mine being severely challenged, and with straight bank finance no longer an option, the Adani group could still finance the first stage itself. That would mean it would sell its expensive, dirty coal through newly-upgraded government contracts, and thereby lock in imported energy poverty for the poor people of Gujarat and Bangladesh, for decades to come.

It would do major damage to Australia’s existing thermal coal mines and result in the loss of thousands of existing Australian coal industry jobs over the coming decade.

The obvious question is, why would the Adani Group ignore the new economic reality and proceed with this long stranded proposal?

Firstly, having sunk $1.5 billion in this project to date, the Adani Group does not want to admit they made a bet at the start of this decade, a bet which failed – irrespective of the inevitable rising dominance of technology change in Indian renewables so clearly evident in Adani’s home state of Gujarat.

Secondly, it is clear, where a project is unviable and un-bankable on normal commercial grounds, a well connected billionaire thinks not of moving on, but of changing the rules.

As The Australia Institute’s Richard Dennis put it – any project is viable if you throw enough subsidies at it. The Carmichael coal proposal has long been underpinned by a raft of subsidies. … Adani will be able to use huge quantities of ground water for its coal mining and extensive washing of its HALE raw coal, no cost attached. The diesel fuel subsidy is worth hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year to Adani.

The Government has done a great job updating Queensland’s mine rehabilitation legislation over last two years, but it did sneak in a final exemption just for Adani, such that they are entitled to leave a huge final toxic void in perpetuity. A void is a hole in the ground, in this case, a very big hole.

Adani is yet to provide the required financial assurance to garner its seven-year royalty holiday – a capital subsidy of $600 million to $700 million – but it is still on offer, which means precisely zero coal royalties are likely to flow into Queensland schools or hospitals from Carmichael this coming decade.

Adani put India’s largest coal fired power plant up for sale for a token Rs1. A $US5 billion investment made at the start of this decade for sale at 2 cents. Still there were no buyers.

Fast forward a year and everything has changed. All it took was for the Gujarat government to re-write the power purchase agreement to include a 30 per cent tariff uplift for the Mundra power plants for the next 30 years. So the poor people of Gujarat will pay Adani 30 per cent more for their imported coal electricity for the next 30 years. (Trevor’s note: Adani relied on increased coal prices which was for coal that it was buying from an Indonesian mine which Adani owned 74% of)

And the poor people of Bangladesh have likewise agreed to underwrite Adani’s Godda import coal fired power plant at export tariffs close to double the wholesale price of electricity in India for the next 25 years.

Carmichael looks increasingly feasible.

So self-financing looks likely. Multi-decade off-take agreements with sister companies within the Adani Group now provide a secure end market for the Carmichael coal at heavily subsidised prices locked in by government contracts. Add in Australian fuel, water, rehabilitation and financing subsidies.

1:40:28 Landon Hardbottom will be in town


5 comments on “Episode 205 – Peter Monk from the NSL
  1. Warren Foster says:

    A massive red herring appeared in the debate regarding deaths caused by Capitalism and Communism. The ‘but what about free speech’ distraction sounded relevant but wasn’t on topic. Sorry 12th Man.
    And on the topic of logical fallacies. You may be correct in your reasoning that Petersen sets up straw man arguments but to his credit he rarely uses the ad hominem.
    Very interesting regarding the history of conservative Christians campaigning AGAINST laws to protect religious freedom!
    Can’t wait to have a beer with Landon.

  2. Warren Foster says:

    A massive red herring appeared in the debate regarding deaths caused by Capitalism and Communism. The ‘but what about free speech’ distraction sounded relevant but wasn’t on topic. Sorry 12th Man.
    And on the topic of logical fallacies. You may be correct in your reasoning that Petersen sets up straw man arguments but to his credit he rarely uses the ad hominem.
    Very interesting regarding the history of conservative Christians campaigning AGAINST laws to protect religious freedom!
    Can’t wait to have a beer with Landon.

  3. The Squeaky Wherl says:

    Kind of a straw man to suggest that the onus is on Peterson to explain a term that has been well-defined in several disciplines for decades simply because journalists who resort to ad Homs didn’t bother fact-checking.

    Surely the onus is on journalists to perform the most basic of fact checks before they leap to conclusions , too. Note also the use of ‘emerges’ – ‘ that’s how monogamy emerges’ (as a sexual selection strategy that increases the likelihood of paternity for *most men). It’s disappointing that Fist appears to be unable to assess what are largely academic arguments from Peterson without ascribing malicious intent.

  4. Bronwyn Benn says:

    Hey Fist, Glove and Man,

    Following from your Mueller Report segment, I thought you might be amused by a considered assessment by Simon Schama (British historian) of the unlovely Mr. Trump:

    “The president is too lazy to be a successful tyrant…All he truly craves is…the gush of flattery…and the rallies to which he is addicted: those overloaded cheeseburgers of his psychic engorgement.”

    I dips me lid etc. (The above comes from a recently released collection of Schama’s essays, entitled ‘Wordy’.)

    And since you like commenting on Indigenous issues (but don’t like talking directly to Indigenous people), I thought I would let Briggs explain to you why they don’t like the national anthem:


    Best wishes as always…

  5. The Beneficiary says:

    Squeaky Wheel
    I disagree with you on incels. Firstly your use of the word shows how it’s now becoming more a euphamism for loser than true involuntary celibate. You said “Personally I think it’s great that incels have removed themselves from the gene pool”. Involuntary is probably the key word here. I feel uncorfortable about cheering at the removal of any human genetic lines from gene pools. Other than that, good explaination of enforced monogamy, I’m with you.
    I’ll address a lot here because I have been following for a while.
    My views on Peterson himself are irrelevant but I do have a few points to make regarding his influence. I’ll add a few observations of my own for your consideration.
    I too don’t ascribe malicious intent to what Peterson is doing in his job. It seems unlikely to me that a man who has spent most of his life working as a clinical psychologist, university lecturer and more recently, self help book writer, is interested in whipping up social unrest by empowering alt-right sub groups, the religious and those on the political fringe.
    Peterson rose to fame following the Bill C-16 controversy, he’s been making the most of it. I have no issues with paying a man for his work. Jordan Peterson is his own business enterprise now, and it’s clever business.
    When Sam Harris left Patreon Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson were quick to announce their intentions to do the same…. just as soon as they restructured their businesses and worked out how to pay their staff. (can be watched on YouTube) The virtue signalling intent was there, but the real world practicalities had to be met also. Maybe the bit that I took from that video was that JBP had gone from one guy working at a Uni to a guy who had scaled up to meet the demands of his business. I tend to follow the money.
    So let me get to my issues with Peterson.
    People yearn for a good story and Peterson is a fantastic story teller. We all love a story that we can relate to, a message that speaks directly to us. We imagine ourselves as the heroes and the villians. We retell the stories that have a lesson woven into them. A good story captures an audience and some tales seem as old as time. Warren I also find value in Petersons lectures and discussions, unfortunately some are great, really concise and others are so broad and vague that it’s an ‘apply your own meaning’ type of scenario. No prizes for guessing the setting in which this word salad way of storytelling is commonly used.
    And if you want to sell self help books and tickets to your lecture tours, what’s an effective way to advertise your content to the most amount of people for the least amount of capitol investment? Why of course…. put out some content for free and help people.
    The old stories of religious mythology, Jungian archetypes, the struggle between chaos and order etc are all easy references that sort of manage to cross time and culture. You don’t have to believe that a story is true in order for it to be useful.
    Of course mentions of religious mythology by Peterson have led to ongoing questions surrounding his belief in god.
    If Peterson declares a position on his belief/lack of in god then he risks losing a large chunk of his audience and income stream. I’ve seen similar tactics used by people in business who will not affiliate themselves (despite their own political or religious beliefs) for fear of losing customers. There is economic benefit to being apolitical and areligious.
    So to this I would like to add that I don’t actually give a shit if Peterson believes in god or not, I doubt if we’ll ever get a direct answer. If he doesn’t want to answer the question then fine, lets move on. Because that’s not what secular people should be wasting time on.
    Has anyone else been noticing what I have? That Peterson is VERY popular in Pentacostal church circles. (aka Hillsong)
    One of the things that bothers me about Petersons style of storytelling is that it’s the perfect material (in parts) for lifting and bastardising for use as church teaching material. Young men are now going to mens conferences and connect groups to listen to grabs from Petersons lectures and then reading related bible passages. So while you’re worrying about incels with guns in America I’m watching a very real and rather concerning emergence of Peterson fandom amongst the Pentacostal Christians with bibles and political agendas in Australia. The more vague the initial message, the more easily it can be twisted for ones own purposes. So lets not stop talking about Peterson and what’s going on in that space, otherwise the only people left talking about him will be the alt-right and the religious and we’ll be out of the loop.
    The thing that really makes me raise an eyebrow at Peterson is a side issue really.
    I struggle to take him seriously when he is pushing pseudoscience by openly discussing his almost all meat diet. If I’m thinking about the scope of harm that Peterson might have, his overall reach and the scale of all the confounding factors I reflect most on this point.
    How can someone as educated as he be so quick to discuss this diet as anything more than an anecdote? His appearance on JRE episode 1070 has about 4.9million views. The caveates of ‘this diet isn’t for everyone, seek medical advice before considering it yourself’ doesn’t absolve you from responsibility if you are wrong to be supporting it (and waxing lyrical about it’s benefits) in the first place.
    And then his daughter Mikaila Peterson (food blogger) was on JRE 1164 and 1.4 million people listened to her take on the carnivore diet. Just follow the money. I don’t know if you listened to that episode Warren but it was really painful, anyone with a basic medical background will hear alarm bells ringing throughout the near 2 hours of carnivore diet sales pitch.
    So I’ll conclude on that. Petersons biased acceptance of pseudoscience is poor form for a public intellectual and it makes me wary of much of what he says.
    I’m not here to defend or denounce Peterson, I mentioned it only because I was a bit dissapointed to see Fist get caught up in himself over that trashy, sensationalist story.
    I’m here for the critical analysis and in that instance it was found lacking. I did chuckle when the Fist lamented again about his time wasted on this topic but to that I say – you started it.

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