"Psychologists tell us that the pattern of man's behaviour is profoundly influenced by the basic instincts of self preservation."
("Humanist": Speculum, October, 1950.)
From these psychologists, says "Humanist", we can learn that men eat when they are hungry, and run away when afraid, and here his theory has been proven by scientific observation. But surely it was not from the psychologists that he has acquired his concept of Religion, which has neither scien- tific nor any other sort of observation to support it.
In the course of his article "Humanist"
has denied emphatically the existence of God and the value of any form of Religion, all in direct contradiction to the beliefs of countless milions of human beings over the past few thousand years. Moreover, his statements are made, not in the form of a theory, but in a manner which suggests that they are proven fact. "A few sagacious individuals . . . concocted the anthropo- morphic concept of a God."
Does he realise that to propound a theory as radical as this one, and expect any normal individual to give it credence, he must either be able to produce evidence in support of it, or at least be able to discredit the currently accepted Christian theories, which are in direct opposition to it? As regards the first proposition, viz., the production of supporting evidence, we must assume that lack of space prevented him from printing the interesting tale of his long search through the pages of history in order to identify the
"few sagacious individuals". How interested we would have been to hear who they were!
Having found no evidence in support of this theory of "Humanist", we now search through his article for anything which might tend to disprove the current theory in opposition to it, viz., beliefs in the existence of God and the divine origin of our code
of morals. But alas. We search again in vain! For time has prevented our philosopher from printing, for the benefit of the millions of misguided folk who still vainly believe in the powers of a mystical Almighty, the staggering series of arguments whereby he must have disproved the existence of God, the life of Christ upon earth, and the origin of the ten commandments.
So much for "Humanist's" theories on the origin of Religion—let us now to his equally outrageous advice for human con - duct, wherein he proposes a changing code of morals to suit the whims of men, and bewails the fact that "the ten command - ments must forever be the basis of the morality of mankind". Surely an approach such as this cannot be justified. If we accept that certain things are morally wrong, then surely they must remain wrong as long as mankind does not basically change. Thus, if it were wrong to kill one's fellow-man back in the stone age, it will also be wrong today, regardless of what our own private opinions on the matter might be. The fact that men kill one another much more fre' quently in one century than was the case in the previous one does not make each individual crime any the less serious.
On the other hand, "Humanist" has proposed that we change our moral code as it suits us—that if we are prevented from doing something because it is wrong, the problem should be overcome by changing our concepts of right and wrong so that the thing will now become right. Acting on these principles, we could do well nigh anything without offending our consciences , which would be moulded so as to agree, with every act we do. In short, we would
eventually reach a stage where nothing we did would be wrong.
A further suggestion in the course of this article was that we should "modernise" our civilisation by a wide use of those popular varieties of murder, euthanasia and birth control—that once a person reaches a stage where he or she has no longer anything to contribute to society, they should be quietly put out of existence. Is this not infringing the inherent right of all human beings to live? But, of course, it would not be such under the new system, for here the natural laws would all be changed to suit the demand, and any sort of crime would be Justified.
There is also his plan for wholesale and widespread birth control, once a country's Population is considered to be economically sufficient. What a defeatist attitude this is!
It is like dealing with a shortage of hats by cutting people's heads off, instead of trying to augment the supply of millinery. Why hot, instead of denying human beings the
right to be born, improve our economy so as to prepare for their arrival? If, as he claimed, the birth rate is "hopelessly out- stripping the world's total food production", then our policy should be to make room for these new arrivals by improving our accom- modation position and increasing our food production so that they might be enabled to live in comfort with us. Even apart from the moral •issue, surely it is outrageous, in a country of 3,000,000 acres and 7,000,000 people, to think of such a thing as birth control.
So much, then, for "Humanist's" formula for a new and a better world — he and his crusaders may adopt it if they wish, but let them leave us Christian folk to our
"mysticism" with its "prejudices and dogmas". We would rather live on in our present old-fashioned way than adopt the New Order which we have seen put partly into effect—and with what devastating success—in the gas chambers of East Prussia and the salt mines of Siberia.
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I like the girls that do, I admire the girls that don't;
I hate the girls that say they will And then they say they 'won't.
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Are the girls that can't make up their minds,
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Can you punctuate this so that it makes sense?
FUN FUN FUN WORRY WORRY WORRY.
Answer on page 42.
Medical Service in New Guinea
An opportunity for Melbourne Students
On June 13 Professor S. D. Rubbo, supported by Mr. Yorke (Fifth Year), addressed an M.S.S. meeting on the Medical Services of New Guinea. Mr. Yorke showed slides illustrating the nature of the country, the people, and the work, and Professor Rubbo told us of the advantages of practice in New Guinea for the enterprising young doctor, and outlined a scheme to enable medical students to do responsible work there in vacations.
New Guinea provides a unique oppor- tunity to the enterprising medico. "There is opportunity for treating diseases in a manner that would never be allowed on the mainland. There is a tremendous field for experimentation." New Guinea tuberculosis is more often osseous and glandular than pulmonary, and natives present with tre- mendous swelling in the neck — an ideal field for dissection of the glands of the neck.
Skin diseases are common, and the budding dermatologist is able to try "this pot, that pot, of ointment". Furthermore, there are diseases amongst the natives never met on the mainland—particularly Yaws, caused by a spirochaete, which is horribly disfiguring, but confined to the natives, who lack some of the most elementary principles of hygiene.
The natives are "not particularly odifer- ous; they are particularly friendly; they are polite, and extremely co-operative". In Australian New Guinea proper, one says "I would like to do such and such", in Man- dated Papua "I will do such and such".
Both produce the same activity; natives will stand in pouring rain waiting for the doctor to do, say, a mantoux test on them, while
the medical party is provided by the village with adequate shelter, and often with flowers on their table!
The New Guinea medico leads a some- what adventurous type of life. He has to contend with a rough, inhospitable country, rain, mountains, reptiles, and fearsome- looking natives (who are actually as fear- some as sheep). Professor Rubbo considers the central plateau to be one of the best areas of the world, with beautiful scenery, magnificent rivers and a good climate.
The Professor had suggested to Dr.
Gunther (director of the service) that studentships should be made available to Melbourne students in the "long" vacations after fourth or fifth years to act as medical orderlies (with responsible jobs). Since this university gives less training in tropical medicine than any in Australia, it is not politically possible to apply this scheme to Melbourne alone. But Professor Rubbo made an "excellent impression", and a com- promise has been reached.
The present scheme is this—this year two or three Melbourne students will go to New Guinea. Professor Rubbo will act as Dr. Gunther's advisor in selecting from the applicants, and the successful students will go to New Guinea for five or six weeks. The air fare is 170, but the salary is guaranteed to cover this charge. Those wishing further information on the New Guinea service will find it in an article by Dr. Gunther in the
M.J.A. of May 12, 1951.
What about it, fellers? The beer is expen- sive, but there's no duty on spirits. French liqueurs flow like water.
Child Welfare in Papua
Some Commentsby C. W. BAIRD, B.Sc.
Old Territorians have said: "Come to Papua for two weeks and write a book on Papua; stay two months and write an article; stay two years and write nothing".
While a short stay in Papua does not fit one to write with authority on the native or his problems, it may qualify one to comment on certain aspects of the White Man's activity.
Bearing these limitations in mind, some comments on the Child Welfare Service organised by the Department of Public Health, under its Director, Dr. John Gunther, are not entirely out of place.
As I see it, the objects of such a service are :
A—(i) Prevention of disease.
(ii) Treatment of disease if prevention fails, in children from birth until attaining the age of approximately 10 years.
I3—The provision of such care in the native villages themselves.
Ideally the standard of treatment should approach that available in the great cities of the world, but owing to certain limita- tions, as will be pointed out, this is not yet, or indeed, never may be, possible.
LIMITING FACTORS Essentials include:
(iii) Hospital facilities.
(iv) Adequate transportation systems.
(v) Confidence of the people for whom the service is provided.
Considering these factors in turn.
(i) FINANCE — has to be obtained
troll). Australian Government sources as—
(a) Natives too poor to contribute.
(b) Few private enterprise concerns operate in Papua; hence taxation would provide only a fraction of the cost.
(ii) STAFF — Staff trained in British countries is hard to get. However, numbers of migrant medicos have been employed as a stop-gap measure.
The employment of migrants has its disadvantages, however, as-
(i) Many D.P. doctors come from cold climates. For some, their first experience of tropical medicine came when confronted by their first native patient requiring treatment.
(ii) Language difficulties.
Ideally, completion of native language and tropical medicine courses should be required of applicants in the Government Medical Services. This naturally could not be put into effect at present, as in spite of the high pay (approximately £ 1300 per annum) of medical officers, applications are few.
Perhaps in the future, when the advan- tages (high tax-free income, research poten- tialities) of such positions are realised by graduates from the southern Australian States, these opportunities will be snapped up. It would seem that publicity given to the area by medical students who have worked in Papua will also be a powerful factor. This, no doubt, was the object of the Public Health Director in Papua, when he made such positions available.
(iii) HOSPITAL FACILITIES — These are limited at present, but a £7,000,000 scheme is afoot for the provision of hospital facilities throughout the Territory. It seems as though this essential will soon be satisfied.
(iv) TRANSPORTATION — Ground transportation is woefully inadequate. Many roads built during the war have already been swallowed by the jungle, while many more are threatened by the same fate.
Consequently, much valuable time is wasted travelling, often on foot, from village to village. This problem would take much time and money to overcome. One wonders whether ground transport development is an
economic proposition. The alternative, air transport, is certainly uneconomic for short distances.
In my opinion, this problem will be the hardest of all to solve. One wonders whether the prospect of further world conflict may have some influence.
(v) CONFIDENCE OF THE NATIVE
—This is a difficult factor to assess, but it is conceded by most of those who know that the native does not like to be in hospital
— and hospitalisation is essential for dis- orders incapable of efficient treatment in the field.
Red Cross has done much useful educa- tional work in breaking down prejudice by the establishment of Junior Red Cross branches in some of the native villages in the vicinity of Port Moresby. In addition, the work of the Government Medical Ser- vices, in conjunction with Red Cross, during the Mt. Lamington disaster, will do much.
Having considered some of the pre- requisites and difficulties of any scheme, let us briefly examine the scheme at present operating.
A permanent clinic has been set up it a village near Port Moresby, while two mobile clinics (a third was in the process of establishment when Mt. Lamington blew up), consisting of a doctor, nurse, orderly and interpreter, cover villages over a radius of up to 40 miles from Port Moresby.
Many of the advantages of such mobile teams are lost, however, as-
(i) Due to transport difficulties outlined above, their mobility is low.
(ii) There are insufficient teams to make visits to the villages sufficiently frequently.
Methods in the Clinics
The head man of the village is notified beforehand of the arrival of the clinic. On the appointed day the clinic arrives, all avail- able mothers and children gather around, and the work proceeds.
Examinations are necessarily of the briefest, but routine weighings of all children are made, and an efficient system of record-
ing results is in operation. These records will be of great value in the future.
It would be a great asset, in my opinion, if staff and equipment were available, to include a pathologist in each team. The opportunity for gathering clinical material, coincident with specimens of pathological interest, would be welcomed by the research- minded, while the certainty of diagnosis, in conditions such as malaria, where the slides could be examined on the spot, would be of value to the team as a whole.
As mentioned above, difficulty is encoun- tered in referring to hospital patients who require more intensive treatment than the infrequent visits of the team can provide, owing to the limiting factors outlined above.
As many of the complaints encountered can be traced to poor nutrition, issues of Marmite and condensed milk are given to lactating mothers. Malarial prophylaxis is not yet given as a routine. It is regrettable also that diseases due to unhygienic living conditions, which are a fertile field for pre- ventive medicine, cannot be prevented at present. Unfortunately education of the native will take a long time.
When one sees the system operating, one cannot help feeling admiration for those far-sighted enough to envisage such a ser- vice, and further—having the courage to overcome, partially at least, many of the obstacles.
As it operates admittedly on a small scale at present, it is undoubtedly a success.
It has not been operating long enough (approximately four years) for analysis of the records to be of significance, but without doubt the results will show in future generations.
My thanks are due to officers of the Public Health Department, Port Moresby, for valuable information, and to Mr R. O.
Wardrop for helpful criticism.
Answer to problem on page 34.
Fun period fun period fun no period -- worry, worry, worry!
but we soon found the work . . a Little Warming