Operating system stats

StatCounter shows all sorts of interesting information. Currently the visitors to this blog are running the following operating systems:

Windows XP       47%
Mac OS X          27%
Linux                 16%
Windows Vista    8%

This is a tiny sample of internet users, but it is still quite interesting. As expected most people use XP. Most interesting is that twice as many visitors use Linux than Vista. Does this actually mean more people use Linux than Vista? If so it certainly suggests Microsoft’s dominance may be slipping.

I run Ubuntu Linux, which is an essential download for all those viewers struggling along with Vista, but my visits are not recorded.

Web browser stats

Having installed StatCounter a few weeks back, I can now see all sorts of interesting statistics about the visitors to this blog (Big Brother Is Watching You!). One very interesting thing is the browser stats, the top performers being:

Firefox                     50%
Safari                      26%
Internet Explorer     14%
Chrome                     5%

Firefox has really taken over from Internet Explorer, if the visitors to this blog are anything to go by. Even the latest versions of IE, that have tabbed browsing, aren’t being used much by my visitors. I am surprised how many people are using Safari, but I suspect the latest versions are better than the dodgy old one I’m used to.

I run Firefox 3.0 myself, but my visits are not recorded on the stats.

Should Christians consider legalising drugs?

There has been some discussion on drug laws over at New Zealand Conservative, with Lucyna referring to an article called “Don’t legalize drugs” by Theodore Dalrymple, which I shall refer to below.

This is a very polarising issue, with most people either saying “Drugs are bad – ban them” or “You have no right to legislate what people put in their own bodies – legalise them all”. Those in favour of legalising them argue that this will reduce the price, reducing crimes committed by people trying to fund their drug habits, and increase the quality (less people dying from dodgy concoctions). They generally assume that if drugs were legal usage would not increase much, as most people are sensible and won’t take them. I highly doubt this, it is logical to expect that usage would increase somewhat, people are more likely to use something if they can do it on a whim (pop into a shop and buy it) than if it is more difficult and expensive to obtain.

We don’t know what exactly would happen if all drugs were legalised – we haven’t done it yet. As Theodore Dalrymple states:

“But a certain modesty in the face of an inherently unknowable future is surely advisable. That is why prudence is a political virtue: what stands to reason should happen does not necessarily happen in practice. As Goethe said, all theory (even of the monetarist or free-market variety) is gray, but green springs the golden tree of life. If drugs were legalized, I suspect that the golden tree of life might spring some unpleasant surprises.”

I am certainly no fan of the legalisation of all drugs. It is a stupid idea to take drugs, I don’t even drink. However, many Christians rightly see drugs are bad and as a result go completely in the opposite direction – “ban them all”. Many seem to believe for some reason that Christianity requires drugs be illegal, and won’t entertain any discussion about adjusting the drug laws. But nowhere in the Bible is there ANY example of a drug being illegal.

Currently alcohol and tobacco are legal in NZ, most other stuff is illegal. The decision which drugs should be legal and which ones restricted is not based on Christianity at all. Rather, it is a purely pragmatic decision based on the costs and benefits to society of having a substance legal or illegal. Therefore it is perfectly reasonable for us, whether Christian or not, to entertain discussion on the costs and benefits of whether possession of certain substances (such as BZP, or cannabis) should be legal, illegal but not criminal (e.g. you get fined but don’t end up in court, just like a driving offence), or a criminal offence.

Dalyrmple also states:

“Analogies with the Prohibition era, often drawn by those who would legalize drugs, are false and inexact: it is one thing to attempt to ban a substance that has been in customary use for centuries by at least nine-tenths of the adult population, and quite another to retain a ban on substances that are still not in customary use, in an attempt to ensure that they never do become customary.”

Which is also an excellent point. The social acceptability of a drug makes a big difference in whether it is practical to restrict it or not. If enough people find something socially acceptable, it will be impossible to police. You can never control a substance without public support.

But where does this leave socially acceptable illegal drugs like cannabis? Whatever its status in the past, and despite research showing how harmful it is, cannabis is now socially acceptable in many circles. If you doubt that, just think – do you know someone who you strongly suspect uses cannabis? Most people know users, it is so widespread. Have you reported them to the cops yet? If not, why not? Why don’t you respect the law? Do you too find cannabis socially acceptable?

If even you find cannabis socially acceptable and won’t report it, how do you expect the police to control it?

What our drug laws should be is something I am as yet undecided on. And I am strongly aware that changing one small thing can be the start down a “slippery slope” towards more stuff that would be undesirable. However we must be willing to entertain pragmatic discussion on these issues. Christianity has a lot to say about the rights and wrongs of many different things – we can conclusively say abortion is wrong for example. But it has little to say about drugs, so we must be careful not to jump on one end of the dispute (either “ban it all” or “complete freedom”) and hold this as the “Christian” position, rejecting all practical considerations to the contrary.

Blog Stats – Halfdone

Halfdone is compiling monthly NZ blog stats, like Tumeke. However the Halfdone stats use a simpler formula so are available sooner. While the Tumeke stats take into account numbers of posts and comments, the Halfdone stats only measure readership and links to the blog. Each system has merits and problems, but the Tumeke stats are more detailed.

This blog is #55 in the Halfdone stats for November, up from #79 in the October Tumeke stats.

I am down to #6 in the MandM Christian blog rankings, based on Halfdone, because Put Up Thy Sword has taken a massive leap into 5th place – well done!

Abortion increases mental health problems

I have discussed previously how most abortions in NZ are authorised on the grounds that continuing the pregnancy would result in “serious danger” to the “mental health” of the woman. However the latest NZ research shows that abortion is more likely to INCREASE mental health problems, not decrease them.

The long-term Christchurch study of more than 500 women found a link between having an abortion and an increase of nearly a third in the risk of disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Reporting their findings in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the Otago University researchers say that abortions account for 1.5 to 5.5 per cent of the overall rate of mental disorders.

They said their study backed up others overseas which concluded that having an abortion may be linked to an increased risk of mental health problems.

This is supported by previous work in New Zealand that showed a 35% increase in mental health problems among mothers who aborted rather than carrying their child to term. It is also supported by similar research in the USA.

So lets get this straight – we’re doing something that increases the risk of mental health problems, to try and prevent mental health problems. You may as well try and put out a fire by pouring petrol on it.

Hat tip: Family First

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