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15 February 2013

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Haven't all human societies throughout history at some time interpreted unexplained events as the intervention of some supernatural power? Just look at the Bible, or Greek mythology.

Igwe is right. The only way to combat this is through the application of reason and the development of humane moral responsibility through education.

Unfortunately the Christians are skating on thin ice here - hence their reluctance to support him.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the tradition of burning witches in Europe and the Americas was pioneered by the Christian churches.

It bothers me that people are now suggesting that the superstitious scourge of sanguma can somehow be mitigated by the application of what is essentially another superstition.

Admittedly the superstitions of the churches are now largely benign but I wonder whether fighting fire with fire is a good idea.

It reminds me of the National Rifle Association in the USA saying that the only way to deal with a bad man with a gun is by using a good man with a gun.

There are many wonderful people in the churches in PNG but I think this is a law and order issue.

I've just read Mr Igwe's letter on the James Randi Website.

I agree that he would be a good man to get to speak to the people of PNG on the wichcraft problems they are presently experiencing. I hope Cygil will be able to get Amnesty International Australia involved.

As mentioned in another comment of mine, the PNGians belief in sorcery is partly based on the mind and reason, but also on the soul, and so is a spiritual matter and this is why the churches probably feel Mr Igwe is not up to the task.

But if Mr Igwe has achieved success in other countries that also experience problems with belief in witchcraft, then I think he should be invited to PNG to offer his advice.

The more people they can get who will work to expose the lies of these sangumas, the better.

I saw Mr Igwe in a lecture last year organised by Canberra Skeptics. He's an excellent lecturer and a powerful speaker.

His lecture was not about religion in general, but only superstitious beliefs such as witchcraft.

Unfortunately no church is likely to partner with an avowed humanist such as Igwe, even when he confines himself to witchcraft issues. Cowardly but not unexpected.

The Australian Skeptics and/or Amnesty International Australia might be available to coordinate activities in PNG. Amnesty have been active on the witch-hunt front in the past few years.

I myself have had enough and I have just volunteered to work for Amnesty Intl on the issue, if they will have me.

I will ask them if they are aware of Mr Igwe and what they might do to help him.

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