Letters to the editor - Jan 7

Many thanks to everybody who was involved in setting up the Christmas day lunch at the Town Hall for the Soup Kitchen.
It was absolutely superb. The food was exceptional and the people were all lovely. Jenny Dowell impressed me greatly, turning up at lunch time on Christmas Day to help serve out food.
She mingled with everybody, making everybody feel welcome. Nobody was left out, everyone was acknowledged by Lismore’s wonderfully warm and human Mayor.
 Sincere warm and grateful thanks to all involved.
Barbara Elliott

Hot to trot

The Climate Change Centre informed us earnestly that the few hot days constituted the hottest start to summer in living memory – and more was to come, proving the ugly truth of ‘global warming’ yet again. Now we have the mildest Christmas period here in 88 years, while Europe and North America freeze, with record snow storms and hundreds dead.
 Well, boys and girls – where are you with the glib diatribe/charlatan waffle/TV grab/plucked out of the globally warmed firmament, explanation?
 Nothing so far....
 It is time the state of climate science was seriously reviewed – and a very large broom it will take! The lack of ‘real’ scientific endeavour can be explained by many years of Science For Funding – and niche market scientific research, ignoring or denigrating perceived rivals, at the expense of understanding the ‘big picture’. You can fool all the people all the time – as long as they trust you, and are happy to remain ignorant because of that trust. When they are freezing in a ‘closed’ airport, they turn sceptic very easily.
 Don Gaddes

Global rewarming
I have lately read so much published nonsense on the subjects of burning coal and global warming that I now wonder where the intelligent people publish their comments.
So to clarify: global warming is happening – again! When Iceland was first settled those settlers were able to grow and harvest wheat. What we are experiencing now is quite simply part of our planets normal cycle of existence. Therefore, sea levels are rising, will continue to rise. No debate needed regarding that fact, but realistic plans on how to survive it are needed. The only real question there is: Can human behaviour have any impact at all?
Does anyone else recall the legend of King Canute?
The other matter that has been obscured by a shoal of red herrings is the burning of coal. What happens to the burnt coal? It is called coke and is an essential ingredient in the production of steel. Coke is the most concentrated source of carbon known and steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, thus electricity that is produced by burning coal is simply a by-product of steel production. If every coal fired generator were closed today the same amount of coal would still be mined and burned.
If it is deemed essential to end this practice then first we would need an alternative material for steel, or an alternative source of carbon. Before the use of coal humanity used charcoal to make steel. That is what happened to the indigenous oak forests of South Western Europe – they were turned into steel products!
So, is that the green alternative? To turn every hardwood tree into charcoal? We could make body piercing (jewellery?) out of animal bones and teeth while we are at it. Please people think about it.
William James Hunt
East Lismore

Told you so
Anybody who’s a regular reader of the letters to the editor column in any of Australia’s newspapers over the last 40 years will know that I’ve been warning people about global warming and every other environmental degradation happening on the planet, but specifically, Australia.
Now, at long last, the majority of Australians want government to do something constructive to combat environmental degradation.
What’s happening? The Labor Party is using the environment to tax the hell out of average Australians while allowing multinational, coal, oil and gas companies to carry on with business as usual and, unless something’s changed in the last few years, to pay little or no tax! The Liberals would be doing much the same if they were in power.
Why, you might ask. Well, multinational companies are run by people who were brainwashed at Christian schools and fast tracked into management by others who were brainwashed at Christian schools before them. People preselected for winnable seats in the Labor and Liberal parties are people who were brainwashed at religious schools. Your compulsory superannuation payments are solely to keep these multinationals afloat. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
While ever Australians vote the Labor and Liberal parties into power we have absolutely no right to condemn Iran for allowing Moslem control of their government. Even the Taliban must be recognised, not as terrorists, but as Moslems continuing to fight the Moslem-Christian war which has been raging, off and on, for centuries.
Wake up Australia!
Frank Brown

Richmond, Queensland

Carbon dating

We see billions of tons of fossil fuels eing burned, there must be billions of tons of emissions, which must raise the CO  ² content, I do agree, but does this increase cause global warming?
 The theory that man made CO  ² causes global warming does not agree with the actual written climate history of the last 2000 years. It was warmer 2000 years ago during the Roman Warming, then again 1000 years ago in the Medieval Warming period, despite no industrial CO  ². The IPCC try to ignore , suppress or delete these previous warm period records, when crops were grown in Greenland and grapes in Northern England, as the climate was warmer then than now. Since the industrial revolution, in the last 100 years, CO  ² has increased, yet we still cannot grow crops in Greenland or grapes in Northern England, as the climate is not yet warm enough.
If the historic facts do not fit the theory, then the computer theory must be wrong. Climate does change for many other natural reasons, but does not obey the IPCC data manipulation as shown in the Climategate email scandals.
I do agree that pollution, waste of fossil fuels, resources, and world overpopulation are the real problems. Not CO  ².
Ken Macdonald
Lennox Head

Poor argument
Don’t you hate having parents that argue and argue about silly little things that don’t matter at all?
I’m 10 years old and my parents divorced when I was a little girl. It appears that one of their favourite activities to do is argue about… Goodness knows what.
Having parents that argue a lot may seem like a nuisance. It is a nuisance. But I think that the reason parents quarrel is because there is a problem. You may never know what that problem is or if there even is a problem.
I believe that quarrelling is not the way to resolve conflict or problems that arise in any relationship.
Firstly when a problem does arise I think that the first step is to talk about it. By talking about the problem you may find a better solution. If this method does not work the next step should be to seek help from a counsellor or a good friend.
Nearly all of the people who get married think that they are going to stay together forever. But in a lot of cases they break up before “Death do us part.” If you ask me I think that if you get married, only ever get divorced if you can’t stand each other anymore.
Everybody has their differences but many of the problems can be resolved one way or the other.
Anna-Lena Qualmann

Saint Mary
I felt great joy when it was announced that Mary MacKillop would become Australia’s first saint.
Even though I am not a Catholic, we as Christians and citizens in this country can take pride that a woman who loved God and people so much was recognised in this way.
In Melbourne in Lonsdale St is the little church of St Francis (1841) which is Victoria’s oldest Catholic church. This is where Mary’s parents were married in 1841 and where Mary was baptised in 1842. She was born in the Fitzroy/Brunswick area.
Thank God the people of Melbourne rose up in the early 1990s when developers were eyeing off the site of St Francis church for development, because we, as a nation, could have lost an important connection to our first saint. I visited this church on my recent trip back to Victoria.
I’m also mindful that the descendants and survivors of the WWII hospital ship   Centaur   can now have some peace of mind after 66 years of wondering where their loved ones final resting place was.
I hope that despite all the commercialisation of Christmas that people remember the Christ child of Bethlehem. I also hope that people remember those who are lonely and sad at Christmas.
Peace and love be with you all.
Helen Coyle
South Lismore

A great debate

With enjoyment I read the evolution/creation controversy continuing after a couple of centuries.
I love controversial issues – refugees, wars, gender inequality and the real big one: can we afford to save the environment? “No we can’t, I am a capitalist, I need economic growth” versus “Yes we can, I am an ecologist, and I want a cut of the economic pie as well.”
I love controversial issues because love is never controversial, as every controversial issue has already been   reconciled.
Those who prefer to assert either side of an argument by enhancing their own view and degrading any opposing views will be unable to perceive that controversial issues were not even knowable until after we have reconciled our views.
I have reconciled every controversial issue (yeah, there are idiots that will disagree, to their own advantage) but most humans are not elegant enough to understand the nature of love is nothing about wants and needs and that may disguised intentions are either false or about to eat us. I watch nature operate and comprehend, I watch humans manoeuvrings and become mentally ill.
This is not a question of being saner or insane, it is actually about being cruel or kind.
Keith A Stone
North Lismore

We may never know
During his Christmas message Prime Minister Kevin Rudd repeatedly began his sentences with the word “We...”.
Unfortunately he did not make it clear what he meant by “we”. Was he speaking on behalf of his family, or his government? All of which he is entitled to do.
Or was he perhaps using the royal we?
Or was he, like John Howard did so many times, attempting to speak on behalf of all Australians?
Would not that be just a bit too presumptuous?
Tom Koo

True believer
The abilities of the religious to change history to suit their facts never ceases to amaze.
The Echo (Dec 17) devoted space to a very long (despite being edited) and confused piece from a Mario Elba trying to convince us all of the literal truth of the biblical tale of Noah’s ark. His very first outright fabrication was to claim the bible’s version predated that of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Sorry to have to correct you Mr Elba, but the Sumerians wrote their account at least 1600 years before even your own scholars agree your bible was composed. That makes them first by a long way, so if any copying was involved, who was the plagiarist?
His absolute howler comes with his complaint that “censorship has been constantly used to exclude the truth”. He’s talking about Intelligent Design here dear readers... really just Creationism re-badged. Throughout history the church itself has been the constant source of very real censorship of any ideas or behaviours that do not fall in with its own dogma, so it’s more than just a little ironic for Mr Elba to try to play the victim here.
Which brings us to his “Intelligent(?) Design”. If his letter itself was not a complete indictment of the ridiculous improbability of this very concept, then consider the following.
Take man for example. Which intelligent creator would produce their supreme specimen with so many flaws? A quick examination of the simple biology of the human body will show quite a few design features that are not exactly well thought out. Take for instance the reproduction of this grand project. Let’s give the female breasts and sexual organs that will so very frequently turn cancerous and kill her! Oh, and just in case the man feels left out, let’s give him a prostate gland that will do the same! That’s “intelligent”? Space precludes further examples.
Even on a simpler level, we have man walking upright, in the very image of God it says, and yet he was given a backbone so weak and insubstantial for the job that everybody suffers to some degree with back troubles. This is “design”?
However perhaps I digress, and if the editors will grant me the same leeway they did Mr Elba, I will return to his flood.
Mr Noah must have made a very quick, non-powered ark trip half way round the world to Australia to drop off those two koalas. They are found nowhere else in the world. Wasn’t that nice of him to go so far out of his Middle-Eastern way just so we could all have our very own cute and cuddlies? Although what they ate when dumped here to fend for themselves in a world of stinking mud and sludge is a bit of a mystery. It would take years for eucalyptus trees to grow to any size.
Seriously, there just isn’t any geological evidence for a common world eliminating flood at all. I won’t even try to amuse you with images of Noah struggling with 20,000 tonnes of pre-industrial kitty litter.
Yes the Aborigines had a flood story, but there were certainly no black Indigenous people on the ark, so who saved them to tell the tale? Ark-ival stowaways perhaps?
I do not wish to deny anyone’s enjoyment of the tale of Noah at all – it’s a cute, simplistic bedtime story complete with animals – BUT please don’t try to back it up with facts as reality. It’s a parable with a message, meant to impart a simple moral code to the illiterate. No more, no less.
B Parker

Green blue
It’s all very well for Copenhagen to focus on the blue collar crimes of actually clearing for cash in Borneo, the traders in rainforest timber, oil palm plantings and mercurial gold extraction – but it’s the white collar workers in the west, with their endless credit growth, that are actually accelerating the extraction, personal transport, banks, housing and world trade, based on the dollar of arms and oil. China has to remove credit from America, teach the world the “one child policy”, and take care of its own pollution. So I guess the nationalism of party politics will need a more global face.
Will Goode

Noah way

Denial of the historicity of Noah and his flood is not confined, as Mario Elba (Echo, Dec 17) seems to think, to those influenced by “arrogant, ill-informed” German academics.
These 19th century German scholars attempted to analyse biblical writings using philology – the study of etymology, grammar, rhetoric and literary criticism. Their work is neither “discredited” nor “out-dated” as Mr Elba believes but has added scientific rigour to the commentaries of such earlier giants of biblical study as Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), who sought to reconcile Aristotle’s scientific rationalism with Christian doctrines of faith and revelation.
Of course nothing is ever settled in the world of science. Archaeology has since added vastly to our knowledge of the biblical Middle East, sometimes to confirm, at other times to question, the literal truth of those writings. A titillating titbit: at the 8th century BC site of Kuntillet Ajrud archaeologists have found a half nude female figure with an inscription mentioning “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah”, leading them to speculate that in the eyes of some at least, Yahweh was still married to the great Canaanite mother goddess in defiance of the official state religion and its writings.
The German scholars showed this literature to be the work of many hands over many centuries, often lifted from other cultures and not dictated from on high as some would believe. As these gentlemen and their successors could actually read Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, Aramaic and Coptic it is reasonable to believe that their work has added to, rather than detracted from, biblical studies.
When the five people in the world who can actually read Sumerian, written in cuneiform script, tell me that the flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh anticipates that of the Bible by more than one and a half millennia, I tend to believe them rather than some zealot who gets his information from American proselytisers, none of whom are noted for their scholarship in ancient tongues.
The idea proposed by Mr Elba of a world conspiracy to suppress his particular take on Christianity is simply laughable. (Here I must digress to thank the kind, if deluded, person who had the courage to write to me, anonymously of course, saying I was clearly a member of a cosmic Marxist-Satanist movement.)
“Noah’s ark truths” are not to be found in ancient flood myths, however widespread. Anthropologists tell us mankind spread out of Africa along coastlines and waterways. Great civilisations – those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus – grew up on flood plains. Of course they have flood stories! So do Brisbane people of the catastrophic floods of 1893 and 1974. So do Lismore folk. Most of us nowadays tend not to attribute these events to divine displeasure. Perhaps Mr Elba does.
And a happy Christmas to all those kill-joys who think we shouldn’t celebrate Christ’s birthday on the ancient Roman feast-day of the Sun.
Peter Mullins

Back to the future
It is comical to watch but Tony Abbott has definitely done the scientifically impossible and “returned to the future”. With this single great feat he has reincarnated all the zombies and furphies of the HoWARd error and tried to gain some media exposure by reiterating the entire panoply of crazy notions that lie in the deep recesses of the cobwebbed minds of the fools who people the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party, which is only so in name, has turned into a magnet for extremists, fools and bigots, which Abbott has now identified as his constituency. His utterances about “sending boat people back” and his flip-flopping on the climate change debate shows that Abbott stands for nothing other than being elected.
Coupled with the elevation of class fool, Barnaby “No choice” Joyce, Abbott is showing how desperate the Liberals have become to make a splash, any splash, in the media over the Christmas period when most people ignore politics even more than they do during the rest of the year. Abbott has shown that he will say and do anything to get attention in the hope that this will translate into people taking him and his lackeys seriously. Perhaps this will happen amongst the loony right-wing bigots who we see writing letters here occasionally and both their spokespersons should sharpen their pencils as the rhetoric becomes increasingly Sarah Palinesque. They will need every bit of attention they can get as the electorate realises ever more what a bunch of total humbugs these Liberal fascists truly are.
M Mizzi

Beyond explanation
Some things are hard to explain.
In the early seventies, a friend of mine taught school in what was sometimes referred to as a depressed area, west of Sydney.
There were two boys in the school whose mother was an Aboriginal woman from Northern NSW, a devoutly Christian woman, she sometimes baby-sat for neighbours. The kids loved it, as she used to explain things of nature, legends, etc. Seven-year-old Julie used to hang on her every word, then her family was transferred north, but they used to exchange letters.
Julie’s parents were in a very stressful line of work and when they had breaks, used to go to a friend’s place, 70 miles south, away from it all.
It was coming on to Christmas when Julie wrote to her friend, explained her dilemma. There were Christmas celebrations in town she wanted to see, but that would mean her parents would miss their break.
The Aboriginal woman Jessie (not her real name, but she is long passed away) managed to get through by phone and told Julie that the carnival was only a passing thing and that it was more important to remember what Christmas was really about and to be with the family in the old house on the property.
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, a neighbour and devoted friend of Jessie told her Julie was on the phone.
Julie said she’d taken Jessie’s advice, carnivals would always be there, but family would not, you never know what life has in store for you. The only regret was she’d left her drawing set at home. Julie would never see her drawing set again, or anything that was in the house. Hours later, the house was smashed to matchwood, contents spread for miles, unlikely that anybody in there would have survived when it took the full fury of cyclone Tracy.
Eddie Burns


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