CPRS and climate change:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “CPRS bills slip to a quiet defeat to yawning voter non-interest” (yesterday, item 1). It surprises me that so many people are committed to a “cap and trade” scheme for so little reason. The concept is so monumentally convoluted and so uncertain of result so as to ensure endless delay and debate. A carbon tax could have been introduced long ago, and the revenue could be supporting alternative energy and energy efficiency.

The market mavens solemnly intone that the government can never know at what level to set the tax. The government’s task, apparently, is to set a target for emissions, as if there is a desirable level of pollution. Yes, no one can predict the impact of a carbon tax — any more than anyone can predict the effects of carbon trading — but if the level of the tax needed to be adjusted, it could have been adjusted. Long ago.

Martyn Smith writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. It sounded a bit apocalyptic so I hope you are cheered by the fact that the scientists are incorrect that an “x” degree rise will bring catastrophe to the planet. I’m informed the planet is only half way through its existence so there is plenty of time for it to recover. So cheer up.

We can expect mass extinction’s, probably the end of human civilisation as we know it with tens of millions of humans dead, but the planet will survive. We may not but I suspect that the planet, if it is aware, will consign us to the same rubbish bin as the dinosaurs.

Tamas Calderwood writes: Yesterday’s editorial omitted the following numbers:

  • 3,600,000,000 — the number of years Earth has been warmer than it is today.
  • 1 — number of degrees warmer during the medieval warm period.
  • 0.38 — number of degrees Earth’s temp has increased in the past 31 years.
  • -0.1 — number of degrees the planet has cooled since 2001.
  • 100,000,000,000+ — number of dollars an ETS will cost Australia.
  • 0.00003 — reduction in annual total CO2 emissions resulting from an Australian ETS:
  • 0.0001 — number of degrees Celsius temperatures will be reduced by 2100 if an Australian ETS is “successful”.

Nell Schofield writes: 88 — the number of months left in which to avoid catastrophe.

Gay marriage:

Keith Binns writes: Re. “21 reasons why plagiarism doesn’t matter on national marriage day” (yesterday, item 3). As a Christian who writes the occasional letter to Crikey from that point of view I would like to publicly register my support for gay marriage.

To me it is a justice issue rather than a moral one. Why should one group be discriminated against on the basis of what the best research describes as an accident of birth? How can I deny another human being a similarly secure, loving relationship such as I have with my wife simply on the basis of that?

For those who would proof text I have this to say: Proof texting is a very poor hermeneutical method that no serious biblical scholar uses. It is far too easy to demolish and ridicule.

Yes, Leviticus 18:22 does say “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”, but so is eating prawns and oysters (11:10) and snakes (11:42) and I am still waiting for the call for adulterers to be given the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10). And I’m also sure that you’ll all be happy for your wives to ditch their gold wedding rings (1 Timothy 2:9).

When you use the Bible intelligently, looking first at the historical context of what you are reading, you discover that Jesus is relentlessly inclusive in his dealings with people, choosing to mix, almost systematically, with the most marginalised in society (including an adulterous woman the men were all ready to stone) and treat them with dignity and love.

The overall message is very clear. The way of Jesus is the way of inclusion. Exclusion is not part of his agenda.

Essendon FC:

Peter Wilms writes: Re. “Shepparton pulls together to face up to indigenous disadvantage” (yesterday, item 4). And here I thought that all CEOs of AFL clubs were only interested in making the finals and hopefully winning the grand final. Peter Jackson, Essendon’s CEO, blasted that view to oblivion with his excellent piece on indigenous matters — not footballers per se but more in terms of community inclusiveness and what is needed to make us a better and more credible nation.

While it may have been about the Victorian rural city of Shepparton, it had clearly wider ramifications and Jackson is to be congratulated for articulating in such a cogent manner the position of indigenous Australians. I am proud to be a lifelong Bombers supporter and, frankly, I don’t give a toss if they make the finals or not. I am just happy to know that they have done and will continue to do so much to encourage the development of indigenous talent and through that process hopefully enrich the lives of all Australians.

Go Bombers!

Crikey writes: The original headline, “The silent shame of Shepparton’s black underbelly,” was not Peter Jackson’s, it was made in house. We have now amended it to read: “Shepparton pulls together to face up to indigenous advantage” which we think more accurately reflects the opinion of the writer.

Bug-free computer software:

Angus Sharpe writes: Re. “Bug-free computer software: Australia paves the way” (yesterday, item 15). Deep breath. Now I’m all for any system or methodology that can reduce bugs in software, but Stilgherrian says that “Programmers can build software on top of [this new software] and be certain that it’ll function correctly.” Wrong. Making the title of the story “Bug-free computer software” wrong. And fortunately, that’s not what the authors of the software actually claim. They claim that the software “is free of a large class of errors” (presumably buffer overflows etc.).

Why is this important? It’s the difference between saying that you cannot pick a door lock with tool XYZ, or saying that a door lock is perfect, and un-pickable, ever (Even with tools that haven’t been invented yet. Even when attached to glass doors.)

The first is possible, the second never true.

Learning from the Holocaust:

Simon Wilkins writes: As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I find Jeff Ash’s use (yesterday, comments) of quotation marks (among other things) offensive. Maybe instead of wondering about the “hounding of ‘war criminals'”, Jeff Ash could just visit the website of the Wiesenthal centre. Until then, his comment misses the fact that the Wiesenthal centre’s current remit includes education, tolerance and future holocaust prevention … not development of exploding Zimmer frames (or whatever he, or Hollywood, imagines).

I also feel that Guy Rundle’s original post merely offered the truism that victims of genocide deserve our compassion. However given that many Holocaust victims are no longer with us, or are of a similar age to their tormentors, I wonder whether Rundle hasn’t also missed the point that the Holocaust’s true lesson, and the one we struggle to learn, is that very bad things can happen when people are indifferent, and that so-called “culture and civilisation” is no protection against racism, intolerance and (attempted) genocide.

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Peter Fray

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