Comment

Letters to the Editor

Different concept of God

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Father Robert Willson (Letters, February 21) is the latest in a long list of Christians who have misconstrued certain statements by Albert Einstein on "God" and religion in an attempt to establish that here was a preeminent scientist who believed in God.

Einstein sometimes used religious metaphors in describing what he once referred to as the "magnificent structure" of nature. However, when he referred to "God" it involved a concept that was rather different to that of Willson's God. He repudiated the idea of a God who was interested in human affairs, and indeed regarded the Judeo-Christian concept of God as "naive" and one "which I cannot take seriously".

Einstein's position on God and religion was put in a letter he wrote in 1954: "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

Justin McCarthy, Chapman

I wish Father Robert Willson would do his god-bothering in private. Last year, he declared gravely the discovery of the "god particle" – more correctly, the Higgs boson – wasn't proof of the existence of god. As if! Now he's invoked Einstein's ghost ("The universe is rational", Letters, February 21) to declare that, for believers in God, the discovery of gravitational waves "only confirms that this universe is orderly and rational".

So, for non-believers, it's disorderly and irrational? What is unquestionably irrational is belief in a deity and Willson's pretence that religious belief is somehow akin to knowledge.

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To be fair, Willson confesses to having no formal scientific training. Can I say, with unkindness born of exasperation, that it shows.

Instead of concluding this qualifies and entitles him to link his "knowledge" to his beliefs, he should confine his essays to the latter, preferably, in his church's newsletter.

Bronis Dudek, Calwell

Father Robert Willson (Letters, February 21) believes that God, presumably the Christian one, created the universe, and that "we may discover and understand the divine laws that govern it". However, there are thousands of other candidates for the creator of the universe. The first step in the scientific investigation of the problem would be to predict how the observable properties of the universe would differ according to which god, or variant of a god, created it.

For example, we can easily reject the Judeo/Christian God, as the universe created by that variant is only a few thousand years old.

Mike Dallwitz, Giralang

Home for 19m refugees?

Once again the bleeding hearts are asking that we "give refugees a home" (Letters, February 21) but it would be nice if just for once these generous bodies would fill in some of the detail. The UN tells us that by the end of 2014 there were more than 19 million refugees worldwide – are they all to be equally welcome? If not, how many and what selection criteria?

When the agreed number has arrived, how do they propose to deal with any additional refugees? How are all these refugees going to be supported without us going even more into unsustainable debt?

Give me the answer to these questions and I'll gladly join you on your next protest march.

Roger Dace, Reid

Heating costs are online

Dr Murray Coleman was right to criticise the ACT government for failing to give any advice to home buyers about the "actual cost" of heating and cooling the homes that they are considering ("Building code a blunt instrument", Canberra Times, February 14).

The government ensures we know each home's relative merits (more EER stars means lower costs) but not the dollar impact for the bill-paying occupants.

But the Master Builders have been providing that information since 2011 through their "Green Living" consumer advice feature article on Sustainability (mba.org.au/consumer-advice/feature-articles/). Through it, consumers and builders can look up the indicative heating and cooling costs of high and low performing homes with a ready reckoner that responds to house size and EER and the star rating of the appliances and even the insulating quality of the ductwork. It gets updated every July in line with ActewAGL's published consumer tariffs for gas and electricity. I don't know what more a consumer would want.

Trevor Lee, director (buildings) of Exemplary Energy Partners, Kingston

Facts are out there

Albert M. White ( Letters, February 21) delivers a scathing assessment of the mining industry, its deluded sense of entitlement, and its disproportionately influential relationship with government. I'm sure he omitted as much again for the sake of brevity. Just how the miners were able to convince the electorate that forcing them pay a modest amount of tax for the privilege of extracting one-off resources is testament to the inability of the average voter to assess information and reach rational conclusions. Gambling reform and the clubs industry is another example. Our entire system of government isn't broken, just the part that gives vast swathes of our population, who get their news from The Daily Telegraph and A Current Affair and their opinions from 2GB, who think "Stop the Boats" is a viable immigration policy, or who don't understand the physical relationship between CO2 and temperature and either won't accept that they don't or defer to people representing well-funded vested interests for guidance, an equal say at the polling booth.

James Allan, Narrabundah

Ignorance no defence

"Workers" were witnessed labouring under "slave-like conditions" at North Korea's Taedonggang Clothing Factory, making garments which would return millions to Australia's surfwear giant, and bearing a "made in China" logo (Rip Curl used "slave labour" in North Korea, Sunday Canberra Times, February 21).

Rip Curl trades internationally so should have been aware of the source of their products. Ignorance is no defence.

Australia fell into line to embrace a UN Security Council resolution in 2006 that imposed trade sanctioning on North Korea; one specific paragraph of which bans luxury imports, which, doubtless would encompass surfwear. Unfortunately sanctions are blunt weapons.

The collapse in Bangladesh of Rana Plaza in April 2013 made tragic headlines, bringing the horror of Dickensian, slave-like, garment industry production methods into global living rooms, when 1135 died.

However amnesia, aided by consumer blandishments, and distance, salves consciences, and nothing changes. Who cares? Obviously no one!

Albert M. White, Queanbeyan

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