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Letters to the Editor

Pollies' tight grip

   The rule is, no matter how constrained national finances may be, avaricious politicians will vigorously resist anyone, regardless of who, prising them from their wallow in, and grip on, the tax-payer-provided bottomless trough ("Pollies to keep perks under post-choppergate entitlements plan", Sunday CT, March 13, p4).

Albert M. White, Queanbeyan

Other views matter

Your customarily credulist Christian correspondent, Robert Willson (Letters, March 12) seems to believe (without evidence) that atheists must share his own view of atheism.

My own views are informed by rational thought and evidence; evidence that is inconsistent with Mr Willson's professed faith.

Those views differ markedly from those that Mr Willson catalogues – other, perhaps, than questioning the efficacy of the hypocritical Parliamentary use of prayer.

None require reliance on an invisible friend or the pre-medieval musings of ancient authors who exploited superstition and ignorance to underpin political power.

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Mr Willson may believe whatever he wants, even despite evidence to the contrary. But he should not purport to characterise the basis of others' views, especially not in terms of his own evidence-free, scientifically improbable, faith.

Mike Hutchinson, Reid

How arrogant of Father Robert Willson to believe that firstly, he gets to define what atheism is, and secondly, he can get away with disingenuously setting up straw men to knock down rather than presenting an argument.

Atheists are members of a broad church that includes people who have many different ideas about belief. Many of them are ethical humanists who do know wrong from right, contrary to what Mr  Willson thinks.

I don't think Mr Willson would be pleased if I claimed that the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in the US, the "Christian" folks who cheer the death of American soldiers, is the perfect example of "Christian" behaviour. They certainly claim to have all the answers.

 Are they the "wrong" kind of Christians and Mr  Willson's mob are the "right" kind?

Mr  Willson is free to believe and worship as he wishes; I am free to define my own beliefs as I see fit.

Steve Ellis, Hackett 

Robert Willson (Letters, March 13) makes a heart-felt statement opposing what he calls the "beliefs" of atheists.  It's Mr Willson's version of the religionists' latest tactic following the failure of "creation science".

 They are now trying to side-step the fact that rational atheists look, not to any sort of "belief", but to the constantly growing evidence provided by science (Mr Willson incidentally, has back-tracked after being challenged over Einstein's supposed "faith").

He  cleverly employs sophistry in providing "examples" of how atheists have "beliefs".

 Unfortunately, he slips from literary agility to farce when he says, "[atheists] reject the Lord's Prayer as irrelevant, yet it is still used ... in our Federal Parliament". Some endorsement!

Mr Willson is clearly a "man of faith" – and good luck to him. Unfortunately, he doesn't explain how his particular religion is the "right" one and all others are wrong – including intra-faith differences. 

Indeed, how can the theists be so sure the polytheism of the Romans and Greeks was mere fancy?  Science-based logic and rationality suggests they all lack credibility.

Mr Willson talks about not being able to prove a negative – but he then diminishes his own "belief" rationale by asserting we can't prove a positive either.

 Where there are positives, they are certainly more evident in scientific discoveries than in the contradictory and sometimes cruel teachings of whichever "omnipotent divinity" one happens to follow.

Eric Hunter, Cook

I am much encouraged by Robert Willson's statement that I have more faith than he does (Letters, March 12). Indeed, as an atheist and a Humanist, I do have faith.

 It is faith in the ability of human beings to use their reason and compassion to advance human progress and improve our relationships with each other and care for and relate with all in the natural world. If only all of us, regardless of our belief systems, could commence a productive inter-faith dialogue so that together we could use our reason and common values to hope for, and achieve, a better, more equitable and peaceful world.

Geoffrey Ballard, ACT Humanist Society treasurer

More awareness vital

Hear, hear to the awareness campaign the Rare Cancers Australia organisation pushes ahead with (Sunday CT, March 13, p6).

The lack of funding for these cancers is so disappointing when the outcomes for patients are usually so dire. Lachlan Smith, our gorgeous son with so much potential, courageously battled desmoplastic small round cell tumour from age 18 until it took him at age 25. Losing him was and continues to be totally heart-breaking and completely devastating.

Quietly occurring behind closed doors without fanfare the magnitude of such a loss is perhaps not appreciated by the wider community. Full marks to the Vines!

Janey Wallace, Reid

You can fight back

You may wish to consider printing the following in your letters pages.

Those folk who are concerned about privacy issues surrounding the use of drones (Sunday Focus, March 13) may find it interesting to know that the use of slingshots in the ACT is legal.

Jeff Day, Greenway

Not in the same league

John Passant's description of Australia's offshore and onshore immigration detention centres as "classic examples of concentration camps" (Letters, March 13) is a gross insult to everyone who lived through the Nazi-German occupation of his/her country during the first half of the 1940s and saw relatives, friends and acquaintances being shipped off like cattle to one of many of Hitler's death camps, never to return.

Henk Verhoeven, Beacon Hill, NSW

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