Obituary a fitting tribute
Thanks, Laurel Stowell, for your wonderful
in Saturday's Chronicle. Your entertaining vignettes of a life well lived put me in that plane of his, feeding out the hay with Juliet.
I was out back, gathering my washing from the clothesline, one almost unbearably gorgeous blue-skyed afternoon last month when a flypast of magnificent men in their flying machines appeared overhead in pair formation.
Then the lone aircraft bringing up the rear and peeling away into the blue from the close-knit pairs. I was flooded with sadness and galvanised by curiosity.
I realised I was watching a powerful tribute to a very special person whose funeral must just be ending.
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It brought a tear to my eye and a tingle to my spine. I wished I'd known the flyer whose life and death were being celebrated.
Now, thanks to Laurel and Juliet, I know many of the stories that were unique to this good keen man of our district.
Vale, Jim. I fear we shall never know your like again.
In 2010 Nick Lane wrote Life Ascending, which won the Royal Society Prize for science books. Since then he has been made Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry - in Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College, London.
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In the epilogue of Life Ascending, Lane wrote: "To doubt that life evolved ... is to doubt the convergence of evidence, from molecules to men, from bacteria to planetary systems. It is to doubt the evidence of biology, and its concordance with physics and chemistry, geology and astronomy. It is to doubt the veracity of experiment and observation, to doubt the testing in reality. It is, in the end, to doubt reality."
This is the sum of the arguments of science against the challenges of creationist dogma.
RUSS HAY Whanganui Real science please If Mandy Donne-Lee is going to argue with me about science, it might help if she read some actual science. Textbooks or published papers that have passed peer review, or are written by experts in their field.
She quotes evolutionnews.org. This is the on-line propaganda arm of the Discovery Institute.
From Wikipedia: "The Discovery Institute promotes the pseudoscientific intelligent design movement and is represented by Creative Response Concepts, a public relations firm." It follows that this is not a reliable source of genuine scientific information.
John Carson (October 4) claims that the proposed STV voting system is complicated, but seriously, what could be more simple than marking 1, 2, 3, instead of tick, tick, tick?
The fact is that we have been using STV for District Health Board elections for many years now, and people don't have a problem with it. Not only have we used it for many years in Whanganui but it is also used by many forward-thinking communities around New Zealand and around the world. It is tried, proven, successful voting system, and just about any academic who has studied electoral voting systems would tell you that STV is a far fairer system.
What we don't want is a mayor that is elected with just 39 per cent of the vote. But that is what we get with the old, outdated, First-Past-The-Post voting system. What we do want is a mayor that is preferred by a majority of voters, and that is what STV produces.
Using STV always elects the most preferred candidates/mayor and drastically reduces wasted votes. Sure, it needs a computer to calculate the result, and Mr Carson makes that sound devious and complicated. But so does First-Past-The-Post, and that may also sound devious and complicated to some people. But experts have tested these systems and they are trusted (by all but the conspiracy theorists).
I realise that people do not generally like change, and change for change's sake should be avoided at all cost, but STV is a far superior voting system and should be embraced for council elections if we really want to move into the 21st century. We have moved on from the horse and cart, and it is time to move on from First-Past-The-Post, which is from the same era.
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