I do wish you would decide whether readers' letters are "premium" or not, since some days they are and others not. As a poor pensioner who can't afford to pay, I never know if I'll be able to read them or not.
However, in reply to Mr Tripe, if God wants me to know him, why doesn't he speak to me directly? Then I would "know" him and belief would be unnecessary.
The really odd things about people who know and believe in God are, first, their confusion between knowing and believing and, second, their inability to accept that someone has an absolute right not to share their belief.
Strange to say, some of us are happy enough without adding the problems of God and theodicy to our more pressing daily concerns. Let him believe what he chooses, but let him allow us the same freedom.
If FR Halpin (August 2019) had merely misconstrued my own remarks, I would not have felt the need to respond, as readers here have the luxury and licence to their opinions with no need for challenge by me. But in his claim that Professor Paul Yakovlev, my mentor and a world-renowned neuro-anatomist and neurologist, said, "Remember, Kuten, everything is quantitative", Halpin made such an egregious mis-statement of the great man's views as to be a slur on his memory.
In fact, as I wrote, Dr Yakovlev was preparing me for a visit to the patients of the Wrentham State School, a quasi-hospital for children with severe neurological deficits, some so severe as to appear like monstrosities or to be virtually anencephalic (Zika-like).
What Yakovlev said was: "Remember, Kuten, that the difference between themselves and ourselves, it is quantitative, never qualitative."
This concept, ultimately humane and scientifically accurate, has never left me, and was given me as a great gift from a man with a breadth of knowledge and wisdom.
FR Halpin's misuse of part of the statement to suit his purposes and attribute an absolute materialist standard for discourse and knowledge is rejected as almost the exact opposite of Yakovlev's dictum.
If I were to grant Halpin the benefit of the doubt as to motive, that is, to create simple mischief, I'd remind him of another quote, this one from Churchill: "English is the common language that divides us", regarding the Americans and the Britons.
Halpin seems to have missed the point of my op-ed. Trust is an essential part of democracy . Our local MPs Hipango and McKelvie have exhibited distrust of their own constituencies. And, in slipping from the bounds of science by her fearmongering without fact to oppose the EOLC bill, Dr Baddock and the NZMA have become advocates for a personal cultural view, thereby eroding trust in doctors, in medicine and ultimately in democracy.
If Halpin has trouble apprehending the concept of "trust" because it is not materially perceptible, let him try a few more: Faith, hope and charity.
Lead by example
Congratulations to Rob Rattenbury on his considered column on making little difference (Global warming, Chronicle, Saturday, August 31).
My point exactly. There is so little that we can actually achieve until such time as the huge emitters (China, India, USA, Australia etc.) sign up to some sort of plan. There is no sign of that, and probably little hope of any serious attempts. The USA is largely in denial,
Australia is opening a huge new coal mine to supply India for 100 years, and China is opening new coal-fired electricity plants almost daily. I have heard a suggestion that the US military alone uses some 5 per cent of total world oil production, and that's clearly not likely to change soon.
In a developing world the use of cement is also not likely to diminish. Making cement generates almost four times more CO2 than all the jet flights in the air daily. Cutting off our noses to spite our faces was never a great idea.
Neither will little old NZ (let alone Whanganui) gain any benefit from reducing our minuscule CO2 output till the world leads the way.
Only then we can follow quickly.
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