The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

JILL Row­botham left out sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant ar­gu­ments, in­clud­ing those in Alis­ter McGrath’s The Twi­light of Athe­ism and David Tacey’s The Spir­i­tu­al­ity Revo­lu­tion . And why does she equate ‘‘ be­lieve’’ with ‘‘ Chris­tian’’? Any­one who takes spir­i­tu­al­ity se­ri­ously knows some supreme spir­i­tual en­ergy ex­ists. But we are not nec­es­sar­ily Chris­tians, Jews or Mus­lims. Salamah Pope Glen For­rest, West­ern Aus­tralia DEN­NIS Glover ( Re­view , Oc­to­ber 20- 21) de­scribes film footage of Henry Kissinger ‘‘ prov­ing the old adage that a diplo­mat is an hon­est man sent forth to lie for his coun­try’’. Glover re­mem­bers ap­po­sitely but in­cor­rectly a state­ment at­trib­uted to Henry Wot­ton, am­bas­sador to Venice in the reign of King James I, that a diplo­mat is an hon­est man sent to lie abroad for the good of his coun­try. Some things don’t change, but with the speed of air travel and com­mu­ni­ca­tion nowa­days, am­bas­sadors are fre­quently pre­empted by their own for­eign min­is­ters. Ewart Shaw North Ter­race, South Aus­tralia JILL Row­botham’s ar­ti­cle ‘‘ The great­est de­bate’’ ( Re­view , Oc­to­ber 20- 21) omit­ted the ar­gu­ment against the su­per­nat­u­ral that Richard Dawkins and I find such a lay­down mis­ere, that the de­bate would not be worth the ef­fort were the world not full of the gullible. Ev­ery­thing changed in 1859, when Charles Dar­win showed that hu­mans and all other an­i­mals are de­rived from ear­lier or­gan­isms by means of nat­u­ral se­lec­tion. The God of spe­cial cre­ation that had mirac­u­lously sur­vived the Coper­ni­can revo­lu­tion was no more. Re­li­gion had its evo­lu­tion­ary uses as a pre- sci­en­tific cul­tural dis­ci­pline, at least for the in- group, but we can­not for­ever live on lies. Or can we? Tim Sa­clier Leopold, Vic­to­ria JILL Row­botham em­pha­sised what athe­ists do not be­lieve but failed to ask what they do be­lieve. This is im­por­tant in that be­lief ex­presses a per­ceived pur­pose for life. Many ac­knowl­edge that ev­ery­thing we have has been de­lib­er­ately cre­ated, and ac­knowl­edge God’s role as that cre­ator. This com­mu­nity be­lieves God has given us a pur­pose for our lives. On the other hand, per­haps cre­ation hap­pened purely by ac­ci­dent. In this case there is no one de­fined pur­pose for life. Ray Acaster Mount Law­ley, WA WHILE I very much ap­pre­ci­ate Frank Moor­house’s dis­cus­sion of my book The Ways of the Bush­walker ( Re­view , Oc­to­ber 20- 21), it con­tained sev­eral er­rors. Moor­house de­scribes Robert Croll as a bush­walk­ing purist who came up with a def­i­ni­tion of bush­walk­ing in 1939. Croll was ac­tu­ally very catholic in his ideas about walk­ing, stat­ing the walker in wood­land ways needs no def­i­ni­tion. The def­i­ni­tion cited was ac­tu­ally the work of the Syd­ney Bush Walk­ers and dates from 1933. Moor­house also writes the Wal­laby Club formed in 1889 and may have been Aus­tralia’s first walk­ing club. The Wal­laby Club formed in 1894 and was pre­ceded in 1889 by YMCA Ram­bling Clubs, but there may well have been ear­lier clubs. Melissa Harper Univer­sity of Queens­land

Charles Dar­win

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