November 21st 2015

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Gender variety has no basis in science

CANBERRA OBSERVED PM's political capital may be tax-reform casualty

EDITORIAL IPCC and the media: Last Tango in Paris

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Poland's election sends shock waves through EU

THE ELECTRONICS REVOLUTION Create infrastructure to bridge coming robo gap

LIFE ISSUES Keeping a straight face with Andrew Denton on euthanasia

LIFE ISSUES With Nitschke out of death industry, Exit must go next

EUROPEAN AFFAIRS Euro banks were lending like there's no tomorrow

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Polls show conservative resurgence at grassroots

RELIGION IN RUSSIA State control, Slavophiles prepare way for apostasy

CULTURE Mankind needs to work; and mankind needs work

PUBLIC POLICY Drug substitutes used as treatment are lethal

CINEMA The man who stands back up: Bridge of Spies

BOOK REVIEW We're getting better all the time


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News Weekly, November 21, 2015

Climate unknowns


From many years in finance, I learned to judge retirement projections based on set calculations with some suspicion. Advisers were discouraged from giving out these presentations about 25 years ago.

The reason was that not all circumstances could be included or covered in forward predictions and could even lead to future claims of dishonesty. The chances of apples being compared to oranges were real.

Similarly, when people write about climate change and supply calculations predicting alarming times ahead, they are perhaps sincere, but their conclusions are not necessarily convincing.

As much as we would like to see the world of science to be scrupulously honest, it is not a perfect world. How do we know their assumptions for calculations are correct?

For some years now there have been strong disagreements among scientists on calculation methods employed in relation to climate change. Terms like “manipulation” and “manufacturing of assumptions” have been used.

Big governments, big business, finance operators and banks favour the climate alarm philosophy. As we will be paying for it, should we trust the judgement of these institutions?

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.


More bad news on marijuana


Your October 24 issue contains an article and a book review of marijuana. The review correctly points out the different cannabinoids and methods of administration, whereas the article decrying the Victorian trials, which are to be of a Canadian-produced oil not containing the mood-altering and paranoia-inducing delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol, omits this detail.

The article also concentrates on the United States, where legalisation of smoking marijuana for medical purposes has led to full legalisation in four states. Neither doctors nor government want smoking it legalised or trialed.

The oil being trialed in Victoria, while illegal, is used with success via special access for a small number of difficult to control epileptics. No trial has proved it is superior in palliative care to narcotics, benzodiazepines etc.

Both articles omit the increasing wave of relatively young severe emphysema cases from smoking marijuana since the early teens. This is a health disaster. So the medical profession’s emphasis is, don’t smoke anything.

The oil without the hallucinogenic tetrahydrocannabinol has been proved to help a small number of very difficult to control epileptics. And if governments wish to trial this oil or similar products for swallowing only, why not?

The marijuana lobby is not happy with this. They want to smoke it because it is cheaper and you need a lot less than if you make butter or cookies.

A harm-minimisation approach might be to continue the ban on smoking it, but for certified chronic-pain patients allow them to import the oil or make cookies for personal use, but increase the penalties for sharing or selling it.

Dr Philip Dawson,
George Town, Tas.


Annulments clarified


I refer to the article “Easy annulments pose grave risks to the family”, published in the September 26 edition of News Weekly.

The following, taken from Fr John Flader’s column “Question time” in the September 20 edition of Sydney’s Catholic Weekly, might provide context and perspective to the reform. Fr Flader, by no means a liberal, makes the following points:

•  That the reform is in response to a “request from the majority of the bishops in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops” of October 2014 to speed up the annulment process and make it “more accessible”.

•  On the commission appointed to “draft new norms” were some of the Churches “best canonists”, including “the Dean of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s tribunal which handles marriage cases”.

•  According to Pope Francis, in his announcement of the new norms, “the supreme norm of the salvation of souls and the principle of the indissolubility of marriage remain intact in the new regulations”.

•  “Among the protections surrounding the marriage bond, as in the past, is the figure of the defender of the bond, who is to present all the possible arguments in favour of the validity of the marriage.”

•  What is new in the process is the “provision that there need be only one judgement of nullity, unlike in the former process, where the declaration of nullity by the first tribunal had to be confirmed by a second appeals tribunal”.

•  The declaration of nullity can still be appealed “where one of the partners in the marriage, or the promoter of justice or defender of the bond is not satisfied”.

•  The new regulations also allow for a shorter process “when the nullity of the marriage is supported by particularly strong arguments”. In such cases the diocesan bishop shall be the judge.

•  “The shorter process can be used only when both partners in the marriage, or only one of them with the consent of the other, request the judgement of possible nullity … and there are circumstances which do not require a more thorough investigation and which render the nullity obvious.”

•  If the bishop cannot reach “moral certainty of the nullity” of the marriage, the case reverts to the ordinary process.

Fr Flader concludes that the new process has made annulments “simpler, quicker and more accessible to the faithful” while continuing to protect the sacredness of marriage.

Chris Rule,
Gilmore, ACT

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