Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 2, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Oil, blood will keep on flowing in Sudan
I see where Talisman Oil is now seriously considering selling its stake in the Sudanese oil projects. Analysts have said that Talisman could get anywhere from one billion to one and a half billion dollars for its share. That's not pocket money.
And they would gain more. Because of the political outcry against Talisman, their share price has taken a beating, so selling these assets would likely bring up their share price.
The Sudan oil fields represent less than 10 per cent of Talisman's total assets so this will be no great loss for Talisman.
The likely buyer of Talisman's Sudan assets will be one of its partners in the consortium such as the Chinese government oil company.
What that means for the remaining partners is that Talisman which had held a 25 per cent share in the project will be out of the way and there will no longer be any interference from Western countries and human rights advocates.
So, to all those who have campaigned so successfully to get Talisman out of Sudan, quickly buy your shares in the company before the price goes up, and then weep for Sudan where both oil and blood will still flow freely.
Plagiarism a heinous crime
Having enjoyed and highly recommended Professor Irving Hexham's Christian Traveler's Guide, I was amused by his rejoinder defending his characterization of Martin Heidegger as a plagiarist and now a "thug."
I asked for documentation and he provided sources. Unfortunately, the sources do not deal with the key question of "plagiarism" which in ordinary scholarly writing is a heinous crime. Thugs are vicious criminals or ruffians.
There is a distinction between "creative appropriation of ideas" without acknowledgment (a long philosophical habit since Descartes), and "plagiarism" which is the lifting of passages and ideas without acknowledgment. A modern university student can be congratulated for creatively appropriating ideas and turfed out for plagiarism.
If Heidegger plagiarized, in the modern vicious sense, then I ask for concrete evidence. Ideas have a common currency and do not belong to anyone in the sense that they are personal property.
There are no intellectual Napsters stealing ideas on the model of CDs despite the fact that some authors would like to guard jealously their ideas as if they are possessions in a concrete and reified world of ideas, some of which "are mine." Admittedly, however, it is more admirable and helpful to readers when philosophers and academics generally credit sources.
Characterizing Heidegger as a "thug" is not appropriate, although I abhor equally his early and later flirtation with Naziism, his obscurantism and his unwillingness to acknowledge the horror of the Holocaust.
In spite of these monumental defects and more, he has been a giant in German thought, if a deeply flawed giant. His flaws in spirit and thought need to be recognized and identified and not pilloried.
His influence on post-modernism has been enormous. As with Kant, however, in the 19th and 20th centuries, he has to be faced in the 20th and 21st centuries if we are to understand modern European philosophy.
I am afraid that calling him a "thug" will give licence to ignore him to those who would not take him seriously. That ignorance would be a serious and even tragic mistake.
Saint Mary's College
Abortion soft sell doesn't work
I'm sorry to say I'm going to have to disagree with Lawrence Bonin and his soft-sell approach to the mass murder of Canadian babies by abortion (WCR, Letters, June 18).
The pamphlet that got me into the pro-life movement in the 1970s in the first place were the gory pictures of aborted babies.
Seeing actual, real aborted babies' bodies again in Washington, D.C., in 1986 or 1987 after my friend and colleague at the time John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe pulled them out of the dumpster of a busy abortion mill has convinced me abortion is murder.
Some have said, "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar." On the other hand, holy mother Church down through her 20 centuries of at times tumultuous events has also had her St. Pauls who used plenty of vim and vinegar to get their messages across if we were to be entirely honest.
If Bonin wants to use his warm fuzzy approach, fine, but pass me the vinegar - and we'll let the chips fall where they may.
I might add the pamphlets that seem to be most popular with passersby at the numerous pro-life tables I have personally manned at the university and Grant MacEwan College have been the gory pamphlets.
People are drawn like magnets to the truth, so let us show the truth.
Kudos for article on students
I would like to offer my commendations to the WCR for the article "Edmonton Catholic Schools honours 25 outstanding students" (WCR, June 25). Kudos to your reporter for his pithy profiles and great photography.
It is encouraging to see the positive attributes of young people highlighted in such a public way. As one of the 25, I am proud not only to have my own name in your paper but am pleased to be among such a gifted group of peers.
I would like to clarify one misperception. My work with cancer patients is not under the auspices of the Cross Cancer Clinic. However, the people with whom I journey are or have been patients at the Cross.