Letters for January 27, 2005

Teach religious thought
Re “Is Darwin Dead?” (RN&R, Cover story, Jan. 13):

Creationism, intelligent design, Darwinism, evolution and teaching science to kids: When you politicize, you trivialize. Even young people know this.

How about this, folks:

1. Present the data.

2. Discuss hypothesis and null hypothesis.

3. Present data that fails to support the hypothesis under discussion.

4. Repeat step 2.

5. When students are mature and comfortable enough to ask belief-based questions, introduce them to the idea of epistemology.

6. Both “sides” in this game get off their high dudgeon.

Just a thought.

Jeannette McHugh
via e-mail

The two-faced Samaritan
Re “The United States isn’t stingy,” (RN&R, Right Hook, Jan. 13):

I’ve seen a lot of letters directed towards Mike Lafferty. Not a lot of people respect his conservative point of view. While I’m more of a liberal, I try not to take offense to his columns because he has every right to share. And, in this case, I actually agree with him. I don’t think America is very stingy, although we must admit that the initial $15 million offer of aid was pretty chintzy. However, his point in the beginning of the article, which seemed to have little to do with the actual point of the story, was hard to shrug off. If your car has a “Bush sucks” sticker, Lafferty will not extend his help if you’re stuck in a snowbank. This kind of thinking is beyond hypocritical. I just hope Lafferty remembers his own indecency when someone passes him by for offending their beliefs when he most need assistance. You never know, sometimes those big SUVs flip over.

Morgan Vancil
via e-mail

Intriguing reviews
It has been lately a pleasure for me to follow up on Kris Vagner’s art reviews.

Carefully crafted, they motivate [readers] to look into the heart of the matter and visit the mentioned exhibit.

The background information answers a lot of questions one might have before and after the show.

The reviewer observes and lets the artist and the work speak: a sensible approach which leaves the door open for everybody’s own interpretation. I am looking forward for more good reviews.

Hanna R. Porter

Who created atheists?
Re “Is Darwin Dead?” (RN&R, Cover story, Jan. 13):

As a baby, I was baptized a Catholic; as a teen and young adult I was a Jehovah’s Witness; now I’m an atheist. Science (evolution) plays a major role in mankind’s moving forward to make the world a better place, e.g., preventing and conquering disease, developing disease- and insect-resistant food sources, etc. Also, it always surprises me that belief in God is considered a prerequisite for leading a moral life. I know many honest and hardworking people who don’t believe in God.

Marion Fisher
via e-mail

Watch this failed theory
Re “Is Darwin Dead?” (RN&R, Cover story, Jan. 13):

Proponents of “intelligent design” are fond of the watch metaphor. The watch (Earth’s complex web of life) could not result from chance; therefore, the watch must have had a maker. The fallacy of this argument is one of levels: the watch requires a watchmaker, who requires a watchmaker maker, who requires a watchmaker maker maker, and so on.

Proponents of intelligent design also claim to offer a scientific alternative to the theory of evolution. The scientific method requires that any viable scientific theory produce conclusions or predictions that can be tested by observation or experiment. If intelligent-design theorists can compete on this level with the theory of evolution, then they will be lauded for bridging the gulf between science and religious faith. If not, intelligent design will be relegated to the scrap heap of failed theories.

Peter Castro
Truckee, Calif.

Stupid human tics
Re “Is Darwin Dead?” (RN&R, Cover story, Jan. 13):

How can UNR professor David Zeh say, “I don’t call that intelligent design,” when he speaks of the human genome? That same genome allows him to make the claim that the genome isn’t intelligently designed! How can he trust his brain to tell him when something isn’t designed well, when that very brain is claimed to be unintelligently designed?

Does Zeh admit he’s an intelligent person? Probably. Yet his genome is unintelligently designed? Talk about a contradiction!

April Pedersen