E-mail letters, June 4, 2010

Scientific theories
aren’t same as hypotheses

I was pleased that in a recent letter about the petition to District 51 to not teach science in science classes, Kelly Sloan did not make the same exact mistake that the petition did: using the term theory incorrectly.

Sloan merely exchanged this for using the term hypothesis incorrectly. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that incorporates facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses. It is a broad, comprehensive explanation of a large body of information. Climate change theory is an example, as is germ theory. Theories explain and incorporate facts and laws.

A hypothesis is a testable statement that can be used to build more complex inferences and explanations (theories). It is not a guess. Scientists have used many hypothesis tests to develop climate change theory. Why don’t theories become laws? Laws describe, often
mathematically, whereas theories explain. Laws are part of theories. The laws of thermodynamics, like conservation of energy, are used within climate change theory, and then the theory is used to explain why events occur.

In presenting the “other side” in a science class, a competing theory is necessary. What is another explanation for the changing climate? Sun spots? No. The IPCC report from 2007 addressed changes in incoming solar radiation that occurs naturally. Analyses showed that while changes in solar activity leads to some increases in temperature, it is miniscule compared to other causes — only about 7 percent of the amount of warming compared to that expected from increases in carbon dioxide, only one of the greenhouse gases.

It is curious that the highest-profile scientists involved as the nay-sayers in this “debate” are the same people who played this role in the “debate” about smoking and lung cancer, about ozone and CFCs and other controversies. How is it that these same people are expert in all of these fields? They are using the same tactics that worked for a time in the other
“debates” (sowing doubt about the science), but in the end were discredited. Think how many millions of people died from smoking while that “debate” continued.
Tamera Minnick
Grand Junction

Obama adviser refuses
to see roots of terrorism

White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan has said hat our enemy is not “terrorism,” because terrorism is a “tactic,” and not terror, because terror is a “state of mind.”  Then he added: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.”

Brennan argues that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term jihad, because it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”  He went on to say “Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism — that the United States is somehow at war against Islam.”

OK, so just who is “murdering innocent men, women and children?”  According to Brennan, this is being done by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.”  Could these be, perhaps, “radical” Islamists? But that uses a religious term and we are not allowed to be “religious.”

I guess Brennan’s title needs revision.  He is now Homeland Security and Counter-Tactic Adviser.

Where does this administration find these PC dolts, anyway?
Creighton Bricker
Grand Junction

Hooray for Rose Pugliese!

You have all the left-wing commentators for The Daily Sentinel going crazy defending their position of why global warming should continue to be taught in our publicly funded schools. Of course, it’s not significant that Rose lost the school board election last year, but they all bring it up anyway.

You can ignore the 700 free-thinking individuals who signed the global warming petition and the 600 who signed the other petition regarding partisan politics being taught in our schools and just attack Rose. Let’s not mention that Al Gore, General Electric, our own federal government and many more have billions to gain in the global warming theory being true.

All us “extreme right wing of the Republican party” people (I prefer “concerned Americans,” actually) have good reason to mistrust this theory since politics are involved on both sides of the issue and Rose brought this to the attention of the School Board for good reason.

Laura Kindregan from Balanced Education for Everyone proposed that if global warming continues to be taught in our schools, then why not teach the opposing view and suggested
the film “Not Evil, Just Wrong” so our students can make up their own minds.

Are you afraid that if this is allowed our young people may not wish to be part of the “progressive collective”? The School District already shows “An Inconvenient Truth” to Mesa County students. Be fair and tell both sides of this story.

I don’t believe Rose was aware of these issues until she became an advocate for conservative-minded students in Mesa County through the Young Republicans. Harassment, name-calling, ridicule and attacks are more the style of those I see commenting on this subject. What ever happened to a little human kindness, consideration and open-mindedness? Keep up the good work, Rose. They can’t stop talking about you.
Karen Kulp
Grand Junction

Ashcraft showed students
the joys of reading

The students and I would like to thank Richie Ashcraft for coming out to Nisley Elementary School to cover our play, “The Surfer Girls.” It is refreshing to know that The Daily Sentinel is still committed to serving the community and sees the value of creativity in education.

Her coverage helped introduce my students to the world of journalism and ,through the process of interviewing the students, she encouraged a love of reading.

As the kids of Room 3 would say, “Cowabunga dudette!” Thanks
Mrs. Wilson-Harmon
and the students of Room 3
Nisley Elementary School
Grand Junction



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