Printed letters, Jan. 7, 2010

Teaching evolution is

critical to our future

In a recent letter to the editor, Mike Nevins railed against The Daily Sentinel for publishing an article about atheists on the Faith page. I commend the Sentinel for recognizing there are many different views about Christmas time.

Mr. Nevins goes on to rail against removing religious displays from government property, wants to abolish the teaching of evolution in schools and wants a federal school safety official fired. Mr. Nevins is entitled to his opinions. But religious displays belong on private property, not on public property. That church-state issue has been addressed by the courts.

Teaching evolution in schools is far more important. Few people question the atomic theory of matter, the theory of gravity, the heliocentric theory of the solar system, the germ theory of disease, the theory of relativity and many other scientific theories. All of these and the theory of evolution have been tested and verified many times. Scientists regard them as factual. Certainly, some theories have been modified.

Evolution is a core component of all life sciences, biology, botany, anthropology, microbiology and medical research. The evidence supporting evolution is overwhelming.

Science will play an essential role in determining the future of human civilization. Our school systems are failing to provide children with a good education. We need to strengthen, not weaken, the teaching of sciences so that future generations of American scientists will remain in the forefront of scientific research.

In the early 1800s, Luddites destroyed machinery they believed would end the need for their labor.  The scientific Luddites of today try to destroy proven scientific concepts because such concepts challenge their views based on old myths that tried to explain matters people did not understand. Religion should concern itself with spiritual matters, not try to overturn scientific reality.


Boosterism for industry not needed on energy

The final story in The Daily Sentinel’s series “Energy Alley” features the desperate pleading of a Rand Corporation analyst that we all stop bickering and start backing serious, full-on oil shale, nuclear and coal production. According to this news article, the government should truly reward unknown oil shale technology, universities must start ensuring the development of oil shale, lack of safe disposal sites is no problem for the nuclear industry and coal is a clean energy of the future.

Can anybody else here in western Colorado think of any other possible solutions?

Government subsidies could give a promising boost to tapping into the solid fact of our unlimited renewable energy resources. New energy efficiency standards or conservation measures might be helpful.

We have learned that protecting our landscapes and watersheds actually provides valuable riches for generations. Maybe we could encourage a shift away from reliance on fuels of previous centuries.

Those answers might not sound viable if all we ever read in the Sentinel paper is tired, old-industry boosterism. A fossil journalist who can’t even accept human-caused global warming has no business trying to lead us to his own faulty conclusions.

We should go wherever a balanced review takes us. Unfortunately, the Sentinel did not provide that here.



Get ready for invasive searches at our airports

During “The Troubles” in Ulster, Ireland (the nine Brtitish-run counties in the north of the county), my parents and I had airline tickets to the Irish Republic (the rest of Ireland). At the JFK airport in New York, my parents and I were separated at the security checkpoint. My father and I got to the boarding area and my mother did not appear. We boarded and waited and waited for my mother. Finally, she stumbled down the aisle, crying.

She, an Irish priest and a female hippie wearing long skirts and a backpack, were all held back and stripped searched. Because of “The Troubles,” I could understand the priest and the hippie possibly being searched for weapons, but my 72-year-old mother? Nothing on their bodies was found, so the held-up plane was finally able to take off.

My mother, a very shy woman, was devastated and cried all the way to Ireland. If the airport security checkpoints could do this 37 years ago, they may start up again, since our security detectors are clearly not secure. What a terrible thought!



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