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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 23, 2005
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Intelligent design a credible scientific theory

I strongly disagree with Alan Eder in his column "Creationism repackaged." Intelligent design is no more an issue of faith than evolution. Both theories start with an unproveable faith premise - intelligent design that an intelligent designer established life, and evolution that no one established life. However, intelligent design actually sticks to proven facts in its analysis of the facts, rather than supporting its arguments by pointing to unfound fossil evidence as Darwin and most evolutionists do today (an act of faith, if you ask me).

Further, Mr. Eder is incorrect in asserting that intelligent design is nothing more than saying, "God did it." It is a scientific discipline that is gaining more and more credibility as time progresses and in doing so is discrediting the anachronistic and generally unscientific theory of evolution. Because evolution is prevalent in today's institutions of higher learning, any competing idea necessarily must address the claims of that failed theory. If intelligent design did not do so, it would be accused of disregarding already established "facts" and would therefore be deemed irrelevant.

Finally, Mr. Eder has some factual errors that should be addressed. There has yet to be any "tangible, compelling evidence" for evolution, just conjecture and speculation. Evolution is as unsubstantiated as claims of French military prowess. Also, the Scopes Monkey Trial did not legalize evolution in public schools, but rather, the court found that Scopes was guilty for teaching it. This was overturned in the Tennessee Supreme Court not because of the merits of the case, but because the fine given to Scopes was deemed too high. It's nice to see Wildcat columnists continue their tradition of fallacious arguments and sloppy fact checking. It wouldn't be the same Wildcat without it.

Silas Montgomery
Judaic studies senior

Club sports do get university assistance

I enjoyed seeing the coverage of the Arizona men's soccer club in the Wildcat ("Digging deep for work and play") as well as the other articles on the various sport clubs on campus that have been featured this fall. These club athletes work very hard both on and off the field to compete for the university and deserve all the recognition they deserve.

However, I would like to point out some incorrect information in the article. First, the team does not lack official university recognition. They are recognized as a university club through the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership as well as the department of campus recreation. This recognition is what allows them the use of the university name as well as many other services.

It is not because of Title IX that they are not part of the Intercollegiate Athletic Department. Title IX seems easy as a reason to throw out there, but there's more to it than that. I will say that while we have an intercollegiate women's soccer team, we also have a women's soccer club as well as women's club volleyball. So even if we had an intercollegiate men's soccer team my guess would be that we would still have a club team.

Third, the team is not its only funding source. The team received $2,750 last year from student fees that all students pay to campus recreation. The Sport Club Program receives $45,000 to allocate out to about 25 clubs that request funding every year. The team typically uses its funding to pay their fee for the national tournament and assist in travel.

Nobody wants to champion the cause of the sport club athletes on this campus more than I do, but let's get the correct information out there.

Mary O'Mahoney
assistant director
Sport Clubs and Family Programs

Student partiers should respect neighbors

Reading Ryan Johnson's column ("A vote for Dunbar is a vote against students") on the struggles of UA students in local neighborhoods sent my memory back to North Park Avenue.

It strikes me that Johnson's take on the students vs. families standoff in Jefferson Park is short sighted at best. Of course, that's because I'm old and crabby now, but I've also seen how neighborhoods are harmed by irresponsible behavior on the part of students and absentee landlords, who often care little for quality-of-life concerns in those neighborhoods. It's called blight. It should be obvious that the people owning homes and living in such areas are the only ones who have a genuine long-term interest in the community.

For students, a good way to think of the issue might be: Would this situation (hard-partying students vs. local families) be good for my parents' neighborhood? If your answer is no, you're a little older and wiser. If your answer is yes, be sure to have a designated driver, and don't throw up in your neighbor's front yard.

Tom Gelsinon
Mexican American Studies and Research Center

No scientific basis for intelligent design

With the recent rise in the public debate over intelligent design and evolutionism, I'd like to offer my opinion on how intelligent design is at least irrelevant, and at most reduces to evolutionism.

First, complexity. Saying something is "too complex" is like saying something is "too hot" - it's a matter of perspective, not fact. There is no absolute complexity scale.

Second, the omnipotent and intelligent creator. The creator either follows rules when making decisions or acts randomly. In the former case, the universe lays open to the "scientific method" - it is just a game with a set of specific rules. The latter case offers two more possibilities. One, we just don't bother, because at any point one can turn into a potted plant. Two, when lots of random events are put together, they form a statistical distribution which, to some accuracy, can be approximated with a fixed law, and we're back to the case of the creator following rules, albeit with some uncertainty.

DNA of a species will vary slightly with each replication. Some changes make the species more likely to survive in its environment, some less. Pretty straightforward. How do these changes come about? To science, that's irrelevant. It could be dumb chance, could be some intelligent power. The creator cannot be described with an equation, but a roll of a billion dice can. This billion-dice model appears to make correct predictions, while the creator model leaves you with nothing. Survival of the fittest model.

I'd like to conclude with a couple things. Giving creationism scientific credence is basically throwing your hands in the air and saying, "This is too hard, I'm going home." Right or wrong, this is the boring choice. On the other hand, be it Buddha or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, science does not preclude the existence of God.

Boris Glebov
optical sciences graduate student

Intelligent design a boon to modern science

In Alan Eder's "Creationism repackaged," I was distressed by the underlying assertion that intelligent design is a thoroughly unscientific idea. Instead, it is a serious inquiry into the foundations of evolution. Questioning existing theories is what keeps science alive and thriving; it is the basis of the scientific method.

Intelligent design points out flaws of evolution that proponents of evolution fail to acknowledge. The biggest of these is evolution's explanation of the beginning of the universe: chemical evolution, which contradicts two of science's foundational laws. The first is one of the tenets of the cell theory: that life comes from pre-existing life. Yet, chemical evolution would hold that the first cell emerged from non-biological matter. Evolution also contradicts the second law of thermodynamics, or the idea that the universe becomes less ordered, not more. However, evolution claims that life evolves to more complex and ordered organisms.

By bringing up these inconsistencies, intelligent design actually does a service to the scientific community. It challenges new scientists to discover how to reconcile these issues with existing scientific laws. Few scientists who align themselves to the idea of intelligent design disagree that evolution occurs on a micro-scale; one would only have to look at the thousands of strains of the common cold to see that survival of the fittest exists. It is macro-evolution, or that this idea applies on a larger scale, with which they draw issue.

Intelligent design is not simply the idea that "life is too complex and beautiful to be explained." It is the idea that life is so complicated and ordered that evolution doesn't completely explain it. Many respected scientists have chosen to believe that this leads to the conclusion that there is a higher power in charge of the complexities of the universe. Even Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century, said, "Scientists were once regarded as heretics by the church, but they were truly religious men, for they believed in the orderliness of the universe." He believed that God was behind the magnificence of the universe.

Science and religion do not have to be in conflict. I have found that together they give a more complete picture of the universe than either on its own. Being a scientist only helps to further one's appreciation of God, and faith in God only adds to the beauty of science.

Janne Perona
biochemistry and molecular biophysics junior

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