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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
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Intelligent design doesn't belong in classrooms

There have been a variety of responses to the recent piece on intelligent design ("Creationism repackaged"). All of these responses, however diverse, have failed to address the fundamental issue (which could easily be called a flaw) with this concept. The issue with intelligent design lies more in the people pushing it, as opposed to the theory itself.

Intelligent design at its most basic level is the theory that there is a higher power governing the overall order of the universe, including life and the evolution (or lack thereof) of specific species.

The problem with this tenet is that in the realm of scientific research there is no basis by which one can test the existence of a higher power. Science in its classical definition is a search for the truth, but this has accepted dogmas that go with it. In the labs on our own campus we're taught that in order to test a given hypothesis, we constrain all but one variable, and we alter that variable on successive experiments to learn the difference that variable makes.

With intelligent design, there are no such experiments, and that is why the issue falls back to the people promoting it. Virtually all of the proponents of intelligent design are Christian or in some way linked to a religion whose philosophy of the origin of Earth and its inhabitants human and otherwise stems from the decisions of a higher power. For the purposes of discussion, we'll call that higher power "God."

Ultimately, intelligent design is a matter of philosophy, theology, religion or a combination of the three. It is not a science because there is no way by which accepted methods can be used to test it. Holes in evolutionary theory notwithstanding, until someone can put together an experiment in an effort to test intelligent design that will provide anything more than an unexplained reaction, it behooves us to keep it out of our school's science courses. One cannot build a valid theory by poking holes in the accepted when that new theory has more unanswered questions than the one it purports to supplant.

Joseph Jaramillo
computer science senior

Science doesn't account for everything

If you have read the paper lately, you already know about the ongoing discussion of whether or not intelligent design should be taught in schools as a counter to the current evolutionary theory. I believe it should, for the fact that the theory of evolution does not cover all the basis of life.

Consider the notions of love and beauty. Where do these terms fit into the scientific method? They certainly do not, so how can we immediately recognize evolution as the secret behind the universe? If this were the case, why aren't humans just functional beings working without a purpose in life? Perhaps because there is more to life than science and the physical world. There is a "spiritual connection," if you will.

There are precious moments in life, so precious that language cannot even interpret them. For example in the case of beauty, one might see something so significant (perhaps an ocean) that words can barely do justice. It is a feeling so tremendous that it gives the individual a sense of freedom, peace of mind, and purpose.

How do we obtain such feelings through what science may call a "sensory observation"? Intelligent design deserves to be taught in schools as a counter to evolution because there is more than the scientific, physical world. Like Albert Einstein and Socrates, I do not believe in a certain religion by any means; however, I have the belief that something greater than us exists.

Joey Punzel
sophomore majoring in philosophy and journalism

These lines of pedestrians being complained about help prevent many of these incompetent, impatient drivers (many of whom are yakking away on cell phones) from barging through. Jim Scholl, graduate student

Bicyclists also at fault for accidents, injuries

I wish to reply to both the Wildcat letters yesterday complaining about pedestrians. I first wish to point out that when traffic lights permits pedestrians to use a crosswalk, then they have the right of way. Pedestrians are not obligated to bunch up so that the cars pass through. In fact, these lines of pedestrians being complained about help prevent many of these incompetent, impatient drivers (some of whom are yakking away on cell phones) from barging through.

Finally, on streets around campus, I see many bike riders arrogantly riding the sidewalks instead of using the bike lanes painted on the streets. Many of these are also talking on their cell phones, which reduces the overall safety.

Jim Scholl
optical sciences graduate student

Campus Health shouldn't keep computer records

I have a problem with keeping personal student information on a computer, and specifically, with Campus Health doing this ("Healthy privacy gets examined"). Every day there is a new story on CNN about whose servers were compromised: major credit card companies, ISPs, banks, university enrollment databases and so on.

Computer systems are often not secure enough to safeguard our private information, and even when they are, someone finds a way in anyway. Placing a student's information in a locked room and only issuing so many keys makes it easy to figure out who stole the file.

Dan Parmlee
management information systems junior

Safety top priority of air traffic controllers

I wish to point out an inaccuracy in your article titled "Protesters' illusion of power." In it, you refer to the Air Traffic Controller strike of 1981 as being performed by the National Air Traffic Controller Association. This is false. NATCA was not in existence at this time. The controllers union that went on strike in 1981 was PATCO, not NATCA. NATCA will not strike, ever. We will use all other means to ensure the safety of the flying public and uphold our interests, of which safety is always No. 1.

I won't try to change your mind on what NATCA stands for, except to say that our one and only mission is to keep you and the rest of the flying public safe. Yes, we fight to keep reasonable pay and benefits, sick time and so on. And yes, controllers are forced to take more sick time than any other government employee. It's hard to avoid when taking Imodium-AD medically disqualifies a controller for 24 hours, Benadryl for 24 hours, Nyquil for 12 hours, and so on. We don't want to take the time the FAA forces us off, then blames us for having to follow their rules.

Geoff Evans
NATCA member

Desalinated water solution to shortages

I enjoyed Scott Patterson's column "Swimming in the desert." Desalinated Pacific Ocean water can be brought in from Tijuana, Mexico, moved to San Diego, exchanged for water from the Colorado River and shared among the Upper Basin states Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico and the three Lower Basin states of Nevada, Arizona and California, each sharing the costs and political challenge.

Frank Passarelli
Water Desalination International, Inc.

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