Wondrous world isn't the result of any 'design'

Thanks to years of experience offering the general public looks through my telescope at the moon, planets and stars, I think I understand where the intelligent designers are coming from ("Frist backs teaching of intelligent design," Aug. 20).

Reacting to the breathtaking beauty of what they have glimpsed, occasionally a looker will turn to me and ask, "Don't you agree, only God could have created such a thing?"

Being a nonbeliever and wishing to avoid controversy, I usually reply, "I'll take the Fifth Amendment on that."

While the doctrinaire intelligent designers' explanation of the wonders of nature is couched in much more sophisticated language than my happenstance lookers, I believe they have much in common.

Both are expressing a subjective emotional reaction upon witnessing the awesome beauty of our universe. Neither can produce the slightest objective evidence for their theistic conclusions.

I have the same emotional reactions that they do, but they don't lead me to the same conclusion.

I know that in the whole history of science, no problem has ever required a theistic explanation, and I see no reason to start evoking one now. In fact, scientific progress has been characterized by a struggle against supernaturalism.

As far as I'm concerned, the real question - whether it concerns a symphony, a flower, a significant other, a complex microbe or a star-filled sky - is: What is this emotion we humans call beauty?

Herman M. Heyn


How does Bush think flu virus mutates?

It is interesting that President Bush is reading a book about influenza epidemics. And surely he is briefed on occasion about the progress of the new and deadly flu strain making its way across Asia.

When the experts in the room express concern that the disease could further mutate to become capable of human-to-human transmission, does the president remind them that evolution is just a theory?

Charles F. Schafer III


'Intelligent design' requires blind faith

It seems that most of the debate about evolution vs. "intelligent design" is actually a debate between people who believe in a literal interpretation of the Christian Bible and atheists ("Frist backs teaching of intelligent design," Aug. 20).

But if you are not bound by a literal interpretation of the Bible, it is possible to believe that the "intelligent designer" is using evolution as one of His or Her methods.

The scientific method begins with the observation of phenomena. So when a person considers the apparent complexity and order of the universe, it is not unreasonable to form a hypothesis that there is a designer.

But if you are being intellectually honest, you must admit that until you follow through with the next step in the scientific method, which is experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, you are operating in the world of blind faith.

So what do we teach our children?

I vote that we teach them to have a truly open mind and to practice honesty in all their intellectual endeavors.

Mike Columbus


No proof evolution gave rise to life

The Sun's article "Harvard's new mission: Find out how life began" (Aug. 21) focuses on a study whose purpose, I assume, is to find out how the original material for the universe came into being, and then evolved (somehow, some way) into what we see today.

Good luck to Harvard on this one. How are its researchers going to show that something comes out of nothing?

There is only one explanation for this process, and it is so obvious that everyone deep down really knows what it is.

And if you think that this can be explained by evolution (somehow, some way), where's the proof?

Staf Greenwell


Design of Congress isn't so 'intelligent'

If we arrived via "intelligent design," why do we now have the current Congress and administration?

G. M. Naul


Iraq's ethnic strife an obvious obstacle

Two observations regarding U.S. involvement in Iraq's constitutional process ("Sunnis threaten draft constitution," Aug. 24):

The division between Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites existed long before we invaded Iraq and should have been easy to anticipate as a stumbling block toward a unified, democratic Iraq. The U.S. government needs to determine if it failed to address these issues for the past 2 1/2 years or if these issues are simply insurmountable.

If the U.S. government has a vested interest in the success of the Iraqi government, it might want to begin setting a better example.

The minority Democrats (i.e., the Sunnis) need to be more than just a roadblock while the Republicans (i.e., the Shiites) need to learn the value of compromise rather than jamming their agenda down the minority's throats.

If our government cannot set a better example for fledgling democracies, what chance does the Iraqi government have of unifying Iraq?

Patrick Pearce


Mother of Marine always faithful

My grandparents came to this great country, the "melting pot," through Ellis Island. And I remember the pictures of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and later John Fitzgerald Kennedy on the wall in my grandmother's kitchen. They flew the American flag every day outside their homes.

My grandparents told me that the single greatest moment that ever happened was when they became citizens of the United States. After all, it was and still is the land of opportunity and freedom.

Before long, I was a parent and cried when my children went to college. But that pales next to the way I felt when my son left with the United States Marine Corps for Iraq.

His twin sister is devastated without her best friend, and my husband and I are afraid, to say the least.

But I can also say that I'm no Cindy Sheehan. I will remain always faithful. Semper fidelis.

Sue Hemmerly


Muttering motorists should look in mirror

How many of the motorists "muttering" over prices at the gas pump are voters who helped re-elect two oilmen to our highest offices ("Motorists are muttering over price at Md. pumps," Aug. 17)?

What did they expect from President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?

A strategy to reduce the price of gasoline and heating oil?

A rational energy policy that emphasizes fuel-efficiency and protects the environment?

Mike Pretl


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