'Junk science' misleads a gullible publicI take issue with...

the Forum

March 11, 1993

'Junk science' misleads a gullible public

I take issue with your statement in "Junk science in the courtroom" (editorial, March 3) that "scientists are often sharply divided among themselves -- as the debates over biological evolution, global warming, and 'Big Bang' cosmology suggest."

That statement itself reflects the scientific naivete the editor was speaking against, and it can only comfort purveyors of a certain type of "junk science."

For example, the debates over evolution result primarily from creation "scientists" who are trying to foster their "junk science" on a scientifically naive population.

A creation "scientist" who has a degree in hydraulic engineering, say, is hardly qualified to give a measured opinion about the validity of biological evolution, especially when he misrepresents the evidence in order to promote his own brand of "science."

Among scientists who are qualified to give opinions about evolution, the vast majority accept the reality of evolution, though some may differ on what forces are most important in its cause.

Also, there is substantial evidence in support of the "Big Bang" theory of cosmic origins. Creation scientists ignore and misrepresent that evidence in order to promote their "junk science."

Again, among qualified scientists, differences are primarily in theories as to what caused the "Big Bang," not whether it actually occurred.

Finally, global warming is hardly a fair topic to include with the others because it is not something that is as certain as evolution or the "Big Bang." There are a considerable number of variables that could, and do, cause the warming trend to swing either way.

David Persuitte

Arnold

City line

Dorothy Dowling shows incredible chutzpah in her article "Illegal aliens" (Other Voices, Feb. 15).

She claims to be upset about the fact that city residents are enrolling their children in county schools. But her solution attacks only the symptom, not the problem.

Reading her, you'd think that city residents pay no taxes. In fact, city residents pay twice the property tax rate of county dwellers.

She worries about the "burden" city students put on county schools. If it was 10 times as bad, the county would still be better off than the city.

Ms. Dowling claims that city parents who surreptitiously enroll their children in county schools give kids the message that you can get something for nothing.

Yet she ignores the far worse example set by self-indulgent suburbanites like herself: There is no profound educational reason for the city line to be where it is.

It is purely a historical accident. By the time we realized that the line didn't reflect the living city, there already were too many people with a vested interest in the old line to correct it.

If Ms. Dowling really were concerned about the example we set, she would call for an end to the maldistribution of metropolitan resources represented by the current city line. . .

Paul O'Brien

Baltimore

Freedom of choice

What makes America great is that everyone is free to voice an opinion, and we should not impose ours on anyone else.

The time has come for us to decide what would we do when the doctor says there's nothing he can do, and the pills no longer ease the intense pain and suffering, which now controls our life.

Then I may consider seeking a doctor like Jack Kevorkian.

Robert Hoover

Baltimore

Needless suffering

I am appalled that the Michigan legislature had to rush to stop physician assisted suicide. What an insipid concept, to keep people suffering when an easy death (and peace) is at hand.

If a poor, pitiful animal lies dying, the humane impulse cries out to put the poor beast out of its misery.

Not so a suffering person. This law will keep the suffering in misery -- in the name of humanity.

Spare me the stupidity of mankind. Perhaps stupidity is not the proper word; lack of empathy would be more accurate.

Physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill should be a viable option to those whose life dictates so.

Where is the value in needless suffering?

Lane Orandle

Baltimore

Mammography's values still undeniable

Your Feb. 26 article, "No benefit seen in mammograms for women in 40s," touched on the controversy of the value of mammography in women under 50. Some important information was lacking from your discussion.

Breast cancer is a major killer of women. In 1992, 180,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed, and 46,000 women died from the disease. Recent estimates state that one in nine women will develop breast cancer in their life-time.

Scientific studies have shown that in women 50 years and older early diagnosis of breast cancer with mammography can reduce the number of deaths by 30 percent.

In women under 50 the benefits of mammography were seen but were not as clear cut. Researchers were hopeful that the Canadian study, designed to specifically look at the value of mammography in younger women, would finally answer this question.

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