Letters To The Editor


March 03, 2003

Turning science into a new form of exclusive faith

Once upon a time, in less tolerant days than our own, people who did not profess faith in the prevailing religious viewpoint were tried as heretics and burned at the stake. Now, Michael Dini seems determined to treat science the same way ("It's biology, not bigotry," Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 10).

While no one can deny that evolution is the theory of human origin most widely embraced by scientists, Mr. Dini seems unwilling to let it go at that: He demands that his students make what amounts to a statement of faith that they believe this theory is the only true explanation of human origins. Failure to do so precludes them from receiving recommendations for advanced degrees.

As a scientist, how can he make such a closed-minded and intolerant demand of his students? Mr. Dini would be justified if he were merely requiring his students to understand and be able to explain the theory of evolution. To insist they "accept" it as true, however, crosses the line between promulgating scientific fact and requiring belief.

Furthermore, Ellen Goodman's comparison of the theory of evolution to the law of gravity is severely flawed.

Gravity is a physical law that can be verified by anyone willing to run an experiment and is perceived daily by everyone. By contrast, evolution is a theory that is, at its core, unprovable - no matter how much the preponderance of evidence may seem to point in its favor, it will never be possible for a scientist in a lab to run an experiment that can demonstrate the supposed course of evolution from slime mold to man.

We live in a time when people are condemned who punish others for failing to share their faith. But evidently this universal condemnation does not apply when the person demanding the conformity is a scientist espousing a scientific theory.

Hugh Thompson

Ellicott City

Moose should stick to his police work

Just what the state needs, another gun bill ("Proposed bills would tighten Maryland gun control measures," Feb. 7). Montgomery County police Chief Charles A. Moose conducted a fantastic investigation of the sniper incident, but he should stick to police work and stay out of politics.

No legal formula could have prevented the sniper incident. The sniper suspects left a trail of violence across the country.

Maryland has among the most stringent gun laws in this country, but the use of firearms during the commission of a crime continues to rise. And when the politicians are queried about the high numbers of firearms crimes, it seems the only answer we ever get is, "Let's introduce another gun law." Well, people, wake up, it's not working.

The criminal justice system has failed to do its job and is in dire need of restructuring.

And someone needs to take control and hold the appropriate entities accountable instead of trying to place the blame on the firearms.

Warren Harding


GOP protects rights of gun criminals

It was good to read the article "GOP seeks to keep information on guns used in crimes private" (Feb. 15).

With all the hysteria these days about "getting tough on crime" and "zero tolerance," I am glad to know that there is still someone looking out for the rights of the criminals.

William Smith


ICC wouldn't boost biotech industry

Listening to proponents of building the Intercounty Connector, you are led to believe the ICC is the single most important thing the state can do to foster our biotech industry. How is it, then, that in Gary R. Pasternack's detailed article "Maryland could gain with biotech industry"(Feb. 16) the ICC was never mentioned?

Mr. Pasternack listed many initiatives the state should employ to help the biotech industry. But none of them involved building the ICC.

The ICC would cost the state billions; destroy acres of forestland, parks and wetlands; displace existing communities; and, according to numerous studies, wouldn't reduce congestion.

When will the state stop debating a road that won't solve our traffic problems and start investing in transportation solutions that will help commuters now?

Susan Brown


Fight terror to earn peace and freedom

Why shouldn't we use all means necessary to end the regimes in Iraq, Iran and other terrorist-harboring countries?

We keep hearing from the left that we must respect those nations' "sovereignty." But these modern-day peaceniks make a grave error of judgment. They place the value of peace above that of individual rights. But true, lasting peace is earned only through respect for individual rights upheld by just governments.

And we must go to war with those countries that harbor terrorists to earn the peace that is so essential and conducive to living free.

Christy Yeadon


Color-coded alerts only add to our fear

I know that, according to the federal government, we recently were living under an "Orange Alert," but I really have no idea what this means or what I should have done differently ("Nation's terror alert system often more art than science," Feb. 16).

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