Letters to the Editors
Abusing freedoms can lead to loss In response to the editorial “Free speech and Violence” (April 5). Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights we have as American citizens. We are fortunate because we are able to voice dissatisfactions, to protest, to demonstrate and to say what is on our mind. The government cannot censor our thoughts and beliefs just because they may be unpopular. We are one of the lucky countries. But abusing this right could cause us to lose it. The Floridian pastor who burned Qurans back in March has a right to do so. However, that doesn’t mean he should have. It was a clear attack on the Muslim world. Part of being tolerant of other cultures is being respectful. Christians would be angry if their sacred book was burned in the same way Muslims are angry. The pastor seems to have forgotten the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” The freedom of speech is a great thing, but disrespecting other cultures, more importantly, other human beings, can have adverse effects such as violence and retaliation. Abusing the system could cause us to lose some of our personal freedoms. SAM STANLEY Face shields could save officers’ lives I was deeply saddened at the murder of Police Sgt. Tim Chapin and extend to his family my condolences. As a former Cincinnati, Ohio, police officer, I lost a brother officer to a murderer and know the feeling. I write in the hope that other police officers do not die in the same way that Tim did. He was shot in the head. Had he had a ballistic face shield and helmet on, the bullet probably would not have killed him. Since 1980, 875 police officers in the U.S. have been murdered by head shots while not wearing ballistic face shields. Most of them would have lived had they had a ballistic face shield on. I have compiled a list of police officers who support the idea of police officer first responders wearing ballistic face shields. I invite other police officers and citizens who read this to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Someday the list may help to persuade decision-makers to buy ballistic face shields for police officer first responders. I have no monetary interest in the sale of ballistic face shields. My sole interest is the lives of police officers. STANLEY COHEN Seattle, Washington Where did these pictures come from? The three pictures of our leaders in Wednesday’s paper, page A3: Obama looks like a Sunday school teacher. Harry Reid looks like an angel with a halo over his head, and poor John Boehner. Where did Clay Bennett dig these pictures up? FRANK SIMMONS Rossville, Ga. Fox broadcasts numerous lies A writer (April 1) wants proof of lies by Fox News. OK, here goes: In the early stages of the Iraq War, Fox and the Bush administration paid retired U.S. military officers to make false statements on the air. During a recent interview, Fox’s Megyn Kelly said, “that’s just not true” when a guest said the network called political opponents Nazis. A quick review of previous broadcasts caught Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck and Kelly herself in the act. Space doesn’t permit more examples. As for lies from other news outlets, Dan Rather and numerous members of the New York Times staff and management were fired when they were caught lying. If Fox is even pretending to be fair and balanced, it needs to do the same. MARK H. KELLY Jasper, Tenn. Bring back efficient diesels I bought a new Ford Escort diesel in the fall of 1984. The next summer my family traveled to Orlando, Fla. I filled the fuel tank in Hixson, Tenn., and drove to Orlando without refueling till we got there. This was 592 miles. With the air conditioning on, we got 48.5 miles per gallon, even driving the 70 mph speed limit. If we hadn’t used the air conditioning, we probably would have gotten 50 mpg. Everyone, including the government and automobile manufacturers, is talking about conserving fuel and protecting the environment. If Ford could do that 27 years ago, why don’t they do it now? I would buy one! They probably would sell many thousands of these cars (not necessarily just Escorts) if they would go back to making some. With the newest technology, the diesels would probably burn cleaner with even better mileage. It’s a shame they don’t have “hindsight,” It’s always 20/20. CARL PETERSON Biological evolution not ‘controversial’ We feel compelled to respond to the front-page article (March 31) regarding a pending bill in the Legislature, HB 368 and SB 893, to allow teachers to discuss scientific controversies in the classroom. We understand that the bill is not solely focused on the Theory of Evolution; however, biological evolution is singled out as one of the scientific subjects that “can cause controversy.” Dealing with scientific controversies should be part of any science course, but let us be clear on this point — biological evolution is not controversial in any sense within the scientific community. Unfortunately, creationists have used the idea of teaching legitimate scientific controversies as cover to inject their brand of religious thinking into science classrooms, and to undermine the teaching of biological evolution as a scientific theory. The preponderance of scientific evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution is astounding. Every major scientific professional society (e.g., American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Science, etc.) has endorsed the Theory of Evolution as the best scientific interpretation for the development and diversification of life on Earth. It has been scientifically tested over and over again, supported every time, for over 150 years. Even the Roman Catholic Church, since its 1950 publication of the encyclical Humani Generis, has concluded that the Theory of Evolution is not in conflict with Christian doctrine. Additionally the bill also prevents prohibiting teachers of Tennessee from “helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories ...”. Criticism of scientific theories, particularly evolutionary theory, is part of a long tradition of creationist/intelligent design proponents who think that by attacking evolution they are lending support for their own non-scientific ideas. Science, however, does not operate by testing a single theory to death but by comparing alternative theories and provisionally accepting the one that has the stronger evidence. At a time when science and math education all over the United States is failing to provide students with the necessary tools to be competitive in an increasingly global workforce, students in Tennessee would be further disadvantaged if this proposed legislation were to pass. We feel that this proposed legislation should be defeated, or at least rewritten to focus on real scientific controversies. Done properly, this might help more Tennesseans understand why creationism and intelligent design are not scientific subjects. SIGNED: Henry G. Spratt, Jr., Ph.D.; Tim J. Gaudin, Ph.D.; Charles Nelson, Ph.D.; Professor Linda T. Collins; Sean Richards, Ph.D.; Jennifer Boyd, Ph.D.; Helen McDearman, Lecturer; Hill Craddock, Ph.D.; Stylianos Chatzimanolis, Ph.D.; David Abotn, Ph.D.; Callie Montgomery, Lecturer; Mark Schorr, Ph.D.; Ethan Carver, Ph.D.; Joey Shaw, Ph.D.; Margaret Kovach, Ph.D.; John Kimmons, Lecturer; Ms. Carol Kimmons, Lecturer. All the signees are faculty in UTC’s Biological and Environmental Science department.