Letters

Last Chance, Revival of the Fittest

Last Chance

Rehab rather than jail: I wish to commend you on a true and realistic account of the way things happen with regard to drug addicts ["Tough on Drugs," by Margaret Downing, December 14]. I'm one of the people that has spent, off and on, the last ten years in and out of jails, treatment programs, halfway houses and prison. I've been in the Harris County jail since September 1999 for possession of cocaine.

I live a vicious cycle. I get out of jail, and everything falls into place like any normal person's life. I get a good job, a place to live, a girlfriend and all the other things associated with a sober life. You see, my life doesn't have to be going in a bad direction or having any kind of trouble for me to use drugs. It's when my life is going great that the demon in me becomes uncontrollable, and in a matter of days I lose everything I've worked so hard for.

Yes. I've lied, stolen, cheated and anything else you can imagine because of drugs. I keep hoping it's something I'm going to grow out of, but my addiction lies dormant during my incarceration. They say that while you're locked up your addiction is doing push-ups and working out so when the chains are removed it's stronger than ever.

I wish more judges were like Krocker. However, most don't believe in treatment, they believe in prison. I'm being considered for parole, which means maybe I'm to start the cycle one last time. There are no more chances. Either I stay straight, or next time I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison. I'm hoping this time I don't become a product of the great state of Texas's judicial system like many before me. I truly enjoy the Houston Press for its real issues with real people.

Vincent Mancuso
Houston

Narcotic nostalgia: It's long past time to pretend that drug prohibition is doing anything worthwhile about drug addiction. Especially when drug users are usually able to function quite well when they are left to tend their own business. Nearly all of the harm to drug users comes from an illiterate drug policy invented in a horse-and-buggy era by people who believed phrenology was a sure test of intelligence and moral integrity.

America's lunatic drug crusaders claim the sky will fall if we legalize drugs, but they cannot explain why no one was robbing, whoring and murdering over drugs when addicts could buy all of the heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium and anything else they wanted cheaply and legally at the corner pharmacy. When drugs were legal, addicts held regular employment, raised decent families and were indistinguishable from their teetotaling neighbors.

We now have prisons overflowing with drug users, and hundreds of thousands of shattered families. The addiction rate is now five times greater than when we had no laws at all, and 17-year-olds are the fastest-growing group of heroin users. So much for getting tough on drugs.

It's time to relegate America's misguided drug policy to the same oblivion that alcohol prohibition was consigned to when we finally admitted the noble experiment could never work.

Redford Givens
San Francisco, California

Revival of the Fittest

Down with Darwin: It has been said that the United States is, or was, a Christian nation. Of course, since our founding we have practiced freedom of religion, not establishing any denomination as the official national church.

In recent years, however, the doctrine of separation of church and state has been used to sweep every mention of religious thoughts or sayings from all sorts of public venues entirely. Have we become, in practice if not in letter, an officially atheist nation? Lauren Kern ["In God's Country," December 14] examined the possibility that the success of the scientific effort to show intelligent design in nature will "tear apart the Darwinian underpinnings that influence our laws" and have other upsetting effects.

Have people overlooked the fact that our laws predate Darwin? Our laws still bear the traces of their roots in theology. Our founders knew that this diverse group of people, with this form of government, could not long last without a citizenry that was both educated and respectful of their Creator.

Dembski's work may shake up our modern view of things, but such efforts to restore intellectual respect to the belief in God as the Creator also may be the only way to keep our nation from destruction.

David L. Bump
Flushing, Michigan

Morality warp: I am in no way a mathematician. However, the idea that the universe was planned out seems quite plausible to me. The idea that one might be able to prove this is absolutely mind-boggling.

My only concern with proving the existence of God is the fundamentalists of all religious persuasions, who will promptly claim that it is their God(s) that is/are real and their warped version of morality the only proper one.

Repressive orthodoxy is not generally a good thing -- in spirituality or science.

Meanwhile, until scientists can find "God hates fags" or "No sex before marriage" engraved on a subatomic particle, can't we all simply do unto others as we would have them do unto us?

Wendy Breunig
Houston

Carry the torch: The American Scientific Nomenklatura at Baylor University has set the new methods of silencing opponent voices: an inquisition without flames. No different from the medieval methods of burning alive the ones who dared to voice a different worldview.

Dembski may well be counted as a modern Galileo. Baylor will have the same fate as the Roman Catholic Church -- not knowing the scientific issues, it decides to side with the so-called academia. History has vindicated Galileo, and so it will be for Dembski.

Enezio E. de Almeida Filho
Piracicaba, Brazil

By design:Your article was fairly well written and reasonably balanced. However, it did not do much to enlighten the general public (and by extension its mirror, the media) as to why the theory can be controversial on purely scientific grounds rather than dogmatic presupposition.

The crux of the matter is the difference between information as opposed to meaning. In science, the term information is often used to indicate the degree of order in a system, rather than the aspects of that system to which humans can ascribe meaning.

For example, the letters on this page are comprised of ink deposited on processed wood fibers. This represents a structure with more order than a pile of wood pulp and dyes -- therefore there is more information, in the entropic sense. However, it is the human mind that ascribes meaning to these letters. The degree of order is independent of what meaning is ascribed to the system.

I am sure William Dembski has addressed issues of information versus meaning in his own mind, if not to his peers. I wish the reporter had elaborated a bit more on the distinction.

Godel's Incompleteness Theorem demonstrates that in any sufficiently complex logical system that can make statements about itself, there will be truths that are not derivable from the stated axioms. There would seem to be plenty of room in these blind spots for anyone to ascribe meaning to their heart's delight.

Matt Sisk
Houston

Joy to the world: That was an excellent piece on Dembski in the Houston Press. I'm always overjoyed when a reporter demonstrates a clear understanding of the issues. Good work!

Phillip Johnson

University of California
Berkeley, California

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