Wonder no more: This story really hit home for me ["Kristi's Gift," by Jennifer Mathieu, December 21]. In a society where we still look at adoption as something someone else does, this is a decision I too live with and am proud of every day.
A lot of us birth mothers feel like we are alone because of our choice to place our babies, but with relationships with the adoptive parents it validates the situation we have created. I applaud the importance placed on this article. By giving it front-page coverage you are letting the rest of us birth mothers know we are not alone, and as long as adoption is an option to be left open, we can keep being reassured that we will not be wondering about our babies as they go through life. Great job, Houston Press!
Name withheld by request
Holier than thou: I have just read with much interest Tim Fleck's column about me and my legal problems with some former business partners [The Insider, December 21]. I want to congratulate Fleck for spelling my name, and the name of my deceased husband, correctly.
If he had wanted to get any of the other information correct, he should have checked out court records (as I suggested) and gotten at least three credible sources for "data" he included in his article (Journalism 101). He did neither. Though the story had more holes in it than Swiss cheese, it did make for a "bloody" good read.
Tenets and tenants: Regarding the column about the Memorial Hills Apartments [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, January 4]: I regret that an agency spokesman expressed any opinion about what motivated complex management to communicate with residents about the condition of adjacent property, and any effect it may have had on the livability of the apartments. The comments were inappropriate and do not represent the position of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), the state's environmental regulatory agency. The agency, in fact, has no position on the communication between management and residents that is described in the story.
We will continue to ensure that applicable environmental laws are adhered to with respect to these properties.
TNRCC media relations manager
Macario and motherhood: Thomas Cleveland's response to the "sextablo" story was excruciatingly ignorant [Letters, "Cross to Bear," December 21]. His complaint that "only white males are allowed to be depicted as nailed to a cross and given a blow job" was maybe the single most preposterous sentence I've ever read -- and I teach freshman comp.
Macario Ramirez ["Saints, Sacrilege and Retablos," by Steve McVicker, December 7] does valuable cultural work in this city, for which he no doubt feels badly repaid right now. But whether he's right, wrong or somewhere in between, I doubt that he thinks of himself as Cleveland's "mother."
JC, Not PC
Holy war: I found it disturbing that respecting diversity [Letters, "Respecting Diversity," December 14] always seems to mean "to rewrite history and ignore facts to the contrary, because one might offend someone." It seems to me that there is absolutely no statement ever made by any human being that wasn't offensive to someone somewhere else.
Even the name "Jesus" is offensive to many. Being sensitive to everyone's concerns can lead to the restriction of the use of certain words and symbols while effectively allowing only the opposing views to be taught or even considered. Eventually this causes words to change meaning. This creates confusion and an absence of understanding of the context of words first used in history, law and what we each perceive as the truth. When "Gentleman's Agreement" [by Margaret Downing, December 14] speaks of "a secret subtext," it seems to consider only Christian "subtext" a problem.
Why should a majority of Christians be forced to pay for schools that don't reflect their beliefs? Christians are not taught the complete history of our Christian nation because such history is politically incorrect and could lead to less tax support for politically correct socialist programs. When the Declaration of Independence uses the legal term "one people" in its first sentence, it doesn't mean "several different types of people."
Public schools are banned from even acknowledging that the Bible has any redeeming value. Holy hypocrisy.
Francisco Roberto Valdez
In all the wrong places: Lauren Kern writes ["In God's Country," December 14] that the issue of intelligent design is "a question science doesn't want to pose, let alone answer." But science cannot pose the question and, hence, cannot answer it. Science can only uncover material mechanisms operating in the world around us. It cannot address or explore the divine. William Dembski's desire to bring this issue onto the lab bench, where science is done, is futile and perhaps a bit disingenuous.
I am constantly amazed that scholars like Dembski feel that if science does not have an answer or a tangible approach to a scientific mystery today, then it cannot exist.
Dembski's specified information criterion assumes that the function served by a biological structure is its specified function across all time. Unfortunately Ms. Kern and many laypeople fall victim to this age-old creationist rhetorical trick. There are examples wherein biochemical structures have "changed" their function as they have evolved.
Dembski and his colleagues are Christians (admirable in its own right), and their writing reflects a strong desire to alter science into a Christian system with all of its trappings (this is abominable).
The principal writers in the intelligent-design community blame what they call naturalism for the current immorality they perceive in popular culture. But they miss the mark: Consumerism is our culture's ritualistic practice of scientism, wherein science provides all the material wealth. Somewhere along the way the divine quality of humanity and all of reality has been forsaken. This is really the heart of the matter, hidden in the passion of these individuals. These men are fighting the wrong battle.
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Science can help us appreciate the wonder of the universe around us, but it cannot reveal to us anything about what or who started it all.
Akif Uzman, Ph.D., assistant professor
University of Houston-Downtown
Balanced: I want to thank you for the well-written and fair article that you wrote on Bill Dembski. The topic of intelligent design is a difficult one, and it's easy to caricature what intelligent-design theorists actually claim. It's clear that you did your homework and understand the issue quite well.
Jay Richards, The Discovery Institute