Earth and entrance exams: Thank you for the article on William Dembski and the intelligent-design movement ["In God's Country," by Lauren Kern, December 14]. Several points:
- Charles Darwin was extremely proud of his theory of evolution because he believed he had discovered how God had really done the creating. Darwinism got pegged as atheistic because 19th-century tycoons used the theory as an excuse to exploit labor and to attack the dogma of charity to the poor.
- There is nothing in the theory of evolution that says that people should not believe in God.
- Science is as much a theology as religion is. Look how William Reich was treated. Dembski should not be surprised.
- Proving that evolution was designed by an intelligence does not mean that God exists, or that he cares that you were baptized as an adult instead of as an infant.
- If intelligent design proves that creation was designed, why was it designed? Out of boredom? An entrance exam for the University of the Cosmos? The godly equivalent of kindergartners finger-painting?
- According to Taoism, the cosmos is a living entity. According to some versions of the big bang theory, the universe explodes, expands, contracts and then explodes again an infinite number of times. What if, over the eons, the universe has become intelligent and decided to tinker with itself, just to see how many versions of itself could be created?
The Baylor faculty should be very suspicious. Dembski is connected to groups that believe in turning this society into a theocracy.
Complicated nature: Thank you for an honest and fair portrayal of the controversy surrounding (what was formerly known as) the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor. The nature of the Baylor science faculty's criticisms is complex and difficult to explain in a brief story. Lauren Kern was willing to spend the time to talk with all parties involved and wrote about it in a way that was both clear and engaging.
Charles A. Weaver
WacoNumbers game: The fact that the debate over creationism versus naturalism rages on never fails to amaze me. Two points I'd give to anyone on either side of the issue:
- The argument that it's highly unlikely for the earth and its inhabitants to have been formed randomly is not terribly good reasoning. It's not likely to win the Texas Lotto, but usually someone does overcome the one-in-several-million odds every week or two. Given the immense size of the universe as we know it, there have been plenty of chances for life to form. Disbelieving that we've won the universe's lottery doesn't mean it couldn't have happened.
- Naturalism/ evolution is not necessarily in conflict with anyone's faith more than they want it to be. If you choose to believe that an all-powerful god created the universe and all in it, then is it a far leap to believe that perhaps he seeded the earth not only with man and animals but also evidence supporting evolution?
Screwed for Life
Burglary vs. attempted murder? Congratulations to the Houston Press for using the December 14 issue to point out one of the most important and glaring injustices facing Americans today. I can only assume that "The Big Score" [by Wendy Grossman] and "Takedown" [by Samantha Liskow] were published together to educate us readers on the racist and class-biased way that the (in)justice system and the media treat youth crime.
The two crime sprees detailed that week took place only blocks apart and seemed to be fueled by the same kind of juvenile quest for excitement and inability to reflect on the consequences of their action. The big difference is that the Rice kids got away with more stuff, got a warning, got a lawyer and might not get jail time. The kids from the Third Ward got nothing but "screwed for life."
When read separately, each article made these outcomes seem tragic, but natural and fair. Read together, however, these pieces provide an excellent window onto the criminal justice system and the media that supports it. Keep up the good work.
Heavy on the Crab
Stewed up: Why can't we get a decent restaurant review? This time your epicene, arcane critic Robb Walsh has gone too far. He was so enamored of the lovely lady from the Alliance Française that he did not bother to tell us anything about Café Rabelais except the salads and his boring reminiscences of France ["French Utopia," December 7]. Why didn't he return to the restaurant and sample the dinners?
Then we are treated to a dissertation on the differences between Creole and Cajun ["Creole Country," December 14], as if anyone cared. Thank God he didn't enlighten us further about his truffle-sniffing abilities. Maybe that's in the next issue. Can't he just give us a rundown on interesting and/or new restaurants and stop pontificating?
Pontificate more: I want to thank you for the detailed article on "Creole Country" cooking. I am from South Louisiana (Lafayette), and this is the first article I have read that has made an effort to discuss the differences in South Louisiana cooking styles in relation to the heritage of the diverse cultures that brought these wonderful mixtures together.
I have made Cajun-style gumbo for my guests only to be told that it was not what they expected, and any attempt I made to explain that the various types exist because of differences between Creole and Cajun cultures draws only questioning looks.
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