It ain't science
As a person raised in--and a member of--a fundamentalist church, and a staunch believer in evolution, I thoroughly enjoyed Kaylois Henry's expose of "creation scientist" "Dr." Carl Baugh ["Footprints of Fantasy," December 12].
What is ignored or denied by proponents of "creation science" is that the doctrine is not science because it does not adhere to the scientific method. Creation "scientists" presuppose the existence of a supreme being which brought the universe into existence. Only then do they begin trying to explain how and when.
A few years ago, at a church where my wife and I were once members, I sat apoplectically through a meeting in which a doctor from the Institute for Creation Research was the guest speaker. In the course of his ramblings, he stated:
1. The universe is less than 10,000 years old, based on genealogical evidence which begins with Adam and Eve in the Bible's book of Genesis.
2. Dinosaurs were present on the ark (Noah looked for small ones), enabling them to survive a worldwide flood, only to be killed off by flood-induced climate changes.
3. The fossil record is completely unreliable because the emission of carbon 14 used in dating such fossils is not a constant.
I approached the gentleman after the meeting and asked him how, if the universe is as young as he claims, we are just now seeing the light of stars created billions of years ago.
"Ah," said the scientist, sagely waving a finger in front of me. "You're assuming the speed of light has always been the same!"
Which is the more believable portrait of a creator: a God who speeds up light and plants false paleontological evidence to dupe his children into believing the universe is older than it is; or an omnipotent artist who sets in motion an immense, elegant macrocosm which creates itself and brings forth life, and then sits back to enjoy and appreciate his handiwork?
If I were the Creator looking at people such as Baugh who invest their professional lives and diaphanous credentials into trying to fit me into their preconceived, unscientific concepts, I'd be insulted.
Bolsheviks are bummers
The "Buzz" column in the December 12 edition included a comment that, I suppose, was meant to be funny: "Who was the Bolshevik who said that the best charity is given anonymously..."
Maimonides, a prominent 12th century Jewish scholar, set forth levels of charity as an aspect of ethical and moral living. The concept of anonymous donor and anonymous recipient, to avoid embarrassment, is one of the highest. But the highest level is to assist the needy in becoming self-sufficient.
The Bolsheviks practiced cruelty and tyranny; charity was totally foreign to their culture.
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Remember dead witches
I was appalled as I saw the blurb in the corner of the cover of your Thanksgiving paper ["Should Arlington witches be burned at the stake?" November 28]. The implications that there were witches being burned in Arlington raised the hairs on my neck in anger. When I turned to the news section and saw the actual article, I was even more incensed. The graphic that accompanied the article (the "ballot") was even worse than the cover blurb. It implied that members of religious minorities could be killed and tortured, simply for what and who they were.
On the positive side, your actual text was balanced, informative, and factual. I am a card-carrying member of the Witches' League for Public Awareness, a pagan of seven years and a witch for the last two.
The suggestion that the Arlington witches be burned at the stake arouses one of the fundamental horrors that reside in the psyche of every witch. The Burning Times are remembered; we have researched lists of names of witches and accused witches who were killed in the name of religion. There were more witches killed in one year of the 16th century than all the Christian martyrs until that year. Thousands were killed every day across Europe, burned, hanged, drowned, or crushed under heavy objects, because their beliefs were in conflict with the religion that was supported by the rulers and politicians.