Letters to the Editor 3/17

Al-Arian should be presumed innocent

I wonder what would be said if Sami Al-Arian is convicted, in open court, of the charges for which he was arrested. I, personally, do not trust Attorney General John Ashcroft, but we have not seen the evidence in this matter and some of us may have rushed to judgment. Those who believe in conspiracies on the part of the government are using USF President Judy Genshaft as its example, without giving any credence to the possibility that the allegations may be based on fact.

We should press forward for a quick trial to try to determine what is going on. Al-Arian is presumed innocent until that time.

Emmanuel Hildes audits classes at USF.

Renaming food is unnecessary

Oh, my goodness. What were Republican representatives Ney of Ohio and Jones of North Carolina thinking when they renamed French fries and French toast to “freedom fries” and “freedom toast?” Give me a break. I swear, we have idiots from top to bottom in Washington. But those two representatives did get me thinking about the countries, other than the French, who stand against the war in Iraq.

What about Germany, who, if they had the power, would veto the U.N. resolution for war? Are we going to take pleasure in “patriotic chocolate cake” at our favorite restaurant? What if our neighbors in the north start balking about the war? Do I start adding “liberty bacon” to my pizza? What if the forces in Chile refuse to join us? Should I be asking for a “democracy dog” at Tropicana Field? Am I allowed to play Chinese checkers, or will Mr. Ashcroft be knocking at my door? And what if the good old Brits back out. Will I be enjoying a “freedom muffin” with my French…oops…I mean with my “nationalistic roasted coffee” in the morning?

While we are at it, we should just send that large, green symbol of freedom in New York Harbor back where it was given to us.

Some of you Oracle readers are probably saying that I am “anti-American” and don’t support our troops. Seriously, is that the best argument you can make? I will always support our troops because they are just following orders from a man who…oh, wait, who joined the National Guard and was missing for months when he should have been completing his service. The election cannot come any faster.

John Stevenson is a senior majoring in chemical engineering.

Creation hypothesis lacks merit

The article on creation and evolution, “Is it really so black and white?” by Ryan Meehan the March 6 Oracle contains several statements that illustrate the reason the controversy has been so bitter for such a long time. Individuals in each group tend to characterize all members of the other group as holding the most extreme position. Those that call themselves evolutionists frequently say that all individuals in the creation group believe that the earth is very young and are trying, as Dr. Mushinsky is quoted as saying, “to impose their religious beliefs on others.”

Some of the creationists sound as though all those that are evolutionists are atheists and are trying to impose atheism on their students. Undoubtedly, there are some in each group that are correctly described by these statements, but certainly not all can be characterized in these ways.

The article carries an error that is very common; it also illustrates part of the reason for the long duration of the dispute. It mentioned members of a group that talks about evidence for “Intelligent Design.” I know some of these people, and none that I know can be lumped with “Scientific Creationism,” nor do they believe in a young earth. The main problem that I find with the “Intelligent Design” hypothesis is that it points out problems but gives no testable hypothesis. Moreover, I can’t see how the materials presented currently can lead to such hypotheses.

In my opinion, both sides of the creation vs. evolution argument are guilty of insisting that the evidence that they deduce for their positions is capable of leading to appropriate conclusions far beyond what the evidence allows.

Gerald Robinson is professor emeritus of biology.

President Bush’s Christianity is shaky

Two years ago the world as a whole was largely at peace, with prospects of global annihilation so low that we all finally felt safe again after the Reagan-era fears of nuclear winter. Now the world is suddenly back on the brink of total war between nuclear-capable nations after just 25 months of “leadership” by the Bush administration.

Here is a quote from Left Behind, the first book in the popular Christian end-times series of novels by Tim Lehaye and Jerry B. Jenkins: “The deceiver will promise strength and peace and security… That’s why I warn you to beware now of a new leader with great charisma trying to take over the world during this terrible time of chaos and confusion. This person is known in the Bible as the Antichrist. He will make many promises, but he will not keep them.”

Think carefully about what President George W. Bush has promised, and compare this to what he has done before, blindly supported merely because he claims to be a man of God. In fact, whereas Jesus speaks of acts of charity and faith as things to keep private (i.e., Do not let the right hand know what the left hand is doing), Bush felt it important to announce recently that he reads from the Bible each morning. Truly Christian and righteous individuals do not publicize their good deeds. Do not be deceived.

Nate Stafford is a graduate student majoring in biology.