Letters from our readers

21 July 2005

The following is a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

On “An exchange on science, evolution and intelligent design”

Bravo on two great letters! If “anti-science” fundamentalists would put the same high standards required of science to convince them of its veracity against those of superstition and myth, none of us would need to be discussing the issue. Indeed, fundamentalists want proof of any scientific theory/fact while at the same time, they never demand anything concrete from religion other than “faith”, particularly from a book [the Bible] that can be shown to be primarily of pagan origins from such diverse cultures as India, China, Egypt, even the Druids (and with very little “evolutionary changes” to the myths and messages as well).

Few fundamentalists are required to prove the existence of unicorns and dragons, nor why God put bats in the same category as birds; nor how in the world Noah fit everything on Earth into such a small boat, or why God thought slavery was okay if they were your neighbors—one could continue ad nauseum into biblical errancy, but it would go in one ear and out the other. I think socialism should bring the relationship between power/wealth and religion to the forefront, with historical, solid data on the origins and history of this relationship. Religion has, through much of mankind’s history, been the single most manipulative and deadly force around. Dominion theology has its grip on the Bush Administration, forming policies based on 4th Century mentalities, by people who now have 21st Century weaponry.

SN
Powell River, Canada
17 July 2005

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With reference to PK’s reservations on evolutionary theory due to the inability of science to reproduce its effects in the laboratory, what would he make of climate change? Surely this is human activity in the biggest laboratory of all which has been reproducing natural phenomena (albeit unconsciously) for hundreds of years since the industrial revolution. And now we are living with the consequences!

In the past, the earth went through different periods of warming and glaciation, but this has now been accelerated to dangerous levels, all due to man’s intervention in nature. Man changes nature, and nature changes man. The task is for science to be liberated from the profit system so that it can be developed in a planned way for the benefit of all. Then we can expect to see real confirmation in practice of many other yet to be developed scientific concepts.

However, for PK and others there will never be enough “evidence” because the world can be interpreted in any way you like. Life is a lottery and cannot be explained materially. Skepticism means accepting the status quo and that has serious consequences in a fast changing world. Above all, it denies the conscious practice of man in changing the world.

MP
Amiens, France
16 July 2005

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For the clearest and most easily understandable explanation of the theory of evolution and natural selection, I recommend The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins. His discussion on the evolution of the human eye, for example (and the story of the sonar of bats), is worth the price of the book; and his explanation of the development from simplicity to complexity is equally valuable and fascinating. He amply demonstrates the truth of the expression that the only constant in the universe is change and reminds us of the incapability of short-lived organisms such as ourselves to grasp the eons of time over which change occurs, whether it be in the attributes of organisms or the physical properties and locations of continents!

CZ
San Francisco, California
16 July 2005

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I enjoyed reading the article written by Walter Gilberti. It was an unusual piece because he actually defined the terms he was using, e.g., science, theory, Darwinism, etc. This is so rarely done, and yet without clear definitions, most discussions are meaningless.

DJ
Canada
16 July 2005

On “A tale of two classes”

The article on the two vastly separate classes in America really struck a chord in me. My husband and I are both graduate students, and we are raising a two year old son. We are barely scraping by on our graduate school stipends and my husband’s full time work. The cost of childcare sometimes seems to outweigh the financial gain of working full time. But the irony is that we are making more money than we did when we were both working full time before graduate school. I was a direct service worker making $9.00 an hour for taking full-time care of adults with developmental disabilities. I was attending to personal needs, bathing, feeding, caring for and loving people on a daily basis. Meanwhile the CEO of the company where I worked makes nearly $150,000 a year. With my education and training, I could have taken over his job if absolutely necessary. But could he have taken over mine? Would he have even been willing? I doubt it. How can this kind of wage disparity be tolerated?

There are so many people like the Bellini family who struggle to get by, so many mothers who do not have the option to stay home with their children like they so desperately want to—yet the nation’s rich have more money than is possible to spend in a year, and they continue getting richer.

My husband is a teacher, finishing his master’s degree in education. He will likely top out at a salary of $40,000 a year. The head coach of his university’s basketball team makes something like $4 million a year. Surely their two contributions to society are not this far apart in worth? It seems to me that something has to change.

I truly appreciated your article and your observations. My question is: What can we do to begin to change this unfairness for workers all over the world? How can we work towards closing this enormous wage gap? I think its time that people who work so hard every day to care for their families see some equality in pay that allows them to actually be with their families. It was time for that a long time ago.

Thank you,

AKM
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
20 July 2005

On “Secularism and the American Constitution”

As a Jeffersonian, I was delighted to read your informative and thought-provoking article on the genuine precepts of the US Constitution and its secular roots. Thomas Jefferson, an intellectual and philosophical titan, was truly one of the few human beings to see far ahead of his time and place and strive for a better world not hampered by the dead hand of the past. Along with Madison and other Enlightenment thinkers, the American Founders created the first republic founded on the natural rights of men, not the superstition of religious belief and dogma.

Although I do not share agreement with socialists on all issues, it is wonderful to see a person of the true left like yourself who can still admire a man like Jefferson whereas other “left” minded people reject and ridicule him. Kudos to you for such a great article refuting the lies of the Christian Right!

GG
Manteca, California
20 July 2005

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Great work. As a book reviewer for the Mobile Register in Alabama, I recently did a review of that awful piece of self-hagiography by Roy Moore (“The Ten Commandments judge”) and in the process was fortunate enough to have WSWS’s excellent work as a reference to point the way (see “Alabama judge engineers Ten Commandments showdown” ). Your (Mr. Bogle’s) article is stellar—what I always expect from the WSWS—and I am now reading Susan Jacoby’s excellent book, thanks to seeing it mentioned in your article. They never teach you any of this in school. Believe me, one can feel quite alone in this Southern state if one’s views veer from the medieval, and your web site is a daily lifeline.

RM
Mobile, Alabama
20 July 2005

On “Australian government sends troops back to Afghanistan”

Howard will never confer with the people of Australia. He knows he is doing wrong by entering wars that have nothing to do with us. The only time Bush contacts Howard is when he wants something. Our country has enough problems which need attending to. The three leaders—Bush, Blair and Howard—broke the law when invading Iraq against the UN. In the first place they should be made answerable. Mr. Hicks will never receive a fair trial. John Howard has made no attempt to assist him, not that Bush would take any notice—the USA is a law unto itself.

AG
Australia
20 July 2005