Alibi V.26 No.43 • Oct 26-Nov 1, 2017 

Letters

Unprovable Assumptions

Dear Editor,

The complaints about proposed changes to the [state] science standards have no merit. (Alibi, v26 i41) The changed standards include the word “evolution.” In one place they say, “Apply scientific ideas … to infer evolutionary relationships.” A subheading in the standards says, “Natural Selection and Evolution.” The expressions “biological evolution” and “the natural evolution of Earth’s systems and life of Earth” are also in the standards.

The proposed changes refer to temperature “fluctuations.” Instead of being told that global warming is occurring, the students are being asked to look at the evidence and draw their own conclusions. How can anyone object to students being asked to draw their own conclusions?

With respect to the age of the Earth, the standards refer to the “geological time scale” and to “Earth’s geological history” as well as an “ancient Earth” and to Earth’s “early history.” These are all code words for an Earth that is an (alleged) 4.6 billion years old. Although it’s not well-known, all of the old Earth dating methods are based on assumptions that can not be proven. What good is belief that’s based on un-provable assumptions?

Steven Dapra

Albuquerque

Thoreau for Thought

Dear Alibi,

Sensing that we already have enough division within our body politic, I have been concerned about those among us who have been “taking a knee,” as well as about those who have not, and even about those, such as our current vice president, who have walked out before the game. It is in light of this situation that I have been grateful to our government, and in particular to the US Postal Service, for issuing a couple of months ago a postage stamp in their “Forever” series commemorating a 19th century American writer, Henry David Thoreau.

Best known for a work called Walden, he also authored some five years earlier (1849) a seminal essay titled “Civil Disobedience,” provoked by his conscientious objection to our war with Mexico which began during his stay at Walden Pond. Like many Americans at the time, he was disturbed that this was a war to increase our territory of cotton production, and thus the institution of slavery and the political power of the states which favored it, so that in his hometown in Concord, Mass. he too “took a knee,” so to speak, by refusing to pay a poll tax in support of his government and thus the war. He was jailed for this disobedience, though his time was cut short since an unknown citizen paid his fine for him. If anecdotal history is correct, his benefactor may have been his friend and fellow author Ralph Waldo Emerson. Beholding Thoreau behind jail bars, he could not help asking, “Henry, what are you doing in there?” To which Thoreau calmly replied, “The question is, Waldo, what are you doing out there?” His answer was a paraphrase for one of the essay’s most enduring thoughts: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the place for a just man is in prison.”

The sentence embodies the essence of the doctrine of passive resistance, a doctrine which has inspired some noteworthy changes in civilization. Mahatma Gandhi, for instance, read both Thoreau and Tolstoy while imprisoned in South Africa, and subsequently led India to its independence, convinced that passive resistance, which he called “soul force,” was the strongest power on Earth. Closer to home, there was Martin Luther King, who also spent some time in Birmingham Jail, but who was also a consistent opponent of violence as he led the campaign for Civil Rights in America, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Closer yet, we have the example of a quarterback named Kaepernick, inspired in turn by Dr. King, and all of his NFL followers, plus some conscientious Lobos, who have “taken a knee” to call attention to injustice in preference to letting it pass. Count me in, for I admire them all, clear back to Thoreau. And yes, I must again express my gratitude to the US Postal Service for remembering Henry David Thoreau, with what seems uncanny foresight, with the “Forever” stamp which I will use to mail this letter.

Joe M. Ferguson

Albuquerque

Make the Runoff Count

Dear Alibi,

I'm a week behind in my Weekly Alibi reading; I'm only now on the Oct. 5-11 issue. I found your article, titled "In the Afterglow: Nov. 14 runoff almost certain," to be informative and helpful. Since I'm reading it more than a week after the municipal election, we all know who are the contenders in the mayoral runoff—Tim Keller and Dan Lewis. And, yes! I so concur with you—we, the residents of Duke City, must make the runoff count! Indeed, "… an important cultural decision looms for Albuquerque's citizens." Monstrous, maniacal—did I actually come upon those two adjectives describing a certain narcissist? Not bad, August, not bad at all!

Again, though reading this post election, your sharing where Keller, Colón, and Lewis stand on Santolina prodded me to do what I've been wanting to do for some time—to learn more about this proposed mega-development that lies on the outskirts of Albuquerque.

My search led me to an interesting article by The Guardian, titled, “Why does Barclays want to build a city in the middle of the New Mexico desert?” Among the grave concerns of many is that "it will suck up desperately needed water amid warnings of a future megadrought." This article is well worth reading!

Peggy Jugmahansingh

Albuquerque

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