Kudos to the Flyer and Jackson Baker for his succinct and invaluable guide to the upcoming election ("A Sleeper Election?," July 31st issue). There are many of us who rely on your publication and Baker for our political "fix." Thanks for what you do.
Regarding Charles Gillihan's letter (July 31st issue): Gillihan is trying to distance himself and the intelligent-design movement away from its predecessor "creation science." The lecture delivered by Barbara Forrest ("Q&A with Barbara Forrest," July 24th issue) was not to "offer the alternatives." That was not her job. Her job was to show in court during the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board trial (and later to her lecture audience) that intelligent design evolved from creationism.
She showed convincingly that intelligent design is creationism and thus religious. By doing so, "intelligent-design creationism" was judged unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment as a subject to be taught in public school science class.
I suggest Gillihan read the trial transcript at creationismstrojanhorse.com.
Chris Stahl, Director
Memphis Freethought Alliance
Those in the Discovery Institute and the intelligent-design/creationism movement use code phrases such as "logical analysis," "critical thinking," and so forth. Another common one is "teach the controversy." The irony of those code phrases is that the intelligent-design creationists often do exactly the opposite.
Intelligent-design creationists rarely apply critical thinking, logical analysis, or teach the controversy strategies to ideas about creationism or the Bible (specifically the Book of Genesis). Controversy is rampant in the creationism camp: "young-Earth creationists" argue with "old-Earth creationists." "Gap creationists" contend that God created and then annihilated man and later annihilated all of humanity except two people. By contrast, many biblical scholars believe that the creation story in Genesis is actually the splicing together of more than one Jewish creation story with varying chronologies.
The point is that there is a lot of debate amongst the Christian communities about the creation story. Intelligent-design creationists instead focus on an imaginary controversy among scientists over the theory of evolution. They also conveniently ignore the fact that a significant number of Christians embrace the scientific theory of evolution.
Gillihan's assertion that there are non-creationists who believe in intelligent design is absurd. If anyone takes the time to follow the careers of these people, they were all associated with some sort of fundamentalist religious organization before they got into intelligent design.
Gillihan wrote: "There are many non-creationists who hold to intelligent design." This is not so. Creationism is intelligent design. Barbara Forrest did an excellent job during the trial of proving conclusively that in all documentation over the last 10 years, the phrase "intelligent design" has been substituted for "creationism."
Why? Because the Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism as science is unconstitutional. This is absolutely clearcut. Creationism equals intelligent design equals religious instruction.
Regarding Bruce VanWyngarden's recent 4th of July fireworks Editor's Note (July 10th issue) and subsequent letters to the editor: There has been serious congestion and gridlock downtown during and immediately after any large public event in the last 25 years or so. And for the last several years, anytime between the hours of, say, 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays, the same problem exists, which is why "no cruise" areas were initiated.
Our family chose to view the fireworks from the top of one of the multi-tenant buildings in the central business district. Afterward, we rode down the elevator to our condo and then walked to dinner, just off South Main. Rather than moving to Germantown, I say support downtown Memphis. Buy a condo!
J. Tucker Beck
Editor's Note: In last week's Politics column, the following names should have been spelled: Phil Trenary, Jim McGehee, and Michael Floyd.