Yeah, it's just a theory, but so is electricity
I was at a legislative meeting considering the Next Generation Science Standards. One of the legislators expressed concern that the standards taught evolution as "fact" rather than "theory."
The legislator is correct: Evolution is a theory. However, we scientists use the word theory in a way unfamiliar to the general public.
A theory is not a guess, a supposition or a hypothesis. A scientific theory is a set of concepts that provide an explanation of how some aspect of our world works. Theoretical concepts have been thoroughly tested and found to explain a wide range of observations.
No one doubts the existence of electricity, yet our understanding of this phenomenon is based on the theory of electromagnetism. No one has ever seen an electron, yet because of its explanatory power, we accept the theory of atomic structure. No one doubts that germs exist, our understanding of which is grounded in the germ theory. So scientific theories are important compilations of scientific knowledge.
Yes, evolution is a theory. This theory is so useful to us biologists — and it is so well supported by many decades of research — that I cannot imagine the science of biology without it.
There is no scientific alternative to the theory of evolution. Thus, in order to provide our children a 21st-century education, we are obliged to teach it as the only scientific theory that attempts to explain the diversity of living organisms.
Just the facts
Ponder these facts.
Which political party threatened to shut down our government the past four years? Republican.
Which political party voted against jobs programs when millions are out of work? Republican.
Which political party wanted to privatize Veterans Affairs hospitals when many veterans suffer? Republican.
Which political party wanted to turn Medicare into a voucher program? Republican!
Which political party wanted to raise the eligibility age and privatize Social Security? Republican!
Who pushed the bill for bailing out Wall Street? G.W. Bush and the Republicans.
Which political party didn't care if the auto industry went bankrupt? Republican.
Which political party opposes equality and voting rights for our people? Republican.
Which political party focuses on supporting the rich and powerful? Republican.
Which party weakens our public schools and teacher retirement programs? Republican.
Which party doesn't care if millions of children have no health care insurance? Republican.
As Dragnet's famous detective Joe Friday often said, "just give me the facts."
Bob Terrell Sr.
Spread poor around
Well, like Mayor Jim Gray I think it's better to have the poor street people spread all over town than have one spot for them.
Keep up the good work, mayor.
Ronald T. Winkler
Message for Barr
My phone battery finally ran out while waiting to ask Rep. Andy Barr a question on an open-air phone conversation he conducted. I sincerely hope that it was an open request for constituent opinions. This is what I did not get to say to my representative:
I am also your constituent, and I believe it is immoral for a faction to hold the government hostage over a health program that was approved by all three branches of the government of the United States.
It is the Republicans in Congress who put our nation in a very dangerous predicament. They imposed this pain on the people. It was the Republicans in Congress who set up these barriers.
James Madison wrote in The Federalist Paper No. 10: "By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."
Barr was part of the faction that would shut down our government and threaten to not increase the debt ceiling so we can begin to work on our debts more sanely, all because they didn't get their way. He stated on his program that the president's stand was "immoral."
Then what word would he give to the stance of his faction?
Rose F. Arnold
Kentucky is a corrupt state.
In 2008, Kentucky ranked sixth out of 50 for corruption in state, county and local governments.
You can check this out by going to Cmrji.com/TheMostCorruptStates.html.
Adam Edelen, the Kentucky state auditor, has requested a summit to address corruption in Northern Kentucky. But he should conduct investigations in all of the counties in Kentucky, especially cases involving the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and eminent-domain condemnations.
Landowners have been offered ridiculously low prices for their land and then forced to hire lawyers and go to court to stop the state from giving them an unfair market value for their land.
I can speak firsthand as I am a victim of the state of the Transportation Cabinet.
Please speak out if this has happened to you.
Betty Hagan Dobson
Limit all terms
It should be obvious to even the most casual observer of American politics that the only way to correct the mess in Washington, D.C., is to have term limits for everyone, including the Supreme Court.
In the United States there is no reason for anyone to be appointed to a job for life; one seven-year term is sufficient.
When a president is elected he/she spends the last two years of the first term running for a second term, therefore one six-year term is sufficient.
The Senate should be limited to three four-year terms and the House to three three-year terms.
Next, members of Congress should not be allowed to exempt themselves from any laws they enact.
The salaries of the three branches of government should be determined by an independent panel of wage and labor experts, and not left to the Congress to pay themselves.
We also need to have our states more fairly represented in the Senate. Because of their small size, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine should be combined into one state named New England.
Then New Jersey should be merged with Pennsylvania, and Delaware and Maryland should be merged with Virginia; this would eliminate 16 unneeded senators, and give the rest of the states more accurate voting representation.
I realize that a constitutional amendment is needed for this plan to work, but I believe the American taxpayers are fed up with our current system and such an amendment is possible.