Why stop at one 'theory' of creationism?
Kentucky GOP lawmakers David Givens and Ben Waide complain that college readiness testing developed by ACT Inc. and adopted by the legislature for use in the state overly emphasizes the theory of evolution without providing comparable attention to an alternative theory, creationism. I wholeheartedly agree but must point out that a casual Internet search reveals at least 33 other creation myths (excuse me, theories).
Did you know that, according to the Aztecs, the goddess Coatlicue gave birth to Huitzilopochtli, who subsequently beheaded Coyolxauh qui, the goddess of the moon? It gets complicated here but, basically, humans spawned from the dead remains of the fallen earth mother. To be fair, our science books should cover this theory, as well as the 32 or so other creation theories.
I was also appalled to discover that our publicly funded universities are teaching medical students the theory of biological human reproduction, with no mention of the cabbage patch theory. And our astronomy students are being brainwashed into buying the theory of the heliocentric solar system, with no exposure to flat earth theory. We should demand that our educators teach all these theories in our public educational settings. Or, if that proves impractical, we should teach our elected officials the difference between a scientific theory and a good story.
Don't just take their word
The Herald-Leader does its readers a disservice when it allows an interviewee to use a term or definition that is counter to what the term means.
Such an example occurred with the interview with Sen. David Givens and his comments on the ACT testing of seniors' knowledge of biological evolution when he stated: "We're simply saying to the ACT people we don't want what is a theory to be taught as a fact in such a way it may damage students' ability to do critical thinking."
The term theory as used in science is synonymous (excuse me for the big word — it means "the same as") with the word model. The scientific process uses the practice of observation, conjecture and data-gathering along with experimentation to create an explanation. This explanation or model or theory also provides one other key element in the model that is part of the scientific process — it describes events that would prove the model false. In this usage, theory has nothing to do with conjecture, as the senator implies.
Now, senator, please provide us with a model of creation — a theory, if you will — that provides a method of explanation and testing. Only then will I consider such a complaint as you have to be valid.
The Herald-Leader needs to be a better watchdog of terminology.
Bring on Rastafarians
I join the Kentucky Republicans in their wish to teach creationism, in addition to evolution. I differ on one point; we should not limit the teaching to just creationism and evolution. We should also include the teaching of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This book contains well-founded science on how we came to be and is in equal standing to creationism.
Evolution is just getting too much attention by the sciences.
Working on courthouse
A recent letter to the editor supported the closing of the old courthouse and recommended it be demolished. I feel that someone should respond.
First, the building is temporarily closed due to suspected contamination from old lead paint — all the way back to 1900 — in several areas.
During the past four weeks we have worked with the city to determine the best course of action and will continue to work with the city to solve the problem. There is asbestos in the building, but that only becomes a concern if the building is demolished or renovated.
Secondly, the letter stated that the "structure has no significant architectural value."
I do not know how to address this statement. The courthouse is both a historic and an architectural gem in downtown. Have we not lost enough of the old buildings that made Lexington?
Chairman, Lexington History Museum
Tuition out of hand
Three decades ago our public higher education system provided a quality product readily available to rich and poor alike, to all those blessed with a modicum of talent and a taste for hard work.
In fall 1980, tuition at the University of Kentucky was pegged at $325 per semester, and the federal minimum wage was $3.10 per hour. This meant that, through a combination of summer and part-time jobs, a dedicated student could reasonably expect to graduate debt-free, with modest or even no familial support.
And that is what the financially strapped of that and earlier generations did. They climbed the economic/education ladder on the back of cheap tuition at a time when land-grant institutions actually honored their pledge that public higher education costs would remain within the reach of Americans of average financial means.
Now with UK's 2012 tuition at $4,500 for beginning students, the possibility of doing it yourself is long gone; without a fellowship the only path to graduation is paved with ruinous long-term student loan debt. Little wonder that aspiring students from poor or struggling middle-class families now believe the system is rigged.
Our educators and politicians like to talk about the American Dream, but the policies they impose define a different reality.
Meanwhile, UK and the Kentucky legislature remain locked in an incremental death spiral tending toward the privatization of UK: Every spring the legislature presents an inadequate budget, and UK responds by raising tuition.
Where are the adults? Where is the leadership?
City fails ethnic events
I am disappointed in the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government's advertising and communication regarding African-American and minority cultural events in this area.
Just recently, when attending a function at West Sixth Brewing, my husband and I noticed what appeared to be an outstanding, well-attended festival (with Parks and Recreation signage throughout) that we later learned was called Smith Town. It was explained to us that this is an annual event celebrating African-American heritage, with several others that occur leading up to the Roots & Heritage Festival. We had never heard of this and have lived here since 2004.
I wanted to learn more about these events and therefore searched the Web only to find nothing online advertising or explaining these events. I then noticed that the Roots & Heritage Festival is not even listed under the Special Events page of Lexingtonky.gov. This is a Top 20 event, rated by the Southeast Tourism Society.
Are we not proud of the African-American heritage of Lexington? Where's the promotion of this culture in the community? How do I explain the lack of attention to African-American culture to my three mixed-race (including African-American) children without automatically instilling a feeling of inferiority?
Hoping for answers and asking in peace.