Waging a war against ignorance
To the Editor:
I take grave exception to Mary Jean Vicars' March 18 letter and her naive defense of god's existence, putdowns of science and evolution, and belief in biblical inerrancy.
Biblical creationists now hide behind the more intellectually pleasing euphemism of god's "intelligent design." I would argue that it's not so intelligent design. For example, our frontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands too big, our teeth fall out, and the human back is a mess. We have asteroids, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and infectious diseases not to mention other natural disasters. We exist in a closed natural system of laws that rule out supernatural causes and miracles. There is not a shred of evidence that her imaginary god exists.
Like millions of biblical believers and conservatives, she is being lied to by religious leaders, right-wing media and other anti-science extremists. Evolution is not a theory in the sense of a best educated guess. It, like the theory of gravity, is a confirmed explanation of facts.
The writers of the bible believed that the earth was flat and that the sun orbited the earth. In fact, god stopped the sun's orbit so the Israelites had more daylight to slaughter their enemies. Noah stuffed millions of animal species in a giant boat and god allowed Jonah to live in the belly of a great fish.
We can no longer afford to accept propositions without verifiable explanations. Religion, though it has some positive beliefs and practices, is dangerous because it encourages people to think irrationally. Please join me and other freethinkers in the War Against Ignorance. The future of western liberal democracies, our civil liberties and mere existence could be at stake.
Rim Fire blame game continues
To the Editor:
It is puzzling when people who know little about a topic choose to write a letter to the editor. James Mosson recently wrote about the Rim Fire, criticizing the Forest Service for supposedly not allowing significant thinning, logging, or prescribed burning. Mosson claimed that brush and snags "were left in place to placate Mr. Buckley and his obstructionist buddies. Any attempt at reasonable forest management precipitated the threat of litigation, and this hand-tied the USFS."
Mr. Mosson is sadly uninformed. Our non-profit center (CSERC) has supported every logging and fuel reduction project proposed for the Stanislaus Forest for more than a decade. CSERC has repeatedly pressed for more thinning logging, fuel reduction, and prescribed fire treatments. Mr. Mosson needs to get his facts straight.
Second, to blame the USFS for not allowing thinning logging or prescribed burning is equally wrong. Stanislaus Forest staff for years has used the best science and fire behavior information to implement thinning projects. But Congress only provided very limited Forest Service budgets, preventing the USFS from doing more thinning logging. No lawsuit has blocked any Stanislaus Forest logging project.
The extreme fire behaviors of the Rim Fire overwhelmed even the best-thinned logging areas. The fire also consumed SPI tree plantations and clearcuts. Widespread prescribed burns may have reduced some of the devastation, yet local politicians and industry groups have often opposed controlled burns, objecting to smoke. The Rim Fire shows the need to do more of all available fuel treatments.
It is illogical to blame those who have worked hard to implement thinning treatments and prescribed burning. Now is the time to find funding for projects to lessen the fire's damage. Those who are informed will discover that many diverse local interests are working together to support Rim Fire recovery work on an unprecedented scale.
Executive director, Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center