"Genesis of a Social Divide" (July 22) and "The Evolution of a Creationist" (Aug. 1) argued "biblical" vs. "scientific" views of the origins and age of the universe and of life. To some that remains a vital discussion. As one of the writers said, "There are very smart people on both sides of the issue."
But to others, this debate seems ever more misguided and tiresome.
Surely the science-bible question is proxy for another: whether our lives and history and the universe itself are set in a framework of morality and meaning -- or not. Does such a framework even exist? If so, how can we explore its nature?
Good science and good Bible study -- good philosophy and good religion of all sorts -- have much to contribute to that exploration. But arguments about whether there really was a great flood and how long ago the dinosaurs lived contribute almost nothing.
Would that op-ed writers would help us get on with the real discussion.
ANTHONY MORLEY, MINNEAPOLIS
• • •
In "The Evolution of a Creationist," Dr. Ross S. Olson rattles off several creationist hobbyhorses, none of which have any support in peer-reviewed scientific literature. As the late Christopher Hitchens said, that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
But I suspect that Dr. Olson, fortunately, has not actually rejected the principle that is the foundation of the biological sciences. Does he prescribe antibiotics judiciously? I hope so -- but if he really doubts evolution by natural selection, why worry about selecting for antibiotic resistance?
I assume that, as a physician, Olson keeps current on medical journals. Does he disregard any findings from research involving animal models? Creationists hold that living organisms bear no particular relationship to each other, so they would have no reason to think we could learn anything about human biology this way.
ANDREW LYMAN-BUTTLER, MINNEAPOLIS
* * *
The July 31 article "For-profit colleges blasted for dropouts" highlighted some aspects of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's report on private-sector education, but it also left out some important details as it relates to Capella University. As the president of Minneapolis-based Capella, I think it's important to add some context.
Harkin's report said that students attending Capella's graduate programs fared well in key metrics such as completion rates and loan repayment. What the article did not point out is that more than 80 percent of the students we serve are in our graduate programs. The report also praised our recruiting practices and student support. Additionally, the data from the report are several years old and do not reflect the innovative advances we have made over the last two years.
The recent release of Gainful Employment data by the Department of Education also showed that Capella had some of the best, and in many cases the absolute best, ratings for earnings of graduates by program and loan-repayment rates. Clearly, our graduates are able to realize a strong return on their investment.
The employees and faculty at Capella deliver extremely well on our mission of providing high-quality, fully credentialed education to working adults who otherwise may lack adequate access. Evidence of this dedication was displayed in Minneapolis last weekend when more than 800 graduates and their families from around the country celebrated their accomplishment at our summer commencement.
SCOTT KINNEY; PRESIDENT, CAPELLA UNIVERSITY
* * *
The July 30 article "Bridge safety still lacks urgency" accurately described the political challenges that federal and state lawmakers face in funding critical bridge and transportation infrastructure. It is true that more fuel-efficient cars on the road are contributing to the Highway Trust Fund running out of money.
However, there are many ways to collect a new user fee based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) without invading privacy. And rural drivers could actually fare better under a VMT fee than they do under the gas tax. Rural drivers are already paying more per mile under the gas tax, since cars and light trucks owned by rural residents typically use more gas per mile than the vehicles owned by their urban counterparts.
LEE MUNNICH, MINNEAPOLIS
* * *
The July 30 article about Milton Friedman ("A man of intellectual stature") said a lot when it quoted Friedman as saying about the war on drugs: "The government has no more right to tell me what goes into my mouth than it has to tell me what comes out of my mouth."
Contrast the speed and zeal with which our elected representatives have attacked the synthetic-drug issue, responsible for 20 some deaths a year, with the deafening silence following the Colorado tragedy and the gun issue, entailing more than 100 shootings a day.
KEVIN KIELY, CHAMPLIN
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.