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February 07, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-07

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OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, February 7, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Keep creationism in the pulpit

Vol. XCI, No. 110-

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Minority counseling maze

CONFUSION. That's what most
minority students face when they
come to the University and try to un-
tangle the intricate web of services
available for them.
Minority Student Services. That's the
place where students go to find out all
of these services and talk with coun-
selors from their same ethinc
background - until this year. Last
June, Black Representative Richard
Garland was fired and it is doubtful he
will be replaced on a full-time basis. In
the past week, both the Asian
American and Hispanic represen-
tatives have also left.
Administrators. These are the people
who are supposed to explain what is
going on with MSS - and thus far have
given no straight answers.
Now, more than ever, minority
students need support from the
University. Administrators have
already predicted a decline in the
minority enrollment. And as they try to
cope with the state's financial crisis -
slashing programs to make up for
budget cuts - many of these students'
interests get lost in the shuffle.
No matter what the financial
situation, the goal of the University
still is to educate - not exclude. It is

necessary, therefore, to maintain
programs to ensure quality education
for all students. To lose sight of this
goal, is to ignore the committment of
higher education.
The University now has a plethora of
services for minority students. In fact,
Vice President for Student Services
Henry Johnson said one reason a full-
time replacement for Garland has not
been sought is there are already many
programs on campus for blacks..
But a myriad of services is not the
answer. The University needs a cen-
tralized service for minority coun-
seling.
Administrators themselves have
long admitted the need for such an ap-
proach. Last year, University
President Harold Shapiro said the
University must put more effort into
"The broad spectrum" to come up with
these services. The University's tight
financial situation underscores even
more the need for this kind of efficient
centralized service.
Perhaps MSS as it now stands is not
the right way to approach this dilem-
ma. But administrators must come up
with some answers to these problems
and meet minority students' needs
rather than give the students the run
around they are getting now.

This article was written in response to a
story about scientific creationists that ap-
peared in the February S edition of the
Daily. Creationists reject Darwin's theory
of evolution in favor of the biblical ver-
sion of Genesis, and many would like to
see both theories taught in the public
schools.
* * *
By Robert Voss
"Extinguished theologians lie about the
cradle of every science as the strangled
snakes beside that of Hercules. "
-T. H. Huxley
Alas! that Darwin's snakes were only scot-
ched; regarbed, molted as it were, in the
white shoes and leisure suits of sunbelt
theology, Bishop Wilberforce and his whole
entourage clamour again at the gates of the
educational system to plead their civil rights.
Heaven forbid that they should be dismissed
without due process back to their pulpits and
sundecks. The remarkable attention devoted
inThursday's edition of The Michigan Daily to
Mr. Wilbert Rusch and his interesting views
on God vs. Natural Selectionkmay reasonably
be attributed to the lack of any more
newsworthy subject material (runner-up for
feature article would probably have led off
from the cute bit about lion contraceptives at
the bottom of the page). But, the considerable
press attention recently accorded creationist
arguments of almost equal speciousness
would seem to merit some kind of response if
the groves of Academe are to be disem-
barrassed,bhowever temporarily, of the
ophidian rabble.
Creationists, to the extent that they indulge
in rationalism, usually organize their
arguments rather as Mr. Rusch does:
1) Evolution is a theory, and because it is
not proved, other theories should be given
equal time.
2) Darwin's theory is tautological, and is
therefore uninformative.
3) An acceptable moral order is incom-

patible with evolution by Natural Selection.
These points may be taken in turn.
1) Evolution is a theory, and because it
is not proved, other
theories-creationism-should be given
equal time. Well, "evolution has occured" is
a theory to about the same extent as "the ear-
th is round, not flat"; the "theory" that most
biologists talk about is Darwin's hypothesis
that evolution is due to .the differential
reproduction of individuals with different
genetic constitutions (that is, to Natural
Selection).
Nevertheless, accepting the truth of Mr.
Rusch's assertion that evolution is not proved
(just for the record, nothing outside of a self-
contained metaphysical system can ever be
"proved"), what is to be gained by presenting
creationism as a legitimate alternative? But
even claiming that the creationist position is a
scientific one is disingenuous at best. Science
minimally demands of its hypothesis and con-
jectures that they be vulnerable to rejection
on the basis of failure to correspond with
predicted observations.
An hypothesis which states (in essence)
that "a Diety created the universe very much
as it is now" is not even potentially vulnerable
to rejection on the basis of empirical obser-
vation. It is not a scientific statement.
Thus, the educational question is not
whether, by admitting creationism to the
curriculum, an alternative scientific
hypothesis is to be given equal time, but
rather whether theology is to be taught in a
science class. That Mr. Rusch has a biology
degree in no way validates the scientific
status of his reactionary cosmology.
*2) Darwin 's theory is tautological and
therefore uninformative. Mr. Rusch is only
the most recent and least pithy of a long line
of confused, pseudo-scientific commentators
on the theory of evolution by Natural $elec-
tion. Those who would argue the tautological
status of Darwin's ideas usually put in
something like this: "Evolution is the sur-
vival of the fittest; the fittest are those who
survive; therefore, evolution is the survival of
the survivors."
This pueriler restatement of a powerful and
predictive hypothesis about evolutionary
change is akin to summarizing Einstein's
contribution to modern physics with

"Everything's relative." The problem is that
The Origin of Species is written in common
English that almost anybody is intellectually
capable of misunderstanding.
No one gives serious attention to the
sidewalk eccentric who claims that Heisen-
berg's Uncertainty Principle
(mathematically inaccessible to the average
citizen) proves the existence of Free Will. But
equally vacuous renderings of Darwin's
theory are given serious credence by-
academics who would know better were they -
concerned enough to ask any reasonable in-
telligent biology major.
And, if information content is to be the-
criterion by which we accept or reject our
theories, I can imagine no less informative a
statement than: "The universe is the way it is
because God made it that way."
3) An acceptable moral order is incom-.
patible with the acceptance of evolution
by Natural Selection. That a Judeo-
Christian ethic is incompatible with an in-
tellectual acceptance of evolution by Natural.
Selection has the twin disadvantages, to Mr.
Rusch and his ilk, of being at once irrelevant
and incorrect.
Irrelevant because we are not entitled to
accept or reject hypotheses merely because
their consequences seem pleasant or un-
pleasant to us. Incorrect because Darwinian
theory does not speak to the topics of ethics or
moral order, however much some misguided
evolutionary zealots have so attempted to ex-
trapolate it over the years.
Because'man evolved from beasts (to use
Mr. Rusch's words) no more entitles him to
act like one than any number of master's
degrees in science entitle a collegium of bible
scholars to inflict upon the science programs
of our public school systems the burden of
their metaphysical prejudice.
Ever since that famous afternoon in Oxford
over a century ago, baiting the creationists
has been rather like teasing toothless
bears-amusing, but not : sufficiently
challenging to engage our serious attention.
What with Mr. Rusch, the Moral Majority,
and similar groups on the rise, however, there
is again good prospect of blood sport. Ought0
we not to sharpen our claws and beaks in
readiness?

Radock: Ajob well done

A REACAN ADVISE.R SAYS
RUNNING TW 'OVERNwMENT 15 LIKE
RUNNING GENERAL MOTORG!f

11 77.7 . 77-7 - -

11

CABINET 5ECRETARIE5 WILL BE UKE
134& PRESIDENT5 OF CHAEVROLE.T
AND PONTIAC ?,,

HE UNIVERSITY may find it
difficult to find an equally
qualified replacement for University
Vice-President for University
Relations and Development Micheal
Radock, who has announced his partial
retirement.
During Radock's 20-year tenure
here, the University has made great
bounds forward in public relations and
fund-raising,'both'of which the 63-year-
old vice-president is responsiblefor.
Since he came to the University in
1961, Radock has raised more than $400
million from corporations, alumni, and
other individuals. Although the
University has always enjoyed better-
than-average financial support from
alumni, during Radock's tenure as
vice-president that support has grown
dramatically.
It will be especially painful to see a

man as competent as Radock step
down just as the University may need
him the most - during the state's
current financial crisis.
Yet, Radock's co-workers will miss
more than simply Radock's competen-
ce and abilities, they will miss his
amiable personality. Radock's
colleagues have commented
repeatedly on the vice-president's con-
tributions to both the University and
the working atmosphere of the office.
Fortunately, however, Radock will
continue to work at the University as a
professor of communications, and will
continue to advise the administration
in fund-raising. Although students will
be able to look forward to the oppor-
tunity of learning from Radock in
class, the University administration
will undoubtedly sorely miss his ex-
pertise on a daily basis.

WH4AT DODS
ThAT MEAN ?
Q THE M1 ILSAKE JOE SNAL 126k

Low MILEAGE, LOUSY SERVICE
AND FREQUENT RECALLS.

0

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
A dubious 'National Guard Heritage

To the Daily:
A very strange exhibit has
made an appearance on the
bulletin boards near the Sight and
Sound Center on the second floor
of the UGLI. The exhibit consists
of 17 small color posters entitled
"The National Guard Heritage."
Nine of the cards describe the
military exploits of former
presidents who served in the
National Guard, and the others
explain what might be termed

"great moments in National
Guard history." It sounds har-
mless, but upon closer inspection
these posters reveal such a
positive attitude toward the
military that is almost humorous.
On one poster, titled "The
Mississippi Rifles: Buena Vista,
Mexico, February 23, 1847," we,
find the following description:
"Fighting in the open on a dusty
mountainside in a foreign land a
thousand miles from home,

facing an enemy many times its
own strength, the Mississippi
Rifles, commanded by Colonel
Jefferson Davis, displayed a
rock-like defense against a Mex-
ican attack in response to the
command, 'Stand Fast,
Mississippians!' "
Rock-like defense? Is this the Pit-
tsburgh Steelers we're talking
about? And what in the world was
the Mississippi National Guard
doing in Buena Vista, Mexico?
Alas, our poster does not tell us.
Another poster informs us that
the 1961 mobilization of over
65,000 officers of the Army and
the "combat-ready" Air National
Guard "represented the greatest
display of National Guard
readiness ever." Good! Too bad
they didn't get to display just how
combat-ready they were!
Besides glorifying the military,

the exhibit also 'addresses us
university students as second-
graders in the process. One card
tells us the following: "Young
Abraham Lincoln joined a volun-
teer company and was elected
captain. He said later that he had
no success in life which gave
him so much satisfaction as his
experience with the Illinois
Militia." Come on now! Is this a
joke? Publicity for Laugh Track,
perhaps? I sure hope so. Of cour-
se pro-military feelings are on .
the rise in this country. But does
that mean that the UGLI has to
lead the way?
I kept looking for a poster en-
titled "Glory at Kent State!" but
I couldn't find one. Doesn't that.
qualify for a place in "The
National Guard Heritage?"
-Gregg Wolper
February 4

Dept. cut short-sighted

f"

I

ti
i! U D 1
l rs .3tT 14 -
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{ 4

To the Daily :
The manner in which the
University's Geography Depar-
tment has been designated for
possible elimination, without its
members having received ad-
vance notice, seems a grievous
error, but hopefully a procedural
one that will not be repeated in
future cases.
Far worse, however, the
targeting of Geography for this
purpose appears to me to be in-
tellectually and symbolically ill-
advised and short-sighted. The
first unit within LSA to be con-
sidered for termination is one
that in its regular practice con-
cerns itself with the following
subjects: man's relationship to
the earth and his increasing im-
pact upon the environment
(course numbers 101, 456); the
physical and demographic
development of North America

areas of vital contemporary con-
cern and of fundamental impor-
tance for the development of a
coherent future. At a time when
we face such issues as the
growing cultural /economic
division between the northern
and southern hemispheres; the
problematic relationship bet-
ween the plight of an aging urban
America and the exhuberant
demands of an expanding sun-
belt; the growing scarcity of food
and mineral resources and the
consequent need to rethink the
ways in which human beings
utilize the earth; indeed, in a
period of resurgent anti-en-
vironmentalism, the loss of
knowledge and awareness that
would accompany the disap-
pearance of the Geography
Department is a concern of the
greatest dimension.
Geography implies a global
reach that we cannot abandon if

A cheap shot at MSA

!I .t s
i
J -

To the Daily:
It struck me that the purpose of
the today item on the letter from
the Michigan Student Assembly
to Vice President B. E. Frye
which misdesignated him as
Dean of LSA was to ridicule MSA.
Your comments might more
usefully have been directed to the
substance of the letter.
In passing, may I remark that
in a story appearing January 30
in the Daily,. your reporter
designated one "Al Stewart" as
"head of the scheduling depar-

fact, director of scheduling for
the University. It is not sur-
prising that your reporter could
not verify the title in the Univer-
sity Director, because to do so
she would have had to look up
Alfred Stuart. You may remem-
ber also your editorial on Joe
Lewis Arena which concerned
construction of an edifice to
honor the boxing great, Joe
Louis.
In sum, I was surprised at your
pettiness.
-Olivia Birdsall

I

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