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September 29, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-29

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 29, 2005

OPINION

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JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
44 I have done
nothing wrong."
- Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who was
forced to relinquish his post as House Major-
ity Leader, after being indicted by a grand
jury in Texas on charges of conspiracy, as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press.

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Intelligent design should not receive equal time
ERIC JACKSON LET'S REVIEW THE FACTS
hen I was a sented in superb balance, with each several-para- worked? I probably shouldn't be.
debater in graph assertion by one side countered with a reply But wait ... isn't this how advances in science
high school, of almost equal length by the other. The result: happen, by weighing alternative explanations
our, rounds were timed To someone uninitiated in the study of evolution, and exploring the validity of new assertions?
very carefully. Each side it would be easy to read that article and feel that Well, yes and no. Of course science is in part
was allotted equal time evolution and ID were on relatively equivalent driven by opposing hypotheses, and many of
to present arguments, footing. the more memorable moments in the history of
cross-examine oppo- I doubt very much, based on the content of col- science are associated with revolutionary find-
nents and prepare evi- umns by both The Times's staff writers and by ings that required the modification or disposal
dence. This balance was guest columnists, that the paper was giving equal of long-established theories.
crucial, as any excess time because it thinks that evolution and ID are But alternative explanations need to have at
would provide the unfair advantage of additional equally valid. Rather, I would guess it is simply try- least one, if not both, of the following two things
chances to persuade or refute. ing to appear unbiased in its coverage, striving for in their favor before they should be taken serious-
High school debate is not alone in its fanaticism the ever-so-noble goal of journalistic balance. ly: They should unify presently disparate theories
with equal time; politicians demand it every elec- But part of what makes science so great is that it and empirical findings OR explain all of what a
tion season and I doubt that Lloyd Carr would sit allows you, even encourages you, to be unbalanced current theory explains and some of the things it
idly by if, on Nov. 19, Ohio State is gifted a few in your treatment of ideas, so long as - here's the cannot. And whichever condition it satisfies, the
extra timeouts. In general, we feel that the right really important part - you have good data to sup- new explanation had better be supported by data
thing to do in any situation involving opposing port your inclinations. The alternative - "unbi- ... good data ... lots of good data.
sides or ideas is to provide both parties equal time ased" consideration of the variety showcased in the Again, using the key example, if the same mys-
to make their case, whether that involves arguing science section of The Times - may ruffle fewer terious locksmith presented me with a key that
or tackling. feathers, especially when the issue is as charged as he claimed would open both my front door and
Ninety-nine times out of 100, I am going to that of evolution versus ID, but at what cost? " my mailbox, I would be tempted to test the key.
agree. But in certain situations, and especially Imagine applying this unbiased consideration If it could indeed do both, then I would be wise
when the period of discussion is limited, equal in your everyday life, with something as simple as to discard my separate door and mailbox keys in
time is not the right thing to do. your keys. I have eight keys on my key chain, each favor of a simple, common key that could do both
Enter the intelligent design "debate" Read- of which performs a very specific task (apartment, equally well.
ers looking for a critique of the finer points of ID mailbox, car ignition, etc.). In time, I have accrued In the same vein, I could be presented with
should track down a copy of Daniel Dennett's evidence about what each key does. Every time I a new key that would purportedly start my car
recent essay on the topic. This is well-worn ter- use this knowledge, say by picking the right key to and - unlike my old car key - did not have the
ritory, and I cannot think of any critique to lodge use in my ignition, I avoid the tedious task of hav- nasty habit of getting stuck in the ignition every
against the specifics of ID that has not already ing to test all eight keys each time I want to drive third time I used it. Again, I would require some
been registered. somewhere. sort of evidence to support the claims surround-
I am more concerned with the broader issue Now let's say that someone comes up to me ing this new key, but if the assertions proved true
of whether or not ID deserves to be covered with one day, gives me a key I have never seen before I would be foolish not to adopt the new, better-
the same depth and attention as evolution. In other and tells me that 1) this new key will start my car functioning key.
words, should ID be given equal time in media and 2) the key that I had previously been using to But at the end of the day, ID accomplishes nei-
coverage? I would argue that in the case of evolu- start my car doesn't actually work. He provides ther of these tasks. It does not unify, it does not
tion versus ID, equal time is a profoundly incor- no or limited evidence to back up his assertion. exceed and to date, it offers no data to the contrary.
rect course of action, as it can lead to the dangerous Should I give equal consideration to both keys the Providing equal time for the discussion of evolu-
assumption that because the two sides receive next time I go to start my car? tion and ID is like thinking equally about open-
equal time that they must, in some way, merit equal Of course not. The only way to equivocate the ing your front door with either your house key or a
consideration. keys, because the new one has no evidence in its sandwich. But at least when the sandwich doesn't
Case-in-point: a recent article in The New favor, is to discard a significant amount of evi- work, you can eat it.
York Times (In Explaining Life's Complexities, dence I already possess about my old car key. And
Darwinists and Doubters Clash, 08/22/2005). The why should I be willing, with scant evidence to the Jackson can be reached at
arguments regarding ID and evolution were pre- contrary, to dismiss all the past times that my key edjacks@umich.edu.
VIEWPOINT
Dividing America
BY JOHN STIGLICH II credentials of their own was a mistake by the groups. Most of the 527 groups represent the polar
Democrats, and ignoring the most important issue extremes of conservative and liberal thought, but
The media and political pundits constantly for Americans in 2002 cost the Democrats their they have many wealthy donors with no donation
remind us that the United States is a divided Senate majority. restrictions and radical rhetoric.
country. I agree, but when did this division begin? A politician without power in Washington America must unite again, and I have a plan to
Who or what is most directly responsible for the is as useful as a screen door on a submarine. bring us together. First, state legislatures should
division? I firmly believe the Democratic Party's Republican control of the executive and leg- follow Iowa's example and allow independent
loss of power following the 2002 midterm elec- islative branches minimized the influence of commissions to redistrict congressional seats.
tions, the consequences of the McCain-Feingold Democrats in federal policy making. White Closely contested districts force candidates to
Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2001 and the House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and adopt moderate policies and moderate rhetoric.
congressional redistricting after the 2000 Census U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) congressional Second, Americans should demand Congress
started the division. redistricting following the 2000 Census assured repeal the McCain-Feingold bill. Congress should
Remember how united our country was in more partisan candidates would win congressio- adopt Gingrich's campaign finance reform plan.
the days and months following Sept. 11? Presi- nal offices. Democrats in states affected by the Gingrich's plan allows officials running for public
dent Bush rose to the occasion with bipartisan seat-allocation changes had a choice: Win fewer office to receive unlimited donations provided the
support and promised the American people seats by larger margins or run contested races campaign update a public webpage every night
worldwide terror would begin to end under in Republican-leaning districts. They chose with the name and amount contributed by each
his command. Bush enjoyed incredibly high the former for security. Conseguently, partisan donor. Finally, the Democratic Party must drop its
approval ratings, and the Democratic Party candidates from districts with little opposition Vietnam-era tone. Develop comprehensive plans
recognized its impending doom. So long as can radicalize their rhetoric and avoid moderate to cure America's ills, not reactionary policies and
national security and foreign policy remained policies. a laundry list of complaints. Inspire optimism in
the highest priority of Americans at the ballot With the passage of the McCain-Feingold bill, the hearts of Americans, not doom-and-gloom
box, Bush and the Republicans would profit. both political parties ran to their fringe bases to pessimism. Americans want choices in the arena
The Democrats' 2002 battleground electoral collect money because individual contributors of ideas, and the Democratic Party's been sitting
strategy focused on domestic issues - tax poli- could no longer donate more than $2,000 to politi- on the sideline for far too long.
cy, Medicare, Social Security, etc. - rather than cal parties. Short of an idea whose time has come,
Bush's push for the Iraq war. Abstaining from money is everything in politics, and the new way Stiglich is a LSA junior and a member of the
establishing national security or foreign policy of indirectly raising that money is through 527 Daily's editorial board.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

40

40

Asian Americans need
more productive activism
To THE DAILY:
My name is Haosi Wu. Wow, that sounds
Asian. But I guess if you assume that I'm
Asian, you must be some sort of racist. Seri-
ously, let's gain some perspective here. There
is no question that certain faculty members

we see Asians intentionally segregating them-
selves. Instead of trying to condemn whites,
let's try to establish a dialogue that is truly
inclusive because at the end of the day, we are
all Americans.
Haosi Wu
LSA junior
Letter writer draws
," ., '1,, ,

understanding, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek cel-
ebration of conservatives on a college campus. I
got a laugh out of reading about it, as I certainly
understand the criticism that they receive stand-
ing opposed to many of the prevailing ideolo-
gies on this campus. There is a parallel to the
experience of those in the LGBT community,
but the contention that the conservative experi-
ence is more arduous than that of any LGBT
individual is ludicrous and insulting.

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns, John Davis,
Whitney Dibo, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Eric Jackson,
Theresa Kennelly, Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Dan Skowronski, Brian

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