4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 7, 2005
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JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
- Patriarch Gregoire IlI Laham, address-
ing the Roman Catholic Church's shortage of
priests at a gathering of bishops in Rome this
week, as reported yesterday by nytimes.com.
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The GOP and the oppressed majority
JESSE SINGAL TEM TE -'IDE
C o n s er v a ti v e million other elitist groups, each more loath- It's hard to believe that the GOP is concerned
Coming Out some than the last. with fair, healthy dialogue. Not when their top
Day has come It's a masterful strategy to portray these leaders and officials have such a habit of mak-
and gone, and has groups as powerful cabals that enjoy great ing ridiculous, divisive statements. Sen. Rick
left in its wake much power and are wholly disconnected from the Santorum (R-Penn.), the third-ranking Repub-
controversy. It was an America the GOP cares about. It's also com- lican senator, had this to say about Boston's
overblown, unneces- pletely ludicrous. Look at Washington - do Catholic priest sex abuse scandal: "While it is
sary event, but we liberals or Darwinists or intellectuals run the no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that
should acknowledge country? It couldn't be further from the truth. Boston, a seat of academic, political and cul-
that conservatives are But that doesn't matter, because it's a compel- tural liberalism in America, lies at the center
sometimes shouted ling story, and it suits the needs of its author. of the storm." (Good point, Rick.) And Rove
down on this campus and that "Republican" is Because as long as the average American opined that "Liberals saw the savagery of the
a dirty word in some circles. Liberals and con- truly believes that the country is run by, say, 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments
servatives alike certainly have a lot of progress gay-liberal-socialist-college-professor-Dar- and offer therapy and understanding for our
to make in the name of reasonable dialogue. winist journalists, it will be such figures attackers" - a particularly galling comment
That being said, a much more interesting issue - not the people who actually control the given that Manhattan, the epicenter of Sept. 11,
emerges when we take a look at Conservative country - who will bear the brunt of any is one of the most liberal places in the country.
Coming Out Day in the context of the Republi- anger or feelings of resentment. Karl Rove It's not as though I'm pulling ridiculous Ann
cans' larger faux-populist strategy. knows this better than anyone. The issue of Coulter quotes and unfairly applying them to
Republicans press the campus liberalism gay marriage wasn't on so many state bal- the whole GOP; rather, I'm letting the party
issue because it fits into their grander strat- lots in 2004 because of some sort of populist speak for itself.
egy. The GOP, the varsity political squad to movement in favor of family values; rather, it So let's not lose ourselves in all this smoke
the Democrats' freshman "B" team, has cre- was there to remind the voters that gay people and noise. Intellectuals aren't threatening this
ated, refined and mastered the idea of the don't understand them, can't be trusted and country. Nor are Darwinists, gays or journal-
"oppressed majority." The oppressed major- are a force to be reckoned with. ists. It's in the GOP's interest that simmering
ity consists of solid, everyday Americans Conservative Coming Out Day was just anger toward such groups exists, and colleges
- Americans with American ideals. Said another vehicle through which the GOP could are particularly apt targets. Do we have some
Americans are then immediately put on the pontificate about the oppressed majority. work to do when it comes to listening to each
defensive by "elitists." Elitists, in short, don't Universities are excellent targets thanks to other respectfully? Of course. But we can
understand the average, "real" American, as preexisting feelings about "ivory tower" pro- acknowledge this fact and at the same time
they are too busy pursuing an agenda anti- fessors, issues relating to class and the anti- understand that Conservative Coming Out
thetical to the beliefs of such Americans. And intellectual currents that run through most of Day does not reflect a genuine desire for open,
here's where the fun begins, because the GOP the country. The message is this: College stu- thoughtful dialogue on the part of the GOP.
has found no shortage of elitist straw men to dents and professors are so out of touch with It's simply another element of their sophisti-
pummel - it has truly advanced in its tactics real Americans (the oppressed majority), are cated, effective political agenda - an agenda
since the days of the "welfare queen." The so damn stuck up and close minded and lack- light years ahead of anything the Democrats
average American, at one point or another, has ing in understanding or compassion, that we have come up with.
been oppressed, humiliated and disenfran- need to organize a day just to let our conser-
chised by loony liberals, diddling Darwinists, vative sons and daughters speak their minds! Singal can be reached at
haughty homos, pretentious professors and a That's how bad things are! email@example.com.
ZACK DENFELD 8-BIT CRITIC
B efore I evoke ous money or make serious change, under- local school boards as their primary battle-
the ire of a standing the tenets of evolution and their grounds is both sad and dangerous. Young
good amount influence on the hard and soft sciences is students taught pseudoscience in a scientific
of the readership, let essential. context will have to relearn critical think-
me make an appeal to That was the soft appeal with lots of fluffy ing skills that allow them to identify science
all those students and stuff for the people who are at the University that utilizes the scientific method from non-
parents who think that to get job training. This is the part that asks science that uses other methods of knowing
the primary reason to proponents of intelligent design to stop wast- in college.
attend a university is to ing space when we talk about science: In the national media, the many ethical,
get a well-paying job We inhabit a University community political and aesthetic debates about the life
when you graduate: that takes academic freedom and rigorous sciences, biotechnology and even disease con-
The 21st century - the biological century debate seriously. In my time at the Univer- trol are being superceded by ridiculous stories
- will require a knowledge base and skill set sity, I have been amazed at the sincere room about presenting a "controversy" to students.
very different than the 20th century. Even the and respect for sharing and listening to the However, this is not a controversy between
most intelligently designed companies will many ways of knowing the world. Howev- competing scientific theories, but rather a sci-
suffer in the highly stochastic global eco- er, if the "way of knowing" dealt with in a entific theory and an untestable claim. Keep in
nomic environment if they take a top-down or classroom or context is science (i.e., using mind that the word "theory" has a particular
rigid approach to organization. On the other the scientific method), the ID marketing definition in science that carries more weight
hand, entrepreneurial, self-organizing groups machine needs to stop wasting its breath than the popular usage of the word.
with bottom-up approaches will continue to and our time by propagating ID as science. Any academic worth his salt wants to hear
find specific niches and evolve survival strate- I have no particular agenda against intel- as many diverse viewpoints, and especially
gies in the face of capital migration and pol- ligent design. From what I have read, it's uncomfortable viewpoints that fall within
icy mutation. a really creative way of synthesizing what the realm of the discussion. If the discussion
Students with a broad understanding of scientists have learned using the scientific is primarily about science, then we need to
ecology, evolutionary biology, complex sys- method and what ecclesiastical individuals talk about how a hypothesis can be tested
tems, nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory have learned using faith and religious texts. and how it relates to the scientific method.
will thrive. Students with skills in evolu- It's a good story. It's just not science. The If it can't fit the criteria of science, it should
tionary algorithms, neural networks and majority of ID advocates rely on fallacious not be presented as such. .
bio-computing will be leaders in the infor- reasoning, and their claims cannot be tested
mation economy. by experiment. Denfeld can be reached at
Bottom line: If you want to make seri- The fact that ID advocates are focusing on firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Go ahead, drink Coke
U' harms its own interest with labor standards
In Wednesday's Daily, the editorial
board contended that the Univer-
sity should move to cut ties with
Coke immediately (Drink Faygo instead,
10/05/2005). While the editorial made
several valid points in regard to how the
review process has been poorly conduct-
ed, these frustrations are futile. Even if
the University does cut its contract with
The Coca-Cola Company, this "solution"
will - as in the case of Nike - be tem-
porary and ineffectual. The University's
Vendor Code of Conduct, while noble, is
inherently toothless and only serves as
an impediment to the University.
Nine months after students initially
aligned in opposition to Coca-Cola, the
University's future with the company is
still in flux and will remain so until May
31, as per a recommendation made by
the University's Dispute Review Board.
The Daily correctly expressed frustra-
tions with both Coke and the DRB on
this matter; however, the role of the
University (not the DRB) was ignored.
In fact, University executives are men-
tioned as the potential saviors who can
make sense of this muddled affair.
Yet, the University - more than Coke
or the DRB - has a reason to extend
deliberation and discussion on this issue:
It has much more to lose. The DRB
already did its job when it conducted its
investigation and validated allegations of
human rights abuses. At the same time,
Coke is coming off a year of record prof-
its and has already faced courts in both
Colombia and India. The prospect of this
third-party audit or losing the Universi-
ty's contract means little to the company.
The University, on the other hand, finds
itself at a crossroads with both its reputa-
tion and financial future at stake.
It has been said: "Coke is the new
Nike." Several years ago, the Univer-
sity ended its contract with Nike - only
to reinstate it shortly afterward. On
Wednesday, the Daily said it would
accept this type of outcome, assuming
labor standards were met. However,
Nike continues to draw criticism from
labor groups. At best, the University cut-
ting its contract with Coke would stand
as a similarly trivial admonishment.
In addition to being historically tooth-
less, the University's Vendor Code of
Conduct sets an impossible and harmful
standard for the University to maintain.
Adhering to the entire code would cre-
ate a situation in which campus labor
groups could hold any business decision
the University wanted to make hostage.
Potentially more damaging is the impact
that a fully enforced code of conduct
would have on the prices that the few
remaining legitimate businesses would
be able to charge the University. This sit-
uation might seem absurd, until consid-
ering how many businesses are currently
under investigation for labor violations.
The University is an institution that
values its credibility and integrity, but its
credibility and integrity will not be dam-
aged by continuing to do business with
Coke. If Coke is found guilty of labor
violations, then Coke, not the University,
should be punished. The University has
responsibilities that can only be accom-
plished through partnerships with quality
businesses that charge reasonable prices.
Forester is an LSA sophomore and an
member ofithe Daily's editorial board. He
can be reached at email@example.com.
APIA community must first
unite itself, then reach out
TO THE DAILY:
A few students have raised concerns that cer-
tain student groups have jumped to conclusions
in condemning the accused after the alleged hate
incident of Sept. 15. This is false. Records show
we have but asked for punishment befitting the
heinous act if the allegations are proven true by
the ongoing investigation. Notwithstanding the
outcome, however, this incident has inspired us to
begin a collective movement against racism, dis-
crimination and the general climate of intolerance.
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already engaged students - both undergraduate
and graduate - in addition to University faculty,
staff and alumni. The problem is that any move-
ment of this nature may seem exclusive because
the fragmented APIA community must first unite
and strengthen itself before expanding its scope to
include the entire University community. Regard-
less, we still encourage everyone to come out,
share their thoughts and help transform diversity
from a frail bureaucratic ideal to something wor-
thy of the Michigan name.
The letter writer is a member of APIA Change.
But I would like to correct an important inac-
curacy in the article: Raoul Wallenberg was seized
by Soviet troops in eastern Hungary not in October
1945, but in January. We marked the 60th anniver-
sary of his disappearance on Jan. 17 of this year.
Today was the 24th anniversary of the sign-
ing, by former President Ronald Reagan in
1981, of my legislation making Raoul Wal-
lenberg an honorary American citizen - the
second person after Sir Winston Churchill to
be so honored by the United States. Just as
Wallenberg gave Swedish Schutzpasse (pro-
tective passports) to Hungarian Jews in an
effort to save their lives, we hoped that hon-
orary American citizenship would give our
onvernment an onnortnnitv to nress the Soviet
"In Dissent" opinions do not reflect the views of the Daily's editorial board. They
are solely the views of the author.
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns,
John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg,
Eric Jackson, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Will Kerridge,
Raiiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Dan Skowronski, Brian Slade,