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June 16, 2008 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-06-16

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Monday, June 16, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com N~5

So I caught a speling mistake Y p Yhe swlhe oe there
on the Fox News Channers are apparently ignorant Ofthe
news ticker the other day. orrect usage ofthe posses- Hey!St that!
-sure and plura orms of Lie
. You donssa, ward "clcr. O dOnt i i _ y o i
+> d dontsay *O

Creating science

How to replace a legend

Friday, the field of jour-
nalism lost a beloved
colleague. Tim Russert,
arguably one of
the most prom-
inent pundits of
our generation,
passed away.
And while some
people might
not have been
able to produce KATE
his name off TRUESDELL
the top of their
head, anyone
who was ever forced by their sev-
enth grade civics teacher to tune
in Sunday morning would recog-
nize the legendary face of "Meet
the Press."
Over the weekend, journalists,
political heavyweights, family
and friends appeared in droves to
pay tribute. Russert had a ster-
ling reputation. And while I didn't
know him personally, on prin-
ciple there's a lot to be said for a
man who can garner equally kind
words from both Walter Cronkite
and Bill O'Reilly.
Russert's passing was untimely
and tragic. But he was Irish Catho-
lic, a culture that embraces the tra-
dition of the wake, emphasizing
the celebration of life over mourn-
ing death. So although his passing
is recent, it is in that spirit that I
look forward to the future of the
legendary program that has long
served as an oratory battleground,
and humbly offer up my short list
of who I'd like to see taking politi-
cians to task over my Sunday bowl
of Cheerios:
" Ralph Nader - I'm going to
invoke my psychic powers and
Elise Baun,

predict that the Nadonater won't
be clinching the presidential title
this November, which is good
news because it means his sched-
ule is wide open. The notorious
consumer advocate who once
called hot dogs "missiles of death"
evokes Russert's ability to ask the
hard-hitting questions and love of
curling up with a good research
report. Pluses: It might distract
him from perpetually running for
president, which has gotten him in
hot water with seemingly every-
one. Minuses: He doesn't quite
possess the same sunny - or even
partly cloudy - disposition as his
predecessor, which could be an
early-morning downer.
* Jon Stewart - The man who
gave old-school news a refresh-
ingly sardonic spin is a shoe-in. In
addition to bringing new blood to a
program that's a stand-by classic,
his unapologetic and unrelenting
criticism of blatant stupidity and
hypocrisy on the Hill would make
Tim proud. Pluses: He has the
potential to give younger viewers
a reason to get up before noon on a
weekend. Minuses: He already has
a full-time job. And he's probably a
little too cool to be seriously con-
sidered for the position anyway.
0 Bill O'Reilly - Couldn't
resist. The man who has come
to emblematize the journalistic
integrity and factual accuracy of
his station affiliate, Fox News,
should need no further introduc-
tion. Pluses: He brings to the table
a bevy of options for therapeutic
alcohol-based games to ease post-
Saturday-night heavy-headedness.
Drink every time he says some-
thing inflammatory or loses his

temper. Minuses: None. Except
that he's an idiot.
* Christiane Amanpour - A Pea-
body award-winner and long-time
international correspondent for
CNN, she mirrors - and perhaps
exceeds - Russert's stellar jour-
nalistic credentials. Pluses: She
speaks fluent Farsi and could bet-
ter represent the female voice. And
she appeared on "Gilmore Girls."
Minuses: Her specialty is world
issues rather than domestic poli-
tics. Plus, after Kuwait, taping in
the studio might seem a bit tame.
This list is far from comprehen-
sive. Honorable mentions go out
to Anderson Cooper for generally
dreaminess and Darrell Hammond
for his spot-on impressions and
cherubesque stature that so closely
mimics the real legend.
My short list of
who should fill
Russert's shoes.
I know Russert's passing is
recent, but this list is made in good
fun and not intended to be irrev-
erent. Which I think he would
appreciate - after all, he was a man
known for his amiability. But in all
seriousness, Russert leaves behind
an admirable legacy and some pret-
ty big shoes to fill.
Kate Truesdell is the summer
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at ketrue@umich.edu.

Until recently, I liked to
think that the issue of
creationism in, public
schools was
a lost cause.
Several years
had passed -
since the
design" deba-
cle brought up -
specters of the HARUN
Scopes Mon- BULJINA
key Trial of
1925, and the
rabid opponents of evolutionary
theory seemed to have finally been
vanquished. I assumed that so-
called "creation science" had once
and for all been confined to those
darkest and most backward nether
regions of the country where it had
always belonged.
Enter Texas. This summer Tex-
as's state education board is sched-
uled to determine the curriculum
for the next decade, and the most
.contentious issue will once again
be evolution. This time around,
creationism comes under the
guise of teaching the "strengths
and weaknesses" of evolution,
three words that would have
students taught criticism of the
theory. Although such language
might seem harmless to some, it is
being pushed by many of the same
people who spawned intelligent
design - the notion that an intel-
ligent creator had designed the
universe. Already, the infamous
Discovery Institute - the Seattle-
based think tank at the heart of
that intelligent design dispute -
has helped inspire "strengths and
weaknesses" legislation in states
such as Louisiana and Florida.
Now it appears that our own
great state has jumped on this
bandwagon to the 19th century.
A small pack of Republican law-
makers (and one awkward Demo-
crat) have introduced legislation
in both chambers of the Michigan
Congress that would allow "alter-
native views" of evolution, global
warming and other "contentious"
scientific topics to be covered in
school. As Sen. Bill Hardiman (R-
.Grand Rapids) adamantly main-
tains, the bills wouldn't favor any
secular or religious perspective.
They would simply teach students
critical thinking skills and encour-
age discussion. Hey, it sounds fair
and balanced, right?
Lest we forget, there isany num-
ber of reasons why this proposal
plunges into the depths of idiocy.
For one, our science classes already
encourage critical thinking with-

out elevating fringe opinions to a
podium equal with the scientific
mainstream. But more seriously,
this "strengths and weaknesses"
strategy is another attempt by the
religious right to subvert our edu-
cation system on issueswith which
it doesn't personally agree. Other-
wise, why don't fundamentalists
and their socially conservative
minions in Lansing argue about
the pros and cons of the theory of
how I don't see that happening.
As a nation, Americans have a
special place for the ideal of fair-
ness; we like to believe that every-
one's opinion is equally valid and
deserves a chance to be heard. It's a
notion engrained into our customs
and society. It's also a notion that
anti-evolution groups continuous-
ly reference in trying to legitimize
their views. The problem with this
approach, however, is that in sci-
Opponents of
evolution need
to let it go.
ence there is-and should be-only
one opinion that matters: that of
the scientific community, using
the scientific method to answer
questions systematically. There is
no place here for "strengths and
weaknesses" that fall entirely out-
side the framework of science, no
matter how much the conclusions
of that framework may upset cer-
tain groups. There may be a place
for "fairness" in public education,
whether in the history department
or English class, but it's a mantra
that needs to be kept far from the
science lab.
I'd love for my criticism to
become redundant, for us as a
country to put this issue to rest
so thoroughly that it no longer
needs any rebuttal. Unfortunately,
we're obviouslynot quitethereyet.
Leavingstudents with a faulty and
religiously-motivated view of sci-
ence would be a disaster. As this
assault on scientific theory tries to
wind its way through the political
system, the educated and respon-
sible citizens of this country must
strive to make it extinct.
Harun Buljina is the
summer associate editorial
page editor. He can be reached
at buljinah@umich.edu.

Editorial Board Members:
Anindya Bhadra, Harun Buljina, Robert Soave

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