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Mailbag

Issue: "Hail to the Fox," Sept. 15, 2001

Correction

Mark Twain had no sons, but helped other children memorize the names of British monarchs (Aug. 18, p. 38). - The Editors

Columbus lives

I found it ironic that one of those opposed to Mr. LeVake, the Minnesota teacher who tried to insist on discussing Darwin's inconsistencies in class, said to him, "What you believe is just like believing the earth is flat" ("No dissent," Aug. 18). It seems to me that Mr. LeVake is taking quite the opposite stance. He is daring to stand up to those around him and state, against popular belief, that maybe students in today's schools are being taught a theory that is untrue, a theory that has no real basis or evidence other than people not wanting to believe in a sovereign God. It reminds me of someone else, many years ago, who had enough courage to stand up to the scientific authorities of his time and say that maybe the earth wasn't flat after all. - Brenda Norby, Grand Forks, N.D.

Chicken?

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Not so long ago, we were encouraged to debate in class issues like "Communism vs. Capitalism." None among us-liberal, conservative, or socialist, and including the teachers and school board-feared or dreaded such an exchange of ideas. But apparently school officials in Minnesota are deathly afraid of allowing Mr. LeVake to argue his convictions on a level playing field. - Robert Ausband, Gainesville, Fla.

Not surprising

Mr. LeVake's case does not surprise me. I asked my son's seventh-grade science teacher to read Philip Johnson's Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. He returned it several weeks later unread, telling my son it was a "religious" book. But I was able to use the book to help my son critique his evolution textbook, which makes no reference to evolution being only a theory. - James Mayer, W. Hartford, Conn.

Doubt not

Joel Belz is right that Ronald Reagan's reasoning-when in doubt, don't-ought to work with most Americans ("If there is mystery," Aug. 18). But he is wrong to make doubt our permanent answer about embryos. Religion alone does not cause pro-lifers to think of the embryo as a human being, but science, the findings of genetics and biology. From the moment of conception, the unborn entity is demonstrably a living, individual member of the species with a unique genetic identity. The religion of utilitarian nihilism, not science, drives the movement to kill and exploit embryonic human lives for the benefit of other human lives. There is indeed mystery, as Mr. Belz says, in knowing whether an embryo will "live with his or her own identity before God through all eternity." But that mystery applies just as much to 30-year-old journalists as it does to 30-hour-old embryos. - Graham Walker, Washington, D.C.

Stand strong

"If there is mystery" is disturbing. Defining the beginning and end of human life is key to any attempt to defend it. When you suggest that during the very early stages of human development, a real human being may not yet exist, you've bought into the reasoning that led to Roe vs. Wade. As we found out, once the line starts moving, there is nothing to make it stop. People are being asked to weigh the needs of desperately ill people against the value of little balls of frozen cells, and they say, "Why not?" If we are going to answer that question effectively, we need something better than passionately naive statements about sacred mystery and not being brash enough to go there. We need to stand strong on what we do know-that human life begins at conception. - Sheila Serksnys, Waukesha, Wis.

Strangers among us

Mr. Belz argues that "it is not easy" to hold that human life begins at conception, given the high proportion of spontaneous, natural abortions and his knowing "hundreds of committed pro-lifers, but I know of none who schedule memorial services for very early miscarriages." While interesting, these observations do not undermine the pro-life contention that human life begins at conception. We hold no memorial services for strangers who die, but this makes them no less human. Human beings at the earliest stage of their development are like strangers among us-fully human, but simply unknown. - ohn Van Regenmorter, Grand Rapids, Mich.

A promise made

George W. Bush rationalized his decision to allow research on particular stem-cell lines by arguing that the life-and-death decision was already made for the lines he approved for federal research ("Stem-cell line in the sand," Aug. 18). If we use these small human embryos in experiments, what makes us different from the Nazis? It is no different than doing research on a freezer full of aborted children. To use the deliberate death of human life for the progress of science is immoral. George W. Bush made a promise to stand for and to protect life. He did not keep it. - Michael Everett Bailey, Corydon, Ind.

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