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Letters from our readers

Issue: "The Da Vinci craze," May 20, 2006

Uncertain science

In framing the global warming issue ("Meltdown," April 22), Mr. Bergin correctly emphasized the uncertainty associated with assigning a single temperature to the world, and that the Evangelical Climate Initiative supporters based their endorsement on something other than sound science. The best line was from Kenneth Chilton: "These guys are going to tell you what the climate's going to be like in 2100, and the weatherman can't tell you what it's going to be like in five days." As a former weather forecaster, I whole-heartedly concur.
-Mark Saito; Lee's Summit, Mo.

As signers of the Evangelical Climate Initiative statement, we object to the impression left by "Meltdown" that those of us who believe it is a moral imperative to fight against global warming somehow misunderstood what our statement says. To suggest that we would not carefully read what we attach our names to is absurd. We are convinced that the threat of climate change is so great that it is prudent and morally essential that Christians and the U.S. government act to protect the millions who will be vulnerable. A recent joint statement by the national academies of science of all the G8 countries concluded: "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action." God has called us to take a stand on climate change as evangelical leaders, and we are honored to do so.
-Gary Bergel, Dwight Burchett, Andy Crouch, Paul De Vries, Merrill Ewert, Steve Hayner, Brian McLaren, Ron Sider, Pat Taylor

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More intense hurricanes and displaced beach-front condominiums may be a small price to pay for longer growing seasons and the ability to grow more crops in higher latitudes. Lots of research says global warming is happening, but where is the reliable research proving it's bad?
-Bruce Sidebotham; Monument, Colo.

By wading into the politicized and divisive global warming debate, the signers of the Evangelical Climate Initiative made the error that has damaged so many mainline churches: They confused their pastoral role with a political one. C.S. Lewis noted in Mere Christianity that the application of Christian principles in particular fields is best left to laymen, "just as Christian literature comes from Christian novelists and dramatists-not from the bench of bishops getting together and trying to write plays and novels in their spare time." Let us hear from Christian climatologists.
-Bill Reeves; St. Louis, Mo.

"The nuclear option" (April 22) should not be pursued without a parallel push to develop ways to use and defuse nuclear waste. We need to diminish, not expand, Yucca Mountain.
-C. Missener; Gansevoort, N.Y.

Graduate exam

I believe Joel Belz's analogy in "F" (April 22) is faulty and encourages the already rampant scapegoating of teachers. He suggests that Americans would cry out if drug companies produced a product that killed one-third of its users. However, unlike a hospital or the pharmaceutical business, teachers are dealing with people who often do not want what is being offered. A quick poll in my classes today showed that less than half of my 130 students would come to school if they had a choice. My seniors-in a moment of transcendent knowledge-knew why: Society in general and parents in particular have devalued education.
-Aaron Gavin; Emmaus, Pa.

The system can be summed up in two words: government monopoly, carrying with those two words all the worst politics and inefficiencies of both concepts. It is time to inject a little capitalism into the public-school system. Once schools have to compete for tuition dollars through vouchers, they will be forced to improve. The winners will be teachers, parents, and especially students.
-Christopher Cooper; Tucson, Ariz.

Having taught in public schools and now a Christian school, I heartily agree with Mr. Belz's assessment of the failure of public schools. He has diagnosed the symptoms of our public schools, but the virus is the breakdown of the family. Responsibilities that once belonged to parents-such as sex and character education, and even the provision of attention, food, and clothing-are now being assigned to public schools, whether they like it or not. Until family structures are restored and responsibilities returned to parents, public schools will continue to fail.
-Rachel Nimon; Danvers, Mass.

As a public-school teacher, I was disappointed by Mr. Belz's analysis. It is easy to graduate middle- and upper-class students whose parents encourage education; it often requires a miracle to graduate a student whose home life is dominated by poverty, family fragmentation, and physical or sexual abuse.
-Marcy Klug; Charlottesville, Va.

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