I am puzzled as to why Dr. Behe would assume that common traits mean we have a common ancestor, even if he is only wearing his "scientist's hat" ("Darwin slayer," July 21). We can tell the work of an architect or artist by his style. Eyes, nose, and mouth work well for certain functions and it seems our Creator used them in a wide variety of creatures. Logic does not require that species with those features developed from each other.
-Barbara Knoble; Quarryville, Pa.
Behe stated that "God did not place us in a toy world with all the sharp edges smoothed." Ah, but He did. We ourselves destroyed Eden and chose the sharp edges; we chose the "remarkable parasites" (created by God for a different purpose, no doubt) that damage and kill.
-Pam Myers; Sioux Falls, S.D.
Doug Cowan doesn't appear to believe Darwinism but gives it much more clarity and attention than other "alternative theories." His methods could be the way people destroy the base of Darwinism, because they are looking at it more critically. This article was stimulating.
-John Simmons; Fairfax, Va.
A broken theory
Evolution is a broken theory ("When the base cracks," July 21). When our kids are taught they are just the result of random chance, with no reason or purpose for their existence, it leads to hopelessness and emptiness. Today's society is proof of the chaos that arises when a loving, purposeful, personal, all-powerful Creator is eliminated from the equation of life.
-Frank Nolton; Lodi, Calif.
In the false dichotomy of Darwinism vs. design we have lost sight of the true scientific pursuit. The test of scientific theories is their ability to explain the world, not their use in reinforcing dogma. Do we want to more fully understand reality and creation, or do we want to defend previously held convictions?
-Christopher Bolin; Lincoln, Neb.
The big picture
Marvin Olasky did a great job emphasizing the big picture ("Kill the children," July 21). I am tired of hearing non-Christians and uninformed Christians malign God for things they pull out of the Old Testament. We may not always be able to reconcile God's sovereign plan with His mercy when they appear contradictory to our finite minds, but understanding His big picture in the Bible should cause us to trust Him.
-Nancy A. Smith; Richland, Wash.
I am absolutely appalled that a Christian would attempt to justify the mass killing of innocent people in Japan and Germany by our government to win World War II. If we believe that our ends, however just, sanctify any means, then we have sunk to the same level as the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. As Christians, we must hold our nation to a higher standard.
-Scott M. Roney; Des Plaines, Ill.
I was a B-17 bomber pilot, and we did not just bomb cities. We hit targets that affected Hitler's ability to wage war. At the time I was an incomplete Christian and, looking down, it troubled me. Then came our mission to Dresden. We carried incendiaries, and I saw strong winds build the fires into an inferno. Americans don't control the wind; we knew that God was engaged in the war. Later we discovered that Dresden was a major military center, and that that bombing stopped an aggressive program from murdering Jews and enabled Russian troops to get to Berlin soon after and end the war.
-Don Bagby; Macon, N.C.
I applaud Joel Belz's courage to stand at Wal-Mart and ask the tough questions, even at the risk of being run off ("Careless ambiguity," July 21). I would justify the "Iraq nation building" idea of democracy based on our successes in Germany and Japan following The Big One. They had to be completely defeated before we started nation building, and they had to want it and keep at it. We haven't been in Iraq long enough and they have not yet been completely defeated, but I believe they want it.
-Tom Sheppard; Arden, N.C.
My sense is the war in Iraq is about helping the people of Iraq restore their country and building a democracy there. Iraq would not have to be restored if the United States had not attacked their country, and whether the people of Iraq have a democracy should be a choice they make, not George W. Bush. I also believe that the risk of further terrorism within the United States is greater due to the war in Iraq.
-Philip Quigley; Buhl, Idaho
The recent review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix left me disappointed. Although WORLD emphasized the stagnant plot, I believe it is interwoven with powerful themes. Harry experiences self-hatred and self-doubt because of his own deficiencies, but in the end he understands the power of loyalty and the purpose of his suffering.
-Morielle Stroethoff, 17; Missoula, Mont.
Rowling's Harry Potter books do more than "put witchcraft and wizardry into the hands of ordinary children" ("The plot thins," July 21). They glorify the use of witchcraft and wizardry to combat "evil" forces as though evil could be used to defeat evil. You also say that "no one can say Harry Potter isn't fun." I can and do say that Harry Potter isn't fun. We who live in the light are enjoined to have "nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness."
-Bruce MacPhail; Suffield, Conn.
What in the world are they thinking in Massachusetts ("Sign up or pay up," July 21)? Laws passed up north (even the insane ones) tend to trickle down to the South in time, and this one has me worried. I am one of the millions of middle-class Americans who do not have and cannot afford health insurance. Doesn't anyone see the real problem here? The poor need not worry because they qualify for Medicaid or state-subsidized programs and the rich can afford health care. The middle class is struggling to obtain health insurance, and now Massachusetts is going to hit them with a fine because of it?
-Annie Rhyne-Bailey; Stanley, N.C.
Who's kidding whom?
I am floored, shocked, and otherwise rattled after reading "Cross and crescent" (July 21). A partnership between the United Methodists and Muslim Aid (a British Islamic charity) may seem sweet, but who are we kidding? Have we forgotten the texts in the Koran about killing the infidels? Must we remind these folks that we are sending our young people to battle in these hot spots around the world where Muslim domination has totally destroyed hope?
-Garnett Rope; Vaughn, Mont.
I am constantly challenged by Andrée Seu's commitment to follow Jesus and biblical teaching. "Buck passing" (July 21) is one more example of her willingness to be a disciple, and not to be conformed to this present age.
-Brad Butler; Pembroke, Ga.
Indeed, the "social consequences could be seismic" if only 41 percent of Americans said "having children" was important to a "happy marriage" ("Unfocused families," July 21). Children bring concerns often deeper than any other relationship, but they also bring joy that transcends mere "happiness." The worries age you faster, but they also help you grow up, love another more than yourself, and keep you working for a better world even when your days are numbered.
-Bette Dewing; New York, N.Y.
As long as we're winning . . .
When major sports are being rocked by scandal, its a breath of spiritual fresh air to see these Christian baseball players on the Cardinals ("All heart," July 14). The enjoyment of sports can be a special diversion in an age of stress-that is, if the home team is not on a losing streak!
-Ron Johnson; Yelm, Wash.
Regarding Rudy Giuliani's welcome at Regent University ("Evangelical eggshells," July 14): Evangelicals should not vote based on the fear of terrorism. Trusting in a man to protect us from homeland acts of terror, when he holds views in sharp contrast to God's Word, is no different from voting for pro-abortion, socially liberal candidates to protect your wallet. I respectfully disagree with Pat Robertson's "half a loaf is better than no loaf" philosophy. If we continue to sacrifice our core beliefs in electing Republicans, then they will never see the need to offer conservative, pro-life, God-fearing candidates.
-Valerie O'Rear; North Las Vegas, Nev.