Just say no to CAFE
The legislative action by the Senate to dramatically increase corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards is a perfect example of how a poor law is created when non-engineers (i.e. senators) dictate engineering advances ("CAFE quicksand," Commentary, June 14).
The arbitrary deadlines and requirements assume that the automakers can maintain the same product mix of large and small cars, vans, SUVs, trucks and so on, at various price points, while simultaneously marching steadfast toward the requirement as if it can proceed precisely as legislated.
And if the automakers can't succeed, they will simply limit the product mix to meet the requirement and we can cede the industry to the overseas automakers.
The bottom line is this: If an automaker can produce a vehicle that has dramatically better gas mileage than comparable models, that vehicle will dominate its market. Therefore, market forces can and will force mileage improvements automatically within a timetable determined by engineering and technical advances.
If the senators truly wanted to reduce gas consumption for the good of the country and the world, they would follow the model set by other industrialized nations and raise the gas tax. This can be a floating tax designed to minimize large price swings so automakers can plan appropriately and not be subjected to sudden market disruptions that scuttle product plans.
As it is, the Senate is content to lay the burden of reduced oil consumption on U.S. automakers, who are obviously struggling and could be bankrupted by these requirements, instead of on the oil companies, which have been wallowing in tens of billions in profits over the last few years.
For the sake of the Midwest, Michigan and our domestic auto industry, I urge the House to reject this bill. This area and our industry have suffered enough and we do not need another nail in our coffin in the form of a poorly conceived solution to our oil consumption.
Creationism and intelligent design
According to the article "Europe sees creationism as threat to human rights" (Page 1, Sunday), a report for the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly said, "If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights."
The irony of how far the West has come in seeing human rights as rooted in secularism can perhaps be best perceived through a quote from one of America's most secular Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, who said: "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
How did we come so far from our roots? Perhaps we need to look nofurther than the disinformation surrounding the debate on evolution.
The debate is invariably couched in terms of faith versus science.
What is rarely examined is the faith that is required to believe in evolution itself. If we find that evolution is based on dogmatic tenants of faith, not scientific inquiry, then the debate fundamentally changes from faith versus science to faith versus faith. And the legitimate venue for its clash changes from the science classroom to the religion or philosophy class.
The actual question then becomes, not whether creationism or intelligent design should be taught as science, but on what basis is the theory of evolution taught as science. Dogmatic evolutionists want to avoid positing the debate in this way at all costs. As long as science is associated with their belief, they will always win the debate.
The proposed European council resolution says that member states should firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution by natural selection. This implies that the process of natural selection is contrary to creationism. And yet natural selection explains only how organisms are eliminated, not how they began. Creationism speaks primarily, if not exclusively, to how new structures and organisms began, not how they died out, or changed over time.
As a mechanism for producing something new, the theory of evolution proposes what is called random mutation. Has random mutation been demonstrated in the laboratory to produce new organisms and structures that are then selected to survive and prosper by natural selection? The evolutionist answer is not only that it has not been demonstrated, but that it cannot be demonstrated.
I ask you, does a scientific theory that not only has not been demonstrated in the laboratory, but, by its own admission, cannot be demonstrated in a laboratory, strike you as scientific? If the answer is no, we are still left with the prickly question of why so many scientists adhere to the theory of evolution. There is no scientific basis for it, but there is a philosophical one. It is called naturalism the system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. Dogmatic adherence to naturalism in the form of the theory of evolution should not be allowed to masquerade unchallenged in our classrooms and public discourse as natural science.
Until it is allowed to be challenged, particularly in our science classrooms, the debate about evolution will always be expressed as a clash of faith versus science, to the denigration of both.
ROBERT R. WILCOX
I believe it is very important for Europe and particularly Poland to make use of current opportunities to reform the European Union ("EU breaks impasse to replacing constitution," World, Saturday).
We should notice current leadership of the EU, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso are relatively more free-market oriented and friendly to the United States than their predecessors. This tendency might be positive for the United States and it offers our administration better partners in Europe to share the responsibility for international affairs. Unfortunately, free market is probably the only thing that Poland's Kaczynski brothers President Lech and Prime Minister Jaroslaw are more afraid of than Germany.
Whether the immigration reform bill passes or not does not matter. What matters is America's persisting attitude toward immigration. Across the country, there are jobs that cannot be filled, so the work goes undone.
Stephen Dinan's article "Georgia senators at center of battle" (Page 1, Wednesday) mentioned the poultry companies in Georgia who need workers, but they are not the only ones. This problem is not a regional- or industry-specific issue. Construction needs workers in Arizona. Farmers in Florida need tomatoes harvested. Restaurants need workers across the nation. Americans do not want these low-paying jobs, but the foreign workers do.
Therefore, it is not that foreign workers are stealing jobs from American workers. Rather, it is Americans, who do not want these jobs, who are stealing the opportunity to work from these workers. It is Americans who are putting a strain on the U.S. economy. It is Americans who are allowing prices to rise as goods rot in place because there is no one available to do the work. Do Americans really want the U.S. economy to falter? No. It is just an accidental byproduct of their anti-immigration sentiments.