Letters for Sunday — January 22, 2006

• Question of origins?

• On atheists and agnostics

• Impressed by Alito

• Filibuster now!

• Google said ‘no’

Question of origins?

I’m sorry, but I just had to respond to Linda Saker’s Jan. 17 letter, and I apologize for the length, but it is necessary to address all of the scientific mis-understandings that she is apparently taking as a sign of divine intervention.

Very little is known about the moments right after the “Big Bang,” and it isn’t universally accepted within scientific circles that this is an accurate scientific picture of the birth of the universe, so I won’t comment on Linda’s comment in this regard.

The idea that since our solar system formed from the same cloud of gas, all planets should have the same makeup is just wrong, though. The planets are at different distances from the Sun, thus receive different amounts of radiation. Light gases such as helium and hydrogen will tend to aggregate in the colder parts of the solar system (thus the “gas giants”). These gases get stripped away from the smaller, hotter, inner planets and sucked up by the colder, more massive, outer planets.

Much of this planet’s helium is actually produced INSIDE the Earth. Nothing necessarily divine here.

She rightly sees Pluto as an anomaly, and many believe that it is actually a body that experienced some serious “trauma” to put it in its odd state — either a moon of Neptune that was knocked or pulled out of its orbit or a Kuiper Belt object that was knocked or pulled in. Its status as a planet has been in question for some time. Again, nothing to directly indicate divine intervention. Pluto is so far away that we just don’t have very much information on it. It is hoped that will change with the flyby scheduled for 2015.

Likewise, Uranus being tipped on its side is thought to be evidence of some cosmic trauma. The early solar system was a rather violent place. Perhaps God MADE it violent, perhaps that’s just the way it was.

That the gas giants have moons orbiting in the wrong direction (retrograde orbit) is not unusual because those planets are so massive that they tend to pull in crap from the asteroid belt or Kuiper Belt. They don’t pull in stuff in nice, neat ways. Such bodies tend to also have very irregular orbits (highly inclined or elliptical). Most of the retrograde moons fit this description. Pluto fits this description. Hand of God? I don’t know.

That the gas giants have rings is nothing to be surprised about, either. The rings are simply debris from either unformed moons or moons that were pulled apart or broken up for some reason (like tidal forces from the large parent body). In the case of Jupiter’s ring, it is well known that the ring is held together by “shepherd moons” — one moon that orbits just inside the ring and one that orbits just outside the ring, at slightly different speeds, and their gravity keeps the stuff inside the ring from falling out of orbit. It’s possible a God set this up — the logical question would be “why?” Just to make it an interesting place for us?

If you want to believe that a Creator set this all up, and that belief enriches your life, that is perfectly fine. These observations can all be explained scientifically, though, and some people might rather believe it is all a rather beautiful “accident” or perhaps not very out of the ordinary at all.

  • Michael Mann

On atheists and agnostics

So Bettejo and Brian are whining that no one understands them, and it’s somehow wonderful that they call themselves atheists. Let me help the atheists among us understand.

Atheism is not a belief. It is a position devoid of a belief that is impossible to prove one way or the other. So if God is good, but unable to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, why would a rational, logical individual choose to flaunt their lack of that belief at the world? Do you simply need attention? All atheists are really agnostic. Everyone, including Bettejo, will reach for something more at the realization of their own imminent death.

During World War II, a troop ship left San Francisco with 2,300 hardened soldiers on board. My father was a

The first Sunday out, 33 of them showed up for church. On Sunday two weeks later, and the day before many of them were about to die, 2,300 soldiers went to church, including the “atheists.” Call yourself an atheist all you want for the attention, but you are really an agnostic who will reach for God when your time comes.

  • Gordon Oswald

Impressed by Alito

I guess Ms. Levy (TGI 1/18/06 ) didn’t watch the Senate Judiciary Committees hearings with Judge Alito. If she had, she would have seen him, by his calm demeanor, his reasoned responses to the Democrats’ “questions” (more like lectures), and his understanding of the law and the Constitution, show the Democrats for the ignorant, hypocritical fools that they are. Talk about incompetent fools, Judge Alito demonstrated quite clearly that he is smarter by light years than the brightest mind the Democrats could find in the room. The Democrats showed what a bunch of bigoted, bloviating blowhards they are. They couldn’t even read the talking points prepared for them by those whacko left-wing extremist groups like moveon, People for the Liberal Way, Planned Parenthood, and GLISSN.

Judge Alito got the highest rating possible from the ABA, and the group of federal judges, including some who are Democrats themselves, who have worked with Alito, had nothing but the highest praise for him. Makes one wonder just what is it about Judge Alito Ms. Levy knows that they don’t? Care to enlighten us, Ms. Levy?

Of course Alito would be unacceptable to the Democrats, since he will correctly interpret the law, base his decision on what the Constitution actually says, and won’t legislate from the bench, like the left wants all judges to do, since the left’s agenda cannot win, either at the polls or by the normal legislative process.

  • Kent D. Gibboney

Filibuster now!

Nothing short of our precious system of checks and balances is at stake with Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court!

Filibuster NOW! For the love of freedom and all that is good and right, Filibuster NOW!!!

  • Gy Hall

Google said ‘no’

One of the reasons I use Google to search the Web is that Google has a stronger commitment to civil liberties than Microsoft’s MSN and Yahoo do.

MSN and Yahoo turned over search information to the Bush administration to support their policy of spying on The People. Google stood up for our rights and said No to Bush. So I’m going to stick with Google because I want to support companies who understand that freedom is important.

  • Marc Perkel
    San Francisco, CA

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.