A recent letter writer stated that science, like religion, is a belief system.
He claims that some scientific theories are not testable. In this he is wrong.
By definition, a scientific theory must be testable. It cannot possibly be a theory if it’s not testable.
Unfortunately, the English language does not have different words for “belief” or “faith” in an idea to distinguish the basis for why a person thinks an idea is valid. Scientists “believe” various ideas based upon documented facts and solid reasoning.
They have “faith” that the scientific community is guided by a core set of principles that define the nature and context within which scientific research is conducted.
In these respects, belief and faith in scientific ideas and principles arrive later in the thought process and need to be proven and earned using scientific methods.
In religious studies, by contrast, faith and belief form the underlying basis from which all other ideas are generated. They are, by their very nature, non-provable and un-testable.
While both the scientific method and religious study employ reasoning methods to develop and define ideas, the basis upon which the reasoning stands is very different. This difference in baseline philosophy can, and does, lead to widely different conclusions.
Mark E. Geesey MUSC Research Scientist
Indigo Bay Circle Mount Pleasant
Commuters heading east on I-526, and more specifically commuters on the Don Holt Bridge, should know that the sun rises in the same spot each day.
Please plan accordingly with sunglasses, or your car’s built-in visors, and refrain from slamming on your brakes when you suddenly see the sun rising on the horizon.
Bruce Dales Delafield Court
When are the leaders of Mount Pleasant, Charleston and James Island going to get serious about safe bike lanes?
I was sad to read last week about the death of another cyclist on James Island. How many more lives have to be lost before we take seriously safe bike lanes along our major thoroughfares?
Having ridden a bicycle across country in 1981, I know about dangers of pedaling along a highway a mere two feet from speeding cars. By the grace of God I am here. Now, with drivers also distracted by texting, Twitter, emails and Facebook, I would be hesitant to ride my bike a mile to the grocery store.
Why does it have to be this way? Why do our bike paths seem like afterthoughts rather than well-planned safe passages? Why aren’t our city leaders putting as much thought into bike paths as they have into Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant and the Crosstown in Charleston?
When one considers the lives already lost, along with the benefits of safe cycling, it’s a mystery to me why this isn’t more of an important issue.
A white line drawn along a busy highway designating a three-foot-wide bike lane only gives a false sense of security.
We need barriers. We put them along interstates to protect us from hitting trees and other cars. Why not construct them along bike paths to protect the most vulnerable among commuters, the cyclist?
Let’s get serious about bike lanes in our cities and protect cyclists with barriers.
Lance Harris Hobcaw Bluff Drive
I recently read Betty White’s endorsement of President Obama. She said she likes what he has done and how he represents us.
He doesn’t represent me. I can’t afford a $30,000 donation for a Hollywood party.
I wish she had said specifically what she liked about his policies since she says she has chosen to stay away from politics so as not to turn off her fans.
Her new fan base must be younger than those who watched “The Golden Girls.”
Joan Mack Tranquility Lane Edisto Island
Though the Camp Ho Non Wah sign on Wadmalaw now has the correct spelling, the sign at the corner of Maybank and Main roads remains Camp Ho Now Wah.
Please, you “powers that be,” get that one corrected also.
Jean Townsend Clark Hills Circle
If we want to rid the federal government of corruption, we need to understand that it’s not politicians who are corrupt so much as the system.
The system exists in its seemingly impenetrable form because of how election campaigns are funded.
There are two beneficiary groups: elected politicians and money interests that fund their campaigns.
Even though we have changed politicians on a regular basis, the corruption has grown and we are left with a government of the money, by the money, and for the money.
Changing politicians has been fruitless; we must change the system, and only a constitutional amendment for campaign finance reform will accomplish this.
It is unlikely for a proposed amendment for campaign reform to come from Congress, one of the beneficiary groups.
The other way to amend the Constitution is for the states to set a proposed amendment in motion. Pressure from the state level could get Congress to heed the call for reform and move President Obama to convene state conventions to consider the amendment. It takes approval by two-thirds of the states to pass an amendment to the Constitution.
In these days of instant communication it might not be all that difficult to get this process started (consider how communications nourished the Arab Spring movement). South Carolina’s history of initiating change makes it a good a place to start.
We need to rally around an issue, not a candidate. If the grass-roots movement is strong enough, it will send a convincing signal to Washington.
We won’t be able to affect financing for this year’s election, but we can have an effect on elections to come.
To get started, respected voices in the community must take the lead — not elected officials, but business leaders, community groups such as churches and family centers, and the media.
Skip Crane Seabrook Island Road
R.L. Schreadley’s May 12 column prompted thoughts of President Eisenhower’s farewell speech warning about a military/industrial complex threat to America. Mr. Schreadley seems to describe what Ike envisioned:
“In this era of never ending wars, fruitless exercises in nation building in far off lands of which even our leaders seem to know but little, unbridled growth in the federal government, unstinted erosion of personal liberty — is not all this at least of some justifiable concern in the home of the brave and the land of the free?”
Since Ike’s departure we have had rumors of wars and wars, many of which were of questionable necessity.
Ike knew professional military people want to ply their trade, and promotions do come faster in war.
Industry appreciates war contracts with bulging profits. Even presidents express pride in being wartime presidents — all with a sense of patriotism.
This tells me Ike predicted correctly. America has a problem that we need to correct before it destroys our nation.
Percy Saunders Lt. Col. U.S. Air F orce (Retired)
Barlow Street Summerville
The Rev. Robert Jefferies of the First Baptist Church of Dallas made the news in October when he called the Church of Latter Day Saints a cult as opposed to a Christian denomination.
After evolving, he said last Friday, “I think there is a realization among Christians that Jesus isn’t on the ballot this year.”
Welcome to the world, preacher.
We will not vote for the president of the Southern Baptist Convention in November but for the president of the United States.
Our Constitution states in Article VI, paragraph 3: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification in any office or public trust under the United States.”
With the legalisms out of the way, let’s note that the definition of religious bigotry is to treat members of a different faith with intolerance.
Our country is on the cusp of despair. Let us not be distracted.
Moultrie D. Plowden Wade Hampton Avenue
The Post and Courier recently published a New York Times article by David Brooks claiming that the current downturn was not just cyclical but structural.
Paul Krugman came back blasting structuralists and saying something must be done promptly to cure unemployment and increase demand.
Trouble is that when demand picks up, it is largely for foreign goods
My favorite historian is Fernand Braudel who was a great student of historical patterns. He said there is no more certain proof of structural problems for a nation than a sustained trade imbalance (such as is clearly the case for the United States).
I agree with Krugman that something more should be done now (other than austerity), but to do so without major efforts to cure structural problems would be short term indeed.
Trouble is that one major structural problem is Congress’ inability to cooperate to get anything done (to fix any other structural problem).
Is that a structural Catch 22?
Philip J. Murphy Ventura Place