Letters: Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Drinking (Age) Debate
To the editor: Weekly journalist Dan McGraw’s column, “The Binge Conundrum” (Aug. 27, 2008), about underage drinking will raise a few eyebrows, but having a daughter in college gives him credibility and a certain perspective on the subject.
Binge drinking will prevail with or without lowering the drinking age of consumption. One has to take personal responsibility for one’s actions. And yes, it is a conundrum, with the pendulum swinging both ways in this age of drinking debate.
Highway funding shouldn’t be the “terrorist” threat that the feds used as the catalyst to get states to change the legal drinking age.
I agree with McGraw’s analogy and with putting the age to drink at 19 — our college kids are a little more mature at that point. I also like the idea of educating college students with in-depth classes that explain the consequences of irresponsible drinking.
Dale Raikes
Fort Worth
Peeling the Onion
To the editor: Peter Gorman has written a superlative chronology (“Peeling the Barnett Shale Onion,” Sept. 10, 2008) in detailing the hazards and consequences of signing a gas lease. Our legislature could have implemented safeguards, but the lobbyists and dollar signs overwhelmed common sense.
The stuff that’s now in fine print should be the same size as the rest of the contract and in layman’s terminology, with no room for circumvention, misinterpretations, or loopholes that remove gas companies’ accountability.
The unodorized gas allowed to run through these pipes will result in explosions because our noses can’t detect leaks. The gas companies will call any casualties “collateral damage” — the cost of doing business. The propaganda, pandering, and proselytizing by gas companies need to come to an abrupt halt. Mayor Moncrief could do something positive in this situation, but the lure of the buck has him entrenched in the “gas mafia” monopoly.
Thanks to State Rep. Lon Burnam, Clyde Picht, Cathy Hirt, and Juan Rangel for voicing their concerns in the interest of the public. They are true pioneers of justice.
Dee Cantrell
Fort Worth

To the editor: Just a quick note to thank you for that great article by Peter Gorman on the Barnett Shale. As a Fort Worth resident with gas rigs less than 600 feet from my home, I have been concerned about these issues for some time. I live near Eagle Mountain Lake right off Bonds Ranch and Morris Dido roads. We have both drilling rigs and several noisy compressor stations within one mile of our home. We too have a water well, and since drilling started, our water is unfit to drink; we can use it only to water our grass.
I posted a link to this article on our community web site for my neighbors to read. I am interested in contacting some of the people Mr. Gorman mentions.
My wife and I are very concerned about our elected officials’ failure to provide adequate protection to residents. We love this area, but we are seriously considering a move to another part of the country because of the drilling in our city. It will just be a matter of time until serious problems start to occur on a regular basis.
As always, great job, and hats off to your staff. I enjoy reading your paper.
Philip Dickson
Fort Worth
Intelligent Design
To the editor: Like so many things in life these days, one cannot but suspect political issues on the left are the driving force in the debate over teaching evolution (“Devolution in Education,” Sept. 3, 2008), though you assign the problem to the right.
I am not particularly religious, but I am not particularly stupid either.
Evolution distinctly is a theory, its widespread acceptance within the scientific community notwithstanding. Whether a particular explanation of observed phenomena is true (or not) is not determined by the level of its approval in the population; if it were, science would have gone nowhere, and Columbus would never have discovered America (among other things that would never have happened).
Darwin took a great leap when he opined that minor changes in an animal proved that man evolved from microbes in a pond somewhere. An honest scientist will freely admit there is no real support for such a leap of faith, but no other explanation is on the horizon, so it is accepted for now. Humans may have originated on Mars and been brought here years ago; neither Darwin nor anyone else can prove otherwise.
Frankly, it seems strange to me that anyone could argue for the Big Bang theory on the one hand but against intelligent design on the other. It appears that a lot more questions are raised by the former than the latter.
I do not agree that intelligent design implies a Christian god, nor that admitting there is no proof for evolution is somehow a bad thing. But the question is largely moot; by definition intelligent design is not a contradiction of evolution, hence not a subject that requires discussion. If the theory of evolution is accurate, who is to say the responsible god did not work through it to accomplish his purpose? Any intelligent design advocate would be well aware of this and wouldn’t have to insist on presentation of any significant amount of religious material to argue the issue.
All the teachers need to do is to admit that evolution is a theory and alternatives are possible, and the problem goes away. One can only hope someone somewhere will convince them to do so.
Cal Reinecke
Fort Worth

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