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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Survival relies on it | Apply test to statues | Meh, who needs 'em?

July 19, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.

Survival relies on it

Do you want to make good decisions? Do you want to understand as much as possible? Amazingly, we have science as a body of knowledge and a method for understanding that is universally acknowledged and practiced around the world. Science has led to discoveries, innovations, and advancements that are critical to our health, our well-being, and to the future of the planet Earth.

Science is not a "belief"; rather, it is a method of discovery that produces an expanding body of substantiated understanding that can also be used to make good decisions in everyday life. Rejection of science is an excellent way to sabotage our best efforts to solve personal, health, environmental, cultural, social, and even political problems.

Stubborn insistence that we cannot understand the world in natural terms or assert some rational control of our environment and the challenges we face has resulted in death, destruction, wars, pandemics, and environmental disasters. While religions are sources of personal support and community solidarity, they can be harmful when they encourage their adherents to abandon reality and deny scientific understanding. Beliefs relevant to policies and practices that affect the lives of millions of people should be tested in the way hypotheses are tested in science. Our social, political, and religious leaders need to take responsibility for making good decisions by using evidence-based information and encourage those whom they lead to do the same. Human survival depends on it.

Wishing all good health, happiness, and a life full of good decisions.

BRUCE HAGGARD

Conway

Apply test to statues

The issue of the removal of a statue or the name of an historical figure whose life included one or more acts conflicting with current morality has become highly divisive and needs a logical solution yet to be devised. Having spent half a century interpreting laws and drafting documents that seek to define specific conduct, I would like to propose a two-part test to answer the removal question.

First, determine the behavior which constituted the reason why the historical figure was honored. Second, determine whether that behavior would violate current morality. Only if both parts of the test are met would the removal occur on the grounds that modern society as a whole no longer wishes to commemorate such behavior.

Now let's apply the test to a few historical figures to see how it works. George Washington owned slaves, but no one would conclude that his ownership of slaves was the reason for the naming of the Washington Monument. The reason, of course, was that he was the first president of the United States.

Jefferson Davis served as Secretary of War from 1853 to 1857 during the administration of President Franklin Pierce. However, it was his service as president of the Confederacy that his statues commemorate. The Constitution adopted by the Confederacy under his leadership stated explicitly that no future Confederate Congress would ever have the power to abolish slavery. There can be no doubt that slavery contravenes current morality.

President Woodrow Wilson imposed racial segregation on the federal work force, but he is honored in spite of, and not because of, such action. Arkansas honors Bill Clinton as its first native son to be elected president of the United States, despite the Monica Lewinsky affair.

When this test is applied to Sen. J. William Fulbright, the answer is obvious. He is honored as a great statesman, not because of the fact that he signed the Southern Manifesto. This two-part test is relatively simple to apply and yields results consistent with the old adage that "nobody's perfect."

RICHARD A. WILLIAMS

Little Rock

Meh, who needs 'em?

For those who refuse to get vaccinated, I hope you enjoy good health without vaccines for polio, tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rubella, measles, whooping cough, the mumps, smallpox, diphtheria, rabies, rotavirus, pneumonia, shingles, etc., etc. ...

EDITH SEAMAN

Lakeview

Also much-needed

Re the need for a dentistry school in Arkansas: And a school of veterinarian medicine.

GORDON S. BYRD

El Dorado

Print Headline: Letters

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