I am a longtime philosophy teacher and am constantly encountering problems with my students when it comes to the relationship between opinion, evidence and expertise.
As illustrated in the Asimov quote at the start of Scott Renshaw's opinion piece ["Difference of Opinion," Sept. 11, City Weekly], this has been a problem for a long time. Philosophers in ancient Greece debated Protagoras, who thought that "man is the measure of all things." But based on my last 12 years of teaching, I fear the problem is peaking right now. What are the causes?
I think it has some connection to fashionable academic ideas that have unfortunately filtered down to popular culture. Have you heard of the Sokal Hoax? Google it.
In any case, it is very important that there are people willing to oppose this trend in thinking, and it's for this that I thank you.
Salt Lake City
We Need to Fight
The "Circular Debate" political cartoon [This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow, Aug. 7, City Weekly] gives the false impression that there is such a thing as a "horrifically disproportionate" response against terrorists who are lobbing thousands of rockets into your communities to fulfill their written charter to kill any and all who are not them.
When American schools are attacked by armed thugs or armed students, we demand that police spare no effort and expense to respond with all deliberate force to end the attacks. When state-sponsored armies, or non-state terrorist militias, attack civilians with intent to kill, U.S. Military training is to respond with overwhelming force to stop the threat.
There are two errors by omission in the cartoon. First, this war is because Hamas has diverted money away from aid for its people to amass attack tunnels and 10,000 rockets that it will continue to lob against civilians with unrestrained impunity until the rockets are expended, or until those firing them are eliminated.
Second, Hamas has the unilateral power to instantly end all fighting and killing, to grow its economy as fellow Palestinians are doing in the West Bank, by removing its egregious charter requirement to kill all Jews and, instead, start building social infrastructure with the funds it now uses to build tunnels and rockets.
We ended World War II by what Tom Tomorrow would call horrifically disproportionate response in Germany and Japan. It worked. We neutralized the Axis fighting machine, we won, and now we are all friends and allies.
Fighting Hamas, ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaida and other terrorist thugs demands an all-in response.
Motorists parking parallel are used to pulling up to the curb, not to a white line that marks a bike lane ["Lane Change," Sept. 4, City Weekly].
Once parked, passenger doors face the bike lane. Drivers may be used to checking for traffic before opening their doors, but passengers aren't. Finally, when that passenger door swings into the bike lane in front of a cyclist, the latter's trapped between a curb and a wall of cars. If that cyclist is you, take the crash into the cars, not the curb, where you'll flip over the handlebars on your way down.
It doesn't matter that signs are there. Drivers do so much by reflex and will make mistakes on this one. And cyclists won't go slow.
Correction: Pinback's album Summer of Abaddon was released in 2004. Sept. 18's Music Live feature listed an incorrect year.