The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 08, 1998, Page 4, Image 4

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Erin Gibson
Cliff Hicks
Nancy Christensen
Brad Davis
Sam McKewon
Jeff Randall
Bret Schulte
Semi-trucks must slow
down in bad weather
Nebraska has already gotten a taste of
what weather is to come. Last week and into
Sunday, torrential rains pounded the eastern
portion of the state as the system slowly
made its way across the Midwest.
Extreme weather is nothing out of the
ordinary - in fact, the mentality in Nebraska
seems to be one of almost complete disre
gard for the weather.
nowever, me ram storms on aunaay
caused so many traffic accidents that police
in Omaha stopped answering calls for fend
er-benders, saying they could only respond
to emergency situations.
On Interstate 80 between Omaha and
Lincoln, small cars crawled along the right
lane while trucks roared past, spraying a
blinding mist onto the windshields of those
driving at more cautious speeds.
While no serious accidents occurred, the
experience was a frightening one, and it isn’t
rare. Semi-trucks, operated by professional
drivers, are sometimes the worst culprits of
hazardous driving.
Their speed wasn’t illegal, but it was too
fast. Nebraska, as a state that suffers fre
quently from extreme weather, needs to
enact safer speed limits for larger vehicles.
Many states require that semi-trucks
travel 10 mph slower than the smaller traffic
moving around them. This is an idea that
speed-spoiled Nebraskans should consider.
Considering that the geography of our
state shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol, rea
sonable speeds for truckers on the long haul
need to become a priority.
When trucks roar past small vehicles,
which are more susceptible to dangerous
weather, they impair the vision of a driver
who already is struggling against the ele
apeea limits need to oe reduced to a safer
speed for semi-trucks, which frequently
intimidate smaller and slower vehicles.
Time and again semi-trucks are seen jack
knifed on interstates or lying in ditches. And
frequent passing of slower traffic increases
the chances of a collision every time trucks
change lanes.
Until a safer speed limit is enacted, state
troopers need to pull over vehicles moving at
an unsafe speed for the driving conditions.
This is especially true for semi-trucks
that take advantage of their size during rain
storms and virtually drown the smaller cars
they pass.
Troopers have the right to cite these dri
vers for reckless driving, and a concerted
effort to do so will make drivers aware of
their responsibilities to fellow motorists.
Weather like we experienced Sunday
will only continue to worsen this season, and
truckers need to remember that the road
belongs to everyone.
•• i —
■ Kuiionai ruiiuir
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Spring 1998 Daily Nebraskan. They
do not necessarfly reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as pubfisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. Tne
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
Letter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, if arty.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
Believe you me
Challenging atheism sheds light on a grand plan
JOSH WIMMER is a senior
news-editorial major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
Atheists. Goddamn ’em.
Webster’s Dictionary says atheism
is “the denial that God or gods exist.”
So atheists are people who don’t
believe in God or any of his many
splendored counterparts - Allah,
Shiva and the Force among them.
I’m all about questioning every
thing, including the origins of exis
But I think atheism is incredibly
Now, lots of people attack atheists
because they don’t want them to
spend their afterlives in hell, with Puff
Daddy. But I’m not worried about
anybody’s immortal soul. In fact, I’m
pretty sure most ot your souls, not
being North Dakotan like mine, are
kind of wussy souls and wouldn’t be
much help in a final battle between
Good and Evil anyway.
Nope, atheism just irritates me.
And most of the arguments for athe
ism I’ve seen have been weak.
The World Wide Web - besides
being a great way to find naked pic
tures of the girls from the “Sailor
Moon” cartoon - is host to a plethora
of sites designed by unbelievers.
And because I was curious - and I
didn’t really feel like doing home
work -1 surfed around some of these
sites, searching for a good, intelligent
reason not to believe in God.
I didn’t find one.
Lemme break it down.
Some of die sites didn’t even
argue the atheist case well. They did a
great job of attacking the Bible and
Christianity, and most of them knew
more about the Christian faith than a
lot of supposedly devout people I
Unfortunately, they just proved
that there were a lot of messed-up
things about the Christian faith.
Which doesn’t say anything about
whether or not the Muslims, the
Hindus or the Buddhists are wrong -
much less about whether there could
be some entity out there who created
the universe.
To their credit, though, many
atheists whose Web sites I looked at
posited stronger arguments. They
rejected God because his existence
can’t be proved scientifically.
Well, that’s kinda’ silly.
The most simplistic arguments of
this variety go: You can’t see God. You
can’t touch God. You can’t measure
God. So you can’t prove God.
But we don’t know everything
about our universe.
In fact, we can’t know everything
about the universe. Most of us accept
infinity as a mathematical reality; but
if you ever looked up at the stars
when you were little and tried to
imagine outer space never ending,
you probably got a headache. We
believe in infinity, but we can’t com
prehend it.
Why’s it so hard to believe in a
God we can’t comprehend? I mean, if
anything is going to be unknowable -
outside of the continuing success of
the Backstreet Boys - wouldn’t it
probably be, y’know, God?
That answers another of the athe
ists’ standby questions: But who cre
ated God?
I’d call that a non-issue. If we
come up with God’s creator, should
we call him “God’s Dad”? Or should *
we maybe just say, no, I guess he s
God, then?
The point is, I’m willing to bet it’s
one of those unknowable things about
God we just talked about.
The real issue is, so far as I can
tell, none of these scientific types
have been able to disprove God either.
Richard Dawkins, a well-known
biologist and atheist, has tried,
though. He’s come up with some
impressively creative arguments, too.
In a 1994 interview, Dawkins pos
tulated a good one. Obviously, he
said, whoever or whatever created the
universe would have to be super-intel
But, he continued, according to all
the evidence we have, it takes millions
of years for intelligence to evolve.
So it defies nature, he concluded,
to suppose some dramatically more
intelligent being appeared billions of
years before we did, much less creat
ed us.
It’s an interesting argument But it
breaks down when you remember
that, if there’s a God, he’s responsible
for bringing everything into being.
And “everything” includes the
evolutionary process. If God designed
that, obviously he’s not bound by its
Look -1 don’t think “God” is a
simple concept. And I’m against
believing blindly. I won’t say a lot for
atheists, but they don’t bug me as
much as, say, fundamentalist
Christians, because atheists have usu
ally done more thinking about God
than those guys.
But again, the question is: Can
any atheist disprove God’s existence?
They can’t, of course; and honest
ly, I see a lot of evidence pointing to
some kind of grand plan.
I see it in biology - when I make it
to biology lab - in intricate mecha
nisms like DNA and evolution.
I see it in math- when I make it to
math class - watching freshmen fig
ure out how to define functions.
I see it in physics - OK, I’ve never
made it to physics class.
But you don’t have to take my
word for it anyway. Newsweek, U.S.
News & World Report and Scientific
American ran stories this summer
auvui auguudid wuuac lcdcaitu wad
leading them to believe the universe is
the work of an intelligent force.
For ©cample, the Newsweek arti
cle says, one astrophysicist said that
“the... size (of) the entire universe, is
10 with 29 zeros after it (in centime
ters). The smallest size describes the
subatomic world, and is 10 with 24
zeros (and a decimal) in front of it
Humans are right in the middle.”
Other scholars point to the intrica
cies of mathematics. The ancient
Greeks divided die circumference of a
circle by its diameter and got 3.14... -
the number pi.
Pi’s a tricky number, though - it
tends to show up in physics, in equa
tions seemingly unrelated to circles.
Things like that, the scientists told
Newsweek, hint that our universe was
purposefully designed.
That makes me happy. I don’t
want to believe in a dumb God, who
“magicked” us into existence in six
days, a few thousand years ago, as
some people would prefer.
But I also can’t believe nobody’s
responsible for this thing called exis
tence. It’d mean we were an accident;
I can’t see the point in believing that.
Fortunately, I’ve got some smart
people on my side.
Physicist John Polkinghome, for
merly of Cambridge University, said:
“When you realize that the laws of
nature must be incredibly fine tuned
.... that conspires to plant die idea that
the universe did not just happen, but
that there must be a purpose behind