The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 08, 1998, Page 4, Image 4
EDITOR Erin Gibson OPINION EDITOR Cliff Hicks EDITORIAL BOARD Nancy Christensen Brad Davis Sam McKewon Jeff Randall Bret Schulte Our VIEW Weathered drivers 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 ments. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Charnley’s VIEW Believe you me Challenging atheism sheds light on a grand plan JOSH WIMMER is a senior news-editorial major and a Daily Nebraskan colum nist 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 tence. But I think atheism is incredibly stupid. 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 know. 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 i 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 ligent. 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 rules. 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 _A_•__J___ 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 it” Amen.