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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 12, 2001)
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor Jake Glazeski
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
Pot and kettle
Nil uses loophole to get out
of offering benefits
Another henent to unl protessors. Another
benefit gay partners can’t get their hands on.
When NU President L. Dennis Smith pro
posed to extend tuition benefits to spouses and
dependent children of professors, those who
have domestic partners- some of whom are gays
disallowed from legally marrying in the United
States - weren’t included in that package; that is,
unless they had dependent children.
Considering the past behavior of the universi
ty, it doesn’t surprise us that such a policy would
have excluded domestic partners.
It doesn’t matter that this university needs all
the good faculty it can get, and that it may be los
ing some by implementing a policy like this. It
doesn't matter that when prospective professors
look into a university, they ask about benefits, as
they can be just as valuable as the pay itself. It
doesn’t matter that if these inquiring minds hap
pen to be professors who want domestic partner
benefits, they aren’t likely to come here. UNL
wants what it wants.
As if that weren’t distressing enough, a state
ment from NU spokesman for Smith, Joe
Rowson, seemed to indicate that UNL would
kowtow to the interests of the state of Nebraska
because its voters passed Initiative 416.
“In Nebraska, the prevailing policyis that ben
efits are not provided for same-sex couples,”
Rowson said in a Daily Nebraskan story on
While such a statement gets Rowson in no
technical hot water, it does make one wonder
about other academic endeavors in which UNL
might partake, and how afraid the establishment
might be to counter a conservative, Christian
voting base. While policy is not opinion, opinion
through voting makes policy, and if UNL toes the
line and doesn’t budge, well, this university won’t
grow as it says it wants to.
What about, for example, fetal tissue
research? We hear the cries of “academic free
dom” every time the possibility of stripping it is
brought up, and yet, if Rowsoris statement is car
ried out to its logical conclusion, the University
of Nebraska shouldn’t be conducting research of
this type, as it goes against the prevailing will of
For that matter, why even teach any subject
matter that might be offensive to the will of the
One must wonder: Do UNL officials actually
believe that offering domestic partner benefits
would bring on a lawsuit from the state? What
else could be the difference between policy and
opinion in this case?
Even without 416, UNL faces the possibility of
losing funding over a domestic partner plan (not
that it should, but it could). Additionally, long
time supporters and alumni could raise ire. So
what other consequence would UNL face? What
is this onus of “prevailing public policy?”
As this state is pro-death penalty, should UNL
not teach the ills of the death penalty or hire pro
fessors who may be anti-death penalty? This
type oflist can go on.
It seems UNL would like to use 416 as a crutch
in this latest matter, when it is, in fact, business as
usual. Nothing has changed except one excuse
has been added to the list
As UNL English professor George Wolf said in
Friday’s story, this may be the last straw. It may
hurt recruitment of minorities overall. It may
hurt UNLs funding. Soon, the tides may have to
change in regards to domestic partner benefits.
How many more professors must we possibly
miss out on?
Sarah Baker, Jeff Bloom, Bradley Davis, Jake Glazeski,
Matthew Hansen, Samuel McKewon, Kimberly Sweet
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Uneignededtorials are the opinions of the Spring 2001 Daly Nebraska. They do not necessity
reflect the views of the University of Netraska-Lincoin, its employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A column is solely the opinion of its author a cartoon is
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SeNIPITS -TO me fASTN^]
Paradox of (un)intelligent design
n. rtuuu uj uusing vun
victions upon evidence,
and of giving to them only
that degree of certainty
which the evidence war
rants, would, if it became
general, cure most of the ills
from which the world is
- Bertrand Russell,
from "Why I am not a
Like zombies in a horror movie, some ideas
are slain repeatedly only to rise from the grave
for yet another try at success.
Creationism, the idea that the earth and
every living thing on it was created instanta
neously by God, is one such idea. Although the
Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to
teach Creationism almost two decades ago, sup
porters of the idea have not given up.
Kansas’ removal of all mention of evolution
from educational guidelines (though reversed
in a recent election^ is one example of their con
tinuing power. A new movement is on the hori
zon, however, that promises to reinvigorate the
controversy over science, religion and their
respective places in our educational system.
The “intelligent design” theory holds that
everything in the universe was designed by an
intelligent being, not the result of natural
processes. Like Creationism, intelligent design
theory is embraced by only a tiny handful of sci
But unlike Creationism, the proponents of
intelligent design avoid base appeals to reli
gious fervor or references to the Bible. Instead,
their position is argued on certain scientific cri
tiques of evolution and other evidence they
believe proves that our universe could not be
the result of chance.
It’s still too soon to decide the merits of this
theory. Books like Phillip E. Johnson’s “Darwin
On Trial” argue that the fossil record fails to sup
port evolution, and Michael Behe's “Darwin's
Black Box” argue that the biochemical and
genetic make-up of life is too complex to be the
result of natural processes.
Both are fascinating reads and deserve con
sideration by evolutionists. On the other hand,
the intelligent design movement has gained few
followers in the scientific community and rarely
succeeds in getting its ideas published in peer
Whether this reflects the scientific commu
nity's obstinacy to new ideas or simply its
rational assessment of the merits of intelligent
design theory only time will tell.
The most interesting thing about the move
ment, however, is the difference between its
stated goals and its real motivations.
On its face, the intelligent design movement
simply pursues scientific truth through the best
evidence available. In reality, however, most
proponents of intelligent design theory believe
it is a way to cure the primary ill they associate
with belief in evolution: loss of faith in God.
Design theorists are “overwhelmingly
Christian.” The 10-year-old Discovery Institute
and its offshoot, the Center for Renewal of
Science and Culture, “are at the center of the
intelligent-design movement.” (OWH, 1/22/01)
me insuiuie sponsors intelligent aesign
conferences and its scholars write articles,
which they publish in special intelligent design
journals. According to its mission statement
(entitled "The Wedge Strategy”) the goal of the
Institute is not the pursuit of scientific truth,
but “to replace materialistic explanations with
the theistic understanding that nature and
human beings are created by God.”
T.H. Huxley said, “Logical consequences are
the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise
men.” Let us, just for a moment, assume that
intelligent design theory is 100 percent correct
and that the universe and everything in it was
created by an intelligent being. What follows
logically from this?
Will the Discovery Institute succeed in con
vincing rational people that God exists and, in
turn, change their behavior? In a word, no. The
Institute has placed its urge to proselytize over
an objective scientific search for truth.
Even if we knew that there was a designer, we
would have absolutely no information about
this designer. We wouldn't know if the designer
was a race of advanced extraterrestrials (which
some intelligent design theorists believe), a sen
tient computer, a collection of gods, one god, a
beneficent god or a malevolent deity.
David Hume, speaking through the voice of
Demea in his “Dialogues Concerning Natural
Religion,” said, “While we are uncertain
whether there is one deity or many; whether the
deity or deities, to whom we owe our existence,
be perfect or imperfect, subordinate or
supreme, dead or alive; what trust or confidence
can we repose in them? What veneration or obe
dience pay them? To all the purposes of life, the
theory of religion becomes altogether useless.”
Supporters of the intelligent design move
ment who simultaneously believe in the classic
omnipotent yet beneficent God logically com
mit themselves to believing, like Voltaire’s
“Candide,” that this is the best of all possible
hi a wuuu micic immuua ui imams siaivc iu
death, a third of the world is engaged in war and
natural disasters (like the recent earthquake in
India) kill thousands of innocents everyday, this
idea is laughable. Ironically, if the earth is the
result of design, the designer appears either
unintelligent or purposefully malevolent.
Bertrand Russell said it best: “Apart from log
ical cogency, there is to me something a little
odd about the ethical valuations of those who
think that an omnipotent, omniscient, and
benevolent Deity, after preparing the ground by
many millions of years of lifeless nebulae,
would consider Himself adequately rewarded
by the final emergence of Hitler and the H
The debate over evolution and intelligent
design is important and deserves to continue. At
the very least, it forces evolutionists to defend
their belief with evidence instead of authority,
and it may even lead to new understandings of
For now, however, I tend to agree with
Russell: “The world in which we live can be
understood as a result of muddle and accident;
but if it is the outcome of deliberate purpose,
the purpose must have been that of a fiend. For
my part, I find accident a less painful and more
Have comments or questions about one
of our columns?
Write us back at
the navy blue
me in the shades
of night, tracing
through the walls
of the forest trees.
I am on the
canvas. I feel it Dan
pressed against Lea men
the side of my
face, like the cold steel of the world if it
were the barrel of a gun.
I feel as if I keep pulling myself up. I
let the pain thump through me, inject
itself inside of me. Self-sacrifice, love,
I am on my feet and circling through
the ring again. My flesh toned in slow
motion. The noise is a static fuzz and
then it zips together as the world drops
acid, and my senses are geared like a
predator stalking its prey. I become my
own fist clenched in the hue of the sap
I want to break tile arm of every man
or woman that hits a child in public or
hits a child at alL I want to get in the face
of every Catholic that has ever told a
Buddhist he or she was going to hell. I
want to sink the teeth of my fist into the
jaw of any man who beats his wife.
I want to wrap the cold, raw world
around the neck of any corporate exec
utive with more money than they could
ever need and strangle them. I want to
open the flood gates on the village peo
ple of the fertile plains below. I want to
snap the limbs of the world’s self-indul
gent, self-induced orgasm. I am the
intolerance of your intolerance.
These are the violent words that feel
like hot steel in your side. These are the
violent words that anger you. The same
ones that make you feel better about
They are the mirror you look into
each morning to feel good. The mirror
that you have only because you are
afraid to look into it
This is what it is to be in the ring. I
am the blinded rage of the ghosts. Deep
in the recesses of me, I am incomplete.
In the background of the grunting
crowd that encircles the fight, a phone
rings off the hook until it is answered
and sat down. There will be a click on the
other end, and then a woman's auto
I cannot hang up on the ghosts of
the past. I cannot, so I leave the phone
off the hook and pull myself from the
dirt of the canvas floor. I will lift my limp
body and I will walk. Something pounds
in me, telling me that it all will be worth
something when the final bell is rung.
Round two. Round three. Four... six...
I twist in the air. Sweat on my brow.
Blood on my knuckles. Well-oiled Fine
tuned. I am a machine until I let the
world roll back and around me. I am
being stalked. I am weighted down by
As I dance side to side, there comes a
point, a point at which I stay down on
the rough canvas and walk away from
myself. I walk away from all that I am
fighting, and I find the place in this
world where I am the happiest, where I
feel the most content and comfortable.
I find all the silent moments that
don’t feel silent. Like sunrises. Like the
moments just before you kiss, when you
hug, as your fingers are feeling their way
into one another’s.
I find all these things and go to them.
I have to be with them because when it
comes down to it, these are all that I
These are all that will he with me.
This person is the one that fills file silent
moments with “us,” not “you and I” but
“us.” The sunrise no longer just tips file
scales of night and day, it feels its way
across the world, drawing brushstrokes.
Purple, orange, red, pink- unfolding
pedals of the flowering sky - Monet’s
pastels. Holding hands becomes the
most poetic moment of your day. The
single moment before we kiss echoes
through my world like a finger rippling
the waters of a still pond.
And when I hug you, it is as if I can't
quite hold on tight enough, but I try
because I wonder what would be if I ever
let go of you.
This is love. Finding among the
storm of the canvas the brushstrokes
that seem to just let the rest of every
thing blur, bleed and run off down the
drainpipes of the sky. The strokes that
leave you floating in the great expanse of
an ocean. Then I realize I am crying,
tears bringing to life the still blood of the
I run my hands softly along the sides
of your cheeks and through your hair.
Up the back of your neck. I am flooded
as the moment seems to pick up speed.
I close my eyes, begin to feel my way
through the world that no longer is there
and then I, us, you, we, kiss. Out in the
dark, navy night
And all my fears, all my regrets, the
ghosts that haunt me, disappear in the
deep blue night
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