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Biker vs. driver, part 2

I would like to respond to the unnamed bicycle rider ("What goes around..." Letters, Aug. 26) who felt he was "menaced" on Galley Road.

Let me explain why us vehicle drivers feel that we own the road: We pay for the road with our gasoline taxes. The roads were meant to transport people in vehicles who can do the speed limit, and bicycle riders cannot do that and slow down the speed of traffic.

If you do as you say and "more fully occupy my lane," you risk being hit by a car. That seems pretty stupid to me, as you are guaranteed to lose that confrontation.

Let me propose an alternative: Why don't we pass a tax on bicycles, as we do on gasoline, to pay for separate bicycle lanes from the roads? Then the bicyclists could pay their own way and be out of the way of our vehicles. And by the way, we don't appreciate being called "***holes" or "jerkoffs."

Name not withheld.

— Linda Larroquette

Fountain

Paths to the truth

Epicurus' quote in full is as follows:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

To Brian Tucker ("Ask forgiveness," Letters, Aug. 26) and those who think as he does: Why keep saying everyone must seek forgiveness from only one thing? Why blindfold yourself with just one when there were so many heroes or friends of humanity, or who sought to teach us enlightenment?

Middhartha Gautama, who sought the truths in the world; Krishna, who served the people of his home in love; Muhammad al-Mahdi, who was thought to be guided by a god in speaking truth; and perhaps even Haile Selassie I, who sought the safety of his nation and is acknowledged by the Rastafari movement. And there are many more.

If one really does seek forgiveness, shouldn't they just forgive themselves and others? Evil only comes from humanity, so why not seek forgiveness at the source?

If there's no grace to be offered, it's usually better to let grudges and guilt go. Those feelings are a self-flagellation that's too heavy to bear, and we shouldn't ask others — human, animal or deity — to help us carry the load when it can just be put down.

Of course, one way is not the only way. I really wish everyone would please stop forgetting that.

(P.S.: While we're at it, let's get the atheists and everyone else out of the foxholes. They don't belong there. And please don't write telling me I should convert and find the truth: I've found mine, and it's loving and accepting.)

— Krys Barrow

Monument

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Biofeedback feedback

Having been in the scientific world my entire life, curious how the human mind works, I summarize some true data here, as to the power of prayer.

I was involved in the early days of biofeedback, controlling bodily functions always thought to be on "automatic" and out of control. By concentrating and using visualization (some would call this meditation) and the mind's energy, many have taken control, even if only partially, of chronic pain, headaches, and to a certain extent, blood pressure and heart rate. Some have become so proficient that, by applying electrodes to their heads, they operate some electrical devices.

This may have been a survival mode for our ancestors, to stop a venomous snake near a child, or divert a spear in flight. Over time, this ability may have been used more exclusively by shamans using rituals as a means of power and prestige.

There is some validity in prayer: the concentration of one or more minds in a fervent plea, such as a loved one overcoming a severe illness. This is not to be confused with the mindless recitation of someone else's words. (Have you ever seen 9-year-olds reciting the Rosary?) Or an individual surviving in unusual circumstances enhanced by stress hormones, i.e. adrenaline.

The Maharishi Effect has statistical validity: When 20 percent of a metropolitan area practices meditation, the crime rate goes down. The power of positive vibes.

Over eons, humans may have lost the natural ability to use this mental power at will, and the only way it is invoked today is prayer. So, I disagree that "there are no atheists in a foxhole." You see, God has been given credit for almost everything that mankind had no specific understanding of. Do you still worship fire, or the sun, or volcanoes?

— Nancy Lieber-Lazzaro

Colorado Springs

The TGIF argument

Apparently, in their Aug. 26 letters, Lenny Mazel ("Exit strategies") and Gary Hudgens ("Foxhole reality") believe the meaning of "trapped" is "free to escape."

In their nearly 400 words of combined rhetoric in rebuttal of my one-sentence, 27-word letter ("The true test," Aug. 19), neither addressed the circumstance in my letter: imminent death. Instead, Lenny and Squiggy, oops, Lenny and Gary change the parameters to allow escape from the deadly situation.

Although Lenny doesn't believe in God, he must believe in miracles. He and his religious friends are trapped, but miraculously an exit appears! Is he really sure his religious friends weren't praying? Gary quotes a very inspiring tale of an atheist who remained an atheist after surviving war. Again, in his example the atheist escapes death, this time by becoming infuriated. I guess those trapped miners in Chile should just get angry and walk out the exit.

Lenny says I apparently have a keen insight into the human condition. Gary says I imply that deep inside all atheists are not only believers, but believers in my God and that I must feel better since atheists are painted as weak. Really, they got that from 27 words?

I always thought of atheists as elitist intellectuals who were afraid to admit they believe in God because other elitist intellectuals might find them unintelligent. Now I know they are afraid of being seen as weak.

By the way, whom do atheists thank when it is Friday?

— Bill Schaffner

Colorado Springs

Education solution

Colorado didn't make it out of the second round of the Race to the Top grant system. Gov. Bill Ritter is complaining that the system used to evaluate the states was not objective and therefore not fair.

I am a teacher who left Harrison District 2 because its new system of evaluating teachers is also neither objective nor fair in many areas. I find it odd that the very people pushing for performance pay systems that aren't fair are complaining about evaluation systems that are equally unfair.

Should we be upset that we are no longer part of an unfair system whose goal is to foster more unfair systems? Perhaps we should be breathing a rather large sigh of relief.

If we want to balance the budget, maybe we could try withholding state educational funds from districts that pay over $100,000 a year for public-servant salaries. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't lower student achievement.

— Reed Carlson

Colorado Springs

Lack of evidence

Brian Tucker's response to Larimore Nicholl ("Ask forgiveness," Letters, Aug. 26) leaves much to be desired. Tucker states flatly: "One's quest for knowledge can include not only the natural realm but also its Creator." I beg to differ.

A supernatural (presumed) "Creator" is an ad hoc addition to reality that represents an extraordinary claim no different in quality from asserting, "Multi-dimensional aliens have occupied Earth but we just can't see them." We must remind all faithers here, in the words of Carl Sagan, that "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." At the very least we expect the necessary and sufficient conditions for their god's existence!

Second, no religious or theological arena is open to any manner of quality knowledge! Knowledge presupposes open inquiry to obtain it in the first place. Meanwhile, the multitude of dogmas, antiquated scriptural injunctions and doctrines of religions — not open to critical evaluation — forever foreclose such inquiry. Their edicts like "being saved by the Lord JC" are to be accepted without question. By doing so, faith-based religion abdicates any claim to being called knowledge.

As for evil, things are not really so hard to fathom. As Kai Nielsen has put it, the morality of an actual God ought to minimally meet the standard of concerned action associated with a decent human parent (Ethics Without God). However, over and over we behold this "divine parent" doing absolutely nada to assist those who need it — like those 10 slain medical workers in Afghanistan.

Asserting, as Tucker does, that there will be a final day of reckoning is no use to those calling on this deity in absentia now. It's shown no interest whatever in human actions, foibles, or follies. Keep your forgiveness, sir!

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

 

Never equal

Our Constitution was based on an ideal perception of humanity and our ability to come as close to it as can be achieved. Equality is an aberration, and its corollary "equal justice."

We are all slaves by virtue of human nature, with its unequal distribution of genetic qualities that man's troublesome nature refuses to recognize or admit. When man does admit it, it's as fleeting academic rhetoric gently approaching the periphery of man's ego so as not to disturb his sleeping, excitable brain. Perhaps it was meant to be, for we know not who we are until we are challenged. Only then, and if we are genetically disposed, will we understand and be able to reach those ideals. That darned genetics keeps on stepping in the way.

The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is merely an ideal, nothing more, nothing less. In America we already have accomplished so very much!

"Any man can be trained to do any job, but only the few can be educated." — Aristotle

— Joan Christensen

Fountain

Fines and punishment

With all the discussion on illegal immigration, perhaps no one knows the meaning of "illegal."

Solutions to this issue:

• All government-funded social services should be denied to illegal aliens. Each illegal will be given one trip to the emergency room before being deported.

• Citizenship should not be granted to any child born in the U.S. to illegals.

• Severe fines should be placed on employers who hire illegals.

• When aliens are deported, their fingerprints and DNA samples should be stored in a national data bank.

• If the illegal returns, he/she should be subject to criminal prosecution with a minimum sentence of five years.

I believe in legal immigration; that is what this country was built on. But to ignore breaking of the law is shameful and should not be tolerated.

— Tom Bradley

Colorado Springs

Pay it forward

To the woman, driving the silver Nissan, Missouri license plate, who brought food and beverage to the homeless fellow sitting near Natural Grocers, on South Nevada Avenue: BRAVA!

— T.J. Conway

Colorado Springs

Clean up the tube

Do you think there is too much violence, too much sex, and too much foul language on TV? If so, you're not alone.

A recent Rasmussen poll found almost 60 percent of American adults agree there is too much indecent content on TV and radio. Only half that number thought TV is OK as it is. Respondents also agreed that depictions of sex and graphic violence are the biggest problems on TV today: 39 percent said the biggest problem on TV is violence, while 36 percent said sexual content. Americans are also concerned about violent video games.

Groups like the Parents Television Council are at the forefront of holding advertisers and the entertainment industry accountable for programming they push into our homes. If you want to do more than wring your hands about the bad things on TV today, your local PTC provides a great way to make a difference. Join us!

— Eric Brookens

Colorado Springs

Corrections

• Last week's Fall Arts Preview erroneously referenced TheatreWorks as a student-sponsored company. It is actually a professional company associated with UCCS.

"GOP lawmakers score badly" (Noted, Aug. 26) actually referenced the Women's Lobby of Colorado's 2009 scores for local legislators, not their 2010 scores. The new scores are at coloradowomenslobby.org.

• In "No pressure" (News, Aug. 26), Colorado Senate president Brandon Shaffer said Attorney General John Suthers opposed a payday lending bill last legislative session, as did all Republicans in voting against the measure. Suthers says he took no position on the bill.

The Independent regrets the errors.

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