Letters for April 25, 2002

Attack of the cranky creationists

 In fact, we issue those little "Darwin" fish with feet to all of our employees: Drs. Johnson, Behe, Dembski, and Meyer have authored and coauthored numerous books laying the groundwork for Intelligent Design theory ("The Nutty Professors," Steve Ellman, April 11). Remarkably, instead of engaging even a single argument, Steve Ellman thinks it sufficient for him to "accuse" these scholars of being "hucksters" led by a "ringmaster." Sadly, this is typical of Darwinian "fundamentalists," who prefer insults and invectives over intellectual rigor and dialogue.

Any scientific theory (Darwinism) that refuses to permit itself to be critiqued is simply religion masquerading as science. Personally, I find it reasonable to question an idea/theory that proposes that life emanated from nonlife and that the simple, single-celled, and unintelligent produced the remarkably complex, multicelled, and intelligent out of absolutely nothing. Unsurprisingly, Ellman's desperate attempt to discredit the proponents of Intelligent Design has not caused me to reconsider my position.

John Hanna
via the Internet

A brief history of hack journalism: At first, "The Nutty Professors" announcement of a conference on Intelligent Design at Atlantic College left me scratching my head. Now I see that it was a brilliant demonstration of what happens in journalism when intelligence is not part of the creative-writing process. No doubt the author meant to demonstrate that without intelligence, only garbage results but that elegance, either in writing or in nature, is readily recognized as a product of intelligence. Thank you for so eloquently drawing attention to this important conference and its implications not just in the world of hack journalism but also in the study of nature.

Tim Standish, Research Scientist

Geoscience Research Institute
via the Internet

Geez, did Mike Horan key this guy's car or something? I just read Bob Norman's article detailing Mike Horan's complaints to the city about expansion at the Hidden Harbour Marina ("Marina Madness," April 4). I don't understand the author's bias in the article -- his INS series was so good -- but it certainly suits the cartoon illustration on the cover, which is meant to inflame a certain audience and get people to pick up a copy of your publication.

It never ceases to amaze me when someone buys a home in the flight path of an airport, then complains of airplane noise, or on the Intracoastal Waterway and complains about boat noise, or next to a boat yard and complains about potential boat yard noise. Horan should have learned a different lesson than the one the author communicated: Be careful where you buy; find out what's nearby before signing on the dotted line.

In the article, there are no relevant facts, just inflammatory, unrelated innuendo and accusations by one person -- Horan. There's no evidence of any money changing hands, just vague references and accusations of possible corruption. Worse, there is no clear reason stated or implied about why the City of Pompano might want to screw Horan, other than he seems to be a "squeaky wheel" complainer. Go find some facts, Norman. This is rumor-mongering at best and yellow journalism at worst.

Also, the author states that, "Such a monstrosity, however, wasn't allowed in such a residential area." Let's be clear on this: Although Hidden Harbour's property borders a residential neighborhood (very dense condos like Horan's), it is commercial property and has been for decades -- certainly before Horan bought his condo, which according to public records was in 1988.

At the time, there was a marina next door performing boat storage and work, just like he is complaining about today -- in fact, there were several boat dealers on the property, and I recall that the level of activity in the area beside Horan's condo was greater than it is today. He made an informed decision about buying there -- the marina was already there and doing business at a brisk pace. So, the property sold and the investors want to improve the property -- they spent $5 million and clearly deserve a return on their investment in a rundown commercial property. Why would someone spend $5 million on a less-than-perfect piece of property and not improve it? Heck, I would have probably asked for a much more aggressive expansion plan if it were my money.

The mayor and City Commission were clearly acting in the best interests of the majority of Pompano citizens when they made the decision to allow this expansion. Pompano is in need of this type of urban improvement. Every dollar of tax collected here eliminates a dollar of tax that must be collected elsewhere -- like homeowners' property taxes, including Horan's.

As to the city collecting fees from Horan: I am not an attorney, but Florida law is clear that when a lawsuit is brought without merit, the person bringing the suit is liable for the cost of defense as well as court costs. If this were not a provision, the courts would be filled with more junk suits than they already are. And please note that the condominium association did not join Mr. Horan's suit.

Good for the City of Pompano Beach. Horan, pay up or shut up. You ran up these legal bills, and the courts have spoken: You lost. Citizens of Pompano Beach, attend City Council meetings and see for yourself how selfish complainers like Horan try to use government to protect their own interests, which are at odds with the interests of the community as a whole. As with most cities, citizen apathy is the biggest governmental problem in Pompano Beach. But despite all these allegations, my bets are that many of the same city elected officials will be reelected.

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