This is a “this-n-that” commentary instead of a column with one topic. The hope here is what it lacks in in-depth treatment of its subjects, it perhaps will make up for in variety. And actually, on second thought, there may turn out to be common threads after all.
Citizen Paul Hunter
Paul Hunter passed away in January at the age of 85. He is an example of a person who practiced participatory democracy. His role as a citizen was not limited to voting once or twice a year. A smart fellow, he would research issues facing the city or county and then often share his take on them in writing or at a local government meeting.
His obituary noted his public participation was a conscious decision: “After retirement, Hunter volunteered his time to improving life in his adopted hometown of Wilmington.”
Paul’s interest in local public affairs reached beyond what affected his own neighborhood.
He was concerned about tax breaks for businesses and the effect on local schools’ tax revenue. And he advocated for a summer lunch program in which the Wilmington school district now offers lunch free of charge on summer weekdays to all children, 18 and younger.
He also championed cardboard recycling.
By any measure, Paul was quite the citizen.
Young inventors here
Did you see the Feb. 13 News Journal photograph of Clinton-Massie fifth-grade student Danny Mefford with his invention the “Baby Saver” child car seat? The invention alerts adults to dangerous changes in car air temperature. Danny is part of the Invention Convention and will represent Clinton-Massie this coming summer at a national event.
The best thing about the invention is its purpose to save the lives of young children — children not that many years removed from Danny’s young age.
And then there’s the Rube Goldberg Club that started in January at the Wilmington Middle School. Almost 30 middle schoolers signed up, a number surpassing expectations.
Rube Goldberg Machines, by the way, perform a simple task “in the most over-complicated, inefficient, and hilarious way possible,” states the official Rube Goldberg website.
Stay tuned, the News Journal plans to be there when the three WMS teams unveil their projects where the task is to get a coin inside a piggy bank via a Rube Goldberg contraption that includes at least 10 steps in a process full of twists and turns.
Schools, intelligent design
We live in the Bible Belt, and for some folks the evolution vs. Genesis debate is not over. Science courses in public schools teach evolution of course, and some defenders of a creation account of the Earth think creationism or intelligent design could also be presented in the classroom as an alternative explanation.
However, biologists don’t think creationism belongs in science classes because they say it isn’t science in the first place.
Often overlooked with the issue is that there is a perfectly legitimate way to introduce and discuss intelligent design in the public schools, but candidly, it involves something a creationist may be hesitant about.
In the academic subject of philosophy there has been for centuries an argument for the existence of a Creator called the “Argument for Design”. The contemporary “Argument for Intelligent Design” is basically a form of the “Argument for Design”, as their very similar names suggest. Not many public high schools, though, offer philosophy as a course.
While philosophy is a wide-ranging subject, it is very legitimate for an Introduction to Philosophy course to bring up the several philosophical arguments for a deity that thinkers have proposed. Moreover, I think the question would hold interest for many high school age students.
But here’s the thing with philosophy. If the course did cover the “Argument for Intelligent Design”, then the evidence and reasons contained in the argument would be subjected to probing questions and critical thinking. Because that’s what doing philosophy involves.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .