How about the other mascots?
OK, enough said for and against the use of the gamecock as a mascot. But just what is the University of South Carolina's position on the matter? The university has made clear its position, as a result of a past assault from PETA. I recommend that people read a response from then-USC President John Palms to Kristie Phelps of PETA, who had asked that the university abandon its gamecock mascot.
I would also submit, that there are other mascots in this country that could be termed "inappropriate" if we really explored them. Take the bulldog, for example. How many are there? Let's see, Yale, Georgia, Mississippi State and our own S.C. State. Bulldogs were bred for bullbaiting (as well as bearbaiting), a wagering sport in which trained bulldogs leapt at a bull lashed to a post, latched onto its snout and attempted to suffocate the bull. Facial and body features, such as a laid back nose (for ease of breathing), short and squat musculature (for ease of crawling over to the bull and holding on), and wrinkled skin (for ease of blood flow from the bull) were bred into the bulldog so they would be better suited for this sport. So, let's take away the bulldog now, and perhaps we call them something sweet, like "Rainbows."
Finally, I submit that the gamecock is one of God's most noble creatures, one that has changed very little through the centuries, one that has fortunately been associated with South Carolina.
Richard L. Nivens
Creationists ignore facts
In Charles Parks's recent letter to the editor, he attempts to make the argument that Creationists (or current day Intelligent Design proponents) don't need scientific fact. I agree, creationists don't require scientific fact. In fact, their theory tosses out science altogether in order to make their storybook fantasy fit reality. The problem is that creationists want their make-believe taught in schools.
Parks states that "in a nation of 80 percent who believe in a superior being, it is only appropriate that the educational process educate students and allow each to make his or her own independent decision with respect for the opinions of others." Huh? So the opinion of the majority makes science? Just toss out the textbooks, bring in the Bible? Get rid of peer review, bring in the pulpit? With that logic, the world would still be considered flat! Luckily, Magellan chose to put dogma aside and look for answers.
Finally, Mr. Parks states: "Just don't expect me to put much stock in your belief or what you have to say." Does this mean he has not examined evolution? Is he just enforcing his religious beliefs on science teachers all over the state? Instead of having science,(with its silly hypotheses, tests, theories, peer review, etc.) let's go with mysticism and hocus pocus. Instead of astronomy club, substitute with Astrology 101. I cringe at Intermediate Physics being replaced with Intermediate Potions and Spells.
Mr. Parks doesn't put stock in the beliefs of others or what other people have to say. So be it. I wonder what his position would be if Christianity were not the dominant religion of our country. What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if non-belief or undecided was the religious norm and religious believers were only 16 percent? Would Mr. Parks still be vocal in his belief of creationism?
I know some of the religious readers will be offended at my comments. But ask yourself a question -- are you offended because an atheist is daring to speak up against religious dogma or are you offended that some of what I say makes sense? Keep religion out of our public schools and we will keep critical thinking out of your churches.
Cougars had unfair advantage
The NCAA dealt the death knell to Winthrop when they selected Denver, Colo., for the playoff venue. Rock Hill's elevation is 650 feet as compared to Denver's elevation of 5,280 feet. It takes weeks of intense athletic conditioning to acclimate to the higher elevations.
Winthrop had only a few days to prepare for the game. The elevation at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., is 2,350 feet. Washington State definitely had an unfair advantage, as they were accustomed to playing at the higher elevations.
The NCAA should be challenged when the playoff locations and team pairings are critical to playing a fair game on a level playing field. Winthrop had two strikes against it before the game started.