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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcat columnists take on the issues – big and small – that shape our world.

    Shuttle diplomacy

    Last week Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the situations in both Iraq and Lebanon. Some maintain that Assad’s support for Hezbollah and rumored assassination of a former Lebanese Prime Minister should render him an outlaw in the international community. Was Pelosi right to meet with him?

    Syria’s President Assad is no angel. As if his unrestrained support for Hezbollah terrorists wasn’t convincing enough, his government’s assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri should be. Nancy Pelosi and the bipartisan congressional delegation she led were wrong to play Secretaries of State with one of the Middle East’s most terrorist-friendly leaders. But talk about incompetence – after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Pelosi told Assad that Olmert was “”ready to engage in peace talks”” with Syria. Olmert later clarified things: Not only had he voiced no such opinion to Pelosi, he also had told her that he strongly disproved of her visit to Syria in the first place. Pelosi’s ignorance proves why diplomacy should be left to the diplomats.

    – David Francis is a pre-business sophomore.

    Thank you, Nancy Pelosi, for taking into consideration the recommendations from the Iraq Study Group and engaging in diplomatic talks with Syria. The Bush administration has acted like a group of egotistical, unruly children who refuse accept the fact that their foreign policy strategies have failed to work. Dick Cheney can complain, but we all know he is clearly ignoring the fact that several Republican representatives visited Syria before and after you – and previous House Speakers have participated in similar diplomatic trips. Good for you for having the “”balls”” and independence to do what this administration will not to achieve stability in the region.

    – Lila Burgos is an international studies junior.

    Religion: A leap of faith?

    Neuroscientists like the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Andrew Newberg are finding new ways to track the way the brain processes spirituality. To what extent does this research, which suggests that human brains are hardwired for religious experiences, challenge traditional religion?

    If the religious view were correct, there ought to be some things, like spirituality, that can’t be explained in physical terms. But that’s the exact opposite of the study’s findings. The solution is clear: tremble. Cower at the revelation that your religion, like your emotions and your precious “”free will,”” are nothing but illusions created by a biochemical machine. These are sensations which exist due to millions of years of human evolution but which are reducible to the configuration of our brain circuitry. Okay, so the study doesn’t conclusively prove that, but it’s certainly the simplest scientific explanation. Thus, faith, not science, remains the last bastion for religion.

    – Taylor Kessinger is a sophomore majoring in physics, math and philosophy.

    As someone who was raised in the Christian church and who has extensively studied religion, I view this research as a confirmation of what I have always known: Our brains are wired to seek and connect with our creator. Humans have the capacity to see and wonder at the beauty and complexity of the universe. Why then would they not have the capacity of mind to desire to learn more and have a relationship with the one who formed it? Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God, but it can show us, as with this research, that a human brain at the chemical level is “”hardwired”” to have religious experiences.

    – Joyanna Jones is a journalism senior.

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