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More On The Man And Myth

I am afraid that I must take exception to the condescending tone that Carmen Yuen takes with the idea of creation stories in her essay“Man and Myth” (August 2005)- specifically that the naturalist would have a more complete view of epistemology due to his superior understanding of process.

The very fact that we can look in history and see the modern development of the toilet is a far cry from the position that Stephen J. Gould takes in his views of origin, i.e. evolution vs. creation. The origin referred to by Gould is specifically the origin of life. Let me state up front, Gould was an extremely brilliant man, but he had no more of a historical perspective as a materialist for his views than a “creationist” has for his.

Gould's quote: “ ... we readily construct myths when we do not have data (or suppress data when a truth strikes us as too commonplace).” Could you then say that all origin stories where we do not have a historical referenced beginning are simply myth?

I do not have any access to Ms. Yuen's epistemology, cosmology or “religion.” However, I believe that her bias shows and was offended by the inferred (intended or not) insult that I am a cultural idiot because I would take data and develop a different conclusion based upon my analysis of evidence.

I am not alone in many of my conclusions, and this could very easily take on a religious bent or a deeper bent of the definition of operational science. Furthermore, I am probably reading far too much into this. However, I disagree strongly with her bias and would challenge her to think through all positions as it relates to culture before she makes the inferred insinuation that I am an uneducated dolt because I believe that faith and the Judeo Christian view of creation and origins is far more rational and culturally sustainable than a materialist view that is based on just as much faith as any religious position. (That might be the longest sentence that I have ever written.)

The materialist has massive flaws in his theory, and he would point to mine and say I do as well. Just like the materialist, I have a tremendous amount of faith in my conclusions. Only knowledge absolves the need for faith.

We should never stop searching for answers. Ultimately, we are all just hitching a ride on this planet, I prefer to think I know where I am headed and I like the destination. I hope that Karl Marx is happy with his.
Henry Nichols
Vietnam Mfg.
Indianapolis, Ind.

It saddens me to lose the myth and the man. That's my psychological and emotional reaction to the cold bare facts that Carmen Yuen assembles in her scholarly study of Thomas Crapper.

She is right about the power of myth, the psychosocial necessity of origin stories, the need for heroes and creative genius, and those who can glorify the common, true or not.

Yuen's debunking, however, replaces the wonder and magic with what? She illustrates that we are desperate for things to believe in, men to respect, inventions to be inspired by, and then she destroys one of our favorites. What's the point?

Is there an inherent value in truth? To whom? Certainly not to politicians or the entertainment industry or the fashion world or advertising or the stock market or ad infinitum. The preponderance of what we live by are crafted and are cultural creations of myth and magic, not cold, hard facts.

If our lives were guided by what is simply true, our passage from womb to tomb would be a bore. In truth and in culture, reality is greatly over-rated. We spend much more of our lives and minds involved with myth and fantasy than we do coming to terms with what is real. We love (a mythical emotion) the weird and wonderful and wacky and mysterious and marvelous. We live by myth and magic.

Nonetheless, Yuen is a very good thinker and writer, and if she is interested in crap and facts, myth and magic, she will find abundance in the practice of law.
Michael Littoral
Warm Corp.
Napa, Calif.

Lean Construction

Thanks for the article about lean construction (“Lean The Grunau Way,” August 2005). Nice to see others take part in “5S” events where literally tens of thousands of dollars can be saved.

American Residential Services/ Rescue Rooter is fairly new to the process, but when applied with Six Sigma, great results can occur. Sometimes the glass isn't half full or half empty - it's the wrong size glass to use in the first place. Thanks again.
Steve Bookman
ARS Six Sigma Black Belt
Orange, Calif.

Problems Are Our Business

Ellen is right. We are problem-solvers (“Super-Thinking To The Rescue!” August 2005). Without our customers' problems we would be in deep dodo. I find that a problem is only a problem until it is solved. Then it is stored in our memory banks for future reference. I look at problems as challenges and enjoy the process that leads us up to conclusions.

I always enjoy Ellen's easy-to-understand articles laced with common sense. Keep up the great work!
Rich Kontny
Cliff Bergin & Associates
Mequon, Wis.