DIALOGUE Dr. B. and EDB I read with interest Dave Denison’s article on TDH Commissioner Robert Bernstein, particularly the section on EDB, which provides a key case study in my research on agricultural ethics. Denison’s article does not acknowledge the distinction between toxic and carcinogenic risks associated with this \(and sufficient doses, EDB is toxic, or poisonous; it may also be carcinogenic or cancer causing in doses which are well below the levels indicated as safe with respect to toxicity. \(Denison’s citation of an NBC documentary appears to reference two workers who died from toxic exposure to EDB; I have not seen the program and cannot be sure. If so, it does not disprove Bernstein’s claim that no human cancers can be traced to by handlers of the chemical, and residents of communities in which it is used; carcinogenic risks are born by this population as well as by people who consume traces of the chemical in food. The regulatory problem of controlling toxic and cancer risks is complicated by the fact that some of the substitutes for EDB which are less carcinogenic are more toxic; thus, the “simple” solution to the EDB problem is to shift the relatively small risk to a large number of consumers \(who also happen to be to a smaller number of agricultural laborers \(who also happen to be politistrategy liberals want to endorse? Risk problems become even more difficult to sort out; sincere regulators \(and if Denison’s article is any indicato distinguish between politically acceptable risks \(as auto accidents, smoking, cally acceptable risks, or risks which should be accepted or allowed in virtue of their necessity for achieving vital or extremely valuable social benefits. The mere fact that the risks of smoking or military adventurism appear to be accepted politically by many Texans is not, in itself, decisive evidence that anything of significant moral worth is gained thereby. It is politics, however, and not ethics which makes news; hence journalists will always be more interested in politically unacceptable risks analysis and comparison of the risks and benefits \(including considerations of permeates such barriers to public discussion. Paul B. Thompson, Asst. Professor Philosophy and Agricultural Economics College Station A couple of years ago, a friend purchased a subscription to your publication for me as a Christmas gift \(as a joke, Observer for a full year and let the subscription finally expire. \(By the way, I have never received so many “last Recently, and for no reason, I began receiving your magazine again, and believe me, I do not want to endure another year of First of all, your magazine is misnamed. We must live in different states because the views and opinions expressed in your magazine certainly do not reflect the , views and opinions of the state in which I was born and have lived all of my life. This is why I am typing your magazine’s name the way it should be typed: Your publication conducted a vitriolic attack on former Governor Clements in favor of the messianic Mark White saviour of the common man. Oh, you remember his sermon on the hill: lower utility bills, no new taxes, take politics out of education, the list goes on and on. Your publication offered him to its readers on a silver platter. But wait! He was only an appetizer. Your house speciality is now Fritz Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro vintage HHH 1960’s liberalism. For dessert, you recommend the savory Lloyd Doggett, who lacks not only the fundamental qualities but also the social and political polish to be a United States Senator. So, please? Stop sending me The and kindly delete my name from your records. You see, I am also tired of receiving junk mail from Save the Whales, Gay Lib, Doggett for Senate, Common Cause, Sierra Club, People for the American Way, Nader’s Raiders, and so forth. William C. Keese, Longview P.S. I have had some fun with your publication. I have enjoyed circulating your “Social Cause Calendar” to my colleagues to inform them of socially important causes such as the annual “San Antonio Gay Fiesta.” Ole! English Wars, Cont’d. In his account of “The English Wars” in the Sept. 28 issue, Rod Davis ignores Section 10 of the Constitution: “The Legislature shall . . . establish . . . a university of the first class . . . styled `The University of Texas’ , for the promotion of literature, and the arts and sciences … ” There is every reason to believe that the authors of the Constitution, written in 1876, subscribed to the definition of “literature” of their contemporary, Matthew Arnold, namely the best that’s been thought and said in the last 3,000 years. Mr. Davis dismisses this concept as “Institutional Literature,” but the authors of the Constitution were no doubt aware, as most of us are, that reading the best that’s been thought and said is the best foundation for learning how to write. In this context, Mr. Davis’s assertion that UT tenuretrack faculty teach only 8 % of the “composition work-load” is a gross oversimplification. In fact almost all English literature courses require a great deal of composition; indeed many are officially designated as substantial writing component courses. Mr. Davis, however, apparently would be happier if something closer to 100% of the faculty taught E306. If that were the case, there would be no courses for hundreds of students from other departments who need advanced English courses. In short, we would become a junior college, in clear violation of the constitutional requirement that this be a university of the “first class.” Many of our competitors in the latter category have achieved eminence in research by cutting basic English requirements to two, one, or no English courses. After all, teaching writing is very difficult and very expensive. It would be much easier for this university to respond to Mr. Davis’s complaints by cutting basic English requirements, in which case Mr. Davis will have talked himself out of a job. Hence we should be praising rather than blaming this university for resisting such temptations and taking on the heavy burden of hundreds of required English courses even as it attempts to meet the constitutional requirement that it be a university of the first class in the promotion of literature. Jerome Bump, Director, Sophomore English Program, University of Texas at Austin 16 NOVEMBER 9, 1984
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