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Since 1960 Volume 83, Issue 46

Baseball Pro, Part Two

Happy Holidays

While taking classes, Lauren Gagnier begins his first full professional season SPORTS, p. 6

Article explores a variety of winter holiday celebrations THE HUB, p. 3

Daily Titan

Tuesday November 28, 2006

The Student Voice of California State University, Fullerton

Shocked by Death of Beloved Professor 54-year-old died last week of complications from liver ailment By Paolo Andres

Daily Titan Staff Writer news@dailytitan.com

Richard Wiseman, a Cal State Fullerton speech communication professor, died on Nov. 23 from complications due to a liver ailment. Students and CSUF faculty were

shocked at the sudden death of their colleague over the Thanksgiving break. Wiseman was on medical leave for the past semester but Wiseman faculty and students were hopeful that he would return in the near future.

“We were sure that he would be back this semester,” said Kurt Kitselman, professor and chair of the Department of Speech Communication. “We anticipated that he would get better but he took a turn for the worse.” Rick Pullen, Dean of the Department of Communications, said though he knew of Wiseman’s condition, he was hopeful that the professor would return. “I was shocked when I heard he died,” Pullen said. “I couldn’t just believe it because he was just one of

those guys that you believe was made out of iron and would just definitely bounce back.” Students and colleagues alike remember Wiseman’s positive demeanor in the school community. “Rich was the total professor: he was a great classroom instructor, he was very interested in students and he was involved in faculty committees,” Pullen said. “He was a wellrounded faculty member who we all dearly loved.” Pullen recalled the times when he would hide behind the door to hear

Wiseman lead the class during instruction. “To hear him walk in and just greet the students was just amazing,” Pullen said. “I had been a professor for a number of years and I was still learning and listening from him out of sight. He just connected with the students.” Jeanine Congalton, speech communication professor, said that Wiseman was “widely known” for his work in intercultural and instructional communication. He was also known for his work in nonver-

bal communication, persuasion and research methodology. On average, Wiseman published at least two or three conference papers each year. In 2002, with over 24 years of experience in the communication field, he published nine books and wrote 58 journal articles or book chapters. Wiseman was also recognized as the third most prolific scholar in the area of intercultural communication. Wiseman was awarded more than SEE WISEMAN - PAGE 2

President Packed House Gordon for Thanksgiving Discusses Audit CSUF dancers perform eight shows for the Fall Dance Theatre

For the first time in its history, CSUF will hire two internal auditors

By Dawn Milton

For the Daily Titan

news@dailytitan.com

Eight performances by some of Cal State Fullerton’s dancers were held over Thanksgiving break. The Fall Dance Theatre opened on Nov. 16 to a full house and continued to draw crowds through four shows filled with music and dance. Each night students, faculty, family and friends watched numbers that told stories of love, humor, seduction and loyalty. “Cal State Fullerton’s Dance program has grown into one of the nation’s premiere showcases for innovative choreographers and exciting dance led by brilliant international faculty,” theatre Professor Jim Volz said. The event featured dances, which ranged from jazz to modern dance and were choreographed by award-winning guest Mike Esperanza, Esperanza helped the CSUF dancers earn their first and second invitation to the American College Dance Festival gala concert, as well as an invitation to the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

By Maggie Hauser

Daily Titan Staff Writer news@dailytitan.com

SEE AUDIT - PAGE 2

By Jim Volz/For The Daily Titan

Fall DanceAlexandra Blakey dances in “Porcelain Hearts,” a piece choreographed by Crystal Barrientos during CSUF’s Department of Theatre and Dance production of Fall Dance Theatre.

Speaker Compares the Vietnam and Iraq Wars Information coming from the battlefield can sometimes be blurred By Adam Levy

Daily Titan News Editor alevy@dailytitan.com

War veteran and writer Quang X. Pham spoke to a group of over 200 Cal State Fullerton students in Professor Gail Love’s History and Philosophy of Communications classroom in the Ruby Gerontology Center Monday afternoon, on the parallels of the respective wars in Vietnam and Iraq. He touched on a cornucopia of

war-related issues from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf to Iraq. Pham commented on many of the issues that arise with domestic war coverage. He mentioned that, in the case of the Vietnam War there were three sides to the story; American, North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese, although America’s view on the war has been shaped differently. “The American media writes for an American audience,” Pham said. “It’s a very American-centric look at what the press pays attention to.” He mused about the reversed roles of Vietnam and Iraq. He said that in Vietnam an insurgency was followed by a big war, while in Iraq it was the other way around. Pham also emphatically stated his take on

the end of the Vietnam War. “America did not lose the war in

America did not lose the war in Vietnam – America quit. When you lose a war, you lose your country, culture, home, family, everything.

Paperwork documenting the use of lottery funds to complete the Performing Arts building was improperly filed, but the use of funds was not inappropriate, said Cal State Fullerton President Milton Gordon. “I think it was a loan, and it’s going to be repaid,” he said. Gordon also stressed his policy of not naming the individuals involved in the allegations of fraud, dishonesty and financial mismanagement made in the recent campus investigation at the Nov. 16 meeting of the Academic Senate. Gordon acknowledged the concerns CSUF faculty and staff have expressed in response to the contents of the audit and admitted that perhaps the university could have been more proactive with releasing the report to university faculty and administration. “In hindsight, maybe we should have been more proactive and sent the link around,” Gordon said. “But I never really felt that was our report. That was a CSU report that was handled by the CSU auditor, so as far as I was concerned, it was theirs to handle for release.” A list of issues and questions were sent to the Board of Trustees, which set the audit in motion, and Gordon said he was not aware of the nature of the questions. “I don’t even know if I want a copy of those questions if you want to know the truth,” Gordon said later in an interview. When Senator Mahamood Hassan asked the first question, inquiring of Gordon’s competence in the position of being in charge of the university, Gordon responded by saying that to his knowledge, previous audit reports had given the university a clean bill of health, and that he did not know what else he could do. When asked about the lack of

“I love the dance department here,” dance major Sara Hallsted said. “I am confident in the training I’m getting. The longer I’m here the more I see how the system works and it makes me appreciate it more.” As audience members left the crowded theatre, some said the dancers and choreographers had outdone themselves. “That was amazing,” business major Amber Luckett said. “I love dance, and seeing how enthusiastic they were with each routine really made the show.” The CSUF theatre and dance department has undergone some changes with the addition of new concert halls. This concert called for a proscenium-style stage. “The new Performing Arts Center offers a grand setting for classes and the results are evident in this year’s poignant and powerful Fall Dance Theatre,” Volz said. Volz and Hallsted said it was the 50-plus hours of rehearsal that set the tone for the dancers’ performances. For some, those 50-plus hours were just the tip of the iceberg, as there were added rehearsals for choreographers. “I think my favorite part of the show is that – the show,” Hallsted said. “I enjoy being able to show what we worked so hard on, and I love sharing something so close to me with the audience.”

– Quang X. Pham

Vietnam – America quit,” Pham said. “When you lose a war, you lose

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your country, culture, home, family, everything.” The speaker came to the podium with impressive credentials both in the trenches and at the keyboard. The 46-year-old has worn many hats in his life with seemingly remarkable results emanating from each endeavor. He immigrated to America with his mother and sisters amidst political turmoil in his native Vietnam, where his father Hoa Von Pham was a pilot in the Air Force before spending 12 years in a Saigon internment camp. After his 1987 graduation from UCLA with an economics degree, Pham blazed a new trail by becoming the first Vietnamese-American

weather

TODAY

to graduate from Marine Officer Candidate School and earn Naval Aviator Wings. As a Marine, Pham defended his country with two tours of duty that included helicopter missions in the Persian Gulf and Somalia. “I wanted to be a pilot when I was growing up in Southern Vietnam,” Pham said. After a successful run with the Marine Core, Pham turned his attention back to the business spectrum in 2000, when he created Lathian Systems, an Irvine-based medical marketing corporation designed to facilitate communication SEE WAR - PAGE 2

TOMorrow Partly Cloudy High: 61 Low: 43

Sunny High: 62 Low: 42


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November 28, 2006

In Brief

CAMPUS CALENDAR AUDIT: Paperwork improperly filed War: Born TUESDAY Symptoms of depression and treatment options for in Vietnam, women will be discussed in the Women’s Center UH 205 at noon. fought for The Third Tuesday Recital begins at 1 p.m. and will feature CSUF music students. The performance will America be held in the Recital Hall. Admission is free. (From Page One)

A Blueprints Workshop will be held to help campus organizations coordinate meetings and events. The discussion will be held in the Titan Student Union Ontiveros room at 5 p.m. To RSVP for this event call 714278-7622. Space is limited to 40 people. Women’s Basketball v. Fresno State at 7 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

complete and accurate budgetary information, Gordon said he felt he was being given complete and detailed budgets, and also said previous external reviews never found anything wrong with the actions by the former CFO, identified by others as Sherri Newcomb. Several senators asked Gordon why there were no reprimands made against Newcomb and the others involved with the allegations made in the audit, to which Gordon responded that all three of the individuals involved had left the university before the audit report came out in October 2006. In an interview on Nov. 17, Gordon said he was not planning to re-

The Japanese band AUN will present a concert and workshop from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the TSU Theater. AUN is currently on a mission to tour 100 schools to teach people about Japan.

FRIDAY

Teachers in the university’s Art Department will present an exhibit of their most recent work, including photography, sculpture, painting, glass, jewelry, ceramics, graphic design, video and animation. The event runs from noon until 4 p.m. For more information contact the art gallery office at 714-278-3262.

the recipient of the university’s Outstanding Professor Award, the highest honor given to a faculty member. In addition, he was also rewarded last year with the Wang Family Excellence Award, which recognized his achievement throughout the

For the Record It is the policy of the Daily Titan to correct any inaccurate information printed in the publication as soon as the error is discovered. Any incorrect information printed on the front page will result in a correction printed on the front page. Any incorrect information printed on any other page will be corrected on page 2. Errors on the Opinion page will be corrected on that page. Corrections also will be noted on the online version of the Daily Titan. Please contact Managing Editor Cindy Tullues at (714) 278-5693 or at ctullues@dailytitan.com with issues about this policy or to report any errors.

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whole CSU system. Congalton said that Wiseman was instrumental in his student’s academic growth. Wiseman worked closely with his students by co-authoring dozens of publications and conference papers that allowed the students to submit their first journal or conference papers. “The other element about Rich’s work that was fascinating was how much work he did to ensure that several of his advisees were able to present their work in conferences and how much work he did to get

MYSPACE PROFILE

their works published,” Congalton said. “His mentoring went far above instruction and far beyond a thesis adviser, but also helping people move to the next level to help [his students’] work go beyond itself.” Many of his colleagues and students said they believe that this loss will be felt by the whole academic community. “He really was the model professor for all of us and he will be dearly missed, not just by his colleagues but also by his students,” Pullen said. Wiseman was 54 years old.

(From Page One)

between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. In 2005, Pham released the critically acclaimed book “A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey,” which detailed his relationship with his father as well as the inner-struggle as a refugee-turnedMarine. Some students who attended the lecture said that Pham’s revelations were enlightening. “My girlfriend and her family are Vietnamese and they left for the U.S. during the war,” said 21-year-old communications major Jon Pommier. “To think of the third-part perspective is an eye opener.” Crystal Nettles, a 24-year-old broadcast jounalism major, enjoyed the first-person perspectives both men provided of the Vietnamese war. “I learned a lot of new things about Vietnam,” Nettles said. “The overview they teach you in school doesn’t include the personal story.”

www.myspace.com/swtkelly

Student Counting Down the Days Until Graduation By Marina Zarate

Daily Titan Staff Writer news@dailytitan.com

Kelly Duprat’s MySpace page is SUBMISSIONS: To have your event in The Daily Titan’s Calendar, please simple. The light purple background submit event information to news@dailytitan.com one week prior to the date of the event.

on campus. Gordon said this is the first time in university history that two internal auditors will be employed, and that only a few other schools in the CSU system have two internal auditors. Gordon said two more investigations have been conducted recently, one by the CSU auditor and another by the university internal auditor, and none of the acts committed by those involved in the audit was found to be criminal, illegal or fraudulent. “If someone does in the future, they can certainly come in and look at any records we have,” Gordon said. “But that’s not our determination.”

WISEMAN: Asset to his profession

Students are invited to attend Nancee Wright’s inter- (From Page One) 25 grants to support various review with doctoral candidate Kandy Mink to learn search projects. One project helped more about receiving a doctoral degree. During the reduce pedestrian fatalities among immigrants by helpsession, students will learn the difference between a undocumented ing design the sign that featured the Ph.D. and an Ed.D, as well as receive helpful hints on silhouette of a family running across a freeway. In 2004, Wiseman was how to succeed in the doctoral program.

THURSDAY

lease a public statement in response to the audit report. “The campus response in the report is my response,” Gordon said. The Chancellor’s Office also made several suggestions regarding campus operations, stating that staffing in the Business and Financial Affairs Office was often inadequate, which could have contributed to the findings of financial mismanagement by the CSU auditor. Gordon said he would not offer excuses for the inadequate staffing, and that he is now hiring “high-quality staff” to fill vacant positions. The university is also in the process of hiring two internal auditors to oversee financial decisions made

with tiny hearts and uncluttered design are representative of Duprat. “I tend to have OCD according to my friends. I always want everything perfect,” Duprate said in an e-mail interview. “I push myself hard to achieve my dreams and my goals.” Duprat is a graduate student working on her master’s degree in business. The countdown on the page indicates Duprat’s excitement at achieving her goal of graduating. She is only six months away from graduating, according to the purple countdown ticker. “I’m very excited to graduate be-

cause it’s such hard work,” Duprat said. “But a lot of motivation and hard-work paid off finally.” Duprat plans to work for a company that has been waiting for her to graduate. The company will send her to work around the world. Duprat speaks several languages and is looking forward to using her skills in her future career. “I’m hoping that with my degree, I can be financially stable and love the work that I do,” she said. Duprat has been a member of MySpace for almost three years. She joined the networking site to make new friends and keep in touch with old friends. Her page includes pictures of herself as a child as well as her favorite images. Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” plays on her page, an example

of the type of music she enjoys. Duprat’s slide show under the “About Me” section of her page reads, “I think it’s up to you to find out and then let me know.” The images are of Duprat modeling for the camera in a bikini and a dress on a beautiful beach setting. The 25-yearold admits that those pictures were taken just for fun. “No I am not [a model], I just took those pictures so that when I am older I can remember how I used to look,” Duprat said. “I am not up to par with the models, I’m too short.” Duprat has guidelines for adding people as friends on MySpace. Anyone who requests her as a friend must either know her e-mail address or last name in order to be admitted.

Duprat


November 28, 2006

the hub

3

An International Affair – Ireland is world-renowned for its beautiful landscape and welcoming people. It is also well-known for its

number one export: Guinness. This ‘black’ beer is the celebratory element that cannot be missed in a Dubliners birthday. The Guinness storehouse, located at the St. James Gate brewery in Dublin, consists of a self-guided tour of the historical brewery. One free Guinness, a beautifully heavy draught beer, is included with the nine Euro fee. I was in Dublin at the strike of midnight on my birthday, but I spent the special day in Cork-kissing the Blarney stone and wandering about 15th century castles. A three hour train ride allowed me to see the two largest and best known cities in all of Ireland. I would not trade this experience for any birthday opportunity that is afforded in the states. It is true that I spent my 21st with people I have only known for a few short months, but these people have quickly become my family. My true Californian family is here with me in spirit and my new family has made all of my birthday dreams come to fruition. Read Laura Burrow’s complete blog online at www.dailytitan.com

Gibraltars and Castles in California California’s central coast region holds surprising treasures for visitors by phil gordon

For the Daily Titan

news@dailytitan.com

Normally I am a hard-working guy trying to balance work, school and the hustle and bustle of Southern California. Before long, I notice the work will start to be a pain, school work will pile up and commuting on our beloved freeways will begin to take its toll. Stress, stress, stress; like it or not stress does build up and if left unchecked it can turn you into a modern-day basket case. To rid myself of the barrage that modern life throws my way, I program some time to wind down and find myself again. My escape is a short jaunt north of Los Angeles. Within 4 hours I can effectively trade the hustle and bustle of the big city for the beautiful tranquility of California’s Central Coast. I always like to stop when I reach a tiny town just 10 minutes from San Luis Obispo called Morro Bay. In the 1500s, Spain led the world in exploration through the use of a powerful navy and merchant ships. Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo was the first European explorer to navigate the coast of California. Cabrillo began his voyages by landing in San Diego bay on Sept. 28, 1542. Cabrillo continued his explorations as far north as the Russian River, which empties into San Francisco Bay. Along the way, Cabrillo landed at what is now known as Morro Bay. Named “El Morro” by Cabrillo, Morro Rock is known as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” It stands at 576 feet high and has remained a significant navigational aid and landmark. The “Rock,” according to the California Department of Parks and

Recreation, is made of congealed lava formed about 20 to 25 million years ago. Morro Rock is part of a chain of peaks known as the “Nine Sisters.” these volcanic peaks extend from San Luis Obispo to the town of Morro Bay. Early on, Morro Bay was chiefly a settlement for early explorers. Morro Bay began to take on the resemblance of a real town through the trade of dairy products, potatoes, wool and barley. It sustained a vibrant fishing industry, making the town a popular stop for merchant ships. Today, tourism is the No. 1 industry of this small town. During the summer months the population of 10,350 inhabitants, as of the 2000 census, grows to a population of over 50,000. Many of the tourists come to enjoy the wide variety of activities available in the area, such as: sport fishing, hiking in Morro Bay State Park, wildlife observation, wine tasting, fine dining, lodging and sightseeing. Contributing to the lure of the Central Coast is Hearst Castle, the extravagant home of William Randolph Hearst, a wealthy newspaper magnate who inherited a fortune in silver from his mother Pheobe Hearst. What started out as a 40,000 acre estate expanded into 250,000 acres of spectacular real estate located in San Simeon, some 35 miles north of Morro Bay. Affectionately known as “La Cuesta Encantada,” or “The Enchanted Hill,” Hearst would gather family and friends for elaborate campouts before the castle was established. Soon he grew tired of just camping out and wanted something more permanent for his family. Hearst hired San Francisco architect Julia Morgan to design and build his home. To say that Hearst’s home was his castle is an understatement. Taking some 20 years to complete, the house features 165 rooms in the main house, called “Casa Grande,”

Diverse December Christmas sometimes overshadows other religious celebrations by amanda beckman

Daily Titan Staff Writer news@dailytitan.com

BY PHIL GORDON/FOR THE DAILY TITAN

HEARST CASTLE – The 60,645 square foot home of newspaper magnet

William R. Hearst, is filled with an array of mastercrafted furnishings, tapestries and some of the finest artwork from around the world.

and three guest houses. The estate sits on 127 acres, 1600 feet up, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The 60,645 square foot main house was no ordinary structure. Hearst filled the house with a stunning array of master-crafted furnishings, tapestries and some of the finest art from Europe. Two pools were built at the house: the Roman pool was indoors and is covered in exotic tile and gold inlays. The spectacular Neptune Pool is 104 feet long and 58 feet wide. It holds 345,000 gallons of water and goes to a depth of

10 feet. From this grand structure, Hearst ran his empire. Hearst loved to entertain and to get invited to a weekend at “Casa Grande” was all the rage. Calvin Coolidge, Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Charles Lindbergh are just a few of the notables invited to the house. Hearst Castle was made a State Historic Monument in 1976. Today tourists can visit the castle and take one of five tours offered by the park. Morro Bay makes for a relaxing getaway that has something for everyone.

The time has come for family photos, sending holiday greeting cards and battling the lines at every store check stand. For some, the season brings about an awkward time – what is often called the “December dilemma.” As Cal State Fullerton professor emeritus of comparative religion Ben Hubbard explained, the typical American holidays present a difficult time for Jews like himself, Muslims and other non-Christian religious and cultural groups. As a way of dealing with this December dilemma, he said that many Orthodox Jews go to Disneyland on Christmas because most others are at home with their families. The Jewish holiday Hanukkah, which marks the rededication of the temple, falls around the time of Christmas and is often misunderstood, Hubbard said. “Hanukkah functions like Christmas but it is not the Jewish Christmas,” he said. “It is a minor Jewish holiday.” In remembrance of an important religious event, a candle is lit each night for eight days of the Hanukkah celebration, he explained. An earth-based and pagan religion called “The Craft” or Wicca celebrates Yule. The holiday takes place during the winter solstice, just four days before Christmas. Yule celebrations mark the shortest day of the year, Dec. 21, Hubbard said. Christmas trees are actually a pagan symbol or object of worship and may be part of the holiday along with Yule logs. While all Wicca holidays are built around meteorological holidays, he said, Christians initially chose Saturnalia – a solstice – to celebrate the birth of Jesus and trump the solstice

celebration. “There is an interesting way that nature is at the root of many religious celebrations,” he said. For others, earth-based and religious holidays are unimportant. Although many atheists have grown up celebrating Christmas, Hubbard said some do not partake in the national holiday. Another lunar holiday that sometimes falls in December is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, CSUF Irvine campus director and professor of history George Giacumakis said. Giacumakis is an expert on Islamc tradition. During this time, Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk for the entire month, editor-in-chief of the Muslim Observer, Aslam Abdullah wrote in a recent article. As for partaking in any Christmas celebrations, Giacumakis said it is usually a no-go. “Most Muslims will not celebrate Christmas because they are not Christians,” he said. In this country and others that have a majority of Christians, “may celebrate it. If they are in a country that is predominantly Muslim, there will be no celebration,” he said. Founded by Maulana Ron Karenga, Kwanzaa is the African-American and Pan-African holiday that is celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, CSUF comparative religion department chair James Santucci said in an e-mail interview. Seven candles are lit during the week in celebration of each Kwanzaa principle. Most often celebrated by African-Americans in family or intimate gatherings, Kwanzaa is becoming more widely accepted, he said. “Probably all non-Christian groups feel somewhat alienated. Although it has become very secular, Christmas is still rooted in a religion that they aren’t a part of,” Hubbard said. “It’s important to try to be more appreciative of the wonderfully different ways that people, through holidays, try to bring meaning and joy into their lives.”


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November 28, 2006

OPINION Titan Editorial Providing insight, analysis and perspective since 1960

Boycott the N-word By now, many have seen the take these actions in protest. video footage of Michael RichThese actions, however, are ards letting loose a slew of racial merely a demonstration of the slurs during a show at the Laugh very right they endanger by supFactory in West Hollywood pressing the use of any word, ofabout a week ago. fensive or not — free speech. In response to his liberal use Not only that, but banning of the n-word, the word acwhich was diknowledges the rected at a group that it It is unfortunate power of hecklers in still has even in that the n-word is today’s “progresthe audience, black commu- still directed toward sive� society. nity leaders have a group of people in theIf useanything, challenged the of the anger today. entertainment word by rappers industry to stop and comedians the use of the is a way of lessexpletive. ening its power According to by confronting an article from the Associated it and laughing at it head on. Press, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Instead of ignoring the probothers will meet with TV net- lem in silence, they give it a works, film companies and mu- voice. sicians to discuss the use of the It is unfortunate that the word. n-word is still directed toward Jackson also urged the public a group of people in anger toto boycott the DVD box set of day. the seventh season of “Seinfeld.� However, its use is merely There is no question that Jack- symptomatic of an even greater son and others have the right to problem.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Titan Editorial is solely the opinion of the Daily Titan editorial board and was written after the open debate between board members. The editorial board consists of the executive editor, the managing editor, the opinion editor, the news editors, the copy chief and other editors upon appointment of the executive editor.

Letters to the Editor The Daily Titan welcomes letters to the editor. All letters must include the sender’s first and last name. Students must include their majors, and other writers must include their affiliation to the university, if applicable. The Daily Titan reserves the right to edit letters for length, grammar and spelling. Send letters to Julie Anne Ines, the executive editor, at jines@dailytitan.com.

Student Health Center

A Glimpse Into The Mind Of An Atheist By Dave Greummer For the Daily Titan

opinion@dailytitan.com

Roughly 90 percent of Americans proclaim belief in a God. The predominant religion is, of course, Christianity. However, it is questionable what that really means when most of those people do not attend church regularly and a majority of them have not seriously studied the Bible or their church’s history and doctrine. There are many people who consider themselves religious but do not really give it much thought, while some who do not genuinely believe in God will not say so publicly for fear of being stigmatized. It took some time, but God eventually joined Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, ghosts, ESP and other fictions in my book. I always knew that there was something fishy about each of them, but in the case of religion, it was harder to break away when there are others around you supporting the belief with each other and society puts pressure on you to conform – so many times I just made myself believe by brute force. Ironically, it was when I really started studying the Bible and religious history that it became clear that the whole thing is a ruse and God is not real. Why do I not believe in God? The knee-jerk answer here is to say that there is no evidence for a God. Now this means not that god is disproved, but unproved. So I say this with the condition that I would be happy to change my belief should the evidence come forth some day. The only evidence that is ever presented to justify belief in God is anecdotal, unverifiable or circular in nature. For years, apologetics have tried to prove God using logic and philosophy, but they are merely playing games with words, and have failed miserably to prove anything. Their arguments are often so strained that to explain them is to refute them. The reality is that those arguments, whether design, ontological, teleological, etc., can appear very convincing to a person who is already inclined to believe them, but cannot truly prove or disprove God’s existence. For me to cite a lack of evidence for God is not exactly earth-shattering news. Many Christians are well aware that the existence of God is not an obvious thing. This is where faith comes into play. But when you accept something on the basis of faith, you have conceded that the belief does not stand on its own two feet. You need something extra to make it go – hence faith. If faith were valid, then anybody’s religion can be true because all religions are based on faith. Faith is simply a way to grease the tracks and make an irrational belief seem tenable, but in reality it does not make the belief true, and it

is not a tool of knowledge. I choose to use reason and rationality in places where others might fall back on superstition and mythology. Philosophy is my religion and logical truth is paramount. And finding out that God does not exist did not change my morality. Christians are as likely as atheists to commit crimes, divorce, watch pornography or cause harm to themselves or others. Most atheists are good Americans who live productive and meaningful lives. Christians think that morality comes from the Bible, but that cannot be true when no two Christians can agree what that morality is; they essentially pick and choose which aspects of the Bible they like or not. This is why Christians will fall on both sides of every pertinent social issue of the day. Christian morality is really based on a secular morality built up over the years, and it is Christians themselves who project into the Bible what they feel it ought to be saying. For this reason, it perturbs me to no end when some religious people give themselves the moral high ground and make the nonbeliever and those with the “wrong beliefs� into less-moral beings by definition. Some people would feel lost if they did not have a sense of higher purpose or meaning in their life. Purpose is what you make it. For instance, maybe art or stamp collecting provides purpose to you, while I consider them a waste of time. Of course, biologically speaking, we all have a purpose, which is to survive and reproduce. This is why Christians who say they are going to a better place still avoid death like the plague. If this world is so terrible, why stay around? I do not necessarily dislike religious people. True, I do think deep

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down that the world might be a better place without religion. The fact is that most of the killing and intolerance in world history has occurred when people with one God encounter people with another God, or even a different version of the same God. I have never heard of anybody dying or killing in the name of atheism, but plenty of people have done it in the name of a God. As an atheist I can be civil to all people. I don’t get that familiar scowl that a typical Christian gets when the subject of the Mormons or some other “heretical� group comes up. From my perspective, it does not matter if you worship the Easter Bunny as long as you aren’t harming anybody else. I am not going to waste my time persecuting homosexuals, for instance, based on no reason other than the word of some book we inherited from the Bronze Age. I have more tolerance being an atheist. The only people I have a problem with are the ones that claim absolute truth to the point that they take spiteful action against others – take for example, the religious right. Religion can offer a lot of good things to one’s life. It can offer hope, a sense of meaning and purpose, self-esteem, community, lifestyle and many other worldly rewards. I lose out on some of those opportunities by not being part of a church group. But keep in mind that being an atheist can be quite liberating in its own right. Sometimes religion gives people a low self-image of themselves. Ministers have spent years telling people that they were damned and deserve to go to hell. I do not have the belief, as many do, that man is wicked, evil, sinful, dirty or in need of salvation. I do not go about my daily regimen with the belief that there is some invisible voyeur monitoring my every thought and action, ready to toss me into the hell he created. The truth is, nobody really knows what happens when we die, save for we get buried in a box or burned to a crisp. But life is more precious as an atheist. If we exist forever, then our time on Earth is pretty insignificant. Some people are so focused on pretending that they are going to the next world that they neglect this world, a world that is likely all they ever really had. Now that is tragic.

Religion and Politics 17th and 18th Centuries - American settlers stress religious tolerance and, eventually, a disengagement of church and state. 1776 - Thomas Jefferson pens The Declaration of Independence, appealing to “Divine Providence� to help the new nation fight for freedom. 1789 - The Bill of Rights is adopted, including the First Amendment, which provides for freedom of worship and government neutrality in religious matters. 1800 - Jefferson, although accused of being an atheist, wins presidency. 1926 - The Scopes “Monkey Trial� leads to ridicule of fundamentalist Christians. 1928 - Democrat Al Smith, the first Catholic to run for president on a major party ticket, loses to Herbert Hoover. 1950 - Present - As black Protestants, Catholics and Jews gain new power, evangelicals reassert themselves politically. 1960 - John F. Kennedy becomes the first Catholic elected president. 1964 - The Civil Rights Act outlaws racial and ethnic discrimination. 1976 - Evangelical Christian Jimmy Carter becomes president. 1989 - The Rev. Pat Robertson founds the Christian Coalition, which helps the GOP take over Congress in 1994. 1992 - Democrat Bill Clinton is elected president, in part because Bush is unable to rally conservative Christians to his camp. 2000 - Democratic Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman becomes the first Jew to run on a major national presidential ticket. 2001 - George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian, becomes president. 2003 - With support from religious conservatives, Congress bans a lateterm abortion procedure known by opponents as a “partial-birth abortion.� 2004 - The Interfaith Alliance urges political candidates to refrain from using religion as a political strategy. Despite pressure from religious conservatives, Senate fails to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

SOURCE: CQ Researcher, Jul. 30, 2004


6

USC Leaps to Second in BCS Rankings

November 28, 2006

SPORTS

McGwire Gwynn and Ripken Top Hall Ballot

Associated Press Southern California is a win away from returning to the national title game. The Trojans moved into second place in the Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday, passing idle Michigan on the strength of a 44-24 victory over Notre Dame and closing in on a matchup with undefeated Ohio State in the title game. USC plays crosstown-rival UCLA on Saturday and a victory would likely lock up the Trojans’ third consecutive appearance in the BCS title game. The Trojans have already locked up the Pac-10’s automatic BCS bid, but playing in the Rose Bowl would be a letdown for USC. “I think we’re a pretty good team right now,” USC coach Pete Carroll said after beating Notre Dame. “We’ll play anybody, anywhere.” First-place Ohio State has already sealed up its trip to Glendale, Ariz., for the Jan. 8 championship game. The final BCS standings and bowl pairings will be announced next Sunday. Michigan managed to hold onto second place after losing 42-39 at Ohio State, but the Wolverines’ lead over USC was razor thin. USC’s convincing victory over the Fighting Irish helped the Trojans increase their cushion over Michigan in the coaches’ poll and Harris poll, and boosted USC’s computer rating ahead of the Wolverines’. USC’s BCS average was .946. Michigan’s was .922. The polls make up two-thirds of a BCS average and the computer ratings account for the other third. If the Trojans can make it eight consecutive wins against UCLA, it’s USC vs. Ohio State for the national title.

Associated Press Mark McGwire, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. headline the firsttime candidates on the 2007 baseball writers’ Hall of Fame ballot released Monday, sure to spark debate on Big Mac’s place in history as the steroid era comes under renewed scrutiny. Jose Canseco, whose book last year led to a congressional hearing on steroid use in baseball, also is on the ballot for the first time. Canseco said he used steroids along with McGwire when they were teammates. McGwire denied using illegal performance-enhancing substances, but when he appeared before a congressional committee, he evaded questions. “I’m not here to talk about the past,” was his repeated response. McGwire finished his career with 583 home runs, seventh in baseball history while Canseco, a former MVP, is 30th at 462. Dave Kingman, 34th with 442, has the most home runs for a player who has been on the Hall of Fame ballot and was not elected. Gwynn, an eight-time batting champion with San Diego, and Ripken, a two-time MVP with Baltimore, are considered likely to gain election on the first ballot. Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, breaking Lou Gehrig’s record. Bret Saberhagen, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, and former MVP Ken Caminiti also are among 17 players on the ballot for the first time along with Harold Baines, Dante Bichette, Bobby Bonilla, Scott Brosius, Jay Buhner, Eric Davis, Tony Fernandez, Wally Joyner, Paul O’Neill, Devon White and Bobby Witt.

By JONATHAN SAAVEDRA/Daily Titan REFLECTING BACK – Former Cal State Fullerton pitcher Lauren Gagnier was a third-team college All-American with a 14-5 record for the Titans in 2006.

Catching Up With a Former Titan Mound Ace Part II: Lauren Gagnier finds himself starting over in the minor leagues BY JONATHAN SAAVEDRA Daily Titan Staff Writer sports@dailytitan.com

Former Cal State Fullerton baseball player Lauren Gagnier, a 21year-old communications major, began his professional career with the Oneonta Tigers, the Detroit Tigers’ short-season Single-A affiliate. Gagnier posted a 1-1 record with a 0.70 ERA and 21 strikeouts in nine games. He said that he didn’t pitch very much with the Tigers because of the 131.7 innings he threw at CSUF prior to joining the team. Although he didn’t pitch in as many games as he would have liked to, he took a lot with him from his time in Oneonta, N.Y. “It was a lot different just going from college baseball to professional baseball,” he said. “Hitters in college baseball are a little bit more patient

By MATT PETIT/For the Daily Titan LIKE A ROCK – Former Cal State Fullerton pitcher Lauren Gagnier was one of three Titan starting pitchers who each won at least 12 games last season. than in single-A where I was playing.” Like all players in the minor leagues, Gagnier would like to eventually reach the major leagues. “I really haven’t sat around and put a limit on how many years I’d

be willing to play minor league baseball until I wanted to hang it up,” he said. “I think a reasonable timetable would be within three years or four years. It’s not trying to rush myself and not trying to wait too long, either.”

Jean Gagnier, Lauren’s father, said that having his son drafted was beyond his wildest dreams. “I hope that he goes as far as he wants to go,” Jean said. “I’m sure he wants to pitch in the major leagues. That’s probably an ultimate goal that he’s had since he was a little kid playing in the back yard.” Lauren said that his father and mother, Martha, were the greatest influences in his life. “They just did a good job in raising me and my younger brother who just got a scholarship to play baseball at Fresno State,” Gagnier said. “He’s doing something right as far as raising his kids to be college baseball players.” From college baseball player to professional baseball player, Gagnier is another graduate of the Titans’ program, which he said he is grateful to be apart of. “I was really fortunate. I have so much respect for this program and when you try to compare it to pro ball, it’s just a lot different,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much I’d miss it until it was gone.”

2006 11 28  
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