Letters to the DU Editor for Jan. 30, 2009

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    ABC gum

    What’s been buried beneath all the snow has now been revealed since the snow has melted from our walkways. GUM – pink, yellow, blue and white wads soon to be black gooey splotches. I counted how many wads I saw on my way from the WSC to the HFA – a whopping 12! Do people who spit out their gum think the gum fairy will clean up after them? Do they think their gum contributes beauty to our campus? Do they think it is fun to step in it? Maybe they don’t think, maybe they don’t care. Yuck!

    Miriam Busch

    American Fork

    Bias against video games

    I recently visited the BYU home page and found an article supposedly identifying drug use with video game playing. The findings stated video game players are two to three times more likely to use illegal drugs; however, I found these claims to have little substance. Anyone who has taken at least a day or two of a statistics class knows cause and effect can almost never be determined from an observational study because there are too many lurking variables. Ironically, cause and effect is exactly what has been implied.

    Of course, no such article would be complete without being accompanied by completely biased pictures. For example, one depicts an angry male who looks like he has sold his soul to his Xbox. He is playing in a dark room with half his face illuminated by the blue glow of the TV. Apparently this is just the perfect environment and mindset in which to smoke some pot.

    I’m sure many of us while playing Call of Duty, just like me, have thought to themselves, “Man, some heroine would go great with this game!” Please. This “research” seems like more of a desperate attempt to load the guns of mothers everywhere to shoot down some of their children’s favorite recreational time. I can just hear it now: “Come on Johnny, turn that PlayStation off and do your chores! The last thing we need in this family is another crack cocaine user!”

    Alan Hoffman

    Woodstock, Ga.

    Cite your sources

    In response to Wednesday’s letter entitled “Empty rhetoric,” I simply request resources. Let me quickly add that I am all for President Obama succeeding and completely agree that we should pray for him (as we should any leader with such a position). My request comes because of the mention that the writer “heard Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve say that the inaugural speech was ‘inspired,'” and that “he believed Obama is sincere and capable.”

    Elder Ballard may very well have said this, and believe it likewise. However, intrigued as I was by this particular letter to the editor, I did a bit of research and have been unable to discover anything that has this information or these quotations. I discovered several articles about President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard attending the inauguration and saying it was “inspiring” (which is of course different from inspired), and that both offered their prayers on his and cabinet’s behalf. (See the Jan. 21 issue of the Deseret News for one such article.)

    I’m not seeking to be confrontational. To be honest, I don’t find it at all unlikely that such statements were made. On the same note, I might have simply missed the right article in my search. I just feel that if leaders of the Church are to be accredited with certain statements or endorsements in a public article, we need to make sure they are accurate.

    Trace Lund

    Castle Rock, Colo.

    Commitment to the Honor Code

    I enjoyed Wednesday’s articles on the Honor Code. In fact, I think it would be a good idea for BYU to follow BYU Hawaii’s example in changing the emphasis from “Honor Code Office” to “Office of Student Honor,” focusing on the fact that students are responsible for knowing and upholding their commitment to the Honor Code.

    As a transfer student I have been quite disappointed in the level of commitment to the Honor Code, specifically in students’ commitment to the dress and grooming standards. For the men, I understand that life is busy, but not too busy to cut your hair above the collar or prevent a beard from growing. I’m sure the same standards will apply in a professional environment. So why not develop the habit now?

    For the women, please don’t wear “sleeveless, revealing or form fitting clothing.” I am confident that every woman on this campus knows a guy who struggles with pornography. All I ask is that you all follow Elder Oak’s counsel, “… understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you,” (General Conference April 2005). Besides, once you’re married you’ll have to get rid of immodest clothing anyway. Why not prepare now?

    Chad Andersen

    Meridian, Idaho

    Response to ‘Perpetuating stereotypes’

    The author of Wednesday’s “Perpetuating stereotypes” letter argued that an image (that has now been replaced) on the BYU homepage and its corresponding research “perpetuate the negative stereotypes often associated with video games.” While it is not my intent to bash video games (I am an avid gamer myself), I must point out some logical and informational fallacies in that letter.

    First, the author states, “While the research mentioned does demonstrate a correlation between gaming and relationship quality, it makes no attempt to specify the causes.” Anyone who has taken an introductory statistics course knows that causation cannot be derived from correlation. It would have been unprofessional for Alex Jensen (the researcher) to factually specify a cause based on correlation research. Subsequent experimental research would be needed.

    Second, the author employs a “red herring” argument citing studies that show supposed benefits of video games including improved hand-eye coordination and cognitive ability. Unfortunately, improved hand-eye coordination and cognitive ability, true or not, have no real connection to relationship quality. Thus, those arguments do nothing to respond to Jensen’s research. As for the alleged study that shows video games promote sociability, a bunch of guys at a LAN party does not necessarily lend itself to healthy, close relationships.

    Finally, what of the “unfair” picture? Quite frankly, that is exactly how my friends and I look after playing video games all night. While my wife occasionally ribs me, I have never felt negatively stereotyped when people discover my affinity for video games.

    Adrian Rockwell

    Nanaimo, British Columbia

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