In his most recent complaint about the modern world, religion promoter John Nassivera blames the alleged self-centeredness of "first world" society on the absence of a "lode star," by which he means religious faith. Truth, he claims, is not to be found in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). And, he says, we don't need to educate more engineers — professional problem-solvers — but, rather, more spiritually attuned graduates.

He's wrong on both counts.

The nonreligious, nonromantic poet Robert Frost, offered some advice opposite to Nassivera's in his great poem, "Choose Something Like A Star." Here, a star is not some symbolic stand-in for an unreachable and uncommunicative god but, rather, a material object to be studied. Given the intelligence and diligent work of science, the star will reveal its truths, part of the larger, hard-won truths that will eventually rescue our species:

 … Say something … 

 … Say with what degree of heat.

Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade

Use language we can comprehend.

Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,

But does tell something in the end …

Andy Leader

North Middlesex

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Nassivera is often wrong. He also recently opined that the reason our national standards, values - and population! have declined is because of non-religious Americans not having enough babies. I guess it's patriotic to get pregnant? If so, where are all those benefits that go to other warriors? No, women aren't baby-makers for the next war. In fact, I'd suggest that one reason religion has declined in this country is the obnoxious patriarchal tone created by evangelicals and much of the Catholic clergy. It sure worked for me.

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