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Letters to the Editor

A successful MIT student who defaults on a loan is inexcusable. Turning around and suing the very institution that provided the loan -- and the education, as well -- is appalling. David A. Hoicka '77 is a disgrace to the MIT community. He is using his position as an attorney to rid himself of some $35,000 of debt and line his pockets in the process.

What is the basis of his lawsuits? That MIT met with other schools to agree upon the levels of financial aid offered? Had MIT not done so, needy students like Hoicka himself might not have been able to afford MIT. Does he claim that MIT's meeting with other schools prevented him from receiving more loans? He seems to be having enough trouble paying off the loans that were initially issued to him.

Hoicka admits that the damages from the lawsuits could total some $1 million to $100 million. Where would that money go? I hardly think that it would be put to use in helping needy students afford an education. A large portion of it, in fact, would end up in the hands of a loan defaulter.

I was taught to make good on my responsibilities and to never bite the hand that feeds me. Hoicka was apparently never taught the honor in this. He is an embarrassment to MIT, the legal industry, and students in general. I urge the readers of The Tech to avoid becoming entangled in his malicious legal affairs. I also urge readers to ignore the related classified advertisement placed in The Tech by attorney William F. Swiggart

Jon Byron Davis '96

Scientists Are Motivated by Truth

In the guest column ["Absolute Truth, Dogmatism Antithetical to Science," Feb. 16], Loren King claimed he was "pleased to find that MIT students shy away from the notion that Absolute Truths exist and can be found." I think King's article missed a very important character of scientific endeavor.

I agree that "science works because no fact or belief is ever taken as being final," since the discontent with the status quo of knowledge is the ultimate driving force for pursuing science. However, science works also because people harbor the belief that through effort we are getting closer to the truth. Thus, "all knowledge is provisional," not in that we are just ready to discard a priori what we have found out or we are going to dig up in the future.

The history of science shows that some theories endure while others do not. We cannot judge the merit of a scientific practice, or how a particular idea or experiment speaks to "truth," without agreeing inter-subjectively upon some criteria of value. The notion that "all knowledge is provisional" is healthy only as far as it makes people more eager to find out what lies ahead.

The same line of thinking applies to the issue of morality. It is true that we need to talk about what is good for us or the society as a whole, but the conversation starts only if we believe there is something good to strive for.

Chiang-shan Li G

Why Is Registrar Slow?

MIT is one of the most expensive schools in the country. We have one of the finest computer networks in the country, through which students can even access a Cray supercomputer. Can someone please explain to me, then, why it takes two-and-a-half weeks to get a transcript out of the Registrar?

Ron Spangler G