Evolution Letters

There’s been some letters in recent weeks to the Athens Banner-Herald about evolution. Here are as many as I could find.

Jenkins: There are some reasons to question evolution
Story updated at 10:09 PM on Wednesday, November 23, 2005

While it’s true the Rev. Pat Robertson has on occasion made some hasty and broad-brushed statements about issues, Leonard Pitts (Column, “The gospel according to the Rev. Pat … one more time,” Nov. 21) misses the point about the creation-evolution debate in school boards across the country.

It is fascinating so many people believe the theory of evolution is so open and shut. Those who believe in the ever-changing evolutionary worldview have worked very hard to have us think that the “goo to you” line of evolution is a done deal. Those of us who believe in the biblical timetable of a young Earth (about 6,000 years old) know of the problems for the “billions of years” of evolution. Many, many fossils show evidence of rapid burial in mud carried by massive amounts of water, which is consistent with the flood of Noah in Genesis, not the slow and gradual process taught by evolution.

Students, if evolution is so airtight, ask your teacher about the decay of the Earth’s magnetic field, or the lack of helium in the atmosphere or the persistence of spiral galaxies. Ask if there could be debate on the reason for the low number of Type II supernovas in our galaxy or the existence of short-period comets.

Pitts, there should be plenty of room in American schools for alternatives to evolution. Not just an intelligent designer, however, but a loving Creator to whom we are all responsible.
Duplicating Systems

Mark A. Jenkins

Danielsville

Sandra Whitney: Geologic layers show accumulation over time
Story updated at 5:41 PM on Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mark Jenkins (Letters, “There are some reasons to question evolution,” Nov. 24) is right. The theory of evolution doesn’t have all the answers. No scientific theory does - not even the theory of gravity. Unfortunately, few public school teachers have enough background in science to answer the technical questions he poses.

To comment on one of his points, there are some sediments that clearly were deposited suddenly in floods and volcanic eruptions. Geologists recognize them by their chaotic mixture of grain sizes and textures. But many other layers of limestone and shale look just like the sediments slowly accumulating today in lakes and shallow marine basins. These often contain delicate fossils, which would not survive intact during a flood deposit. These sediments take tens of thousands of years to accumulate.

Sandra Whitney

Mark Farmer: Recent letter on evolution should encourage inquiry
Story updated at 5:41 PM on Sunday, November 27, 2005

Kudos to Mark Jenkins (Letters, “There are some reasons to question evolution,” Nov. 24) for encouraging students to ask questions about science.

Hopefully, their teachers will know about how an ice dam on Glacial Lake Missoula suddenly failed 17 million years ago and released enough water to cover much of Washington state in just a few hours. The rapid deposition of mud and scouring of rock are consistent with geologic evidence and do not require a biblical explanation of a massive flood.

Perhaps the teachers also will know how the measured expansion and retraction of the Earth’s magnetosphere has more to do with the relative strength of the solar winds than it does with supernatural causes.

I hope the students also will ask about the origin of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kill thousands of innocent people. Or why physicians prefer to test new drugs on our closest evolutionary relatives, such as rats or primates, rather than on insects, fish or plants.

It is my hope these students will be inspired to ask many more questions. In learning about science, their lives will become enriched, and we might retain hope our nation will continue to play a major role in the advancement of science and engineering. Are there alternative ideas to explain the diversity of living organisms on Earth? You bet there are, but unlike the theory of evolution, none of them are based on observable, measurable or repeatable evidence.

For this reason, the voters of Dover, Pa. were right to reject those school board members who would interject belief in the supernatural into America’s science classrooms.

Mark Farmer

Winterville

Pemberton: Teach all creation views in science classrooms
Story updated at 10:57 PM on Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The idea that religion has its proper place in classes outside of a science curriculum is an untenable one. Religion is being taught in every science classroom. Creationists and evolutionists (humanists) see the exact same evidence and draw completely different interpretations based on their own particular worldview.

Genuine science, in its purest form, is observation. Unfortunately, none of us can observe what took place at the beginning of time, so we all make assumptions we hold onto rather doggedly without a shred of genuine scientific (observational) proof. Shame on us. Our society is built on open, spirited debate - even in our form of government.

Why, then, is discussion squelched in our science classrooms? Let the textbooks give alternative interpretations of the facts and let the students decide for themselves. Most scientists acknowledge that the evolutionary model leaves more questions than answers. This, of course, does not shake the humanist faithful, but hopefully some open debate will cause all of us to rethink what we are shoving down the throats of the nonhumanist faithful.

Brad Pemberton

Winterville

Assaf: Creationists shouldn’t take modern medicines
Story updated at 12:24 AM on Friday, December 2, 2005

The premise of intelligent design is that life processes and structures are so irreducibly complex they could not have evolved from simpler ones; they must have been created as they are today by an intelligent designer, who is forever unknowable, by processes that are completely unknowable. That cannot produce any testable hypothesis. Intelligent design is therefore not merely pseudo-science; it is anti-science.

Evolution is neither another creation myth nor a religion. It is extremely well supported by more than a century of observations of the fossil record, genetics observations and experiments, geology, cosmology and every other branch of the physical and life sciences. Evolution has been observed in action in the laboratory, and is the only way we can make sense of anything in biology. The gaps or contradictions that antievolutionists claim are usually based on distortions or exaggerations, and quite often outright fabrication and fraud.

If “nonhumanists” don’t want evolution shoved down their throats and prefer to remain scientifically (and otherwise) illiterate, that’s OK by me. But they should neither be hypocrites - by enjoying the benefits of modern medicine and genetics, neither of which would be possible without the understanding of the life processes that evolution explains so well - nor seek to make their personal superstitions public policy.

Francis Assaf

Terry Berg: Intelligent design raises good questions
Story updated at 6:21 PM on Sunday, December 4, 2005

A University of Georgia student recently showed me a book about Darwin’s finches and proudly proclaimed it proved evolution was true. Wow, another giant leap for mankind - a book about how Galapagos finch beaks become enlarged or shrink when the seasons are dry or wet proves that rocks turned into people. That is a giant leap for sure. If evolution were even vaguely reasonable, can anyone tell me why, on Aug. 15, Harvard University announced it would be providing $1 million annually to researchers looking at issues regarding the origins of life?

Let’s get right down to evolution’s insurmountable problem: information. Rocks don’t write poetry and lightning doesn’t compose symphonies. Neither matter nor energy are capable of generating information. Sure, we can encode information onto matter, like beads on an abacus; or into energy, like radio and TV waves, but in the end, information can only come from a source of greater information. What or who was that source?

I certainly don’t want creationism taught in our schools, when churches can’t even agree on what happened or when. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, raises the kinds of questions that stir a child’s natural curiosity and in the long run can only advance the study of all the sciences.

I recommend the book, “In the Beginning was Information” by Werner Gitt.

Terry Berg

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Sent by Evolution News & Views on November 21, 2006 10:13 AM

Meet Mark A. Farmer, Ph.D., of Winterville, Georgia. Dr. Farmer is a Professor and Head of the Department of Cellular Biology at the University of Georgia. His research is on the "origin and evolution of eukaryotic cells." Until recently, Dr. Farmer al... [Read More]

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Posted by Mark Nutter on December 8, 2005 6:59 AM

I like that last letter. “Let’s get right down to evolution’s insurmountable problem: information.” Isn’t that intelligent design’s insurmountable problem? The only scientifically observable intelligence we know of works by observing existing patterns in nature and then recombining and/or extrapolating from those patterns. That’s why we intelligent beings have to spend time learning (i.e. observing nature) before we can understand it and predict what it will do well enough to design anything. The ability of intelligence to design anything depends on the pre-existence of an already functional nature for us to observe. How, then, can an intelligence like ours be the source of the information needed to design nature?