Editor’s Note: This erudite letter was a response to a rather moronic epistle sent to the newspaper in response to an article I wrote about evolution versus creation in February 2010. I mention the date because I’m constantly astounded that here in the 21st century, there are still Luddites and born-again Christians who think the world is 6,000 years old, the Adam and Eve story is history and Noah’s Ark actually existed.
Don’t forget about the yanoconodon
To the editor:
I wonder: Does the writer of “Evolution is not fact” (letter, March 2) chastise her electrician for “worshiping at the altar of Georg Ohm” for employing the laws of physics to allow electricity to flow safely into her home, much as she chastises scientists for “worshiping at the altar of Darwin?” Does she dismiss the laws of electricity because she can’t see electrons flowing in wires (or perhaps just refuses to buy an ammeter)? Claiming, as she does (a la ex-“Growing Pains” star Kirk Cameron), that the observable evidence for evolution does not exist requires a breathtakingly dogmatic incuriosity about the natural world. In fact, the fossil record is filled with evidence of those “transitional forms” that she and Cameron claim do not exist: the yanoconodon (transition from reptile to mammal), the archaeopteryx (transition from reptile to bird), and the tiktaalik (transition from fish to tetrapod), are just a few of the thousands that she can see just by visiting museums or universities. (While she is there, she should try to find a qualified paleontologist who believes that “intelligent design” is a more successful theory than Darwin’s.)
Perhaps most astonishingly, those who so dogmatically deny the abundant evidence of evolution invariably claim (often in the same breath) that they are “constantly awed by the beauty of God’s creation.” Just not awed enough, evidently, to bother studying it. Those who are truly interested in exploring the beauty of nature should read Richard Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth.” There, they will learn that the theory of evolution is emphatically not the theory that “complex life derived from pure chance and therefore has no purpose.”
Proponents of “intelligent design” (the new “creationism”) do not seem to understand that science is not purposely hostile to religion. It is indifferent to it. It is not a tool for indoctrination (as creationism is), but rather a process of constantly testing and updating our theories about how the world actually works — not just how we wish it would work.
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