More Evolution/Creation Dialogue in the Daily Bee

On 2/4/05, the Pastors Corner section of the Bonner County Daily Bee contained an article by local Church of Christ pastor, Randy Hohf, a young-earth creationist.  (Because the article is rather long, I have not reproduced it here.)  This article, entitled "What evolutionists fear the most," included the typical creationist talking points, e.g., "Random mutation of existing genes cannot create or add any new information." (See here.), "Darwinists cannot abide any critical examination of their theory."  (See here, here, here, and here.), "Darwinism is not science. It is faith that is upheld solely by the power of authority. But that authority is about to crack."  (See here, here, and here.)    Mr. Hohf's article, which leaned heavily on the intelligent design line of argumentation, initiated a rather prolonged exchange of letters to the editor that lasted well into the summer.  My first response to Mr. Hohf's article was published on 2/10/05.  The final letter of the series, by Joanna Fuchs, appeared on 9/6/05.  I submitted a couple of more letters after that which were not published.  One of the other participants, Tim Knapp, also submitted an unpublished letter.  (See here.)   There was a considerable delay between the time I submitted some of my letters and when they were actually published.  I assume the same may have been true for some of the other contributors as well.   

Because I did not realize at the time how informative and lengthy this exchange would become, I did not keep copies of some of the earlier letters and articles.  Although my coverage may be somewhat sketchy near the beginning of the exchange, I have endeavored to arrange all of the inputs that I have available in chronological order.  Because of space limitations (letters are supposed to be no longer than 200 words) and the fact that the creationists typically cram their letters with one misleading statement after another, I was not always able to adequately address all of them in my replies.  The fact that I was conspicuously outnumbered by the anti-evolution faction also hampered my ability to properly respond.  Therefore, in some cases, I have included comments at the end of the letter in double parentheses to provide additional clarification about some of the issues that were raised. 

The viewpoints expressed in this exchange represent a cross section of  those that emanate from current evolution/creation controversy.  I have attempted to reproduce the letters true to their original form except for some of the links which I have modified for ease of access.  I hope the reader will find them of interest. 

2/10/05; My response to Mr. Hohf's article of 2/4/05.

A number of creationists (e.g., Randy Hohf, Pastors Corner, 2/4/05) are now promoting so-called “intelligent design” (ID) as a replacement for the theory of evolution.   To learn why ID does not qualify as a valid scientific alternative to evolutionary theory, see the article, “Intelligent Design: Argumentum ad Ignoratium Masquerading as Science.”

(( See also my response here.))

Sometime in February; Tim Knapp responds to my letter of 2/10/05 with a post on his website.  To my knowledge, this letter was not published in the Daily Bee.

Jack DeBaun, (Bee, Feb. 10th, ') argues that "intelligent design" does not qualify as a valid scientific alternative to evolution. This is only true if we buy into the self serving[sic] materialistic "rules of the game" the evolutionary community chooses to play by. Evolutionists insist science can only invoke observable natural mechanisms to explain the natural world no matter how silly and ludicrous some of the explanations may seem. As one scientist put it, "This is not a tenet deducible by the experimental method, but a philosophical assumption from outside science." They insist that no scientific evidence may be interpreted to point to a designer/creator.-Even if all the data point to one! Intelligent design is rejected by the evolutionary establishment because of their[sic] religious commitment to a materialistic or naturalistic philosophy.  Not because of the scientific evidence.

((See my response about halfway down the page here.))

4/22/05; The Daily Bee published an opinion piece by Harvey Pine who advocated the teaching of intelligent design concepts in public schools.  Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of this article.

5/17/05; My response to Harvey Pine's article of 4/22/05.

Harvey Pine ("Education should include basics of all views", 4/22/05) contends ideas about biodiversity that are based on "traditional religion" and "intelligent guidance" should be taught in public schools.  Most mainstream scientists would not take issue with him - so long as those ideas are not presented in science class under the guise of valid scientific theories.

Scientific theories must provide specific mechanisms and processes that can be empirically tested and verified under controlled conditions.  In addition, they must make meaningful predictions and be amenable to falsification.  The theory of evolution, substantiated by evidence gathered over the last 150 years, satisfies all the criteria of scientific authenticity.

The alternative religious/philosophical concepts that Mr. Pine discusses simply do not qualify as bona fide science.  Claiming that some inscrutable supernatural entity intervenes at undetermined times in an unpredictable manner to interfere in unspecified ways with the natural progress of things does not constitute a valid scientific theory.  In school, the proper place to present such metaphysical conjectures is a comparative religion or philosophy class. 

It appears Mr. Pine's primary objection to the theory of evolution has to do with his impression that it involves purely random processes.  For clarification of this common misunderstanding, search for "Evolution and Chance" at the talkorigins website.

5/29/05; Joanna Fuchs replies to my letter of 5/17/05.

"Evolution satisfies scientific criteria" (May 17, 2005), must be about microevolution (variation within species - bird to new color bird, horse to bigger horse, etc.), with which no one disagrees.

The theory of macroevolution (which says that millions of years ago, by chance, from dead chemicals in a "primordial soup," a live cell emerged and all species evolved from it, one species turning into another) has never been proven.

Darwin assumed that fossil evidence would turn up to support his hypothesis.  Almost 150 years later, with fossils collected representing the past 500 million years, his "missing links" are still missing.  There is no scientific, empirical evidence supporting macroevolution.

Due to the lack of empirical evidence, hoaxes have been perpetrated by those who want the theory accepted.  The Haeckel drawings, Piltdown Man, Archaeoraptor, and the pepper[sic] moth are among the frauds exposed.

Evolutionists now focus on mutation - more speculation.  But there is no scientific evidence that mutation leads to evolution.

Our kids are still being spoon-fed macroevolution, an unproven theory, as if it were absolute truth.  Teachers who challenge it are muzzled.

One thousand years from now people will look back at this scandal and wonder if we were all victims of mass hysteria.

((Regarding Ms. Fuchs' claim that the fossil record does not support evolution, see here.

As to her assertion that there is no scientific evidence that mutation leads to evolution, see here.

See these links for information about the Heackel drawings, Piltdown Man, Archaeoraptor, and peppered moth "hoaxes."

In the future, people will no doubt look back at this scandal - the anti-science scandal perpetrated by the misguided and self-deluded evolution deniers. ))

6/9/05; My response to the previous letter.  Judging from the reaction, this letter obviously struck a nerve with the local creationists.

In “Missing links, still missing” (5/29/05), Joanna Fuchs asserts, “There is no scientific, empirical evidence supporting macroevolution.”  That will come as a surprise to the vast majority of the earth and life scientists in this country, virtually all of whom (99+%) have carefully examined the evidence and come to the exact opposite conclusion.  In fact, every reputable scientific organization in the world endorses the theory of evolution because it is the only scientific explanation for biodiversity that is consistent with all the evidence.      

Macroevolution is supported by numerous lines of evidence including phylogenetics, transitional forms in the fossil record, anatomical and molecular vestiges and atavisms, developmental embryology, biogeography, anatomical and molecular homologies, and molecular genetics.  For a comprehensive discussion of these and other lines of evidence that substantiate macroevolution, search the Web for the article “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution.”

Ms. Fuchs incorrectly conflates the emergence of the first living cell with biological evolution.  While the development of the first live replicator(s) is the subject of ongoing research, it is not a phenomenon that the theory of evolution addresses.  The theory of evolution is concerned only with the development of subsequent life forms on Earth after appearance of the first self-replicating entity.

 ► 6/14/05; Tim Knapp replies to my letter of 6/9/05.

Jack DeBaun (June 9,2005), makes the case that the majority of scientists believe in evolution.  It is true that the majority of scientists hold that position.  However, consensus does not make the hypothesis a fact.

History shows this to be true.  There are a significant number of scientists who do not find the theory of evolution all that impressive of an explanation for life on Earth.  Visit here.

The fact of it is, we do not find any examples of changes in living things that would substantiate macroevolution.  That is why, when evolutionists are really pressed on the issue, they must default to interpreting the fossil record or make arguments from homology.  In other words, subjects that cannot and are heavily influenced by their presuppositions.  Jack throws down the gauntlet in his "lines of evidence" from various fields of science.  This is called elephant hurling.  This is, throwing down summary arguments to give the appearance of weighty evidence while uncritically accepting the arguments from his own side.  How about a single line of  irrefutable evidence?  I challenge Jack to give the readers just one concrete example of a biological change which will substantiate the molecules-to-man idea of evolution.  For rebuttal to the so-called "29-Plus Evidences to[sic] Macroevolution," visit here.

Finally, he is dead wrong about the origin of the first living cells.  It is an aspect of evolutionary theory.  It is often referred to as "chemical evolution."  It's a nasty little subject they don't really want to bring into the discussion because of the insurmountable hurdles it presents.  If natural processes can't produce the first cell then why should we be confident that they can drive large scale changes, i.e., macroevolution?

((Mr. Knapp says,"...consensus does not make the hypothesis a fact."  Of course not.  A hypothesis is never a fact.  A hypothesis is a predictive model that attempts to explain the facts pertaining to independently observable phenomena.  In science (as opposed to religion where a few authority figures often define the "Truth") the consensus opinion of all participants actually does determine which hypotheses are accepted as being the most accurate.  And it is the consensus opinion of the vast majority of scientists that the theory of evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth.

What's wrong with scientists using homology, as one of many lines of evidence, to support evolution?

As to Mr. Knapp's unreasonable request for "a single line of irrefutable evidence," see here.

For a scientific response to the ill-founded rebuttal of 29+ Evidences that was provided by Mr. Knapp, see here.

Mr. Knapp accuses evolutionists of "elephant hurling," i.e.,  providing only summary arguments.  All of the points raised in 29+Evidences are supported by references to the original research work.  If Mr. Knapp really wants more than summaries, he should be able to find all the detailed arguments he wants in those references.  If there is any hurling going on, it is Mr. Knapp who is the guilty party.  Most of what he is hurling at his audience can be best described as the material that drops from the south end of an elephant going north.))

6/14/05; Joanna Fuchs replies to my letter of 6/9/05.

Regarding the letter on evolution (June 9, 2005):  Evolutionists seduce people into accepting evolution as fact by implying that most scientists believe it and only crackpots disagree.  Not true.  Here are a few of many who have questioned macroevolutionary theory: 

"Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I determine I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts." - Francis Crick, atheist (won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA).

"...(T)he doctrine is totally bereft of scientific sanction. ...there exists...not a shred of bona fide scientific evidence...that macroevolutionary transformations have ever occurred."- Physicist/mathematician Fr. Wolfgang Smith. 

"...(W)e have sought to impose a pattern that we hoped to find on a world that does not really display it." - Stephen J. Gould, Harvard paleontologist/evolutionist.

"The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein..." - Sir Fred Hoyle, atheist, British mathematician/astronomer.

The following quote may provide the crux of why an unscientific theory is accepted by so many as fact:  "...(T)hat life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others.  I do not want to believe in God, therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution." - Nobel prize winning Harvard biology professor and evolutionist Dr. George Wald.

6/16/05; Mr. Hohf replies to my letter of 6/9/05.

Our favorite local evolutionist, Jack DeBaun once again comes to the rescue of the dying theory of evolution (June 9).  First he claims that 99 percent of scientists "have carefully examined the evidence" of macroevolution and have concluded it is a fact.  Of course, majority rule does not determine truth.  However, the real question is whether or not these alleged 99 percent truly examined the evidence.

Having majored in biology, I know from experience that very few life science majors ever carefully examined the evidence for evolution.  It is simply assumed to be true.  On the flimsiest evidence young freshman[sic] are led to believe that evolution has been proven - awed by professors who were likewise once awed by their professors into believing absurd theories with little evidence.

The "evidence" that Jack appeals to is mostly based on comparative structures and design, whether anatomical or molecular.  But what he fails to understand is that similarities between species is as supportive of common design (and thus a common Designer) as it is of common descent.

Jack further misleads his readers by making the absurd claim that the theory of evolution is not concerned with origins.  That is merely a convenient way to ignore the ultimate question of whether or not evolution actually occurred.  For example, Darwin started with fully developed finches, comparing their beak similarities.  But he never asked where finches came from to begin with. 

That is the universal tactic of evolutionists.  They explain how frog limbs might be modified by mutation (microevolution) and then extrapolate that to where frogs came from to begin with (macroevolution).  This is the fatal jump in logic (no pun intended) made by all evolutionists.  Evolutionists must explain the origins of the universe, of life and of the various life groups.  Don't be satisfied with fanciful stories that only explain microevolution.

((Regarding Mr. Hohf's erroneous claim that evolution is a dying theory, see here.  I often wonder whether creationists, like Mr. Hohf, are actually ignorant of the facts, or whether they know the truth and simply think it is okay for them to lie to advance their cause.  Judging from all the lying that was done by the creationists in the 2005 Dover, PA trial, I can only assume that telling the truth does not rank high on their list of moral attributes. 

Contrary to Mr. Hohf's misstatements, the theory of evolution does provide reasonable explanations for where birds and frogs come from.  See here and here for further information on the subject.))

6/28/05; Letter from Carole Thorell expressing the theistic evolutionist viewpoint.

The movie has a billion frames.  We have only found a few.  The tracking numbers help us put those few in order, but still so many are missing.  We will not likely ever understand the movie frame for frame, but we are starting to see patterns.

The movie is the history of life on earth.

Scientists are suggesting that part of the story is evolution.  The evidence suggests that it has occurred: the horse with five toes, later three toes. later one toe. 

Different animals existed in different time periods.  I believe the story of evolution is mostly correct, but it has never stopped me from believing in God.

The religious powers once tried to deny that the earth went around the sun (the earth was supposed to be the center of everything), fearing people would no longer believe.  They were also most disturbed when science found that the sun had spots (it was supposed to [be] the perfect creation of God).  The earth circles the sun, the sun has spots, and still we believe in God.

Some scientists cling to a belief, but a good scientist keeps his/her mind open to the possibilities.  Each question brings more questions.  Part of the fun of life is searching for the answers.

Some religions cling to a narrow set of beliefs, but a good religion keeps itself open to common truth.

The world is a big place and the universe seems boundless.  If we have any hope of understanding this thing called life, we need [to] stop clinging and reach out and work together.  The theory of evolution does not have all the answers, but it answers a lot of questions.  It also fits with other sciences.

For me, science even fits well enough with the story of creation, as the order of events is about the same.  The time frame is different if a day to God is the same 23.93 hours that we experience today, but to cling to that time frame would require me to dismiss almost all science.  I do not believe God created science to trick us.

It exists and, I think, God is waiting To[sic] see if we can find and accept the truth.

6/30/05; My reply to the Knapp and Fuchs letters of 6/14/05.

In his letter of 6/14/05, Tim Knapp claims “a significant number of scientists” dispute the theory of evolution (TOE).  The truth is, among relevant scientists in this country, only a paltry 0.15% fall into that category.  For confirmation of the virtually unanimous acceptance of the TOE by the scientific community, see “How Many Scientists Doubt Darwin?” on the Web.

Despite Mr. Knapp’s assertion to the contrary, the TOE does not encompass the origin of life.  As far as evolutionary theory is concerned, the first self-replicating forms could have arisen by divine intervention, natural chemical processes, or any other means.  Mr. Knapp is critical of current evolutionary theory because it does not address this phenomenon.  Is he similarly critical of the science of chemistry because it does not deal with the creation of atoms?

Mr. Knapp challenges me to provide “a single line of irrefutable evidence” in support of his specious definition of evolution, i.e., from “molecules to man.”  Since evolution is not concerned with the conversion of molecules to men, his challenge is meaningless.  The TOE, like all other scientific theories, is based on the congruence of multiple interdependent lines of evidence such as those described in “29+ Evidences for Macroevloution” on the Web.  (Note that the critique of this article that was provided by Mr. Knapp was written by a lawyer, not a scientist.)

Regarding Joanna Fuchs letter of 6/14/05, see “Quote Mine Project” on the Web.  Her use of statements that are out of date, taken out of context, and/or made by individuals who lack relevant training in the biological sciences is a typical creationist ploy.

7/7/05; Letter from Frank Thieme, a Seventh-Day Adventist, in reply to the Thorell letter of 6/28/05.

In Carole Thorell's letter to the Bee, evolution is spoken [of] as a science which gets along with God; which it is not and cannot.

Science is a knowledge of fact that can be tested in a laboratory or observed on record.  True science sees everything as running down and not moving upward, exactly as taught in the Bible.  The science of mathematics also destroys the theory of evolution as the structure of our eyes with clear lenses that change to focus, which is the ability to close down from brighter light and move into the direction we want them to.  The millions of light receptors in the exact right place with every nerve going into the correct part of the brain so we perceive a picture in color and three dimensions is beyond mathematical possibility.  Even Darwin has trouble with that one.

But Psalms 139:14 explains how this came to be: "I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well."   Instead of this the letter says, "...Science (evolution) even fits well enough with the story [of] creation...but to cling to that timeframe (six 24-hour days of creation) would require me to dismiss all science."  Carole, if you would dismiss the false science, you would be in good company.  With the likes of God Himself, Moses, who wrote the book of Genesis; and Jesus Christ, who believed it and made reference to it as truth.

I would hazard that your faith in the Bible account of the six days of creation has been destroyed by the churches that have thrown out the very memorial of the event; the seventh day Sabbath.  Engraved in stone (Exodus 20:8-11), this Sabbath day is an anchor for our faith in God who created everything perfect, and will re-create it again for those who live with for[sic] him. 

While true science backs creation, we were not there when it happened, just as the evolutionist was not there when some creature grew eyes.  Both are believed by faith but one has a happy ending.

((Mr. Thieme incorrectly states that "True science sees everything as running down and not moving upward..."  No it does not.  This much-abused 2nd-Law of Thermodynamics argument is rebutted here and here.

Rather than being "beyond mathematical possibility," the development of the eye is rather easily explained in evolutionary terms.  See here for further details.

Like most creationists, Mr. Thieme is more interested in happy endings than he is about discovering the truth.  That may be an appropriate religious approach, but it is not a scientific one.))

7/12/05; My reply to Mr. Hohf's letter of 6/16/05.

My experience in obtaining an advanced degree in the biological sciences is quite different from that described by Mr. Hohf in his letter of June 16.  I have never met any scientists who naively accept the theory of evolution (TOE) because they were “awed by professors.”  They accept it because they understand that the TOE is the only scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth that is in agreement with all the factual evidence.

The TOE is one of the best-corroborated theories in all of science, with evidence continuing to mount in its favor.  Claiming evolution is a “dying theory”, as Mr. Hohf does, is analogous to claiming NASCAR racing is a dying sport.   

 Mr. Hohf contends that similarities between species are indicative of a common “Designer.”  I invite him to review topics 3-6 in “Take the Creationist Challenge” at my website “Evolution/Creation Dialogues” and explain how special creation by a “Designer” accounts for these observations better than the TOE.

 Mr. Hohf repeats the spurious demand that the TOE must explain the origin of the universe and life.  As a self-proclaimed scientist, he should know that cosmology is the science that deals with the origin of the universe and abiogenesis is the specialized field that addresses the origin of life.  Evolution is not obliged to explain these origins any more than theology is required specify how God came into existence.

78/14/05; Letter from Paul Krames.

It just cracks me up when people who have a deep conviction about something think that somehow they're going to sway folks with diametrically opposed views.  

One of the things I love about this town is that people aren't afraid to voice their passion openly in public.  If you espouse creationism and reject the notion that organisms evolved slowly over million of years (and occasionally in punctuated "fits and starts"), more power to you.  If you believe the latter, that's also OK. Or if you fall into the camp that the two mysterious phenomena are not mutually exclusive and that both are in play, you're welcome as well.

There are many religious scientists who view evolution as fact but who also believe in divine intervention.  I once had a friend who happened to be a Jehovah's Witness (who was strongly convicted in his beliefs) attempt to engage me in a debate on creationism versus evolution.  Believing firmly that "A man or woman convinced against their will is of the same opinion still," I avoided discussion of the matter.  I simply said "I wasn't going there" and that I respected his right to his beliefs.  What he believed or I believed did not require further validation via the other's opinion.

If you're into personal growth, one of the best books written on the subject is "Beyond Positive Thinking" by Dr. Robert Anthony (ISBN #0-9758570-9-6).  Paraphrasing from his book on page 25, Dr. Anthony states: "The decision to live your life is your own responsibility.  Your action or inaction becomes your own responsibility.  Often other people will have values and beliefs that are in conflict with yours.  And when they see you living in opposition to their values and beliefs, it can be very frightening for them because, in a way, it threatens their foundation."

He sums it up this way: "When a person is confronted with your beliefs there's an inner battle that's waged, and the battle is, "Could they possibly be right? And if they are, that means I can be wrong."  The profound bottom line according to Anthony is that, "A person who knows who they are is not threatened by the beliefs of others".  Only "those who are insecure and do not know who they are will always be frightened by anyone who directly or indirectly threatens their belief system."

Whether you're a creationist, evolutionist, combination of the two or neither[sic] of the above, Thank God we live in the greatest country on earth where it's OK to say publicly what's on our minds!

7/17/05; Thorell's reply to Thieme's letter of 7/7/05.

Thank you, Frank Thieme, for you kind response to my letter saying that God and evolution can co-exist. 

You say that mathematical probability makes evolution impossible.  Mathematics have a curious way of being able to be tweaked to support a variety of opinions (just ask anyone experienced with statistics).

For example, what are the odds that of the billions of people on this earth, one will be name Carole Thorell; that person will live in Sandpoint and will write to the local paper called the Daily Bee; and another person named Frank Thieme will write in response; and in this way they will correspond?  The odds are astronomical, and yet here we are.

You claim that our "perfect" eyes could not be created by evolution.  Yet, in nature, we find a huge variety of eyes; some mere cells (like the ones at the back of our eyeball), others more efficient than our own.

Our eyes see the world upside down, an imperfection that our wonderfully flexible brain can correct.  The genetic code of all life often results in imperfections, sometimes causing disease or deformities, but every now and then, someone bigger, stronger, smarter, or wiser than any other is born.

I acknowledge that I could be wrong.  Jesus may one day say, "Carole, you should have listened to Frank, for he spoke the truth."  I would hope I would be able to accept the truth when I was faced with it.  I wonder, however, would you be able to accept the truth if it was different than your own?  What would you do if Jesus said, "Actually, Carole was a little closer to the truth, the story of creation was simplified for people thousands of years ago."

Yet, the method of our creation is not nearly as important as living our lives as Jesus have[sic] taught: treating all people, even those we consider wrong, with openness, kindness and compassion, and, above all, with love.

7/28/05; My reply to the Krames' letter of 7/14/05.

Paul Krames (7/14/2005) makes a valid point that it is virtually impossible to dissuade those who hold firmly entrenched beliefs – particularly when such beliefs, e.g., creationism, are based on emotional commitment rather than factual evidence.  

 I have responded to the comments of creationists in the Bee, not with an intention of “converting” them, but out of concern for the future of science education in this country.  Creationists (primarily of the “intelligent design” variety) are now intensifying efforts to inject religion-based pseudoscience into the public school science curricula.  Their modus operandi involves bypassing the normal processes of scientific authentication and appealing directly to school boards to advance their anti-science agenda.   

Certainly everyone has the right to believe whatever he or she wants.  Nonetheless, when anyone distorts the facts to promote an acceptance of a particular belief system, they should to be held accountable.  I have addressed the creationists’ misstatements in the Bee in hopes that the general public will better understand why every reputable scientific organization in this country considers the antievolutionists’ current efforts to infiltrate the public school science classroom to be a serious threat to the integrity of our nation’s educational system.  

For more on the subject from the mainstream science perspective, see the National Center for Science Education website.

8/2/05; Fuchs replies to my letter of 7/28/05.

Jack DeBaun (July 28) dismisses his critics too glibly.  Labeling the letters of others as "misstatements"  doesn't make it so.  And not everyone who opposes evolution is a creationist.  Any intelligent person who examines macroevolution carefully can see its defects.  It has not been proven by the scientific method, because it is not observable nor replicable.  Right from the beginning, macroevolutionists fabricated conclusions and tried to massage the data (and in some cases just made it up) to fit those conclusions.  They are the ones practicing "pseudoscience."

The crux of the fight in the schools is that evolutionists don't want macroevolution examined critically.  People will find out that it is macroevolutionists who have "distorted the facts" in an attempt to shore up a theory that gets weaker with every new scientific discovery in the related fields.  They are the ones blocking science.

It is not the teaching of Intelligent Design that is sought in the public schools.  No, reformers just want evolutionary theory examined for its flaws instead of being taught unquestionably.

Evolutionists are so terrified of this possibility they lie to prevent it.  "Leading Darwinist educator" Eugenie Scott recently retracted the three lies she told to obstruct a curriculum that introduced the weaknesses of Darwin's theory, without presenting religious content.  Scott is executive director of the organization recommended, the National Center for Science Education.  Since the head of this organization lied to protect evolutionary theory, it is probably not the place to seek the truth.  See here.

((Ms. Fuchs is wrong when she says evolution has not been authenticated scientifically and is not "observable nor replicable."  See here, here, and here for a refutation of her claim.

Ms. Fuchs claims that evolution is a "theory that gets weaker with every new scientific discovery in the related fields."  Creationists never tire of making this empty claim, but never produce any evidence to back it up.  Where are these new scientific discoveries she speaks of?  If creationists actually were aware of any such discoveries, you would think they would produce them.  The reason they can't produce any, of course, is because there are no such discoveries to produce.

Regarding the overblown accusations of Dr. Eugenie Scott lying, see toward the end of the article here.))

8/16/05; My reply to the Fuchs' letter of 8/2/05.

While most creationists accept the reality of small-scale microevolution, they continue to argue that macroevolution (evolution above the species level) has not occurred.  When they are presented with scientific evidence showing that it has occurred (such as the “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution” website), they dismiss it out of hand.  There is no known mechanism that prevents small-scale biological changes from adding up to large changes given enough time.  Until antievolutionists produce such a mechanism and explain, in scientific terms, why the evidence weighs in their favor, their protestations against macroevolution are meaningless from a scientific standpoint.

 Joanna Fuchs (8/2/05) contends that evolutionary scientists are “terrified” of having the theory of evolution (TOE) critically examined.  On the contrary, the TOE has been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny for over 150 years and has come through with flying colors.  What evolutionary scientists fear is that the pseudoscience currently being hawked by the neo-creationists will adversely impact the quality of our nation’s science education.  

 Ms Fuchs claims that the TOE “gets weaker with every new scientific discovery.”  This is another one of those misstatements that creationists deny making.  Wishful thinking does not change facts.  And the fact remains that, as anyone familiar with the pertinent scientific literature knows, the case for evolution continues to strengthen as the evidence accumulates.

 The evolution/creation controversy ultimately boils down to an unnecessary clash between science and religion.  See “Essay V: Evolution for Christians” on the web for a Christian perspective.

9/4/05; Another letter from Mr. Thieme.

A recent letter promoting evolution had the title "The Clash Between Science and Religion is Unnecessary." 

While the religion of Christ is not against science, it makes a stand against the theory of the evolutionists, and I believe God is using it to call attention to Him, as in the worldwide message predicted in Revelations 14:7: "Worship Him that made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters," which is almost a word for word quote from the Fourth Commandment in Exodus 20:11.

Since religion is such a serious matter and not enjoyable reading to many, we need something lighter for these folks.

I was thinking of a story for little kids that went like this:  Once upon a time, an evil witch turned a prince into a frog whose DNA could be changed by the kiss of a lovely maiden.  This does come to pass, and the frog turns back into a prince and all live happily ever after.

This is so similar to a story I found in some "scientific" evolutionist material given to me, which goes like this:  Once upon a time some animal whose great-great-grandfather was a fish, decided to return to the water (for whatever reason).

So he jumped in and liked it so much he stayed in the water and happily he met one of his own kind who is a female and likes the water better also.  So they got together and their offspring at first had it rough because they had to hold their breath when they were born underwater and while nursing also.  But nevertheless, this did not deter them and the gods of Time and Chance gave them fins and a perfect streamlined shape, etc....  And so they lived happily ever after, as whales in the vast oceans enjoying their new home (provided by the same gods) and their new DNA which keeps their children from climbing back onto the land like their ancestors did.

Did you know your ancestor was a fish?  Had Jacques Cousteau started to grow fins during his lifetime?  You be the judge.

((Mr. Thieme refers in his letter to "some 'scientific' evolutionist material given to me..."  Actually, I am the one who gave Mr. Thieme (formerly know on my website as Mr. X) this material.  In previous correspondence, I had given him a copy of this article when the subject of whale evolution came up.  After he had presumably read the article, Mr. Thieme responded with a version of the same fractured fairy tale that was included in his letter above.  I attempted, at the time, to explain to him why his analogy was not applicable to the evolutionary scenario.  (See about a third of the way down the page here.)  By repetition of this same silly story in the paper, it appears that my effort was for naught and that he is incapable of understanding the even the basic evolutionary principles involved.  For more insight on Mr. Thieme's take on evolution and various other topics, see here.))    

Unpublished; My reply to Thieme's letter of 9/4/05.

In his letter of 9/4/05, Frank Thieme contends that the “…religion of Christ…makes a stand against the theory of the evolutionists…”  While he is entitled to his opinion on the matter, it should be emphasized that there are millions of devout Christians who find no conflict whatsoever between the acceptance of biological evolution and their religious beliefs.  As an example, the website “An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science” lists over 7,300 [now over 10,000] Christian clergy who attest to the fact that the theory of evolution provides the best scientific explanation for diversity of life on earth.

After presenting a folksy nonsensical caricature of whale evolution, Mr. Thieme, in an apparent attempt at humor, then asks, “Had Jacques Cousteau started to grow fins during his lifetime?”  Can it be that he is not aware that this Lamarckian concept of evolution (inheritance of acquired characteristics) was abandoned nearly 150 years ago?  If someone were planning to criticize a well-established scientific theory like the theory of evolution, you would think they would first make an effort to understand the basic processes involved.  “Evolution for Beginners” on the Internet would be a good place for such a person to begin the educational process.

 In his fairy tale rendition of whale evolution, Mr. Thieme says primitive whales “had it rough because they had to hold their breath when they were born underwater and while nursing also.”  Then modern whales must still have it rough.   They must hold their breath under these same circumstances. That’s the price they pay for having evolved from terrestrial air-breathing mammals.

9/6/05; Fuchs' reply to my letter of 8/16/05.

Re: Jack DeBaun's letter on evolution (Aug. 16)

This is the fourth letter I've written stating my opinion that macroevolutionary theory hasn't been proven.  A number of recent books, papers, and articles I've read seem to debunk macroevolution.  In addition, credible scientists - more than 400 at last count - are professing skepticism or outright disbelief in macroevolution.

Since there are sharp differences of opinion among highly educated scientists, the theory doesn't seem solid to me.

Such disagreement seems to imply a lack of unassailable proof; otherwise, everyone would be on the same side.  But there are still a lot of people who believe strongly in macroevolution, so maybe I've missed something important.  If I have, I surely want to know.

If Jack DeBaun or some other evolutionist would be so kind as to give, here in the Daily Bee, brief descriptions in high-school-textbook-level language (so we don't have to be biologists to understand) of what he/she believes are the proofs for macroevolution - proofs that justify the teaching of macroevolution as unquestionable truth in schools - we could look up the details and find out the truth for ourselves.

I would welcome the information, and other readers might find it enlightening as well.

Unpublished; My reply to Fuchs' letter of 9/6/05.

Joanna Fuchs (Letter, 9/6/05) makes two impossible requests.  First, she asks for “unassailable proof” that macroevolution has occurred.  In science, there is no such thing as unassailable proof for any theory.  All evidence is subject to question.  Scientific theories are not valid because they are absolutely proven.  They are valid because, even after repeated rigorous attempts to invalidate them, they still provide the best current explanation for the available evidence.

Second, Ms. Fuchs asks for “brief descriptions in high-school-textbook-level language” that proves macroevolution.  Sorry, but the amount of evidence in support of macroevolution is far too voluminous to document properly within the space limitations of a newspaper.  Sorry again, but scientific concepts pertaining to phenomena such as macroevolution are often complex and not readily explicable at the high school level. 

Ms. Fuchs reminds us that she has stated her doubts about macroevolution in four letters.  For at least the fourth time, let me once again call her attention to “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution” on the Internet.  It provides an excellent overview of the subject as well as the details that she claims to be seeking.

I commend Ms. Fuchs for her desire to learn more about the subject.  With the proliferation of misinformation on evolution, her uncertainty regarding macroevolution is understandable.  However, the fact that all the macroevolution denying scientists put together represent fewer than 0.15% of this country’s earth and life scientists should make it obvious that the evidence is stacked overwhelmingly against them.  (Search “CA111” on the Internet.)  Today’s antievolution scientists are the modern equivalent of those who steadfastly defended an earth-centered universe in the wake of Galileo’s cosmological discoveries.

And so ends the latest, but undoubtedly not the last, evolution/creation dialogue in the Daily Bee.