WE present to you, dear reader, a letter-to-the-editor titled Evolution still theory, not a fact, which appears in Town Talk (formerly Daily Town Talk), published in Alexandria, Louisiana. We’ll copy most of today’s letter, but we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. We’ll also add some bold for emphasis, plus our usual Curmudgeonly commentary between paragraphs. Here we go:
In a July 21 Your Mail letter, a familiar writer, who has been given more print space that any other person I can think of, asserts that “evolution is a truth proved over and over again by scientific rigor.”
No reputable scientist would assert so dogmatically that evolution is a proven fact. The very nature of science is that it is not dogmatic, but only makes conclusions based on scientific phenomena observable up to that point in time, and leaves room for his conclusions to be disproven by future discoveries.
That’s fair commentary. We prefer to say that a theory has been repeatedly tested and “verified” rather then “proved” — but that’s really a quibble. Aha! We found the earlier letter to which he’s referring: Don’t kill the messenger. It’s very brief; we’ll give you the guts of it for context:
My ideas are really simple: evolution is a truth, proved over and over again by scientific rigor; religion should be practiced in church or synagogue, not in the public schools; and a woman (not the government) has the right to choose for herself whether to have an abortion
That’s enough to drive ’em crazy in Louisiana. Now back to today’s letter:
I would like to ask the writer to be more specific, and not pull statements from outer space, and put them out as incontrovertible and indisputable fact. How was evolution proven? When was it proven? Where was it proven? Who proved it? … Please give us specific names and dates and places.
He doesn’t expect much from a letter in a newspaper, does he? This letter started out reasonably, but now it’s going downhill. Let’s read on:
My question is what part of evolution is he trying to establish as an incontrovertible fact? Everyone who has ever studied evolution very much knows that evolution does take place within the specie [sic] line, usually in the form of mutations. But the evolution is always within the specie [sic] line. Evolution has never been observed to have jumped and crossed specie [sic] lines, and gone from one life form to another. If life is passed on in the form of cross specie [sic] breading, such as the breading of a donkey and a horse, the offspring, a mule, is always sterile, and cannot start a new specie [sic] line.
It’s the old micro-yes, macro-no objection. We’ve been there before. Today’s letter-writer seems unaware that little changes can have a cumulative effect over time, resulting in this list of transitional fossils.
Also, “specie” is coined money, not the singular of “species” — which is the same, singular or plural. We continue:
In the billions of years it may take for the evolutionary process to work itself out, a Chihuahua may eventually evolve into a Great Dane, but all along the way, the Chihuahua will always be a dog. But a Great Dane will never jump the specie [sic] line and evolve into a Clydesdale horse, because evolution does not take place across specie [sic] lines.
At this point we must refer to the letter-writer’s earlier question and ask if he’s “trying to establish as an incontrovertible fact” that a new species can not result from evolution. If so, he’s a long way from that goal. To quote him again: “Please give us specific names and dates and places” regarding such proof.
Here’s more from this Louisiana biology expert:
If an evolutionist strokes a pet rock for a billion years, his pet rock will never turn into a pet puppy dog.
Brilliant point. Where is this going?
It will always be a non-living rock. Evolution cannot explain how the non-living becomes living.
True, but neither can the letter-writer explain it. Besides, that has nothing to do with the evolution of species. Moving along:
Evolution cannot explain the gap between the highest form of animal life, and the lowest for [sic] of human life.
But that’s exactly what the theory of evolution does do — and it doesn’t do anything else — like vivify pet rocks. Perhaps the letter-writer isn’t aware of that. Let’s see what else he doesn’t know:
Just here, it has to be stated that scientists have not always been honest in their presentation of their evidence of supposed facts to try to bridge the gap between the animal and the human, and thus provide Darwin’s missing link. In an effort to do this, evolutionists have created various hoaxes.
They gave us the Nebraska Man, the Java Ape-Man, the Piltdown Man, the Neanderthal Man and other cruel hoaxes to try to produce the missing link between the highest form of animal life, and the lowest form of human life.
Java Man is an example of Homo erectus. The Neanderthal isn’t a “cruel hoax” at all. As for Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man, those two are mentioned so often by those who get their “science” from creationist comic books that we have a ready-made rebuttal. See Piltdown Man: The Creationists’ Savior.
Is there anything else doesn’t the letter-writer know? Let’s see:
Evolution cannot account for the existence of matter.
Jeepers, he’s right! Hey, it doesn’t account for the rings around Uranus either. Another excerpt:
The first science definition I learned from my first science textbook in my first science class was this — matter is something that can neither be created nor destroyed.
He learned that “definition” in a science class? It’s a well-known consequence of the law of conservation of mass that mass cannot be created or destroyed. And the concept of mass–energy equivalence essentially means that the same thing applies to energy. None of that belongs in a discussion about evolution. If the letter-writer is declaring that matter can’t be created ex nihilo he’s not wrong — just irrelevant. And sloppy.
But let’s give him credit. At least he’s not babbling about the Second Law of Thermodynamics — or the two laws of thermonuclear dynamics, as a recent letter-writer did.
Ooooops! We spoke too soon. Wait until you see the next excerpt:
That is why I believe in ex nihilo creation. Ex nihilo is Latin for “out of nothing.” That means that God created the universe, including man, out of nothing, and out of no pre-existing materials. So until evolution can explain the existence of matter, it has not gotten past the first principle of science.
We’re good, but we can’t think of a thing to say about that. And now we come to the end:
My only request is that if a person wants to present evolution as a proven fact, let him please be specific and not pull so-called facts out of the air.
[Writer’s name and city can be seen in the original.]
A powerful letter indeed! Louisiana must be proud.
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