The letter is signed by Charles H. Voss, Jr., Emeritus Kaiser Aluminum Professor, Baton Rouge. We found his webpage: Dr. Charles H. Voss, Jr. He’s a retired professor of electrical and computer engineering, and as you will see, he’s a fine example of the Salem Hypothesis, according to which engineering types — and that often includes computer scientists — have a tendency toward the creationist viewpoint.
We have even more information about the author. According to this article by Barbara Forrest:
[Voss is] a longtime creationist who is well known among creationist-watchers for his mischief-making in our state. In September 2009, working with the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF), an affiliate of Focus on the Family, Voss was instrumental in persuading the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to adopt a creationist-friendly procedure for reviewing complaints about the use of creationist supplementary materials in public schools.
Forrest’s article has a couple of more paragraphs about him which you’ll want to check out, but we’ve given you enough background for now. Here are a few excerpts from Voss’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis:
Textbooks, in general, use the word “evolution” to cover two very different concepts — both small and large changes in organisms. This is not scientific, since small changes, microevolution or adaptation, and the large changes necessary for molecules-to-man evolution (macroevolution) fit under entirely different concepts of science.
Although it’s spiced up with Ken Ham’s very recognizable “molecules-to-man” slogan, that’s the same old micro-macro mambo we see all the time, and we’ve discussed it in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Let’s see what else Voss has for us:
Darwin falsely assumed that natural selection explained all evolution. Natural selection can and does explain microevolution but not macroevolution because it cannot add information to the DNA.
Oooooooh! Information. Let’s read on:
Mutations can add info to the genome but the likelihood of it being beneficial is less than 1 in 100. However, it will not be passed on unless the mutation occurs in the reproductive part of the organism.
Wow — only mutations with information that occur in the gonads will get passed on. We’ve never seen that argument before. The letter continues:
Evolution is claimed to be a fundamental building block of science. This is not true. Examination of textbooks reveals that evolution is not essential to the understanding of the rest of the material in the book.
He’s right. You don’t need to know evolution to appreciate all the pretty pictures. Here’s more:
Fields such as medicine, health care, engineering, practical agronomy, horticulture, and geology are not concerned with evolution.
That’s true of engineering, as the author’s career so strikingly demonstrates. As for the rest, well, let’s just move along:
It is known that billions of years are needed for macroevolution to be true. Recognize that only 10 percent of the indicators of the Earth’s age give an old age, while 90 percent indicate an earth too young for macroevolution to take place.
The evidence is 90-10 in favor of young earth? That’s something else we’ve never seen before. We’re skipping a lot, but here’s how it ends:
All I ask is that the whole truth be taught in the classroom.
The truth? Louisiana can’t handle the truth!
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