Today’s letter-to-the-editor, which appears in the Houston Chronicle, is especially timely because of the textbook controversy raging in Texas at this very moment. It’s titled Talking textbook evolution.
We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Because we don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians or otherwise in the public eye), we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. However, the same person wrote a very similar letter a couple of months ago, which was mentioned by John Pieret at his fine blog. Okay, here we go:
[T]he controversy over Texas science books is in the news again and, as usual, it is depicted as a battle between scientists and religionists.
However, it should be presented as a contest between poorly educated or highly prejudiced people with science credentials and objective scientists who understand the theory of organic evolution, the evidence consistent with it and the evidence against it.
Wow — there are no “religionists” in the controversy. Instead of them, there are “poorly educated or highly prejudiced people with science credentials.” Who are they? Is the letter-writer talking about the Discoveroids? No, dear reader. You’ll soon see that he’s referring to you:
First, many of the most influential people on both sides don’t even understand the meaning of the word “evolution,” which means significant change accomplished in a series of tiny steps. The very mention of the word conjures up thoughts of religion vs. atheism and becomes emotional. True science, which we should be teaching our children, must be objective.
At times, this guy sounds reasonable. But then … well, you’ll see:
The general theory of organic evolution requires that animals with four-chambered hearts, mammals and birds, evolved from animals with three-chambered hearts, amphibians and reptiles. If that is true, sometime along the way there would have been animals with three-and-a-half chambered hearts.
We love it when they refer to the general theory of evolution. It sounds so … intellectual! As for his allegedly necessary but non-existent transitional form, that’s the same brilliant point he made before — in the letter mentioned by John Pieret. This guy has the discipline to remain steadfast in his beliefs.
We’ve all seen variations of that argument before — e.g., there had to be an ancestor with half an eyeball, etc. — and we always respond with this picture of a thriving species with partially evolved wings:
The letter continues, and here you can see where we got our title:
Now, every oilfield roughneck, as I was, knows that a three-and-a-half cylindered pump would not work. It does not require science credentials to know that.
Those who want our children to be taught that the theory is proven are either sadly ignorant of basic anatomy, don’t understand the theory or are blindly prejudiced by their emotional attachment to the theory.
We’ve been insulted. The roughneck says we’re either ignorant, don’t understand the theory, or we’re blindly prejudiced. We’ll consider that an attempted rebuttal to Dawkins’ Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked. Here’s one more excerpt:
In my opinion, our children should be taught the theory of organic evolution because of its profound effect on our society. They should be taught some of the facts consistent with the theory because its proponents such as Darwin were very intelligent people.
However, our children must be made aware of some of the facts that are inconsistent with the theory, only one of which I have mentioned here.
He disclosed only one fact that’s inconsistent with the theory of what he calls organic evolution — presumably he’s referring to the general theory — while hinting that’s he’s got a lot more facts. Perhaps in future letters, he’ll reveal some of them.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.