Today’s letter-to-the-editor is unremarkable in almost every way. But for one detail, it could have been written by the usual maniac in a shack. However, this letter-writer says he has a PhD in molecular biology. Ol’ Hambo has one or two people with science doctorates on his payroll, the Discoveroids have a few, and there are some others teaching at bible colleges, but we don’t run into them very often.
The letter appears in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of St. Louis, Missouri . Its title is Teach children to critically evaluate theory of evolution.
We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we’ll just use the letter-writer’s first name, which is David. We Googled around for his full name and we found someone with the same biology degree as our letter-writer. That person is a Vice President of Monsanto, which is headquartered in St. Louis, and our letter-writer David lives in a St. Louis suburb.
That’s a lot of coincidences, and it’s tempting to connect the dots, but the letter-writer doesn’t identify himself as the Monsanto VP, so for our purposes he’ll remain “David,” occupation unknown. We’ll give you a few excerpts from what he wrote, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
He begins by saying that he agrees with the writer of an earlier letter who urged more science education. Well, he doesn’t entirely agree. He tells us:
As a scientist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology, I wholeheartedly agree. His example is the often emotional discussion around creation and evolution, but too often what seems to get lost in the debate is the science itself.
The science gets lost? What’s he talking about? David explains:
During my training several decades ago, I was taught evolutionary theory as fact, and given our knowledge at the time the theory seemed plausible. As a biological process, evolution can be observed and measured, and as such should be taught.
Ah, he thought evolution “seemed plausible,” but that was based on our knowledge several decades ago when he was in school. What’s happened since then? Hang in there, he’ll get around to it:
However, evolutionary theory has some major technical gaps. Darwin’s model can explain how species adapt to changing environments and perhaps the appearance of closely related species, but is grossly insufficient in explaining the origin of the diverse range of life we see today.
Lordy, lordy. We were really expecting something interesting, but what David described is nothing more than the micro-macro mambo. We discussed it in Common Creationist Claims Confuted, in the section “Micro-yes, Macro-no.” It’s also discussed in Wikipedia’s article, Objections to evolution in the section “Lack of observation.” Let’s read on from David’s letter:
I’ve yet to see a model that doesn’t have huge gaps or make assumptions with little supportive evidence. This doesn’t make them wrong, just not proven right. However, the data actually support (but cannot prove) the intervention of a creator.
The data? What data? This guy’s argument is pure God of the gaps. He continues:
Rather than avoiding these difficult technical problems, why not teach them?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! A gap in the fossil record is a “difficult technical problem.” Here’s how it ends:
If we go back to the thesis that we should teach our children science, then let’s teach them to critically evaluate all the data and possibilities. If we limit their thinking, we limit their creativity. As a scientist, I don’t find this threatening at all, nor is it threatening to me as a Christian.
David doesn’t find the gaps frightening; but he does think they’re data, and that they support his notion about the intervention of a creator. If David has a PhD in biology, we think that’s frightening.
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