Archive for Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Follow the facts

October 5, 2005


o the editor:

I will respect the 11th grade class at Veritas Christian School by ignoring their age. Their letter stated that teachers should explain that "evolution is not a fact." The class is correct, as is the theory of evolution, because the theory subsumes truckloads of facts. As the National Academy of Science stated, "Theories ... incorporate a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses and logical inferences." Saying that evolution is in doubt because it is "only" a theory is mere gobbledygook.

Evolution on a small scale is easily observable in and out of laboratories. Have you wondered why penicillin, once a wonder drug, no longer works against many bacteria?

"Mitochondrial Eve" has attracted considerable attention, but "she" does not threaten evolution. The highly technical issue is whether the mutation rate of mitochondria suggests that our Most Recent Common Matrilineal Ancestor (called "Eve") lived around 6,500 or else 150,000-plus years ago. You and your teachers should avoid drawing conclusions unless, unlike me, you understand arguments such as, "Gibbons (1998) refers to mutations that cause heteroplasmy (inheritance of two or more mtDNA sequences). ... Mitochondrial Eve research ... is based only on substitution mutation rates," and, "The fixed mutational rate outside the D-loop is constant and can be used as an accurate mutational 'clock.' "

Last, it is irrelevant whether you find a theory "truly satisfying." Such satisfaction comes from the arts, good food, love and religious faith, all extraneous to science. Good scientists are never satisfied. They are too busy trying to find something new.

John Rosen,



abarbiedoll 12 years, 8 months ago

chelsea and i meant to specify that macro-evolution is not observable, not micro-evolution, sorry we forgot to indicate that for you

arturocunningham 12 years, 8 months ago

Adaptation is easily observable on a small scale. When you've got a bacterium that has become an amoeba, or better yet, a very miniature schnauzer under the microscope, then you got something that will impress me.

Good scientist may never be satisfied...but more then a few became pertified when their theory went the way of dogma.

And speaking of dogs, if think antibiotic resistant bacteria is proof of evolution, what do you make of the Pocket Dogs that I keep seeing pop out of certain ladies purses in Lawrence? Tea Cup Poodles...Theres another proof for you.

I had a high school teacher that insisted that the advent of stringless green beans was irrefutable proof of evolution. There are plenty of straws. Go grab some.

Baille 12 years, 8 months ago

"macro-evolution is not observable, not micro-evolution, sorry we forgot to indicate that for you"

Ok. Macroevolution t is not observable to us in our lifetime, but so what? The theory (which incorporates a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses and logical inferences, and is not by definition dogma) is that macroevolution takes place over millions of years. Of course it is not directly observable. So what?

Lots of things taught in science class (for instance, much of quantum mechanics) is deduced and not observed. WE still teach it as science even though we recognize that the theory itself might change in the future. That is how evolution is taught: "This is our best explanation for these facts and phenomena. It is subject to change with more facts, more study, and more understanding."

The IDers just want to stop the inquiry. "We can't see macroevolution. We don't understand how it theoretically works. Therefore, all things must come from God."

That isn't science.

Baille 12 years, 8 months ago

"If the teachers would only say THAT to the students and add that there is a lot of faith involved in believing in evolution."

They DO say that, and there is no "believing" in evolution. It does not require faith to understand, study, and use a scientific theory. Only for those who equate the theory evolution to some sort of immutable thing does this become necessary, and those people suffer from the same reliance on magical thinking as do the IDers.

"You can't see God. You can't understand how He works. Therefore, all things must have evolved."

Uh-uh. The theory of evolution is baed on the scientific method. The necessary connections are there, they are observable, and they do not require faith to understand. Plus it is recognized as a potential transient explanation. There is no "belief" in evolution until one interjects God into the model.

Baille 12 years, 8 months ago

You are still stuck on this notion of "belief" in a scientific theory. It shows a fatal misunderstanding of science as a discipline.

And then you call me ignorant. Please show me where I have called you names or denigrated you as a person. A little class never hurt anyone.

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