Archive for Friday, October 17, 2008

Informed view

October 17, 2008


To the editor:

A few years ago, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson spoke in Lawrence. During audience questions a smirking young man approached the microphone and, in an astonishing display of smug presumption, challenged Wilson with a barrage of misstatements denying evolution and confused arguments which any curious, minimally capable person could refute by a trip to the library or a simple Internet search. Wilson began his response by calling the man's speech "a farrago of false statements and non sequiturs," a mild description, I thought, of such arrogant ignorance.

Karyl Graves' remarks (Public Forum, Oct 13) also merit that description. In an age of easy access to excellent science books, magazines and Web resources, anyone who is unable to learn the basic facts regarding human evolution, and standard answers to the fallacies and lies of its deniers, is not trying very hard. This makes them carelessly foolish, an observation I take no pleasure in making.

No one is "bullying" anyone to accept these facts on unquestioning faith - quite the contrary. We simply expect competent, honest adults to learn the rudiments of a subject before they presume to publicly criticize it and disparage real experts in the field. If you ignore that expectation, prepare to be ridiculed. (This applies double to candidates for public office.)

Graves reveals no comprehension of evolutionary theory, and has clearly been beguiled by religious propaganda and pseudoscientific claptrap. Whether this was accomplished innocently or by willful incuriosity is impossible for me to say. Happily, the remedy is easy to get.

Bruce S. Springsteen,


sci4all 9 years, 8 months ago

Good on Springsteen for getting rid of the anti-religious tone which overwhelmed his earlier piece, the one that raised Graves' ire."We simply expect competent, honest adults to learn the rudiments of a subject before they presume to publicly criticize it and disparage real experts in the field. If you ignore that expectation, prepare to be ridiculed." Well said! Unfortunately, this comment thread will quickly turn into a magnet for scared, arrogant anti-scientists who think their lack of understanding should hold sway over the hard work and research of the majority of the world's scientists.

Confrontation 9 years, 8 months ago

Ragingbear, let's be nice to Tom. He's already at that stage.

Ragingbear 9 years, 8 months ago

In it's way, boards like this prove evolution, or de-evolution so to speak. Eventually, the people here will devolve into an animalistic ape like creature and start throwing feces at each other...

sci4all 9 years, 8 months ago

You're right, Andrew, decide for yourself.What you don't have is the right to decide how my kids will be brought up in faith. Some misguided souls think that the public schools should be reinforcing the parents' own narrow interpretation of Holy Scripture. Other wiser sorts realize that science classes should teach science, and recognize that 99.99% of those who actually do science agree that evolution is the best explanation for how life has changed here on earth.Lightning isn't caused by Thor hurling thunderbolts, diseases aren't caused by demonic possession, and the earth is not the center of solar system. Those ideas also conflict with some religious teachings. Folks who are so set against teaching evolution must also accept that the nature of lightning, the germ theory of disease, and heliocentricity shouldn't be taught in science. Carolyn Campbell, this district's candidate for the KS state board of ed, knows darn good and well that Kansas' kids deserve the best science. Robert Meissner, her opponent, has been so evasive this year about the evo teaching issue that I heard he's scheduled to appear on "So You Think You Can Dance?" next week. " 'I do feel like whatever we teach has to be scientifically credible,' Meissner said. 'The tough thing is determining which experts you're going to believe.' " from expressing such doubt about who to 'believe' on this issue - scientists or preachers? - is just trying to fool the voters who won't look past the (R) behind his name. Vote Campbell for Kansas State Board of Education!

Larry Miller 9 years, 8 months ago

hmm..Have you actually read Darwin's theory of evolution? Have you read the part where he specifies what facts must be found for it to be scientifically valid?If you accept the scientific method then you have to accept that Darwin's theory of evolution is scientifically invalid. It is not science, regardless of how many people think it is.Read his book and then get a current biology book. The data contradicts his requirements.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 8 months ago

The development of the theory of evolution did not end with Darwin, so reading his works will hardly make you an expert on the current state of that theory.

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