Case over origins
Dover, Pa., recently featured in “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” on PBS, is a sad example of a divided community.
The conflict could have been prevented by a little common sense.
The only thing that makes us different from other animals is that God placed and still places his spirit in humans.
Thus our physical origin is not the important issue that so many have made it.
November 21, 2007
Case over origins
September 29, 2007
I feel compelled to respond to Donna Gillett’s letter to the editor (9/24) regarding the “Kansas vs. Darwin” documentary.
First and foremost, the vast majority of the scientific community stands behind the theory of evolution.
Although the theory of evolution can be examined and challenged using scientific methodology, intelligent design cannot.
Since intelligent design cannot be investigated using universally recognized scientific standards, like empirical and/or measurable evidence-gathering techniques, it cannot be validated and thus should not included in any serious scientific discussion or science class curriculum.
September 23, 2007
“Kansas vs. Darwin,” shown at the Kansas International Film Festival at the Glenwood Theatre last week, masquerades as a documentary about the 2005 Kansas Board of Education science hearings. Unfortunately, it failed to document what happened there.
Of more than 20 hours of testimony from 23 internationally known scientists, only a few moments were shown. Powerful testimonies, such as Michael Behe on the complexity of the human cell and Bill Harris on DNA, were not shown.
Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, certainly not a scientist, was the only person who spoke at the hearings for the evolution-only side. His major concern was whether any of the scientists could tell him the age of the earth.
Time was wasted interviewing hearing panel members outside the hearing about their personal lives, as that had nothing to do with whether Kansas schools would teach all the science evidence or only one theory.
Fortunately, for those open to the truth of the scientific evidence presented at the hearings without commentary, the DVD “Teaching Origins Objectively” is available on Amazon.com.
June 09, 2007
Sam Brownback writes there can’t be “any contradiction” between reason and faith. He points out science is based on reason. Reason, in turn, is based on evidence. Faith, by definition, is belief in a proposition for which there is no proof. One is based on evidence; the other isn’t. A contradiction.
Sen. Brownback only accepts that part of science which doesn’t contradict his faith. He chooses to put faith over reason because it is a “truth” that man was created. He urges us to “firmly reject” science when it is inconsistent with religious beliefs.
Science seeks to tell us about the natural world objectively, whether or not we like the answers. Sen. Brownback has decided to pick and choose which scientific facts to accept.
Beliefs should not take the place of hard evidence. But beliefs do shape the ways societies choose to use the facts science has made available.
Stephen E. Good
June 08, 2007
Science in a straightjacket
In a commentary in The Star (6/5, Opinion), U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback acknowledged that he did not believe in evolution. He also said that “we cannot drive a wedge between faith and reason,” and that “there cannot be any contradiction between the two.”
But later in the same article Sen. Brownback pits faith against reason. He asserts that “man was not an accident,” and that anything that undermines this truth “should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.”
Science is the pursuit of knowledge by whatever methods are most appropriate. Sen. Brownback’s view puts science in an intellectual straightjacket, accepting some theories and denying others for nonscientific reasons.
Despite the theological boundaries Sen. Brownback wants to impose, science will continue to ask questions without limits and to pursue paths of knowledge, wherever they may lead.
Roger T. Johnson
I enjoyed reading Sen. Sam Brownback’s clarification of his views over evolution, but I failed to see the point of it. While I agree that it is unfair to pose questions in a presidential debate as a simple yes or no question, Sen. Brownback fails to address the underlying reason for asking the question.
I’m not interested in what the candidates believe regarding evolution or their faith; I want to know what they will do if given the power of the presidency. Does he believe that the federal government should determine what children are taught in school? If so, what does he want them taught? Most important, should any parent acquiesce in his right to determine what his children are taught no matter how large the majority that disagrees with him?
These are the questions Sen. Brownback would face as president, and I look forward to his answers.
A way with words
Sam Brownback’s explanation of why he does not believe in evolution is one of the most articulate, nuanced and thoughtful defenses of stupidity we may ever see.
We need a man who can shape the language so well that he might convince us we have experienced a wonderful victory in Iraq and health care in America has never been better. Yes, yes, he is the very man we need.
May 21, 2007
Information about the scientific method might inform readers about whether or not both evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory are science.
The foundation of science, the scientific method, starts with a statement that predicts an outcome (a hypothesis). Evolutionary theory might posit: “Changes in organisms result from an evolutionary process.” Intelligent design theory might posit: “Differences among organisms result from intelligent design.”
These hypotheses are tested using data that can be obtained by one of the following methods: 1) conducting an experiment or 2) observing new, naturally occurring data. Each method requires the collection of data with clear descriptions of the methodology, so that others can duplicate the research.
If the data support the hypothesis, the research is accepted as supporting the underlying theory. If not, doubt is cast on the theory. A key point is that the data must have the potential for being either consistent or inconsistent with the scientific hypothesis.
Both consistent and inconsistent data are possible for evolutionary theory, but examples of inconsistent data have not been described for intelligent design theory. Thus, evolutionary theory is scientific, but intelligent design theory is not.
April 22, 2007
Kudos to the Rev. Lane Bailey on his recent letter about the “Creation Museum” and how this ridicules Christ and God (4/18).
His letter should be required reading for all evangelical Christians and others studying the evolution issue. And thank goodness they did not build this museum in Kansas.
April 17, 2007
They’re not incompatible
In her letter (4/14) defending the new Creation Museum, Betty Grammer maintains “that God did create the world and everything in it in six days” and did all of this less than 10,000 years ago.
She bases her claim on the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and on nothing else. Genesis was written three to four thousand years ago. It is an important book, but it is far from our only source of knowledge. Over the centuries, science has added enormously to our understanding of how the world came to be. Basing one’s understanding of the world on something written thousands of years ago, and ignoring all of the scientific advances made since then, is the epitome of ignorance. What such a point of view really conveys is the impossibility of trying to pry open a mind that is hermetically sealed.
Roger T. Johnson
I am a United Methodist pastor and an evangelical Christian. That means I believe that Jesus Christ is the co-eternal second Person of the Trinity, who, for our salvation, became human, suffered and died to atone for the sins of the world and then rose from the dead.
I also believe in evolution and that the earth is at least 3.5 billion years old. In Genesis chapters 1-3, there are two creation stories. They disagree on the order of creation but, then, the entire passage is Hebrew poetry. It is intended to be taken metaphorically, not literally. The two stories share the same message, that God is the source of all creation and humans have a special place in that creation, and a special responsibility.
The so-called Creation Museum distorts the Bible and invites ridicule of Christ. What the Creation Museum represents is not faith, but its antithesis.
The Rev. Lane Bailey
Referring to Betty Grammer’s letter, I too am a Christian, one who believes in intelligent design and evolution. I do believe the earth to be much older than some say.
How long was the creation day? Genesis 1:14-15 tells us our sun, by which we measure our days, was the creation of the fourth day! Could the creation days have been ages?
Now, my God is big enough to have created everything in seven 24-hour days, but I’m not sure that Genesis commits him to this. He also could have used an evolution-like process by pre-programming life to evolve according to his pattern.
I believe all life began with him, but this is not science and should not be taught in science classes. It is faith.
April 13, 2007
Many Christians believe it
Jim Babcock writes (4/9, Letters) that “47 percent of Americans believe that God created people less than 10,000 years ago…I hope most of those polled were young children who didn’t understand the question.” No, Mr. Babcock, most of those polled were probably Christians.
Apparently you haven’t ready the first book of the Bible, Genesis, or you wouldn’t be saying such nonsense. Or maybe you have read it and don’t believe it. But others are also entitled to their opinions that God did create the world and everything in it in six days, and then rested on the seventh day.
Not everyone believes that a speck of matter evolved into something that crawled out of the ooze and became a human being eventually.
And, Mr. Babcock, if you don’t find anything biblical to support the Creation Museum’s dogma, then you haven’t read and don’t know what the Bible says.
It sounds like you are the one being arrogant.
Brian Barkley (4/8, Letters) asked why scientists boycotted the evolution vs. intelligent design hearings in Kansas in 2005.
The main reason is because for 99 percent of biologists, there is no controversy over evolution. It’s one of the most well-supported theories in all of science.
The controversy is a smokescreen invented by the Discovery Institute and other opponents of evolution in an effort to win public support so that they can get intelligent design taught in public schools without first going through the normal route of scientific peer review.
I would suggest that Mr. Barkley carefully read Judge John E. Jones’ decision (www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller.htm) in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District case. Anyone with an open mind who reads this will understand that intelligent design is not science and should not be taught in public school science class.
April 08, 2007
There has been a discussion in Letters about the recent story about a “Creation Museum” in the Cincinnati area. It says it presents “Bible history.” It should be called “Bible histrionics.” I find almost no biblical, much less scientific, support for this “museum’s” dogma.
According to its Web site:
Everyone who doesn’t believe the universe was created in six, 24-hour days is “willfully ignorant.” (How arrogant to call most people in the world “willfully ignorant.”)
The first man walked with dinosaurs and named them all.
Tyrannosaurus Rex was “the terror that Adam’s sin unleashed.”
Adam had a dinosaur for a pet and made the first car out of a log and round stones. (Ooops, that was Fred Flintstone.)
The scariest part of The Star article about this museum was that 47 percent of Americans believe that God created people less than 10,000 years ago “pretty much in their current form.” I hope most of those polled were young children who didn’t understand the question.