Friday, May 13, 2005

Creationist Letter In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Flaming Bible Thumping Heteros

I was reading the letters to the editor in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch when I discovered this letter bashing evolution.

Both evolution and creationism (or "Intelligent Design") are worthy of discussion. Both are reasonable, both have their ardent believers, and both are theories. Neither is provable through scientific testing. It may be an error to introduce the term "science" in reviewing evolution or creationism, since neither theory can be tested in any laboratory environment.

So, of course I had to respond to it:

Dear Editors,
I am writing to correct some misconceptions about science and evolution expressed in a previous letter (Prove It, by Karl Zickler). He writes that neither science nor creationism "...can be tested in any laboratory environment". This is incorrect and is a misunderstanding about the nature of science. For example, scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Center were doing research - in a lab - on the evolution of spines in stickleback fishes. One of the byproducts of this research was that they managed to link the gene responsible for forming stickleback spines to a gene in humans that plays a role in the disease ectodermal dysplasia. In reality though, science doesn't occur in just a lab. Ask any field biologist, ecologist, anthropologist, geologist or paleontologist. Contrary to Mr. Zickler, evolution is capable of being proven through scientific testing and many scientist have devoted their lives to the experimental testing of evolution. This process requires rigorous standards of evidence and proof. We have heard a lot about the supposed scientific nature of creationism (and it's offshoot Intelligent Design) so I would ask Mr. Zickler to provide just one experiment -it doesn't have to be in the lab, it can be fieldwork - that would give evidential support to the any of the creationist (or ID) "theories". I, personally, have been following the evolution/creation debate since I was in college and have yet to find any experimental evidence that would support creationism (or Intelligent Design).

As a follow up, I should point out that the pseudo attempt at fairness "Both are reasonable, both have their ardent believers, and both are theories. Neither is provable through scientific testing." Is a favorite creationist tactic. They try to appear reasonable and fair - but you know they really think "God did it"

There was also a second letter that I wanted to respond to, but I felt that I would have a better chance of getting published if I only wrote one letter. It reads:

It's not the person

I don't think you understand the reason why the "conservative element that is pushing hardest against gay rights" (Leonard Pitts, May 8) is pushing so hard. Our opposition is not against the homosexual as a person but the homosexual activity in which the person chooses to participate. We accept the person but decry the abnormal behavior.

For the past 5,000 years, societies have recognized homosexuality as an abnormal behavior.

Where to start? "We accept the person" this is pure nonsense. Most of the people against gay rights are total bigots - they take all their hatred for the "abnormal behavior" (note the perjorative way it's phrased) and hurl it at living, breathing people (I feel a rant about the Culture of Life coming on - don't get me started). People who have just as much right to love and be loved, to be happy, as bible thumping heteros.

"For the past 5,000 years, societies have recognized homosexuality as an abnormal behavior." Oh, learn some anthropology will you. Human societies have been around a lot longer than 5,000 years. Among the many societies that have come and gone, there were quite a few that accepted homosexuality. Ancient greece comes to mind, as does the Etoro of Papua New Guinea.

If anybody wants to write the St. Louis Post Dispatch on either of these letters (especially the second)the addresses are:

Letters to the Editor
St. Louis Post Dispatch
900 N. Tucker Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63101

Fax: (314)340-3139