Evolution creation letters
Joshua Cornwall, Bellevue - World Herald June 11, 2004
Know evolution facts

This is in response to Sherry Buhrmann's June 7 letter. For all readers of the Pulse: Please do not sound off on evolution if you do not know what the theory actually states.

First off, evolutionary theory does not state that man is a monkey. The theory simply says that, at some point, humans and monkeys shared a common ancestor.

Second, there is no such thing as a "meaningless evolution of DNA." Evolutionary branching results in life with new capabilities, such as human intelligence, while meaningless evolution does not result in anything. Many such mutants do not survive to reproduce.

Third, evolution has been proved to be correct on a micro scale and shown to be extremely plausible on a macro scale.

Fourth, for Ms. Buhrmann to claim that evolution is a product of a secular world - well, Darwin seems to have been a devout Christian. Nowhere in his book The Origin of Species did he state that the Bible is wrong. Nor did he dispute that there is a higher being.

Keep man on the zoo's monkey board and grab the facts next time.
Les Lane, Lincoln - World Herald June 11, 2004

A few assurances

As a biologist, I'd like to assure Christians, in light of Monday's Pulse letter, that the relationship between humans and great apes is well established by science and that there's nothing anti-God about it.

As a Methodist, I'd like to assure scientists that Christians aren't universally ignorant of modern biology.

Sherry Buhrmann, Gretna - World Herald June 7, 2004

Man is a monkey?

I took the kids to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo to see the new gorilla house. The animals were terrific and the house was great, too. On the wall was a large, beautiful 3-D diagram of the evolution of the monkey. Man, too, is a monkey?

Man is shown as a meaningless evolution of DNA from the first unknown monkey. This politically incorrect depiction of evolution, an unproved scientific theory, needs to stop.

We just wanted to go to the zoo. We did not want to have another conversation about how the secular world prefers to deny God, the Creator, and subliminally teach the theory of evolution as fact.

Take man off the monkey board.

Bart Wormington, Omaha World Herald Feb 7, 2004

Supporting evolution

Rod Picking (Jan. 31 Pulse) wrote that schools are banned from teaching the "science conflicting with evolution that implies a Creator." There is no such conflicting science.

Evolution has been affirmed via international consensus in geologic, nuclear, astronomical, biochemical, genetic and other scientific fields. Each field has supported and sharpened the theory, not conflicted with it.

A noisy literalist-evangelical group wants to convert science curriculum for compatibility with its faith. This flies in the face of America's intentionally secular Constitution. Sadly, yielding to such pressure or for personal belief, some public school science teachers undermine their students' understanding of science.

Most religions - including the American Jewish Congress, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, United Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church, the World Lutheran Church, the Unitarian-Universalist Association and the Roman Catholic Church - support evolution. Many Americans, including the nation's millions of agnostics and atheists, send children to the public schools, which must remain secular, respecting all.

Our nation's health care, agriculture and technology depend on objective science education. The silent majority should speak more loudly for unadulterated science education and should elect politicians who support it.

Herbert L. Anderson, Omaha World Herald, Mar 12

Evolution vs. creation

In response to the recent discussion in the Pulse on evolution, I offer the following observations:

Anita Jeck (Feb. 22 Midlands Voices) argued against intelligent design and charged creationists with fearing evolution. Intelligent design and an intelligent designer are very evident in life.

I do not fear evolution. I will oppose and expose its false premises every chance I get, as I did when I wrote a lengthy paper on evolution vs. creation for a college class in a state university.

It is the evolutionist who fears creation, so much so that a basic premise of the scientific method to examine all viewpoints of an issue is not followed or allowed in our public school classrooms.

The real problem for the evolutionist is the supernatural. The evolutionist will not believe in or accept the supernatural - a supernatural Being (God) and a supernatural revelation (the Bible). It takes far more faith to believe in the unproven theory of evolution than it does to believe in an eternal, all-wise, all-powerful God who created this marvelous, well-designed universe for mankind to inhabit and enjoy.

It is still true that "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork."

Craig A. Piquette, Omaha - World Herald, Mar 9

Evolution and truth

In her Feb. 22 Midlands Voices commentary, Anita Jeck wrote that the arguments against evolution are based on the fear that one's belief in the origins of life might be wrong. A number of critics have written in response, saying that proponents of evolution should not fear a healthy debate regarding scientific theories.

Intelligent design should not be mistaken for scientific theory, however. It still requires faith in an omniscient, all-powerful being to control what we have observed in the fossil record. Scientists do not fear a debate on scientific grounds; however, those who use the political arena to advance their religious beliefs strike at the foundations of science education.

As a Unitarian Universalist, I value all beliefs of God and creation but also value reason. Many religions do not feel that evolution and a belief in God are mutually exclusive.

The role of education is to teach what we know, and the role of religion is to teach what we feel. Both have a place, and parents need to make sure that science, including evolution, is taught with facts and that aspects of faith are taught in religion classes or in the home. Our children will find the truth with or without us.

Ida Neary, Council Bluffs - World Herald, Mar 8

God isn't science

Roger Aveyard (March 2 Pulse) wrote that science isn't God. His definition: "Science is an intellectual creation of the human mind that essentially tries to make sense out of mystery . . . ."

That is also a definition of God.

From the earliest times, humans have been trying to explain natural phenomena by the invention of gods. Sunrise, sunset, eclipses, thunder, etc., were all attributed to God, because people did not understand the science.

Could we agree that whatever this power is - this power that manifests all living things from itself - started evolution (whether by conscious design or not)?

Man has made God into his own likeness because it is something he can understand. There is no proof of God, only what each attributes to his or her understanding of God. God is what you believe God is.

Kevin Kaup, Papillion, Neb. - World Herald, Mar 8

Stick to science

In his second paragraph, Roger Aveyard seems to make the case for the argument of why creationism, disguised as intelligent design, should not be taught in science classes.

He says science isn't God. True. And God isn't science - and, when presented as such, is bad science.

Proponents of intelligent design say they want an alternative idea to evolution. Which one? The Bible's, the Koran's - the Raelian movement's spaceman hypothesis?

Let's allow our public schools to teach our elementary and high school science students science. Religious ideas should be taught in religion or philosophy classes.

Kirby Harris, Omaha - World Herald, Mar 3

Where was evidence? Anita Jeck, co-founder of the Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education, told us why our children should learn evolutionary theory. Yet she gave not one shred of evidence supporting evolution in the entire piece.

Her basic arguments - that "there is no debate in the scientific community" and that "'intelligent design' does not even present a proper hypothesis, let alone a theory" - are patently false and typical of the evolutionary faithful who try to shout down those presenting opposing evidence.

Here are a few notable scientists who believed in intelligent design: Johannes Kepler, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Blaise Pascal, Carolus Linnaeus, Gregor Mendel, Michael Faraday, Joseph Lister and Albert Einstein. In fact, Einstein "came to the conclusion that God did not create by chance but rather that he worked according to planned, mathematical, teleonomic and therefore - to him - rational guidelines."

These scientists had reason to believe that the "mountains of evidence" Ms. Jeck alluded to were actually pointing elsewhere. Shouldn't our students be shown that evidence? I agree that teaching science in public schools should be objective and based on facts. But students should hear all the facts, not just the ones that support one theory.

Shane Soboroff, Council Bluffs - World Herald, Mar 3

Sticking with evolution

It is with no merit whatsoever that people attack the theory of evolution. Perhaps they don't understand what a theory is. Perhaps they can't fathom that they lack the intellectual ability to understand the science behind evolution.

In any case, I suggest that they read "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense." This article, published within the last year by Scientific American, answers many of the charges of the so-called creation scientists. It debunks the magic of intelligent design and the callous indifference to observable fact that characterizes the notion of irreducible complexity.

I've seen intelligent design proponent Michael Behe speak. His use of rhetorical devices serves to ridicule reasonable scientists, and this, coupled with his patent disregard for observable scientific findings, serves to demean his field. Let us not give voice to ignorance any longer.

Roger Aveyard, Beatrice, Neb. - World Herald, Mar 2

Science isn't God

Anita Jeck (Feb. 22 Midlands Voices) wrote that the theory of evolution is threatening and a source of fear to a "large religious minority." Unfortunately, she elevates science to a higher level than it deserves.

Science isn't God. Science is an intellectual creation of the human mind that essentially tries to make sense out of mystery, and science is pretty good at it.

However, science will always be "only" a way of understanding a greater creation, the universe and all it contains, including us. The universe itself speaks loudly to His intellectual design. God apparently doesn't think it is necessary to "prove" anything to atheistic evolutionists. Those blinded by scientific razzmatazz need a broader view.

Maureen Clark, Bellevue - World Herald, Feb 27

Evolution vs. design This is in response to Anita Jeck's commentary on evolution (Feb. 22 Midlands Voices). Evolution assumes that a beneficial trait is "naturally selected." What about "irreducible complexity"?

Sight, for example, involves complex parts within the eye, the brain and the connection between them. If any part is missing or not working, there is no sight and therefore no benefit to naturally select.

Evolution could not occur without the means to pass genetic information to offspring. What about DNA and genetic codes? That they could have just happened, many involving thousands of genes, is less plausible than believing that repeatedly dropping Scrabble pieces could spell the verse, "The heavens declare the glory of God."

An engine is the work of an intelligent designer rather than the result of chance or natural forces. Not only are parts made to specifications, but then they're assembled correctly. Likewise, all of creation is the work of the Intelligent Designer.

Jim E. Anderson, Omaha - World Herald - Feb 27

On evolution, science

In her Feb. 22 commentary, "Critics of evolution play on people's fears," Anita Jeck asked: "What is so threatening about evolution?"

We should ask: What is so threatening about any evidence contrary to evolution?

Proponents of evolution seem to cringe at these opportunities, such as intelligent design. They say scientists have already decided the question of evolution, but true science always tests concepts by trying to disprove them.

Just look at the supposed sequence of human evolution: creation of life, single-celled organisms, multi-celled organisms, possibly invertebrates, vertebrates such as fish, reptiles, small mammals, apelike creatures and humans. This sequence is just a summary of the billions of "random" events necessary for human evolution.

Scientists are actively seeking evidence of these transitions with little success. We usually hear only about the transition from apelike creatures to humans, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

If evolution is true, presenting all sides builds it up. But if it is not true, maybe then we can understand the cringing of evolution's proponents.

Robert Volz, Papillion- World Herald - Feb 26

Evolution isn't proven

In her Feb. 22 Midland Voices commentary, Anita Jeck contended that those who believe in creationism "seem to fear the concept of evolution."

This is an issue of faith, not fear. Some people place their faith in the wisdom of God rather than in men.

Jeck contended that evolution is "as valid as the theory of gravity." Is it? Gravity is a force that can be measured, and its effects are both predictable and repeatable. Evolution remains only a theory, a possible explanation and not a proof. Who witnessed the creation of life?

The question deserves to be turned around. What do evolutionists have to fear about creationism?

Everyone has a system of beliefs. This issue is about whose beliefs are taught to our children. If evolution is "an indisputably valid theory," why shouldn't our schools have the freedom to discuss alternative beliefs?

BY ANITA JECK- World Herald - Feb 22

Midlands Voices: Critics of evolution play on people's fears

The writer, of Omaha, is co-founder of the Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education.

Here in Nebraska, some anti-evolutionists have been heard crowing lately about a letter from Gov. Mike Johanns to Education Commissioner Doug Christensen regarding the teaching of evolution in our public schools. In the letter, posted on the Web site of the group Family First, the governor states:

I also appreciate the State Board of Education's position that the science standards allow local districts and teachers the academic freedom to present and discuss arguments for and against the Darwinian theory of evolution rather than mandate the "teaching of" one particular evolutionary theory.

What's going on here?

The state science content standards remain unchanged and still include the theory of evolution. After hearing the testimony of a number of biologists and other scientists, the majority of State Board of Education members indicated that they well realize that there are no scientifically valid alternatives to the theory of evolution, so they certainly would not endorse the teaching of any such alternative pseudoscience.

This looks suspiciously like back-door political double-talk, perhaps reflecting a change in the tactics of creationist and intelligent design proponents - no need to redesign science standards to be more amenable to a particular religious belief, just solicit the "academic freedom" to teach whatever.

Sunday at 3 p.m., Dr. Paul Nelson of the Discovery Institute (the p.r. organization for the intelligent design cause) and Dr. Massimo Pigliucci, from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, will be at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Lincoln to debate the question, "Is Intelligent Design a Valid Scientific Alternative to Evolution?"

Actually, there is no debate in the scientific community; evolution is overwhelmingly accepted as an indisputably valid theory, foundational to all life sciences - as valid as the theory of gravity, with mountains of evidence growing every day. "Intelligent design" does not present even a proper hypothesis, let alone a theory.

But I wonder if Dr. Nelson or Dr. Pigliucci will touch upon the real issue - the foundational question to the whole debate: What is so threatening about evolution?

Certainly there are scientific concepts that are even more anti-intuitive and incomprehensible, like quantum mechanics, or even the theory of relativity. No one seems to be too concerned about those theories.

What is it about the theory of evolution that the members of a large religious minority find so threatening that they would sooner believe that the vast majority of the world's scientists of various religious and cultural perspectives are somehow engaged in a worldwide conspiracy to deceive the public? What is so threatening about the idea of evolution that some people are more willing to submit to incredible feats of mental gymnastics to deny it than accept the overwhelming evidence supporting it?

The most obvious answer points to the protection of a multimillion-dollar investment based on biblical literalism that could crumble if its adherents came to accept evolutionary theory.

But many well-meaning, ordinary, intelligent individuals seem to fear the concept of evolution. Why?

As fundamentalist arguments regarding biblical literalism vs. evolution break down, in the end there is always one argument left standing: The Bible is literally true because we need it to be true. If it isn't true, then hope is lost. God is not there; there is no divine authority; and all will be chaos. This is the voice of fear, a fear that somehow the very nature of God is at stake.

Reason and evidence alone cannot assuage such fear. Many proponents of creationism and intelligent design play on that fear, painting their argument as a defense against godlessness.

But the critics of evolution are all fundamentally wrong. Evolution does not rule out God. In fact, most religious denominations support the teaching of evolution. Catholic schools teach evolutionary theory without reservation under the strong endorsement of the Pope.

Conformity of religious belief is not the answer to the prospect of frightening chaos. The answer lies in working together as a diverse community that values a plurality of religious perspectives.

The study of science helps us to understand and appreciate this awesome universe. It can do so only when it operates outside all such religious biases.

That is what we need to teach our science students - that true science shows no deference to any particular religious view. That is its place, and therein lies its value of objectivity as an ever-important and integral methodological tool in our ongoing struggle to question, comprehend and live together in peace.