OCTOBER 7, 1996
pages 22, 24
Letters to the Editor
AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD
AS ONE OF THE CREATIONIST SCIENTISTS named by Sharon Begley ["Heretics in the Laboratory," SOCIETY, Sept. 16], I had to laugh at the irony of her conclusion that "a powerful ideology ..... can shape some scientists' conclusions as strongly as any empirical evidence," with the tacit assumption that only the creationist scientists are so deluded. Most ordinary scientists are evolutionists only by default, depending mainly on two sources for their information about science Ñ their teachers and the "accepted" scientific journals. However, these sources are ideologically biased on the question of origins, controlled as they are by a small number of atheists and humanists who are committed to evolution for political and religious reasons. This scientific oligarchy is trying to maintain its power, funding and prestige by censoring the scientific evidence for creation, and NEWSWEEK is helping to perpetrate the deception.
D. RUSSELL HUMPHREYS ............ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.
ONE MIGHT JUST AS WELL ASK WHETHER an evolutionist can be a good scientist. The theory of evolution requires a lot of faith, since it violates both the first and the second laws of thermodynamics Ñ that energy cannot be created or destroyed, and that all matter tends toward disorder. Evolution scientists are still searching the fossil record for the transitional forms that their theory requires. Indeed, "the overwhelming weight of evidence supports evolution" only if one is unwilling to acknowledge a creator. The great complexity and interdependence of our world could not have happened by accident. It demands an intelligent designer Ñ God.
LINDA MARTIN, M.D. ...........LYTLE, TEXAS firstname.lastname@example.org
I AM DELIGHTED TO BE TAGGED ONE OF the "heretics," but would prefer to earn the label for what I actually think. After describing three creationists who believe that the earth is young and animals were created by direct supernatural acts, Begley turns to me. However, I hold neither of those views. On the contrary, I argue that biochemical systems Ñ as well as other complex systems Ñ were designed by an intelligent agent. Like the big-bang theory, intelligent design may have religious implications. But it is solidly grounded in empirical observation.
MICHAEL J. BEHE .......... Associate Professor of Biochemistry Lehigh University BETHLEHEM, PA.
AS A CHEMIST, I HAVE ENCOUNTERED MANY good scientists who do excellent research while still maintaining their belief in a creator. Not all creationists believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Indeed, the earth could be very old and still be created by a God to whom "a thousand years is but a moment." Scientific discoveries are even more amazing when seen as revealing the intricacies of God's plan. The evidence, including the astounding diversity of life on this planet, continues to support creationism.
DAVID D. COX ................. ST. PAUL, MINN.
AS FAR AS I KNOW, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE to support evolution Ñ or creation, for that matter. There are only ideas and interpretations that lead to ideology. A creationist sees a design and infers a designer. An evolutionist sees a design and attributes it to elapsed time and random chance. Which takes more faith? Until we have that elusive video taken at the dawn of time, we will have no proof of the origins of life. So assumptions and conjecture will continue to influence scientists on both sides of the debate.
PAUL GERTSEN ............ST. PAUL, MINN.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD WORKS BY THE formation, testing and rejection or acceptance of a hypothesis based on the evidence. A scientist has to be prepared to reject his or her hypothesis if the evidence does not support it. For science to function as a reliable source of new information, scientists must resist the temptation to invest themselves too deeply in the hypotheses that motivate their investigations. For creationists, the underlying hypothesis is that God created the world Ñ a hypothesis that they are not prepared to reject under any circumstances, regardless of the evidence. For this reason alone, their science is suspect. Faith is, by definition, belief in the absence of evidence. For creationists to attempt to prove scientifically the hypothesis that God created the world is not only bad science Ñ it's bad faith.
MICHAEL TIELBORG .................PORTLAND, ORE.
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