Dear Signal. I realilze that my letter is slightly over the limit, but is substantially shorter than the almost 1000 word letter that has criticized me. I would greatly appreciate if you could print the entire (400 word) letter. I can assure you that this will be my last letter about this subject (at least this year). This not because it is near the end of the semester, but because I believe that taking the debate beyond this response would diminish the interest to the readers. Thank you .
In his recent letter, Mr. Strohmaier accuses me of committing errors to defend my beliefs [regarding evolution]. Actually, I don’t “believe” in evolution. Evolution, unlike religion, is not based on faith. Science, religion, philosophy, and history each are different “ways of knowing” that seek to answer questions about the world. Science relies on verifiable collection and interpretation of data by the scientific community. Religious beliefs such as Creationism and Intelligent Design simply are not science.
Even if Mr. Strohmaier chooses to discount radiometric dating, there is plenty of other physical evidence. For example, in 1830 Charles Lyell (a staunch Creationist) provided multiple lines of geologic evidence that the age of the earth was very great. His principles still are widely accepted today. There is no evidence outside of Biblical chronologies that argues otherwise.
Creationsists often cite the absence of a complete chain of fossils linking evolutionary lineages as evidence for the weakness of the theory. Consider an example in which archaeologists are digging in a landfill. They find copies of the New York Times. As they dig, they find more and more editions from various dates throughout its 150 year history. They likely will never find evidence of every edition ever printed: some copies may have decomposed, some just had not been found, or pieces of copies were found, but not recognized as coming from one of the “missing” dates. Even though they never find copies of every page from every edition, it would be reasonable for them to hypothesize that the paper was published daily. The absence of specimens from every single day does not disprove this hypothesis.
For over forty years the Vatican has declared that evolution was not in conflict with the Catholic faith. As an Elder in my own church, I also find no conflict. Like Mr. Strohmaier, many do struggle to reconcile science with their faith. However, most people do not feel threatened by the dichotomy that separates science from religion.
As a last remark, I would like to assure everyone in the campus community that they would never be laughed out of the Science Complex (or the Biology Building) for writing an evolution paper with God as the Creator. You would be politely reminded that science and religion are two different ways of knowing. If one insists on using religion to explain natural phenomena, the essay should be turned in for a class in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Religious beliefs are not scientific evidence. Science deals only with natural mechanisms and cannot address the supernatural.