When I bought the paper today and read such good letters, I thought that my letter had been rejected as either too long or not good enough. But when I got home there was a message from the newspaper on my answering machine asking me to confirm it was my letter, which I did. I later received another call from a sub-editor to clarify and change some wording and he confirmed my letter would be in tomorrow's paper! I had after the first phone call read the letters again and realised that they were all about the "Creationist DVD faces school fight" article that was before the opinion piece, "Creationists monkey with public education" which I had responded to.
The letters are 4 pro-ID and 2 anti-ID, which itself is interesting, if it reflects the proportion received. The two anti-ID letters sound arrogant, which will work in ID's favour with the public. The pro-ID letters are surprisingly good, which shows that ID thinking may be more widespread in Australia than I had previously thought. Even the sub-editor was sympathetic to ID in our telephone discussion. He said that his own view was that we were created by aliens a million years more advanced than us. I replied that if in fact that is what happened (of course I don't believe it did), then science would be in the position of ruling it out apriori.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol)
"Problems of Evolution"
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2005 29
Intelligent design does not exclude evolution
In relation to your report on evolution and intelligent design (Creationist DVD faces school fight, 8/8) I make the following comments. The theory of evolution (Darwinism) is the current paradigm which forms the framework for biological principles and research. However, like all paradigms in science it should not be immune from critical reassessment and review based on scientific research. Thus, Darwinism should not become dogma and unchallengeable.
The theory which proposes chance and accidental mutation to explain the origin of life and the complex and varied life we now see on Earth has some problems due to lack of fossil evidence with continuity in the field of macro-evolution at one end of the scale and the evolution of some microbiological process at the other.
In particular, proponents of intelligent design (ID) use the concept of "irreducible complexity" to suggest that it would be impossible for some microbiological processes, for example, to have evolved based simply on chance and mutation. Accidental causes need to be replaced in these instances by controlled input from an external intelligent source - whatever or whoever that might be.
ID does not propose the trashing of the theory of evolution but the expansion of the theory to include possible intelligent input rather than accident, particularly in cases where currently evolution by pure chance cannot explain some complex microbiological processes.
Deric Davidson, Bunbury.
The debate about creation versus evolution will not go away just because we push anything that does not give glory to man's reason into the realm of religion and
I was brought up in a secular education system and I remember some excellent science teachers enlightening my mind about the marvels of scientific discoveries and evolution. I therefore assumed that everything I was taught about evolution was based on scientific facts.
However, basic assumptions of the evolution theory are very much a matter of faith. Darwin himself would recognise this if he were still alive. Scientists with intellectual and moral integrity will teach evolution as a theory and will make the distinction between scientific facts versus theories. Alternative theories do exist and should be heard.
I hope the time will come when the simple words "according to the theory of evolution" will be added to the countless public assertions in museums and tourist places which are at present misleading the public by mixing facts with theory.
Madeleine Goiran, Thornlie.
It's unfair to label the creationist theories as religion. It is true that the "intelligent design" theories are pinned on the belief that has a religious premise - but one mustn't forget that evolutionists are forced to do the same thing themselves. It still takes a huge leap of faith to accept.
OK, so I've shown my hand, but really, I don't mind the presentation of the evolution argument at school - there's certainly merit in it. However, the education industry is so committed to this theory that it is afraid to have another view presented.
If it was committed to the true study of science, surely its theories might stand examination and comparison to alternatives - or is its brand of science just another pursuit of a myopic, untested faith in its own right?
What is it afraid of- students actually forming a different conclusion, based on objective evaluation rather than the Darwinism it is spoon feeding?
True science is the pursuit of truth, regardless of where that truth takes you. Are you ready for the journey?
Steve Marshall, Kelmscott.
The idea that creationism is a religion and evolution is science is a furphy. There are only two ways that life could have come about on this planet. One is by the act of an intelligent designer and the other is by blind chance. Those on either side of the divide take their initial stand by faith since neither theory can be tested by scientific means (it cannot be repeated and tested in a lab.)
To say "there is no creator" is to make a faith statement and evolution is its creed. Scientists have to deduce from observation which hypothesis is more likely to be true. Since many highly qualified scientists have written books and put out DVDs even a single cell, is statistically and chemically impossible, those scientists have a right to be heard. Give qualified scientists on both sides a fair hearing and let students make up their own minds.
J.K. Phillips, Katanning.
Primitive tribes have always invented gods to explain things they misunderstood and to whom placatory sacrifices were made. We now have a group of evangelical fundamentalists attempting to brainwash schoolchildren into believing the theory of evolution is wrong "because life is so complex there must have been a higher intelligence involved".
Chaos theory would suggest otherwise. Had a "higher intelligence" been involved, it would have arranged things along much simpler lines. Except for the dictates of scientific laws, there is no rational need for such complexity.
David Pridhard, Geraldton.
A fairy tale
The problem with the "intelligent design theory" (editorial, 9/8) is that it is a story similar to other fairy tales. It has no scientific basis since it has no scientific proof. I have no problems with it being taught as part of religious instruction. However, it should never be presented as part of mainstream education.
It is not correct to say that "students should be told about both views of life to help them make up their own minds" because they will assume that both ideas have merit. One is a story and one is a fact.
David Abbott, Mt Lawley.
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