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Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Letter to the Editor

The Record has printed another one of my letters to the editor. First, here is the other person's letter to which mine is a response.

The teaching of atheism

October 02, 2007

Despite Premier Dalton McGuinty claiming "evolution is a science," (Record, Sept. 7) he cannot demonstrate a single repeatable fact of evolution.

If evolution is true, it does not need a god to guide it. Evolution stands on its own as the cornerstone of atheism. And so our public schools cannot be neutral on the issue. If they teach evolution, by default, they teach atheism. God is a myth.

No wonder there is an outcry. Intelligent design needs to be taught to balance the scales. We may argue over God's name, nature and plan, but to make the teaching of creation unlawful establishes atheism as the state religion, represses freedom of speech, stifles intellectual thought and oppresses all other religions.

Yet McGuinty is against faith-based schools and calls evolution a science.

Dan Kraemer

And here follows my reply.

The evidence is there

October 10, 2007

In his Oct. 2 letter, The Teaching Of Atheism, Dan Kraemer shows he does not know very much about evolution.

First off, Kraemer is utterly wrong about there being no demonstrable facts of evolution. Indeed, transitional fossils such as archaeopteryx immediately spring to mind, and the London Underground mosquito is one of many observed examples of speciation. There are many more examples for those who would but look.

Second, evolution is not a cornerstone of atheism and it is dishonest to try and portray the two as equivalent. Many Christians, including myself, accept the theory of evolution as the best explanation which draws the facts together into a coherent, operating whole.

Third, intelligent design is anything but scientific theory. Leading ID proponent Dr. Michael Behe has conceded that "there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred." He also agreed that that definition of "theory" as he applied it to ID was so loose that astrology would also qualify.

Would Kraemer say teaching how two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom make up one water molecule is atheism? Chemistry never mentions God, either.

Cory Albrecht

Unfortunately, for The Record letters to the editor need to be under 250 words to stand a decent chance of actually being chosen for publication. There were so many other pieces of evidence I wanted to give. In my initial draft, each of the three sections were about twice the size, if not more.

The first section, to counter Kraemer's claim of no repeatable facts of evolution, had multiple examples of both transitional fossil sequences and observed events of speciation. In addition to Archaeopteryx, I had listed the well proto-horse fossils from Hyracotherium through Mesohippus and Merychippus and so on that lead up to modern day Equus, as well as those fossils in our own lineageArdipithecus, Australopithecus, Homo habilis and so on. To go along with the London Underground moiquito I had also mentioned Hugo de Vries's discovery of a polyploid variant of the evening primrose which he found in his test subjects and that would not breed back to the diploid parent stock and the multiple instances of Drosophila speciation in laboratory settings. I had hoped to give an indication of just how much supporting evidence there is for the theory of evolution without having to get into complex subjects such as molecular biology and genomics.

In the third section I had originally mentioned the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District and how in that court case Intelligent Design had utterly failed to show that it was a science and how organizations like the Discovery Institute use dishonest tactics like creating a strawman of evolution to tear down or even out and out lies about evolution. Alas, I had to settle for a few choice quotes from Dr. Michael Behe.