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Letters to the Editor

April 13, 2010

Writer expresses his opinion on evolution



To the editor:

I would like to comment on Robert Stone's letter to the editor of March 12 ("Powell's beliefs are taken to task," page A4).

While he is correct in parts of his letter, namely that if the physical forces of nature were just a little different than they are, life as we know it would be impossible, Stone also stated that advanced DNA could not have come about by accident. He does, however, leave out several important points in the grand scheme of evolution.

To me, the idea of an evolutionary "accident" conjures up a vision of an ocean full of chemicals with a modern mammal (or even human) walking out. Obviously, this is impossible.

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What Stone fails to appreciate is that a system where "accidents" (or mutations), either good or bad, was developed over the first few billion years of evolution, namely, the mechanism used by the body to replicate DNA. These accidents were passed on to future generations, where the "bad accidents" died out, either immediately or were weeded out by evolution. The "good accidents" left the survivors better adapted to their environment than their predecessors. Thus, the human genome arose, not by accident, but by many millions of accidents accumulating over billions of years.

None of this would have been possible had not some very primitive and probably very simple mechanism developed to pass all of the accidents along to future generations. This early mechanism subsequently evolved into the amazingly complex system we have today.

Even if I were an ardent creationist who fervently believed that the world was created in six days, I would find the notion of intelligent design very unsatisfactory. Believing in intelligent design means that all of the lumps and bumps of evolution are the responsibility of the designer. Consequently, the failed species and the odd relics of bygone generations, such as the vestigial leg bones in whales and pythons and the tailbone and appendix in humans, and clumsy adaptations such as the panda's "thumb" (a raccoon's paw would better serve to hold bamboo) were produced by the presumably all-knowing and all-powerful designer.

I would prefer to believe that the products of evolution happened randomly, perhaps with a little help at the beginning to get the physical properties of the universe right.

John Warner
Williamsport




Ceremony was a real funeral, not a 'funeral'



To the editor:

If you are going to edit Leonard Pitts' syndicated column, the least you can do is acknowledge that you have done so.

In the Tuesday, April 6, column about Fred Phelps' disgraceful picketing of the Matthew Snyder funeral, and the even more disgraceful court decision validating that iconic episode of "hate speech" as if it were free speech ("A court ruling that will turn your stomach," page A4), you have punctuated it as a "funeral," as if it were a parody of a funeral in the mode of a 1960s war protest.

It was, of course, nothing of the kind. It was a real funeral of a real Marine who died serving his country.

Quotation marks indicate that the material enclosed is either a direct quote or something that is alleged to have been said. The meaning has been changed.

I know that Leonard Pitts is too literate to make such a mistake. I therefore have to assume that the error was on the part of The Herald-Mail.

Burr Loomis
Chambersburg, Pa.




Bicycle riders do their part to conserve gas



To the editor:

People today don't have any courtesy, patience or respect for anyone, probably not even themselves.

But concerning those complaining about bicycle lanes and bicycle riders, I felt I needed to respond due to the fact that I have been getting around by bicycle for a lot of years now for enjoyment, transportation, etc.

I also believe that it's my life and business if I choose to get around on one of my flag-themed bicycles that I own. I don't call or rely on anyone to get me around in their vehicle.

I don't have anything against people getting to where they need to go by their means of transportation. To each his or her own.

But at least us bicycle riders are doing our part to conserve gas. That's more than I can say about some motorists.

The only time some of you want to conserve is when the price of fuel is high, but you will pay the price regardless.

A lot of people just don't want to conserve anything. They want machines to do it all for them.

Russell "Pete" Seville
Greencastle, Pa.




Spring is an excellent time to develop purpose



To the editor:

Were you to ask individuals if they have had a troubled soul at times in their lives, I think many would answer yes.

Although it is different at different stages of one's life, I believe the key to having a fulfilling life is to develop purpose. It is human nature to have a reason to get up in the morning. It would be hoped, as one matures, one could develop deeper purpose. Most everyone has a talent or ability they can share with others. It is my belief when this sharing occurs, a sense of self-worth occurs.

Purpose is not likely to happen when watching television or other activities that come to mind. There are so many individuals in our community and worldwide who can use help. So many organizations are in need of volunteers to do many things, many of which are simple tasks.

With spring here now, what an excellent time to consider making a change in your life and others by offering your abilities.

Meredith Fouche
Sharpsburg

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