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Letters to the Editor - Dec. 10

December 10, 2010

Is theory of evolution real or an illusion?

To the editor:

Are you as amused as I am by opinion letters defending the theory of evolution? You know, those letters that pretend that the theory (really a weak hypothesis) is oh-so-scientifically superior to whatever it is that the unwashed masses believe.

“But hasn’t evolution been scientifically proven?” you ask. No, it hasn’t even been tested.

Reduced to its essence, the theory says that 1) Unplanned and undirected mistakes happen in reproduction (mutations), 2) Some of those mistakes are passed along to future generations (natural selection), and 3) The accumulation of those random mistakes over hundreds of millions of years produced the diversity of life on Earth.

Parts one and two happen in observable time frames and can be tested, can’t they? Can part three? No. So instead of testing part three, the faithful simply assume it.

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As facts about the natural world come to light, devotees weave evolutionary stories around them. (“The Bulb-beaked Boobus had both reptilian and avian features. This shows that it was an intermediary in the evolution of reptiles to birds.”)

Are such stories true? Maybe. Maybe not. There is no way to go back in time and see for ourselves what happened, is there?

“But the stories sound so plausible. They must be true,” you protest. No, not necessarily.

We all are familiar with optical illusions that, when seen from one certain angle, appear to be one thing, but when seen from another angle are something else entirely. (Google “Penrose triangle” for an example of such an illusion.)

Evolution is like that. When examined from the right perspective, the illusion is obvious.

G.F. Miller
Hagerstown


 
Senate ethics panel ignored official’s behavior

 
To the editor:

 On Dec. 2, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., was censured by the House of Representatives for years of unpaid taxes, failure to disclose financial assets and raising money for a New York college from corporations doing business with the Ways and Means Committee, a committee he had chaired for many years.

Rangel, a recognized Korean War veteran and a 40-year member of the House, was convicted by the House by a majority of 333 to 79. He had violated the House rules and even many of his close friends in the chamber voted against him. What is wrong cannot be ignored.

In June 2009, U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., acknowledged having had an adulterous relationship with the wife of his top Senate aide. After the embittered husband disclosed the affair on Fox News, describing how his family and career were in shambles, Ensign’s father made a $90,000 payment to him.

Furthermore, after leaving the senator’s employ, the husband, Mr. Hampton, secured “lucrative work as a lobbyist” courtesy of Ensign.

Sex might be more titillating than tax evasion, but when will the Senate Ethics Committee decide that one of its members behaved the way no United States senator should behave?

Jeanne B. Jacobs
Hagerstown

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