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Letters to the Editor - Sept. 8

September 08, 2012

Yes, adaptation is at the heart of evolution


To the editor:

I read S. V. Yumlu’s letter (Sept. 2) with fascination. He alludes to my previous letter (Aug. 12), claiming that I added confusion to the issue of evolution. But in fact, Yumlu, himself, has confused the issue.

For example, Yumlu takes the concept of natural selection (proposed by Darwin) and claims its existence as evidence that evolution does not occur! Regarding microbial antibiotic resistance, he writes that resistant strains result due to a diverse genome containing naturally immune individuals. 

True enough, but then he writes: “Therefore, claims that a microevolution had taken place turn out to be nothing more than an adaptation process which gives the species ability to survive.” 

But that is the very definition of natural selection, and is a key part of the modern evolutionary syntheses! (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection). So who here is really confused?  

Simultaneously, he fails to explain that this “diverse genome” is the result of mutations, whose causes and persistence are well understood.

Next he cites the response of mammal red-blood cell count to changes in elevation. This, however, is simply our evolutionary heritage from ancient ancestors so far back that it is shared by all vertebrates to a greater or lesser extent. It, too, is the result of mutations that natural selection maintains due to their survival value. 

Finally, Yumlu uses the old creationist dodge of requiring explanation in minute detail. Because he sets no standard for adequacy, he can reject any explanation — he can always split another hair.

Requiring unreasonable detail is a creationist tactic used to misdirect, when they are unable to refute an obvious fact such as the clear existence of macroevolution demonstrated in the fossil record.


Larry Zaleski
Hagerstown



Bartlett survivalist column wasn’t funny


To the editor:

What a mean-spirited column by Tim Rowland that was published by The Herald-Mail a day or two ago about Representative Roscoe Bartlett.

Nasty and undeserving.


Donald Day
Hagerstown

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