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Understanding evolution

April 16, 2013
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

The gentleman from Chassell is again showing his lack of understanding of science - and evolution in particular (Daily Mining Gazette, April 3).

The theory of evolution that is based on endosymbiotics, natural selection, genetics, and the modern synthesis says nothing about whether there is some magical being, called God, that created the universe.

Evolution just gives a plausible explanation of the tree of life where humans are just one endpoint on a twig of one of the branches. Scientists haven't proved that evolution is absolutely true, only that it is so highly probable that to assert otherwise would verge on the ludicrous.

Theodosius Dobzhansky, prominent geneticist and evolutionary biologist, said "Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution."

The theory of evolution is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, accomplishments in the history of science. It is the great unifying factor in microbiology, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, pathology, genetics, geology, and paleontology - to name a few.

Fact Box

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The letter writer says: " The theory of evolution is a creation myth by atheists who misinterpret what fossils signify." What? Are hundreds of thousands of highly trained scientists around the world so inept that they all stumble and fumble, but manage to reach an accord on a mythical interpretation of the data?

This is a misunderstanding of how real science works. Real scientists test their, and others', hypotheses and theories and seek to falsify them. if possible. For example, if a fossil rabbit was discovered in a pre-Cambrian formation, evolution as a process might be in trouble.

I would suggest the letter writer read what real scientist have to say rather than depend on pseudo-scientific nonsense put out by religious fundamentalists in books and slick web sites.

As Rene Descartes said: "If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."

I would add that a person should do this more than once and realize that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the evidence supporting evolution is overwhelming.


Bakersfield, Calif.



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