Letters, Physics Today-
One has to wonder how the physical sciences were enhanced by the publication of the dual attack OPINION editorials in the June 2002 issue of Physics Today. What initially appears to be a Point-Counterpoint type of presentation turns out to be a double-barreled assault on anyone that does not automatically buy into the claims of the evolutionary academic elite. Does Physics Today really think that these two invited writers speak for the physics community in unanimity? Apparently so, or else the editors would have entertained other scientists to present an opposing view. Over the last two years Physics Today has done a great job of showing just how Melott's and Singham's discussion of "censorship" has in fact kept all views that challenge evolution to an absolute minimum in its pages. Perhaps we readers should all go to our dictionaries with pen in hand and replace the definition of "tolerance" with that illustrated by the two authors in their fiery sermons.
Rather than let a couple of professors vent their frustrations over being challenged by other scientists, why not have Physics Today conduct a survey with its readers that attempts to find out just how evolutionary teachings are being received today by actual scientists? With the Human Genome Project having just finished sequencing the 3,200,000,000 bases for DNA, you might ask us readers a question like: Can random-chance, undirected, purposeless events account adequately for the assemblage and self-replication of complex structures like DNA? Or another: Should students be taught the mathematical and probabilistic challenges to evolutionary theory? Why not find out how many of the highly educated crowd that reads Physics Today actually subscribe to the venom displayed by Melott and Singham? I would speculate that Physics Today's readership would vote its considered scientific evaluation of such questions rather than any "religious" bias. If the poll would show that a substantial number of physicists/scientists/engineers actually have a tough time believing in random-chance evolutionary scenarios, then that is probably why we need to be teaching competitive theories in the schools. Eminent scientists such as Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the DNA double helix), Fred Hoyle, and biochemist Robert Shapiro actually did exhaustive calculations on the claims of evolution, and concluded that other theories are more plausible. Should we present these evolutionary challenges to the students up front, or should we wait for the students to discover them on their own later, as they then develop contempt for those who wished to shield them from such challenges? Will no one be allowed to question the biological evolutionary dogma without being subjected to spiteful ridicule by such authors as Professors Melott and Singham?
Adrian Melott is a former minister and hardly an unbiased observer in this arena. If a person states his religious faith at the beginning of his discussion with Melott he is immediately dismissed as unscientific by Melott in the manner evidenced by the deprecating remarks shown in his June article. But Melott also chastises that same person for wearing a "Cheap Tuxedo" if he chooses to not bring his faith into the discussion, and rather wants to just discuss scientific challenges to evolution. This "open" scientific mind of Melott actually wants to unilaterally influence how our students will be taught!
Melott chastises biochemist Michael Behe for supposedly not responding to challenges, and yet when Melott was presented with several simple questions from me, he performed even worse than he claims for Behe. I asked where all the "flawed forms"of organisms are while noting that every living creature seems to be perfectly tuned in its environment. Melott's response was to state that he is a flawed form because his "back hurts, (his) wisdom teeth got impacted … (he is) nearsighted". Come on, fellow readers. This is like Professor Melott floating next to the Hubble Space Telescope and gleefully pointing out that he discovered a 1mm scratch on the primary mirror, all the while ignoring the exquisite design of the orbiting system and all the beautiful images it produces. A bad back gets compared to the incalculably high merit function of all living creatures?
What is absolutely certain is that if the roles were reversed, and the religious crowd had to propose purposeless undirected random-chance events to explain the universe and life arising from non-life, the scientists of the day would roundly heap contempt on such silly views and quickly calculate the odds against believing in such non-science. It is only the belief and faith by today's evolutionary scientists in a worldview that cannot have any form of Intelligent Design that keeps them huddled together, quite unwilling to open the door even a crack. Students deserve to have an educational system that allows them to choose which worldview best fits the facts we observe in Nature.
David E. Stoltzmann
Optical Engineering of Minnesota
368 North Ninth Street
Bayport, MN 55003-1145
14 June 2002
For the original opinion pieces from Physics Today click HERE and for the letters that followed, click HERE.