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Letters to the editor

Sept. 20, 2007

Baylor right in Marks debacle

In response to Walt Ruloff's aptly placed "point of view" column: The very sight of the piece invokes the image of a sojourner of truth, if not Sojourner Truth herself. The similarity is uncanny, as is the mission Walt and his likeness set upon. Seriously and appearances aside, there is something else wrong.

The mission itself -- that could not be wrong. Ruloff gives us the story of an underrepresented minority, oppressed by the arrogance and greater power of their colleagues. My heart bleeds for creationists daily.

The method must not be it either. Finally, a fair and balanced documentary about ID. One can only hope for the journalistic integrity of a religious Michael Moore. I'd see that movie.

Well then, what is wrong? The problem arises from a few key assumptions on Ruloff's part. For one, firing people or not publishing their research for bad science is not protected under any constitutional amendment I can think of. His claim that censoring ID scientists limits free speech is misleading. Also, ironically, he characterizes the "Darwinian Machine" as a fundamentalist sect, bent on establishing the "inviolable truth" of natural selection.

Having read a few of those sectarians, Walt seems to have glanced over Dr. Richard Dawkins' devotion to the concept of theory. No one knows more than an evolutionary biologist that it works in theory and not law.

It is theory that the earth goes around the sun -- a good theory. It is a theory that various species have evolved through a process of natural selection, now using the gene as the unit of selection rather than the organism. It is a fairly good theory, one that has been expanded by neo-Darwinists such as Dawkins, and a theory that many scientists are trying to make into a great theory.

From Ruloff's description, Dr. Robert Marks does not seem like one of those scientists. In fact, rather than attempting to garner new information, he sounds like his purpose is to debunk.

It is important that scientists remain critical of theories and debunk ones without ground. I'm still waiting for a convincing blow to evolutionary theory as a whole.

Marks may make a dent, but it will take more than a mathematical theory to erase evidence from analogous structures, fossils, genetic similarity and laboratory experiments showing evolution on a small scale.

If Marks' work is important enough, I have faith that the scientific community will find a place for him to publish. Until then, I encourage Baylor to keep choosing science over sectarian beliefs.

With that attitude, Baylor will be able to have a more honest conversation between science and religion, and no matter how many times critics invoke the "Christian university" title as a basis for supporting ID, Baylor will have a legitimate answer.

Ryan Latham

Graduate student, Law

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