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Kern doesn't get it


John R. Junger III June 15th, 2011

In the Rev. Steve Kern’s letter “Missing ‘the point’” (April 27, Gazette), he admits that some aspects of the creation versus evolution debate belong in the philosophy class.

He also admits that there is strong evidence for “micro” evolution. There is a pretty simple equation that he doesn’t seem to get, though:

Micro-evolution plus enough time equals macro-evolution.

Kern brings up two examples, which he thinks qualify as topics to be discussed in high-school curricula. This is a simple misunderstanding on the nature of information theory; changing and destroying information are two different things. The same amount of information exists — it’s just saying something different. Furthermore, the earth is not a “closed system” and absorbs a great deal of energy/information from the sun.

His second point is that there is no clear evidence that there is evolution between “kinds.” Biologists don’t have a rigorous definition for a species! The Rev. Kern begs the question, in the proper sense, when he uses the word “kind.” These refutations are well-known, and given rigorous scholarship and thought, understandable.

What bothers me most is that these arguments have been rehashed since the Scopes Monkey Trial, and every time there is a new mathematical or scientific theory the same zombie arguments get dragged out, dressed up in new language and passed off as genuine new evidence. I think that I am being charitable when I scratch my head and wonder how such an esteemed man as the Rev. Kern is unaware this is what is being done here. If one thinks that cats are so dissimilar to dogs that they could not possibly have had common ancestors, I patently disagree, but we could debate what constitutes similarity and dissimilarity of cause.

As a starting point, I would suggest we read David Hume’s “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.” However, it might not really apply because I read it in my junior year in college in modern philosophy and this, like the rest of the debate, is not science.

—John R. Junger
III Oklahoma City
 
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