'The Data is the Data' 

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they're not entitled to their own facts: The data is the data. This quote from renowned CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and University of California, Santa Barbara physicist Maria Spiropulu sums up the appropriate response to Judy Wesselhoft's screed (Letters, "Kids deserve better") in the Dec.16, 2009, issue of the Gazette.

Whether you "believe" global climate change is not occurring or are of the opinion that it is a hoax is immaterial. The data is the data, and the fact derived from countless experiments performed by thousands of researchers worldwide support the reality of human-caused global warming.

In a similar way, her comments concerning evolution theory can be discounted as an opinion not supported by the data. Thousands of biologists compiling data over the last 150 years have provided nothing but supporting evidence for and about evolution. The scale of this research is monumental as is the number of active scientists doing work in the field.

The Discovery Institute likes to make a show of its list of 100 scientists who have expressed some skepticism of what they call "Darwinism." Closer examination of the list reveals a fair number of engineers, mathematicians, physicians and even a psychologist or two. As a contrast, consider the list of names compiled by the National Center for Science Education's "Project Steve," an illustrative parody of the DI's list.

As of Dec. 11, Project Steve has signed up 1,128 actual, real scientists who have declared that: "Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to 'intelligent design,' to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools."

The "Steve's" themselves represent about 1 percent of the working scientists that support evolution theory and whose work provides the overwhelming evidence for evolution and the workings of science in our world.

Mrs. Wesselhoft is indeed entitled to her opinions, although they have been formed with no supporting data. Are these opinions shared by her Legislator-husband, Rep. Paul Wesselhoft? Wouldn't it be of more comfort to his constituents if they could trust his decisions on these and other important concerns to Oklahomans would be made on the basis of legitimate data rather than unfounded opinion?
"Bob Melton
Oklahoma City

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Bob Melton

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