Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Father's Letters to the Montreal Gazette

After publishing an article on ID (which unfortunately I do not have) the Montreal Gazette obtained and published the following letter from my father:
Dear Editor,
Regarding Janice Keane's letter (Gazette, Oct. 18, "Creation is always a leap of faith") in which she asserts that "it (evolution) still is and remains a theory, rather than a fact", disparages not only evolution but all of science. Newton's law of gravity is a theory, so is Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's famous E=mc2. Yet when it comes to evolution which encompasses well-established principles found in physics, chemistry and biology, people like Janice Keane, who can't accept its implications that life arose on this planet as a random process, resorts to this ultimate dismissive
that 'it is just a theory', meaning in the sense that it has very little value. Let it be clear and simple: an attack on the theory of evolution, not on its content which is open to debate but on its reason to exist, is an attack on all of science.
Joseph Palazzo

Then today the Gazette published a response:

Joseph Palazzo (Letters, Oct 19) is clearly confused about the difference between theory and fact. If I drop an apple, it will fall to the floor 100 per cent of the time, so gravity is a fact, not a theory. Evolution, however, cannot be proven. So saying that evolution is a theory does not disparage real science.
Intellectual honesty dictates we recognize that creation and evolution are both theories. I lack the faith to believe that order came out of chaos T the Big Bang theory) or that the complexity of nature is a result of chance development(evolution).
Rev. Rich Mellette

My father's new response (just submitted to the Gazette):
Rev. Rich Mellette's answer (Letters, Oct 23) to my letter (Oct 19) further confuses the issue. Observing an apple falling is a fact, Newton's law of gravity that explains that fact is a theory, not a fact. Nonetheless on that theory -- Newton's law of gravity -- we were able to send a man to the moon and back. That we have such much confidence in that theory might lead us to believe that it is a fact, when in reality it is not.

Now Creationism can be construed as a theory but not as a scientific theory. The danger of this misconception as led as in the case of the Kansas State Board of Education to force science teachers to give equal time in their biology classroom to Creationism. But Creationism, and its hybrid Intelligent Design, have failed on all counts on the Popper's fallibility test and have been rejected as a scientific theory by the science community. In a democratic society, the religious beliefs of any person are nobody else's business. The creationists are free to believe whatever religious tenets they like. And Creationism can be taught as a course in the religious studies or the humanities, but it has no place in a science class.

Joseph Palazzo

So why is the Gazette taking ID so seriously? Well that's easy, this newspaper is owned by Conrad Black, a newspaper tycoon and staunch conservative. Unfortunately, the Gazette (an awful paper I must add) is the only English language newspaper that delivers in the Montreal area (I'm not sure if the National Post delivers in the Montreal Area, but that paper is even more Right-wing and it's also a Conrad Black production). So as a result ID gets air time in Montreal. This is a great example of how a media monopoly can adversely affect the public debate of important issues.