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Sign of weakness

May 03, 2005

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

To the editor:

I read with great interest about John Calvert's conversion to intelligent design (Journal-World, Sunday). The story instructs us all.

Armed with only an undergraduate degree in geology, Calvert found no differences between crinoid fossils at the base and top of a 150-foot limestone cliff, a height difference presumably corresponding to 10 million to 30 million years of sediment. Real scientists would have sought an explanation based on pre-existing knowledge about crinoids, geological time periods, local geological history and so on, and would have determined whether they had made a beginner's mistake or were on the track of something new and exciting. Instead, Mr. Calvert breathtakingly threw out vast sciences whose surfaces he had hardly scratched -- biology, geology, nuclear physics, astronomy, etc. -- and simply gave up.

One bit of contrary evidence, one disappointment, and out went a century's research. Had other Americans so lacked confidence and persistence, the Wright brothers would have packed up and returned to Ohio after one unsuccessful attempt at Kitty Hawk, the United States would have surrendered after Pearl Harbor, and the first botched kidney transplant would have doomed all other kidney patients. One hopes our children are made of sterner stuff.

Intelligent design is a bankrupt philosophy of personal weakness, of ducking challenges. If indeed God made us in his image, he made us smart enough to understand our world without whining about its complexity. Let's teach science, not weakness, and give our children the confidence to try to meet the challenges they will surely face, without whining.

John Rosen,