I wasn’t surprised that creationists would come after me for last Monday’s column, considering the sweeping nature of the headline. My goal was pretty modest: I just wanted to show how important evolution is for the study of viruses. People came after me for not including speciation, though it was not subject of that particular column. It’s nicely covered in several books, including “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne. I’ve read so much Dawkins I get them mixed up, but I’m pretty sure speciation is covered best in “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
I haven’t decided whether to let Higgs the cat debunk these or farm them out to biologists. The tone of these letters has put Higgs in a foul mood. He hates it when people evade debunking by presenting an incoherent muddle. He will have to cheer up a bit before he can tackle them, but in the meantime, feel free to pitch in:
Hello-- I am amazed that you're still using such outdated terms like 'survival of the fittest' and 'natural selection.' They almost sound like the 'liturgical' terms of faith based science. Epigenetics accounts for so much more of the numerous changes in humans'
characteristics as they've adapted to their extremely varied environments throughout the ages. And, like all evolutionary scientists, you're still sloppily conflating two entirely different concepts. Everyone knows that any species has a lot of back and forth changing of characteristics as they adapt to survive in their environments (autonomic activation and deactivation of genes) or by selective breeding. However, this is not evidence for 'interspecies evolution.' Ever since Darwin, you scientists have made the same illogical 'leap.' Guess what? One hundred and seventy years after Darwin, despite all the astounding back and forth changes in size and shapes of the beaks of finches, there are still only thirteen species of finches on the Galapagos Islands. They haven't become anything else! Aren't the viruses that scientists are fooling around with in the lab still viruses? I'm afraid that the only truly proven interspecies creature will be the monsters deliberately created in the science lab. You appear to be as dogmatic as any 12th cent. Catholic bishop. I'm amazed.