Letters to the Editor
I took these photos of stalactites during the course of my job as drainer in the Moreton Shire council in Queensland, Australia.
I was doing sewerage inspection of the system along Cobalt Street, Carole Park, where we found several manholes with what looked like long stalactite growths from the top manhole slab as the water leaked in.
The sewerage system was laid around 1978-1980, so they would have had about 14 years to form. The one photographed was over two metres (six feet).
[This reinforces what we have often pointed out—that stalactites and stalagmites don't necessarily take long to form.— Ed.]
Mr Doolan claims that my publication on 25 Creationists’ Arguments and 25 Evolutionists’ Answers 'makes many basic blunders'. Unfortunately the best he can come up with is my listing of Nebraska Man and Hesperopithecus without clarification that they refer to the same object — a pig's tooth.
The real message of that story, beautifully outlined by Stephen Jay Gould in an essay entitled 'An Essay on a Pig Roast' (see Bully for Brontosaurus) is that science, unlike religion, has a self-correcting feature that exposes mistakes, corrects them, and moves on. The point of the story is not that Henry Fairfield Osborn mistook a pig's tooth for a human tooth, it is that the mistake was caught relatively quickly and corrected.
If creationists really wanted to act like scientists, which they claim they are, they would do what scientists do—correct their mistakes, such as the Paluxy River dinosaur-human footprints, or the moon dust argument, properly refuted in this journal (but nowhere else that I know of and still being touted by creationists).
Though I allegedly make many blunders, Mr Doolan makes just one: the association fallacy. It goes like this: John Doe founded the Home for Wayward Orphans and is therefore a true humanitarian. John Doe reads the Bible and is a Christian. All Christians are true humanitarians and only Christians can save the world.
The problem with this reasoning is that the opposite can as easily be made: Crusaders slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent victims on their crusades. Crusaders believed in the Bible and were Christians. All Christians slaughter innocent victims and are the scourge of the earth. What history actually shows is that both Christians and non-Christians have been true humanitarians and true slaughterers. People act in humanitarian and inhumanitarian ways quite apart from their religion.
[My editorial did not say that all Christians were humanitarians, or that all non-Christians were not. It said the concept of humanitarianism comes from God and the Bible. That's why there are countless Christian hospitals, orphanages, aged-care homes, the Red Cross, etc., yet none run by Skeptics' organizations.
Your letter says, 'If creationists really wanted to act like scientists ...', meaning that Skeptics see creationists as non-scientists. But another part of my editorial showed that this is a Skeptics fallacy, because the founders of key areas of modern science were creationists (Boyle, Faraday, Pasteur, etc.). We even featured an article in that same issue on outstanding scientist Dr Raymond Damadian—a creationist who has received the United States' highest honour in technology.
The creationist arguments as given in the '25 Arguments/Answers' paper are either misstated, incompletely stated, or overstated, to facilitate the refutations. Yet the problems of the evolutionary story are glossed over by use of illogical analogy (such as 'Evolution no more breaks the Second Law of Thermodynamics than one breaks the law of gravity by jumping up'), or by throw-away lines like, 'there is a reasonable explanation for how you get from the Big Bang to the Big Brain' (there isn't!). Answer 15 makes the illogical statement, 'A lack of fossils is evidence for rapid change.' Sorry Michael, a lack of fossils isn't evidence for any change.—Ed.]
As a university chaplain, I have lunch weekly in the large student dining hall, so as to be able to talk to a student at random.
After the normal conversation about how the student's course is going, I have found that creation science is an excellent introduction to the Gospel. I normally talk about some facet of the wonderful world around us, and then make the statement, 'There has to be a Creator God'. I have yet to meet a student who has disagreed.
There is no way I can know how long the student has before the next lecture, but in a surprising number of cases, I have time to introduce the saving work of Jesus.
New South Wales,
BABY BABBLE NOT SO BAD
Your article 'People: created to speak' (September-November 1994), interested me.
At birth, babies have the ability to utter sounds of all the languages of the world. This has been shown from tape-recordings made from about four months of age.
If children grow up in bilingual or multilingual homes, they acquire facility in all those languages.
I have written a paper, published in five educational magazines, in which I advocate retention of the full range of phonics in the child's vocabulary through a careful selection of rhymes and songs.
If such a program was followed through the primary grades, acquisition of other languages at any time of life would be easier because the articulatory problems would be overcome.
(Miss) G. Swager,
New South Wales,