Regarding the recent letter “Examine the truth about evolutionary theory” (The Daily Astorian, Nov. 13): Evolution arose from the same scientific tradition that brought us nuclear theory, gravitational theory, electricity, etc.
Yet no one had problems with these advancements. Why? Because they were ideologically benign and evolution appeared to be a threat to deeply held beliefs. The writer implies that evolution is a theory in crisis because details remain unsolved. Rather, unsolved questions are affirmation of a healthy scientific debate.
Evolution has been studied for over 150 years, and represents arguably one of humanity’s major intellectual achievements. In medicine, evolutionary theory forms the basis for understanding and treating bacterial infections, HIV, Huntington Disease and other ailments. In agriculture, genetic diversity, disease resistance plants, and pest control are grounded in evolutionary theory.
One more thing — the writer mentions punctuated equilibrium, a theory put forth by Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard paleontologist and firm evolutionist. I, too, am a paleontologist, and knew Stephen Jay Gould. Knowing Stephen, I’m sure he would sit up in his grave if he knew that his elegant theory of punctuated equilibrium was being twisted to discredit evolution.