Letter writer lacks scientific literacy


In the Nov. 10 edition, a Mr. James Dunlap of Mineral Ridge was really wound up about a Mr. Andrew Herman. I do not know either of these men but I must take issue with some comments expressed by Mr. Dunlap. I am not going to talk about the Howland school budget or his comments about prayer in school, or his choice of processed lunch meat.

He does state that Mr. Herman “sadly exposes Herman’s economic illiteracy.” This then opens the door to Mr. Dunlap’s scientific illiteracy. As so many folks who never understood the term ‘theory’ as it is used in science, he sadly misapplied it. He uses it in the everyday vernacular such as “wag,” that is to say “wild a- guess.”

In science, you first notice something and then you observe / study it. After some observations and thinking about what you have noticed, you come up with a hypothesis to explain what you observed, and that is then tested by others. If your hypothesis cannot be disproved after testing, (which may take many others a long time), it is then considered as a “theory,” such as the theory of numbers, the atomic theory, the theory of relativity, aerodynamics, etc, etc … .

Now, since Mr. Dunlap brought up the Bible as to evolution, which is another theory that is well proven since we have pretty much wiped out polio, discovered DNA and RNA to trace our lineage, and learned much about all living things, I have a question for him. In the last 200 years, we have also since discovered that there are billions of galaxies with billions of stars, and so far we know of over 1,200 planets in our galaxy due to observations based on the theory of planetary motion, the spectrum of light and many more observations by astronomers using theories.

Since the Old Testament says Moses wandered 40 years in the desert, it implies he had no sense of direction and had a group of simpleminded folks tagging along. If anyone one of them had decided to just walk in a straight line for even a few weeks towards the setting sun, that is to say test the theory of “Go West Young man,” they would have been out of the desert and into the Mediterranean Sea. So I say to Mr. Dunlap, please don’t use 3,000- or 4,000-year-old parables to downplay modern day discoveries. In conclusion, Mr. Dunlap, you have exposed your lack of education.

Elias Vujovich