Regular readers may remember the post Sean’s Christmas Message. I remarked in the comments that it had garnered no response. Well it appears they may have just been a little slow(in every sense of the word). Here is the first response:

It is interesting to note how the author frames this letter, I wonder if he even read my letter at all, before launching into his tirade.

This letter was followed by:

So there you have it. I have a busy hour or two ahead of me while I constuct a response and try and cram it nto something a newspaper can print in their letters column.

Feel free to suggest some sites that I may refer to or even suggest some points of argument. I will post my draft here tomorrow and will then send it to the paper the following day.

Crossposted on Sean the Blogonaut

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Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on January 7, 2009 at 6:04am
I have some time and my home life has settled somewhat will email you the details whn I get a chance.
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on January 7, 2009 at 5:48am
LOL! Yes! But you don't want to get done on a technicality. I only mentioned it because it was discussed by a doctor on one of the morning shows this morning, so a member of the general public may well have picked up on it like I did. Nice to see you back posting on Nexus, by the way. :-)
Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on January 7, 2009 at 5:41am
Then they probably haven't considering they are using arguments that are over 150 years old :)
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on January 7, 2009 at 5:18am
I only heard about it this morning, actually.
Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on January 7, 2009 at 4:37am
Thanks Kristy. I hadn't heard that about the appendix. Might just cut the examples and ask her to provide evidence
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on January 7, 2009 at 1:58am
Great summation Sean! (One or two spelling/punctuation errors but I'm sure you'll fix them up).

Just one point regarding the appendix. It has always been thought to be useless, but new research suggests it may have a purpose:

"Oct. 12, 2007 -- The lowly appendix may have a purpose after all.

New research suggests that the seemingly useless organ provides a safe haven for good bacteria to hang out in the gut.

Although the study stops short of providing direct proof of this proposed purpose for the appendix, researchers say there's a strong case to be made for the appendix based on new information about the role of bacteria in intestinal health.

"While there is no smoking gun, the abundance of circumstantial evidence makes a strong case for the role of the appendix as a place where the good bacteria can live safe and undisturbed until they are needed," researcher William Parker, PhD, assistant professor of experimental surgery at Duke University Medical Center, says in a news release.

The appendix is a small, 2- to 4-inch pouch located near where the large and small intestines meet. Doctors have debated the exact function of the organ for years, as removal causes no noticeable symptoms.

Not much is known about the human appendix because studies on the appendix are difficult to conduct. There are only a few animals that have the organ; an animal's appendix is very different than the human appendix.

A Higher Purpose for the Appendix

Researchers deduce that the appendix is designed to protect good bacteria in the gut.

That way, when the gut is affected by a bout of diarrhea or other illness that cleans out the intestines, the good bacteria in the appendix can repopulate the digestive system and keep you healthy.

But in a modern society less of these good bacteria are needed due to better hygiene practices, which may explain why the appendix has gained a reputation as a useless organ.

"Once the bowel contents have left the body, the good bacteria hidden away in the appendix can emerge and repopulate the lining of the intestine before more harmful bacteria can take up residence," says Parker. "In industrialized societies with modern medical care and sanitation practices, the maintenance of a reserve of beneficial bacteria may not be necessary. This is consistent with the observation that removing the appendix in modern societies has no discernable negative effects."

In addition, according to the hygiene hypothesis, the lack of germs in modern society may cause the immune system to overreact and attack the good bacteria stored away in the appendix.

"This over-reactive immune system may lead to the inflammation associated with appendicitis and could lead to the obstruction of the intestines that causes acute appendicitis," Parker says. "Thus, our modern health care and sanitation practices may account not only for the lack of a need for an appendix in our society, but also for much of the problems caused by the appendix in our society."

SOURCES: Bollinger, R. Journal of Theoretical Biology, August 2007; vol 35: 1295-1303. News release, Duke University Medical Center.
Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on January 7, 2009 at 12:03am
Here is the latest draft of my letter

I write in response to Name withheld (NW) and Amee Glass (AG) the Advocate Jan. 6

To N.W. I suggest that you read my letter again - a "scattergun tirade of complaints" against god? I complemented two churches on their good behaviour and criticised two pastors for their claims.

Now on to your and AG's misconceptions and misinformation; Modern Evolutionary theory is indeed 150 years old, although similar ideas were postulated as long ago as 6OOBC. You (NW)use the term theory in a pejoritive sense, like it's just an idea.

In science, a theory is a rigorously tested statement of general principles that explains observable and recorded aspects of the world. A scientific theory therefore describes a higher level of understanding that ties "facts" together. A scientific theory stands until proven wrong - it is never proven correct. The theory of evolution has withstood the test of time and thousands of scientific experiments; countless and ongoing peer reviews, nothing has disproved it. Indeed, many scientific advances, in a range of scientific disciplines, have supported, refined, and expanded evolutionary theory far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined. For example dDrwin knew nothing of genetics, but genetics compliments and supports evolutionary theory.

It is interesting to note at this point to that AG quotes biologist Michael Denton whose later works assumed an evolutionary process as a given.

NW, you claim there are a inumerable examples of of irreducebly complex structures but quote only the eye, which modern biologists have proposed possible avenus of evolution for. This is supported by evidence found across a range of current species. As for it being a model of perfection, that depends on your perspective. For example an eagle has far better sight than a human.

NW give me one example of irreducible complexity that as not been soundly criticised and debunked by the scientific community, ie not the bacterial flagellum.

Your statement about being descended from monkeys diplays a lack of understanding of the theory. I am not descended from a monkey, monkeys and humans share a common ancestor, that's why we share similar genes. We are indirectly related. You ask for evidence of one species changing into another, first we look to the fossil record - there are 139 fine grained species to species transitional fossils. This is actually far more than Darwin expected due to specific instances in which fossils form - one recenntly discovered example is Tiktaalik(2004). But if you want current observed changes from one species to another we can look to plant(Evening Primrose) and insect(Fruit fly) examples.

I accept scientific theories until those theories are proven wrong. I appreciate the scientific method as the most succusseful method of learning and predicting, and I accept the scientic consensus on scientific subjects. To AG, I never claimed that bikes and cars were the direct result of evolution, but of the scientific method or thinking (intentional misquote?). AG, you also state the "intracies of the human body show evidence of design". Please provide examples of this - you could start with the reasoning behind the "design" of the appendix or the blind spot in the human eye.

AG you postulate a number of reasons evolution continues to be accepted. Claiming that some of us do not want to be accountable to an intelligent being (god?). The theory of Evolution says nothing about god or accountability. I accept evolution and am I accountable to the community, the law, the tax office, my employer, my family etc. You claim that some want to believe that the world came about by chance(another misunderstanding of evolutionary theory). No AG, some of us accept evolution because we understand the science and evidence, some of us accept it because we trust, that when most experts agree, they are probably right. Some people don't give much thought to evolution or they don't care. Some people accept evolution because they have not been subjected to the misinformation of the fringe dwelling Intelligent Design (creationist) movement.

Finally can you please explain why your claims regarding evolution are at odds with every national science organisation and why you continue to push a belief that has been soundly discredited, most recently in the dover trial.
Comment by George S. on January 6, 2009 at 11:21pm
Because the creation theory has been changed AT ALL since its inception.


And I hope he knows that the scientific method IS about exactly what he said it isn't/shouldn't.

I guess the only way we'll ever prove to these numbskulls is a million years down the line (if humans lasts that long (see Global Climate Change)) we evolve out of something we won't really need anymore, like the appendix.

Then they'll say it was a miracle and that God did it.

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