Nicole, in your letter “Evolution is not a fact” you’re correct, evolution is indeed theory and not fact. There has always been confusion with “theory” however. In scientific terms, theories are not someone’s opinion or guess, these are hypotheses. Scientific theories begin as a hypothesis, experiments happen, facts and data are collected, analyzed, then comes a conclusion. Hypotheses that have been tested over and over and if never disproved become “theories.”

Darwin’s theory, published in 1859, has been highly scrutinized and tested. The amazing thing about science is that scientists try to disprove themselves. Because if scientists can disprove a theory, then they know they don’t have it right.

The Theory of Evolution has never been disproved, though it has been modified with new information. Darwin’s theory is even stronger than when he published it, with contributions from Genetics, DNA and Biochemistry. Paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and science historian Stephen Jay Gould said, “... facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts.”

Dr. Tom, on climate change, the cigarette industry and vaccines, is just reporting the facts.

Evolution is not anti-religion and is taught at any decent college (e.g. Notre Dame, SMU, BYU, Baylor). Evolution explains what happens once life was established and doesn’t start from dust.

We have observed evolution. Besides variations in bird’s beaks you mention, we have bacteria resistant to antibiotics (“super bugs”); insects resistant to DDT; a nearly complete fossil record of the changes in horses, starting out as a terrier-sized mammal with four toes to today’s modern horse with one toe. We have a very complete set of fossils showing whale evolution, starting with a land-dwelling, four-legged mammal with nostrils to a legless mammal with a blowhole.

The Theory of Evolution is widely accepted by scientists around the world and is not controversial among respected scientists. Scientific debates on it ended in the 1920s.

It’s time for politicians to discuss/debate scientific issues so we can be informed voters. Certainly, oil companies don’t want us to know that their product could be causing global climate change any more than the cigarette companies wanted us to know the harmful effects of smoking. Listening to legitimate scientists is just too important for future generations and nature as we know it.

Frank Baele

Idyllwild resident