Gary Slater's Nov. 30 letter is typical of the many written to the newspaper by people expressing their disbelief in the theory of evolution. None of these writers can define what evolution is, and none can define what a theory is either.
The definition of evolution as found in any biology 101 textbook is simply the change over time in the genetic characteristics of a population. Every time a man and a woman make a baby, evolution has occurred, because the man and the woman have recombined the genetic characteristics of the baby, so that it is not an exact duplicate of either parent. Scientists have even observed new species of animals evolving in the wild.
The definition of theory was explained to me by a Cornell University professor. A theory is a coherent group of facts that provide the principles of explanation for a class of phenomena. A theory can never become a fact, because it is already made up of a group of facts. The theory of evolution is a proven theory as is the Copernician theory which is the theory that the Earth travels around the sun.
It took me about 15 minutes of research on the Internet to find out that creationism has been completely debunked by real scientists. Believing in creationism is the equivalent to getting one's news from the National Enquirer.
The Supreme Court correctly ruled that creationism is a religion, and not a science. The Creationist Institute is entirely funded by radical religious fundamentalists who want to turn this country into a theocracy.
Mark Gelbart, Augusta