Letters from the April 29, 2006, issue of Science News

Creating a controversy

The real irony of ironies is that evolution has not evolved (“Evolution in Action: The trials and tribulations of intelligent design,” SN: 2/25/06, p. 120). When even mainstream evolutionary scientists propose any change to “the fact of evolution,” they are immediately silenced. That’s not science. As it has been practiced by many, including Darwin, evolution is really a religion. As a result, no one should be surprised to find a reaction to this religion in the form of creationism, intelligent design, or whatever.

Dave McCall
Detroit, Mich

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on the designs a large group of Americans have on our educational system. As their name evolves, we should be ready with our disclaimer sticker: “This textbook contains material on Creation Science. Creation Science is an oxymoron based on a myth regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached only by rational human beings with a well-developed sense of humor.”

Larry Gioannini
Las Cruces, N.M.

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould’s description of the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium points out that geologically abrupt appearance and subsequent extended stasis of species is a fair description of evolutionary reality. Also, while retaining a Darwinian base, punctuated-equilibrium theory says that many evolutionary changes have been directed by forces other than natural selection.

Mary A. Caywood
Honolulu, Hawaii

Gut feeling

Perhaps in addition to using a friendly strain of Clostridium difficile to crowd out the disease-causing variety in the gut (“Flora Horror: Hospitals struggle with a serious new gut microbe,” SN: 2/18/06, p. 104), other species of benign bacteria could be reintroduced at the same time. This might be done inexpensively using “probiotic” bacterial cultures already being sold by some health food companies.

Michael Dunphy
Naperville, Ill

Researchers have tested benign bacteria against C. difficile, with some reported success (SN: 2/2/02, p. 72). But a review last year concluded that there isn’t sufficient evidence for the routine use of probiotics to prevent or treat C. difficile infections.—B. Harder

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