Letters from the February 25, 2006, issue of Science News

A squirt could hurt

The fine piece about invasive sea squirts (“Squirt Alert,” SN: 12/24&31/05, p. 411) states that the critters maintain an unappetizing surface pH of 2. Does this make these mats harmful to touch?

Andrew J. Dolson
Richmond, Va.

Robert Whitlatch of the University of Connecticut, who grows Didemnum in the lab, says it’s fine to handle for short periods of time, “though I wouldn’t attempt to taste/eat them, lick your fingers, or rub your eyes after you’ve been handling them.”—J. Raloff

Spirited exchange? You got it

Presumably, you were attempting to be funny in “Irreplaceable Perplexity 101: Ms. Cleary has designs on teaching evolution” (SN: 12/24&31/05, p. 414), but the bias was too obvious, straight out of the anti–intelligent design talking points. Instead of ridicule, could we get a spirited exchange from the best minds on both sides?

David F. Coppedge
Newhall, Calif.

While I’m extremely skeptical of the claims that some intelligent design (ID) proponents make about evolution, practically everything I see about ID is highly politicized (including this article). Finding a nugget of information in this hype I find nauseating. If you can find someone who can write a clear explanation of how the ID technique works and has been effectively applied outside the field of biology, I would appreciate it.

David Foss
Solon, Ohio

Your article states, “but religions answer big questions that nearly everyone asks about our connection to the universe and the meaning of our lives.” You just threw in the towel by even suggesting that people can actually get answers from their religion about their connection to the universe and the meaning of their lives.

Karen Spence
Cambridge, Mass.

While entertaining, Ms. Cleary misses a crucial point. Creationism and intelligent design fail as science for a fundamental reason: They both require miraculous or magical events to explain the existence of things in our natural universe.

Virgil H. Soule
Frederick, Md.

Actually, taken as a whole, the article seems to support the teaching of intelligent design and making fun of evolution.

Duane Steiner
Ridgecrest, Calif.

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