Note: The majority of messages that I receive are in general agreement with the analysis that I provide on this website. Some, however, are not. In the interest of providing a full airing of views, I will be presenting some criticisms--unedited by myself--that I have received. Doug Linder.
Dear Professor Linder,
I read your page on the Scopes Trial with great interest. I could have wished that there were a little more balanced approach to the subject matter but what you've done with it is not handled too badly. Pardon me if I'm wrong, but I am assuming that you are a professor of Law, and so, without fear of misunderstanding, I would like to discuss some of the aspects of the case, and other pertinent information..
The first order of business is that the reporter who filed the stories was obviously no friend of Creationism, and the "Observer's Account" you give is hostile as well. Her assessment of Bryan was not well founded. If he were such as she portrayed, he could not have held the town in his sway as she says. He'd make enemies too rapidly. Secondly, this case was not about the evidence for or against Creation, but as to whether the Tennesssee law was being violated. On the face of it Clarence Darrow had no case, his client was clearly in violation, should have been summarily convicted, and fines imposed. Darrow's attempts to introduce "expert witness" were a clear case of frivolous and contemptuous behavior before the Court. The judge was clearly right for finding Darrow in contempt for trying to continue with the farce. If he really thought he had a case, he and the ACLU should have gone straight to the State Supreme Court with a class action suit questioning the constitutionality of the Law. Also, by today's standards his "expert witness" would be ludicrous, and laughed out of court.
One of the evidences Darrow would have introduced would have been Java Man, the hoax foisted on us by Dr. DuBois, who hid the evidence that Modern Man existed in the same strata as the giant Gibbon he wrongfully told the world was the ancestor of Man. Another was Piltdown Man, who, nearly fifty years ago was exposed as a hoax, the jaw of a man, and the skull of an ape filed to fit together and being passed off as Man's Ancestor. A third would have been Nebraska Man, made into such a wonderful example of prehistoric life by the media, when we know today that all he was was a tooth from an extinct pig. Fourth were the ideas of evolutionary recapitulation, popularized by Haekel. These were disproved in 1874, yet continue to invade the domain of biology, and zoology. Then there was the supposed evolutionary tree of the horse. This too, is a hoax including the so called, dawn horse still alive and well as the rock hyrax, and the fact that in the middle of the tree there is one animal that has two extra sets of ribs! As a law professor I wouldn't expect you to readily grasp the import of that statement, but I assure you that an honest student of Biology would be appalled at the gall of someone trying to foist this off as an ancestor of the horse. There are numerous similarities that occur, but I assure you that they are more evidence of design than evidence of chance mutation.
So much for the inviolability and mystique of "Men of Science"!
The problem would have been simple if you'd stopped at discussing the merits of the case. However, you've stepped beyond that into fields with which you obviously are not well conversant. Moreover, you, like so many others have been duped into thinking that the pronouncements of the men in the white coats are words of the gods who know everything. They aren't, and they don't!
Factual observation, experimentation, correlation, repetition, hypothesizing, and theorizing are all at the heart of the earth sciences. However, we need to make sure of our facts before we make pronouncements. We must make sure of our results before we hypothesize. Bluntly, and sadly, many in the scientific establishment are not doing this, and have avoided exposure, perhaps even many in the faculty where you teach. Some of these deceptions are deliberate as Pons and Fleischman, and others are accidental. As an example of this, I sat in a class where the Dean of the Biologic Sciences at the University of Utah tried to defend Evolutionary Hypothesis by using Haekel's chart during a debate with Dr. Morris! This was dishonest, and insufferable to those of us who have really done our homework. He tried to use the court of public appeal to students unprepared and unable to defend the truth to perpetuate a myth. As it is, he made such a Dumbkoff of himself that he was nearly laughed of the stage, and left thoroughly discredited in the eyes of students and peers alike. This was only about eight years ago!
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but as a well educated man, a first rate student of Nature, observer of facts, student, Theologian, Psychotherapist, Lymphologist, amateur Paleontologist, and fair student of Law. I do take some offense that you should be patronizing by classifying me and many others out there as being any other than "First Rate". My degrees are earned from some of the finest schools. My love of Paleontology dates back to my early teens when I was called on to search for the truth by a Pastor who saw how frustrated I became when I was confronted by Evolution. I should hope that you would become irritated at your own words. We aren't ignoramuses, but well studied men looking for truth. We only want an honest platform for comparative analysis of the facts. Until you've done your homework, you should cease making pronouncements ex cathedra about subjects such as the Evolution/Creation discussion. You aren't prepared to defend the case. Bluntly, the discussion of such an issue requires many years of study, which you've obviously not done.
Even within my primary field of expertise, I don't claim to have a corner on all truth, but expect my views to obtain some objectivity from my peers. I have differences and observations which have made me a target too.
I applaud your inclusion of a student's letter. It is quite good, if a little sparse. I also applaud the inclusion of some of the pro-Creationism web sites. I have one or two to pass on as well. "Answers in Genesis" http://answersingenesis.org/ , "Creation Science Resources" http://www.sixdaycreation.com/,references , "The Institution for Creation Research" http://www.icr.org/, "First Choice Youth Ministries Evolution Page" http://pages.tca.net/chag/evolut.htm, to name a few.
Overall, I enjoyed your page. Just be careful about making poorly founded pronouncements. It does your credibility no good.