Letter to the Editor: Miracles must yield to science


In my column of April 1, I made the point that those who would want a fable of a talking snake taught as a biological fact are likely threatened by science. I would like to thank Bernie Hendricks for validating my point, albeit in a typical ad hominem fashion. Hendricks provided a quote by the great physicist Max Planck to support his contentions of the need for a closer alliance of science and Christianity. Here is another maxim from Max Planck: “The faith in miracles must yield, step by step, before the steady and firm advance of the facts of science, and its total defeat is undoubtedly a matter of time.”

It is clear Hendricks sees the world as being divided between atheists and Christians, with no need or room for believers in other faiths. Hendricks also took a clear position on materialism, painting that belief with a broad and pejorative brush. One has to wonder where a science curriculum would stand without materialism. Would pharmacy students learn about homeopathy and voodoo instead of the facts of pharmacology? Would chemistry students study alchemy? Would students of physics study magic?

Scientists can hardly pick and choose which facts to believe. A scientist has to sort and separate fact from belief. In response to Dr. Bob Kohl’s numerous Biblical quotations, I could very well quote from the Bible in return. I could also respond with quotes from L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics as well. Both sources can provide whatever argument the reader wants to see and both would be equally relevant to questions of the Philosophy of Science. It was not clear whether Kohl was disputing my points or that it was in fact the year 2009.

Brady Phelps, SDSU professor