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Scientists are hailing Tiktaalik roseae, or the fossil "fishapod," as evidence of evolution [April 17]. Yet in the same article, they admit that the elongated fin of the fishapod would have been "worse than useless" on land and that the appendage is only "anatomically"--and not functionally--intermediate between lobed fins and legs. The article presented more evidence of the grip that evolution has on scientists than it did for the theory.
JEFF PRATHER Diamond Springs, Calif.
Here we go again. One transitional fossil is found, and presto!--Darwinism is undeniable. Paleontologist Michael Novacek says some people will never be convinced and conveniently ignores the growing noncreationist voices of variance. The fishapod could be a link--or a strange animal. Without a worldwide fossil record of continuous transformation, it is far from a slam dunk for Darwin's theory in action.
MICHAEL CAMP Poulsbo, Wash.
Michael J. Novacek's viewpoint sustains the old-fashioned belief that biological evolution is incompatible with the idea of a Creator. Is it so incomprehensible that a Creator used evolution to bring organisms into being? There is incontrovertible evidence for biological evolution. Why couldn't a God have created life and enabled it to evolve by what we call natural selection? We must not box ourselves into one viewpoint.
IKECHUKWU OBIALO AZUONYE Purley, England
The fishapod article and accompanying Viewpoint used straw-man arguments in an attempt to discredit intelligent design and creationism. They even went so far as to insinuate that without a belief in amoebas-to-man evolution, we are doomed to succumb to a pandemic. Nonsense! One doesn't need to believe in unobservable and unrepeatable macroevolution to have a working knowledge of genetics. Creationists and proponents of intelligent design are quite at home with the concepts of Mendelian variation within species and natural selection. They simply object to wild extrapolations beyond observable limits of genetic variability. Don't hide behind the cloak of science when it's clear that you're an evolution evangelist.
DWAYNE SPIES Chilliwack, B.C.
The coverage of the fishapod was excellent. The classification of species gives the impression of significant changes having occurred within a single generation, a misunderstanding often used by antievolutionists. But a species is a snapshot that represents a lineage at a convenient point. Every child has differences from its parents, and over a great number of generations some changes will spread through a population, owing to selective breeding. The fishapod is a valuable find as a missing link--another snapshot in a continuum of change. Understanding that such changes are constant should help people find common ground on evolution.
ROBERT FRASER Kingston, Ont.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert states that it is time for Israel to end the struggle with the Palestinians with the goal of "living in peace" [April 17]. Can Olmert explain how he would achieve peace by unilaterally setting the border, thereby annexing as much as half of the West Bank and Jerusalem and leaving 4 million Palestinians in disconnected cantons?
MIKE BARNES Watford, England
Still Struggling in Kashmir