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Letters to the Editor

August 1, 2005

I'm not a

monkey's uncle

To the editor:

It is truly amazing that people will sit and watch a 60-minute television program and come away an expert on any and all subjects. Recently, the Discovery Channel aired a special on the similarities between chimpanzees and humans. They actually profiled a proof-positive living artifact named Oliver. What evidence was given to prove that chimpanzees and humans were cousins under the skin (or should I say under the fur)? Oliver walked upright on a regular basis. There you go folks. The debate is over. One would have thought that it would be impossible for a couple of professional animal trainers to train a chimpanzee to walk on his hind legs. But you saw it first on the Discovery Channel. Keep in mind, this is also the same Discovery Channel that aired a special of some weird looking animals they claim will evolve in the next million years or so. They have also aired a special on weird looking creatures that could possibly live in the universe outside our solar system. I would hardly turn to the Discovery Channel as my source of science – science fiction yes, science no.

Let's set Oliver aside for a moment and look at the evidence for chimps and humans stemming from a common ancestor. Depending on what studies you choose to believe, the similarities between chimps and humans is anywhere from 96 to 99 percent. Are you starting to feel like a monkey's uncle? Don't panic. These studies are not exhaustive, nor are they conclusive. Furthermore, similarities between species are no more proof of evolution than it is for intelligent design or special creation. We all work from the same data. Where faith is called into play is how we interpret that data. Similarity (homology) is no evidence for common ancestry (evolution) as against a common designer (creation). Think about a Porsche and Volkswagen Beetle car. They both have air-cooled, flat, horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engines in the rear, independent suspension, two doors, trunk in the front and many other similarities (homologies). Why do these two very different cars have so many similarities? Because they had the same designer. Whether similarity is morphological (appearance), or biochemical, is of no consequence to the lack of logic in this argument for evolution.

Now back to Oliver. The fact that a chimp has been trained to walk upright on a regular basis does not make him human by any stretch of the imagination. First, it turns out that there is at least one parrot that can rival chimps (and dolphins) in creative language use and complexity of reasoning. Birds aren't supposed to be our close evolutionary cousins, and they have much smaller brains.

Is someone that watches a 60-minute special on the Discovery Channel really qualified to give scientific commentary and thumb his nose at those who refuse to accept the assumption of evolution? Is a chimpanzee that walks on his hind legs on a regular basis proof-positive, scientific evidence for the assumption of evolution? Could it be that both are simply examples of the old parody, "monkey see, monkey do?"

Larry Wayne

McNorton

Hampton

Sportsmanship doesn't grow in DeKalb

To the editor:

Last Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of going to dinner with my wife, 10-year-old daughter, mother and father-in-law. We dined at the Folk's Restaurant in Stockbridge.

As we were seated, I noticed a large group of people seated behind us that obviously had been to some type of little league sporting event. Their children were dressed in baseball uniforms and the men were talking of the game. We could not help but hear them because they were talking extremely loud.

I did not pay much attention to their conversation, trying desperately to hear our own conversation over theirs, until I started hearing vulgar and obscene language used in the presence of young children.

As I listened further, the conversation turned racially motivated, going as far as saying that the mayor of McDonough was a racist and everyone in McDonough were racist rednecks.

It was then evident that they had been at the Roberto Clemente World Series at the Richard Craig Park in McDonough. They continued their verbal assault on the mayor, implying that the tournament was rigged to benefit persons other then their race.

The group then decided that bashing the mayor of McDonough was not good enough, so they started to bash the McDonough police chief and the McDonough Police Department, again, stating that all the cops and the chief were racist rednecks.

After listening for about 10 minutes, I had heard all the [profanity] that I cared to have my 10-year-old daughter hear and notified the management of the restaurant, who kindly asked them to cease using that type of language.

Of course, we then became the target of their verbal abuse. I had to sit and wonder just what kind of home environment, lifestyle and impression that they wanted their children to follow. As they left, I was able to observe some T-shirts worn by some of their children that had Gresham Park, DeKalb County little league on the shirts. I guess that explained it all.

I then wondered when the last time Gresham Park hosted such an international event as the Roberto Clemente World Series at a park as nice as the Richard Craig Park. I then remembered that McDonough had hosted the series for the past five to six years. I guess the pressure of being sore losers and deprived of such an event in their area caused them to have to put the blame on someone else, rather than being responsible for their own actions.

I am proud to say that I have served the citizens of McDonough as a police officer for the past seven years and have not worked for a finer administration from Police Chief Preston Dorsey to City Manager James Lee to Mayor Richard Craig.

These men have moved the city of McDonough in a direction that will allow the city to move in only one direction – that is forward. It's a shame that parents can't bring their children to such an event and leave in the spirit of good sportsmanship, even falling short of a win.

Barry Yarian,

Detective, McDonough

Police Department