Friday, February 08, 2008

An open letter to This Week in Science

Dear Kirsten Sanford and Justin Jackson,

I began listening to This Week in Science in December and it didn't take more than 2 episodes to have me completely hooked. Being able to hear news about things I am interested in with it being presented in an extremely entertaining way is a difficult thing to find and it seems to be exactly what the two of you do every week. During the couple of months that I have been listening I have noticed a somewhat anti-Christian overtone which is something that I could easily deal with simply because I understood that point of view.

Before I go on, let me tell you who I am. I am a person who certainly is a Christian by the actual definition but someone who is sometimes affraid to call himself a Christian because of the stereo-type that I seem to constantly be faced with. I am someone who had devoted his life to helping people and respecting people for exactly who they are. I am someone who does my best to hear what every single person is saying because I have a strong belief that I am able to learn something from anyone whether they are like me or not. I am someone who is irritated how most of the Christian Churches preach love and then practice hatred by denying people such as homosexuals the respect.

As this person, I am understanding of the way people feel about Christians in general but it is very hard for me to understand people that have a closed mind and I think when it's someone who deals with the sciences, I find it even harder to believe. While I can understand there may be skepticism I can't understand and I can't support someone who completely denies someone the chance to be heard simply because of their religion, race, nationality, and so on. Growing up I learned that in order to move beyond the mediocre and investigate the sciences you had to have an open mind and be able to listen to everything no matter where it was coming from. I think back to Christopher Columbus's era. The entire world believed that the world was flat and would completely denounce anyone who believed as such. I often wonder how many people wouldn't even heard Columbus's reasons for saying the world was flat simply because he was a believer in a round earth.

The episode that was released today has me extremely upset and personally hurt. It hurts me even more because the beginning of the show had a rather large endorsement of my favorite presidential canidate, Barack Obama and then later in the show many supporters of Obama were attacked because they didn't believe everything that another supporter believed. Personally, I am a strong supporter of Obama because he is all about bringing people together. He does not draw the line at any group of people but says we all need to come together. His slogan "Yes We Can" doesn't say "Yes most of us can".... The contradictions infuriate me.

To be completely honest, the group of people that you are attacking with the peer group I am not familiar with and, as seems to be evident, you are neither. I am not, in any way, defending this group of people because I just simply don't know what they stand for -- but that's just my point. I am not able to judge until I hear what they have to say and weigh their words for myself and investigate such. Even if the group of people are entirely off their rocker maybe they will make one point that makes sense that none of us would have learned unless we listened.

My point is this: Any person who denies another person the right of being heard based on their religion, race, etc is someone that should not be honored. The words you said tonight were absolutely no different than the racist bastards who say a black person can't do anything except violent crime. Those words contradicted the spirit that you are fighting for -- both as a scientist and a supporter of Barack Obama.

I sincerely hope that the points I made will make sense to you. I'm not meaning to defend anyone or anything but I am asking that you think about the words you said and how they may have really hurt a large group of people -- especially those people who are trying their best to spread the message that everyone deserves respect.

Bob K Mertz

For my readers who are not familiar with This Week in Science, they are a weekly podcast that reports on scientific issues facing our nation and the world. Their website is The episode that is referenced in this post is the Feb 5th edition. If you would like to hear a snip of the section in reference, please use the following link:

TWiS - Feb 5th 2008 / Answers in Genesis Segment

Dr. Sanford did say that she wants to expose the flaw in the scientific process which is certainly a respectable thing to do but the attitude that was presented was obvious that there was no interest in hearing what these people had to say.


Unknown said...

Dear BibleBoy,

Thanks for the open letter! I appreciate that you are speaking out against views you don't agree with, even if that view happens to be mine...

I do understand that all christians are not cut from the same cloth, and that all religion is not at odds with science.

You like Barack Obama for the same reasons i do...
You’re a christian, i'm an atheist...

And if JC came back, believe me, he'd get both our votes too!

Not because it would prove I was wrong about God (it would prove most Christians views about him to be wrong too), but because he spoke about peace, about helping the least amongst us, amongst other things that i agree with completely. (I think he’d agree with separation of church and state, universal healthcare… I wonder what his economic plan would look like… he’d be some form of socialist that’s for sure)

The groups involved in public creationism are doing so by attempting to discredit science, not by following evidence to a truth, but by starting with a belief and attempting to cherry pick the evidence for truths that will fit.

It is strict doctrine religion masquerading as science and it makes a mockery of both.
With the Dover case is still fresh in my mind, this is more than a matter of personal opinion or belief… It is part of a movement that seeks to destroy the credibility of science, and to put it’s own message in it’s place. A Christian message… but one even you may not relate too.

The number of people they reach, whose minds are thereby closed to truth, who are trained to reject facts, to suspect science, who internalize ignorance of evolution…

i often feel that science goes undefended, and i am attempting to stand up for it… and yes, i have a snarky toungue, a lack of politeness filters, and a real knack for turning water into gasoline…

Well, anyhow, i have been offensive to you and i apologize for that…

-TWIS Minion -j-

Bob K Mertz said...


Thank you so much for your response. I have since realized that I over-reacted a little bit. I think that I was more hurt than I was upset. I mean, I hear the things you said many times and I will continue to and they dont ever tend to phase me but I think what happened is that I became such a fan of TWiS and developed a lot of respect for you an Kirsten both it hit me in a much different way.

Everything you wrote is absolutely true. I don't believe that Christians do anyone a favor by trying to bend the rules to fit what they believe. That would be the opposite of faith. And, quite honestly, no matter which side of the fence you are on it does ultimately get to a point of faith. Everything can be interpreted differently depending on who is doing the interpreting and in ALL cases its going to be slightly skewed because of the way the person thinks. If you've ever seen the "spinning lady" graphic to test whether you are using your right brain or left brain then you know what I'm talking about. Two people can see things completely different and it doesn't mean either of them has to be wrong.

I have respect for every human being and I feel that is the most important thing that everyone needs to work on. I have faith in God and I believe that God created everything.... on that same note I do believe that evolution exists to a point because all lifeforms do adapt over time. What complicates things is when "evolution" becomes a swear word inside the Church and any mention of it means your tagged as a sinner. This is the opposite of respect and a true representation of how not respecting someone will hurt BOTH sides. On the other hand, many atheists begin treating concepts of creation in the same way.

I appreciate what you and Kirsten do and I am glad you have the beliefs that you do because each week they work in to a podcast that helps me grow in understanding of how aspects of the world work and, while it may seem odd, help me increase my own faith.

No matter which side you are on, everyone has to agree that there are some incredibly amazing things that we may never come even close to understanding. If anyone isn't awestruck then he obviously has lost any kind of joy in life.

Oh... and GO OBAMA :)