Nature publishes a crank letter

This week’s issue of Nature contains a bizarre letter from a Polish creationist, forester, and member of the Polish parliament. His credentials notwithstanding, it is a very silly diatribe that makes a series of false claims—claims that are trivial to dismiss, but in that fine tradition of the Gish gallop and Hovind’s rambling free-association eructations, he makes a lot of them. A whole lot of them; all just plain naked assertions with no evidence to back them up, because the evidence, if he’d bothered to discuss it, contradicts him. Even the title reveals his ignorance of how science works.

Rather than trying to dismantle it piece by piece, I’ve just added links to his letter that lead to short, simple refutations of his claims.

Creationism, evolution: nothing has been proved

Maciej Giertych

In your News story “Polish scientists fight creationism” (Nature 443, 890–891; 2006 doi:10.1038/443890c), you incorrectly state that I have called for the “inclusion of creationism in Polish biology curricula”. As well as being a member of the European Parliament, I am a scientist — a population geneticist with a degree from Oxford University and a PhD from the University of Toronto — and I am critical of the theory of evolution as a scientist, with no religious connotation. It is the media that prefer to consider my comments as religiously inspired, rather than to report my stated position accurately.

I believe that, as a result of media bias, there seems to be total ignorance of new scientific evidence against the theory of evolution. Such evidence includes race formation (microevolution), which is not a small step in macroevolution because it is a step towards a reduction of genetic information and not towards its increase. It also includes formation of geological strata sideways rather than vertically, archaeological and palaeontological evidence that dinosaurs coexisted with humans, a major worldwide catastrophe in historical times, and so on.

We know that information exists in biology, and is transferred over generations through the DNA/RNA/protein system. We do not know its origin, but we know it exists, can be spoiled by mutations, but never improves itself spontaneously. No positive mutations have ever been demonstrated — adaptations to antibiotics or herbicides are equivalent to immunological adaptation to diseases, and not a creation of a new function.

We keep on searching for natural explanations of everything in nature. If we have no explanations we should say so, and not claim that an unproven theory is a fact.

I’d love to know how this piece of ignorant dreck managed to get published. Is Nature concerned that they’re always publishing stuff from smart people, so they’ve committed to a policy of affirmative action for idiots, just to give them a chance?


  1. MartinC says

    Very bad decision by Nature to publish this. Its simply a crank letter and opens the question about there now being a ‘debate’ about the matter in a serious scientific journal.

  2. Caledonian says

    Perhaps the editors desired the publicity that can come with a “controversy”. After all, would we be discussing the magazine right now if they hadn’t published that letter?

  3. T_U_T says

    Holy shit. Nature seems to swirl down the sink. How could they publish this distilled waepon-grade debility ?

  4. nat says

    I could not believe my eyes when I saw this piece of sh… this morning. I can’t find any good reason for Nature to publish that. Maybe if we would have been the 1st of April I would have understand…in fact no, even in that case, no. Do they want to ridiculize this guy ? I can’t imagine for one second that they think he deserves the right to discuss such ideas in the pages of Nature…

  5. says

    Yes, we would be discussing the magazine. They just published a one-million base pair sequence of Neandertal DNA. (I’m reading it now).

  6. Kim says

    If they had not published it, the IDots and creationists would have cried that they are censored. This letter is going to invoke a lot of responses, and with a bit of hope, nature is going to publish some of those as well.

    This letter shows that this person does indeed not know where he is talking about, and that is just what should be exposed in the first place.

    For both reasons, I think it was the right thing to publish it.

  7. JohnT says

    The last line in “Polish Scientists Fight Creationism” reads, “Neither Roman nor Maciej Giertych, nor Orzechowski, responded to Nature’s request for comment.”

    I assume that in light of this, the editorial staff decided to print his subsequent response without further comment rather than ignoring it, particularly since the previous article also included this gem from a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences:

    “However, the point that really requires further discussion is not evolution, but how a minister can say such stupid things.”

  8. Steve LaBonne says

    They just published a one-million base pair sequence of Neandertal DNA. (I’m reading it now).

    I’m eagerly awaiting your post on that. That seems to me to be a really stunning technical achievement. And I understand Paabo’s group is confident that they can do an entire Neandertal genome! We truly live in exciting times.

  9. quork says

    I know with certainty that Nature has turned down legitimate research papers with novel methodology, surprising technical findings and possible practical implications. I can only assume they printed this dreck for a laugh, or to see if their readers are awake. This is not the first time Nature has published sub-grade material, they published Beneviste’s homeopathy **** in 1988.

  10. says

    I would try not to underestimate Nature‘s agenda in publishing this letter. Remember, this is a piece of correspondence. For one, the point of the letter was for this clown to state what he believed was a better characterized version of his position — one he feels Nature has misconstrued. The letter more or less speaks for itself: “I’m not a creationist. My views are based on science. Here is my evidence in the form of creationist boilerplate. I’m not a creationist”. It’s not as dumb a move as you might think.

    Anyway, I just sent off my response to Nature that highlights this.

  11. says

    I wonder if you could write a script that would parse creationist nonsense and automagically insert links and tags like that. It might even take less time than doing it manually. After all, this isn’t a complicated substrate you’re digesting…

  12. Caledonian says

    There is a difference between discussing the magazine, and discussing the work reported in it. I submit that we would have discussed the sequencing, not Nature‘s reporting of the sequencing, which wouldn’t give the magazine itself any publicity.

  13. George says

    Creationists like Maciej Gietych, following John Woodmorappe’s book Noah’s Ark: a Feasibility Study,.have spent much energy trying to prove that Noah did in fact take animals on a large boat during the floods. Woodmorappe and others calculate that the ark, as it says in Genesis, was about 140x23x13.5 metres (or 459x75x44 feet), so its volume was 43,500 m3 (cubic metres) or 1.54 million cubic feet. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 train carriages – which Woodthmorappe calculates could accommodate around 16,000 animals.

    That’s a big Ark. My theory is that Noah made it big for the dinosaurs (see below for two sources on the Internets that prove incontrovertibly that Noah put Dinosaurs on the ark). It all makes sense, so stop giving that Polish guy a hard time.

    My sources:

    1) “The Bible does not list the names of every creature on the Ark. It does say that one set of every kind of air-breathing animal was on board (Genesis 6:19-20, 7:15-16). So, dinosaurs must have been included.”

    2) “So, were dinosaurs on the Ark?
    In Genesis 6:19-20, the Bible says that two of every sort of land vertebrate (seven of the “clean” animals) were brought by God to the Ark. Therefore, dinosaurs (land vertebrates) were represented on the Ark.”

  14. Ryan Kitchel says

    I think its actually a good idea for nature to publish this letter.
    A lot of scientists out there don’t bother to follow the news and aren’t going to spend the time to read every little case around this country or around the world where ID and creationism are trying to work their way into schools. Most of them do read Nature.

    This letter should be seen as a wake up call.
    Within the scientific community this sort of pseudo science has been disproven long ago, but in the public arena this debate is presented as on going.
    We as scientists need to band together. We need to take the time to write letters to our local papers, to show up to school board meetings, and to do all we can to correct the general public on what is and isn’t real science.

    Some times it takes a letter in Nature to get our heads out of our beakers, to see what is happening in the world and what religious nutjobs are trying to get their faithbased “pscience” passed as law.

  15. Rienk says

    I guess Maciej knows more than we do…

    We know that information exists in biology, and is transferred over generations through the DNA/RNA/protein system

    Well, the Weismann barrier has been bombed by the discovery of reverse transcriptase but the information is transferred over generations through the whole DNA/RNA/protein system? Stupid me, I always thought the info was only transferred through DNA, unless you are an RNA virus. This creationist has found evidence that could destroy the central dogma of molecular biology? What is it? Lamarcksism? Goddidit? But wait, I don’t see a Nobel committee visiting him! Guess he must be wrong.

    Anyway, point is that no matter what credentials you have, the moment you use words as “information”, “transferrred” and the phrase DNA/RNA/protein system, without a follow-up sentence containing the word “only” or without a negative, should not be able to put the word “gene” into his specialization to begin with.
    (Or am I just splitting hairs?)

  16. says

    I can’t believe Nature publishing this IDiot thing. Is not supposed to be a scientific magazine? It should publish Science then… Not this kind of letters. Now they have another poor argument: They have published in Nature (of course, they won’t say it was just a letter, like creationist always do).

    And, by the way…Congratulations for this blog. Really good!!

  17. says

    By the way, I wouldn’t be too hard on Nature for publishing it. The principle is the ‘right to reply’, or, the right to defend oneself.

    Nature did properly report on Giertych’s inane creo mutterings without giving him a chance to defend his claims in their initial report. This is not improper, however if Giertych wants to defend himself, or more like what he did, show himself to be a complete bozo, he should be given the opportunity to do so. Nature ought to publish a short defense by anyone they’ve maligned in print, and may even have a kind of legal obligation to do so (or its equivalent), due to the matter of defamation.

    No, I think they only did right, and Giertych’s rambling nonsense only underscores Nature’s original reporting, that a kook in Poland is trying to replace science with tabloid trash.

    Glen D

  18. Raymond says

    I would also love a script to parse creationist nonsense, and insert links from talkorigins.

    But PZ’s mouseovers are the icing on the cake; I don’t think a script could do that so well.

  19. Richard Simons says

    . . . so its volume was 43,500 m3 (cubic metres) or 1.54 million cubic feet. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 train carriages . . .

    Except it isn’t. The internal cross-sectional area of a typical passenger car is in the vicinity of 8m2 (British ones are a little smaller) and its length is of the order 23 – 25m. Assuming 7m2 cross section and 23m long, this works out at 270 cars.

    I can understand the concern that creationists and IDists will use this letter to claim a publication in a reputable journal but if Nature had previously said that Giertych had not responded they were almost honour-bound to print this letter. And as Ryan Kitchel says, it should act as a wake-up call to scientists who have not been following the ID-creationist action.

  20. DragonScholar says

    Maybe Nature published it as an example of what not to do. Certainly the guy destroys himself just with his ranting.

    Total side note – I dig the style of linking the elements to pages that address his critiques/rants. Its a very useful method of presenting information.

  21. demallien says

    I’d just like to add my little vote of pleasure at PZ’s mouseover texts. Brilliant! Nice work :-)

  22. says

    I’m amazed that Nature published this letter. I spent several hours last week with them explaining the issues of creationism in Europe and its threat to science. Their European people are fully conversant with the issues.

    Roger Stanyard, British Centre for Science Education.

  23. says

    PZ: Please write a rebuttal letter to Nature! You are perhaps the best one to do so. There will surely (?) be other responses, but you can smash him!

  24. says

    As others pointed out, this is correspondence and a reply, there’s nothing extraordinary in Nature’s publishing it, especially since the person in question is a high-ranking public official. What people ought to worry about is the appearance of creationists in these positions across Eastern Europe and Russia (see letter titled “Creationists attack secular education in Russia” in the same issue of Nature carrying Giertych’s response). I connect this to the strengthnening of the right wing and the support political conservatives in these countries have received from Western neoliberals since the fall of the Berlin wall. The only consolation is that so far, there has been no home-grown creationist material (disregarding original religious texts, obviously), and ID is advancing in translation. As long as it’s perceived as yet another American import its acceptance even among the most devout might be delayed, especially among the anti-American Orthodox. But the weakening of the education system and the severe social losses brought on by privatization and capitalism favor more religious lunacy, not less.

  25. quork says

    I can’t believe Nature publishing this IDiot thing. Is not supposed to be a scientific magazine? It should publish Science then… Not this kind of letters. Now they have another poor argument: They have published in Nature (of course, they won’t say it was just a letter, like creationist always do).

    This is a legitimate concern. We can all recognize the letter as a piece of ****, and hopefully they will run some rebuttals, but that won’t stop Creationists from trumpeting the fact that they got something published in Nature. Look at how they still tout the Meyer paper for example, which was so bad that the Proceeding of the Biological Society of Washington publicly posted a disownment.

  26. Coin says

    PZ: Please write a rebuttal letter to Nature!
    Frankly, given that it’s written by a member of the Polish parliament, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the reason why Nature printed this letter was just so that they could have an excuse to print scads of rebuttal letters.

  27. Ichthyic says

    wonder if you could write a script that would parse creationist nonsense and automagically insert links and tags like that.

    yup, you sure can. there are lots of online news services and entertainment sites that do this already.

    you just keep a table of phrases and words to check against any text, and another table of links in a database, and automatically script the words in the online text to links.

    something like what you see in Wiki articles, for example.

    If you’ve never done any scripting or database work before, it might be a bit of work to figure out how to do from scratch, but it isn’t all that complex.

    I’ve often wondered whether it would be worthwhile to cross-link to the “index of creationist claims” on the talkorigins site for commentary to articles on PT.

    imagine every time a creobot repeated some oft used drivel, that his text is automatically marked up to link to the relevant areas in the list?


  28. quork says

    Nature was only giving him the rope.

    Why don’t you do a web search and see how many homeopathy supporters still cite the 1988 Beneviste paper in Nature?

  29. Great White Wonder says

    Bah, the flaming destruction of this Polish clown’s intergrity over the course of the next three or four issues will be far more compelling than anything that dribbled out of the clown’s mouth.

    Don’t forget: in the good old days when Maddox was editor papers were published showing that Uri Geller and “infinitely diluted water” had “mysterious powers.”

    Neither of those papers succeeded in advancing the credibility of psychic phenomena or homeopathy. On the contrary …

  30. Great White Wonder says

    Why don’t you do a web search and see how many homeopathy supporters still cite the 1988 Beneviste paper in Nature?

    That just proves that homeopathy supporters are fucking idiots.

    It simply doesn’t MATTER what creationists point to as “proof” that their claims have merit. The fact is that their claims have no merit and anybody who spends two seconds sincerely investigating their claims discovers that this is the case. As for the stupid rubes, they don’t care if a letter was published in ‘Nature’ or in ‘Italian Journal Best Science Today.’

    So don’t sweat it. Just carve this Polish letter-writer a crude new asshole and laugh at the gangrene.

  31. Hans says


    Cancel your memberships, re-submit your papers elsewhere, Nature is now contaminated with creationists!

    Long live the scientific integrity!

  32. Kim says

    Guys and Gals, Nature does exactly get what they want, publicity. Both Nature and Science are much more likely to publish controversial stuff, because that means publicity. And in several weeks time, the debate continues.

  33. Ginger Yellow says

    This bit is particularly silly, in light of his insistence that his criticisms are not religiously inspired: “a major worldwide catastrophe in historical times”. Why on earth would this be “scientific evidence against the theory of evolution”? What possible reason can there be for mentioning it if not to provide support for Flood Geology?

  34. entlord says

    Of course the Flintstones don’t prove humans coexisted with dinosaurs; it was just a television show. On the other hand, Alley Oop was in a newspaper, clearly more credible.

  35. pie.rat says

    When I first saw what Nature had done, I was completely stunned. I just couldn’t believe that they had published anything from an IDiot, even a communication; but then, like a lot of you, I realized that the editors of Nature aren’t completely stupid.

    Putting crazy ID claims into a public science forum – letting the IDists play with the big kids – is exactly what IDiots want. They’ve been just begging for a chance to have their claims heard, and that’s exactly what they’ve gotten. And I think we all know what’s going to happen. Lots of us have already sent in letters to the editors of Nature explaining exactly why everything in Giertych’s letter is nonsense. It’s going to document, in a public, scientific forum, exactly how stupid these claims are. Yes, it sucks that the IDiots are going to be able to point to this letter as a “publication,” but their subsequent owning over the next few issues of Nature and in blogs like this will serve as evidence to any reasonable but uninformed person that ID is entirely unscientific.

    It’s a weird move from Nature, and it’s certainly a bit sketchy, but it’s not stupid, either.

  36. dale says

    Easy does it guys,
    Perhaps there has been an editorial decision at Nature to become the new and reinvented MAD magazine of the twenty first century targeting scientists as their readership.
    I think there is some merit to that idea.

  37. dale says

    I will apologize in advance for this politically incorrect question, but, how many Polish Creationists does it take to prove the earth is only six thousand years old?

  38. Hans says

    I am shocked how naïve some of you people are! Creationists don’t hold any hope of convincing the scientific community. Their target is the general population and they are winning in that arena. Now, with the Nature publication they have another argument on their side and many unsuspecting high school teachers will fall for it. They will not see the many angry letters scientist wrote to Nature. In my opinion, this is a very serious betrayal by the Nature editors. Most likely the work of some dummass or someone might even got paid for it, creationist have plenty of money to manipulate people with. Ether way, the person(s) responsible should be out a job right now!

  39. says

    Hello, I am sticking my head above the parapet here, as I’m currently the Correspondence Editor of Nature, and responsible for publishing the letter you are all discussing.
    Very interesting debate, I enjoyed reading it. I am particularly impressed with the comments by Mar, Dragonslayer and Erasmus — I think if you read and combine those three comments, that is fairly close to answering the question in the post. (Also, as also pointed out in the comments, the MEP didn’t return the journalist’s calls or emails while she was writing her news story.)

    Speaking personally, if I were a Polish person faced with an election for my MEP (Member of the European Parliament), I would appreciate knowing that a candidate had these views, as then I would not vote for him. If people with anti-science views aren’t MEPs, perhaps science can be advanced quicker? I hope that some of the people in the comments who are attacking Nature for publishing the letter might consider that argument — that the author is an elected MEP as well as scientifically qualified.

    Thank you, Dr Myers, for highlighting this letter. I now know to look forward to reading my Correspondence Editor “postbag” ;-)

    best wishes

  40. says


    Great to hear from the Correspondence Editor. I’m interested to read your thoughts. I agree that Giertych had a right of reply; I also agree that it is useful to expose his comments to the world. Conversely, it is almost certain that the letter will be quoted and misrepresented as a paper in one of the world’s top scientific journals. It is also true that someone demanding a right of reply in a scientific journal should have that right recognised only if the reply meets the standards of scientific discourse.

    There is no easy way to resolve the dilemma. The letter warranted publication — but I believe that it should have been framed by an introductory comment explaining why such a pseudoscientific folly was published, and in this case, with a concise rebuttal of the factual errors in Giertych’s letter — immediately following and not in future issues. I understand that this is not the normal procedure, but then you’ve already been placed in a situation where one normal process (the right of reply) butts heads against another (quality control).

    My concern is that any time Nature publishes a critical review of a book or a paper, or in this case a straightforward factual news report, is it really going to publish replies that support creationism, astrology, iridology, or Freudian psychoanalysis with a flurry of evasions and errors? When you made your decision, did you consider the damage done by the publication of Wakefield’s incompetent MMR-autism paper in The Lancet? Despite overwhelming counter-evidence, a formal retraction by The Lancet, and the exposure of Wakefield’s conflict of interest, the paper’s effect on vaccination rates continues nearly a decade later.

    If Nature takes the hard decision that such a letter should be printed, say because it was written by a European education minister, then I think the letter ought to be accompanied by an editorial comment explaining the editors’ misgivings and the rationale for publication. It won’t prevent misrepresentation, but it will allow a quick rebuttal.

    I’m also disappointed that the preceding letter from Levit, Hossfeld, and Olsson, which may have been published as a counter-balance, does little more than note the rise in creationism in Russia and Poland and also unwittingly circulates the creationist canard that darwinism is linked to Soviet ideology. I understand that the authors do not agree with this link, but as the letter stands it does nothing to refute the link with the simple observation that scientists who studied darwinian evolution were dismissed, sent to the gulags, or shot on the orders of Stalin’s favourite biologist, Trofim Lysenko. Soviet ideology despised darwinian evolution.

  41. 1/4Pole says

    Dammit! Polish jokes haven’t been directed against me for years, I’m sure that’s all about to change….

  42. says

    I can understand what Maxine says about the reasons of Nature for publishing it. But I still think Nature shouldn’t have entered this game. As Hans has remarked, Creationist don’t try to convince scientists… That’s impossible!! Their aim is normal people, with no strong scientific background. They don’t read other scientist’s replies at Nature. They don’t read Nature. They only know it’s a very famouse Science magazine. And they’ll only know that Creationist “published” there. I think it has been a great point for ID that letter in Nature, and I think we shouldn’t give them more chances. ID is getting stronger in some places. Let’s not give them more strenght.

  43. Piotr says

    As a Pole, and a scientist, I can only say that until the “coming out” of that creationist gang I was completely unaware of the scale or the seriousness of the threat. Creationism seemed to be a negligible fringe phenomenon in Poland, and it didn’t occur to me in my wildest dreams that an out-of-the-closet creationist would condemn evolution in public, speaking as a deputy minister of education. I think Nature has done a good job by publicising the Giertych incident and letting the clown publish his suicidal response. Whatever harm has come out of it is all on the creationist side, and self-inflicted.

  44. says

    Word of caution: yes, the letter has alerted people to the presence of a kook in a position of some power. Whether this is becomes a net debit to the side of science or is used to make gains in improving science depends entirely on people’s response to the situation.

    If Poles simply sit back and let this kind of nonsense continue, the creationists win.

    If it motivates people to act, campaign against Giertych, lobby for better science teaching as a corrective, or establish centers for science activism like the NCSE or BCSE, then science wins.

    Really, this could go either way at this point, a plus or a minus.

  45. Piotr says

    If it’s any comfort, the League of Polish families, a hardline nationalist party led by Maciej Giertych’s son Roman (the current deputy PM and Minister of Education) suffered an annihilating defeat in last week’s local elections. Vice-minister Orzechowski (the one who had denounced Darwinism as a big lie), got about 1% of votes running for the Mayor’s office in Lodz. If the purpose of all that Creationist rant was to win the League some electoral support from conservative-minded Catholic voters, the activists seem to have shot themselves in their collective foot with their own Wunderwaffe :-)

  46. says

    Chemical and Engineering News periodically discusses matters of public policy as pertains to science and technology. In particular, they’ve run several editorials, articles, etc. on global warming. The GW deniers come out every time and do get some of their letters published, which seems to be out of some sense of “fairness”. So, this publishing by Nature does sort of have a counterpart elsewhere …

  47. Stephen says

    I have read the entire blog with great interest. I happen to be one of those referred to in one of the posts as “normal people, with no strong scientific background”. I have a strong interest in the topic of evolution and have attempted to read as much as I can find. I’ve spent countless hours on talkorigins as well as a variety of other sites that discuss both pro and con the theory that man evolved from a common ancestor (a different kind). Naturally I have read on a variety of creationist sites the very points the Polish Scientists makes in his letter to nature. What I have found interesting as I have attempted to research these arguments is that I have been unsuccessful in finding a thoughtful answer/response to the claims. I find that when ever they are brought up the response is quick, angry and consists of nothing more than “these claims are stupid, only made by ignorant people who don’t take the time to read” There is then an onslaught of negative angry dismissals. I have asked for the answers to these questions on a number of sites and at times get one line answers links to data that don’t end up addressing the questions and lastly once again a dismissal followed typically by some accusation that I’m a religious nut that is trolling and not really interested in finding answers but rather spreading nonsense. So…

    1. To be clear, I’m not a trolling religious nut. I have a real interest in better understanding why these claims lack merit.

    2. Would someone please answer each of the claims made by the Polish Scientist with clear information explaining why they are either wrong, misleading, inaccurate etc. Based on all of the comments made about the lack of intelligence that this man has, I’m certain at least one of you will be able to provide the information without resorting to vague answers followed by links to multiple pages of a scientific journal that isn’t speaking directly to the question at hand.

    3. If you provide links would you please do so simply to allow for additional reading that may support your already clear and concise explanation.

    I would greatly appreciate this as I’m beyond frustrated trying to get the rebuttals to these consistent arguments made by creationists.

    If someone takes the time to answer this properly than it would be something that could be used in a variety of other places when these claims are used again. Hopefully I won’t find a repeat of my past experience and specific clear answers will be given.

    In advance, please accept my appreciation for your patience and your time in providing a true response.



  48. says

    Hello Stephen, if you look at the original post, which reproduces the Nature letter (with permission from Nature as copyright holder I am sure), with a link to each and every assertion showing how it is wrong. That might be a good start for your quest.
    Best wishes

  49. says

    Stephen wrote “I have a real interest in better understanding” and “Would someone please answer each of the claims…”.
    The attitude of letting other people do the work for you is the wrong attitude. If you are not a biologist, you should give high priority to study the basic accomplishments of biology and evolutionary biology. Without good background knowledge you can never hope to be able to evaluate any of the sides in the ‘controvery’; You will never be able to detect nonsense, extraordinary claims or too easy answers; You will easily be pushed between opposite sides in the ‘debate’. To solve that it means reading many books. For many years to come. There are no quick shortcuts.

  50. Aaron F. says

    I’d love to know how this piece of ignorant dreck managed to get published.

    How about common courtesy? The letter-writer was written about by Nature, and he deserves the chance to respond, no matter how much of an idiot he may be. If you were misquoted and mischaracterized in a magazine article, wouldn’t you want a chance to set the record straight?

  51. says

    I have a few points that I, as a non-scientist would like to make regarding the publishing of the letter.

    1. Scientists, especially those that frequent the newsgroup, have largely dismissed creationism/ID as a largely American phenomenon and have felt pity that we have to deal with it. They have been content to sit in the peanut gallery while politicians here are introducing measures to insert religion in science classes. The publishing of this letter may illustrate that our idiocy has been successfully exported to the Old World, and may soon be as ubiquitous as McDonald’s restaurants and Levi’s Jeans if they aren’t careful.

    2. Steven is welcome, since he has availed himself of the newsgroup, to visit the website and use the faq’s as jumping off points to explore the nature of evolution, and how the creationists have gotten it so incredibly wrong over the years. The articles are linked to original sources if he doesn’t accept the highly critiqued articles that are archived on the site.

    3. PZ Myers is not the only debunker available to publish a rebuttal of the letter. While I enjoy this blog and his other contributions, there are many frequent commenters here with the ability to get off their duff and send a rebuttal to the letter. I see too many sycophants here, waiting for PZ to do something. The man has a family, a day job and the task of feeding our need for a daily diversion (perhaps his most important role.)

    Personally, I would like to see Wilkins send them a rebuttal.

  52. Caledonian says

    The letter-writer was written about by Nature, and he deserves the chance to respond, no matter how much of an idiot he may be.

    No, he doesn’t. We are not ethically obligated to give voice to the rantings of the astoundingly-ignorant propagandists of anti-science, particularly not in journals dedicated to scientific inquiry.

    Publishing the letter may (and I use that term in the fullness of its meaning) be a step in effectively exposing the dreadful quality of its contents with follow-up letters, but Nature has no obligation to have allowed the letter to be published. The writer is not a scientist and is not defending any scientific work. The courtesies that would be extended to even the most fringe of psuedoscientific reactionaries simply don’t apply.

  53. Maciej Giertych says

    I have just mailed to Nature the following letter for the attention of the Editor calling himself Maxine:
    Since you claim to be the editor responsible for publishing my letter in Nature (444, 265, 2006) you should know that in my original letter I tried to say that your correspondent Almut Graebsch gave false information climing that I was approached for comment, since I was not. It was at the request of Nature’s editorial office that I agreed to remove this part of my letter. Now you write in the blog on the issue of publishing my letter: (Also, as also pointed out in the comments, the MEP didn’t return the journalist’s calls or emails while she was writing her news story.). This argument comes up in many comments to my letter on the web . People do not know, but at least you should know!!!
    I would appreciate your retraction, at least on the web, if not in the journal itself.
    Sincerely, Maciej Giertych MEP

  54. rossum says

    Prof Giertych has had his knuckles rapped:

    Prof. Maciej Giertych signed his letter (Nature 444: 16 November, 2006) concerning creationism versus evolution as an employee of the Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences. I would like to point out that while as the director of the Institute I respect Prof. Giertych’s rights to express his views, they are not endorsed by our Institute. In my opinion creationism has no basis in science and should not be regarded as scientific.

    Prof. Gabriela Lorenc-Plucińska
    Director, Institute of Dendrology
    Polish Academy of Sciences

    Link: The PDF of the Director’s letter is linked just below the logo.


  55. traian says


    Posted by: Stephen | November 19, 2006 11:12 PM

    stephen expressed exactly what i think about the issue
    neither am I a creationist, but all the “scientists”? reacting to giertych letter react exctly as the clergymen confronted w lets say galileo revolutionary theories. that is rebutal, insults and so on. fact i that u evölutionists have no answer on many critical points of the darwinism, and your only answer is verbal hooliganism.

    not that i’m waiting the noes arch to be discovered soon, but seems that u missed the fact that a flood actually happened when the dardanelles strait colapsed some thouthands years ago and the water from mediteranean flow into the then lower black sea.

    google for that

    by the way, coud you explain which advantage a dinosaur w (not yet) developped feathers had over his hers colleagues wout feathers at all? the dinosaur is the grandma of all byrds, so is the official dogma right now


  56. J-Dog says

    Isn’t this Polish Creationist the same guy that believes that swallowing… ahem… “man seed” will cure cancer?

    I would guess that if you’re dumb enough to swallow The Bible Is A Science Book, you’re dumb enough to swallow anything.

    Maybe him and Ted Haggard went to the same Creo Seminary?