R. Thomas Palmer states that "creationism and evolution both begin with the Big Bang." This is a huge, but very common, misunderstanding of the theory of evolution (Field Notes, July 16). Evolution is a biological theory that addresses genetic change in biological populations, and there was nothing for biology to study for the first 11 to 14 billion years of history. Everything before that is the realm of physics and chemistry, and to the extent that creationists disagree with that science they are disagreeing with physical and chemical theories, not the theory of evolution.
The problem that creationists have with the theories of physics, biology and pretty much any advancing science is that science, by its very nature, looks for simple explanations that do not need any gods. One can add in as many gods as one wants to the science, but gods are akin to the "gingerbread" of a Victorian mansion -- some people may like the decorations, but they have nothing to do with the structural soundness or utility of the dwelling. They are not required.
Deciding not to add gods onto one's science does not mean that one has no appreciation for the awesome beauty of nature any more than a preference for arts-and-crafts dwellings over Victorian means that one has no appreciation of architecture. Seeing no need for gods of the gaps means that one appreciates the universe as it is, and is quite sufficiently overwhelmed by the universe as it is, without needing to speculate that there is something else even better or more magnificent. Even the most utilitarian of scientific and mathematical theories can be profoundly moving, all by themselves, if one only takes the time to adequately understand and think about them.
L.K. Lowe, Samoa
Sweet Spot: L.K. Lowe really makes one wonder about those gods of the gaps. She wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.