When Jonathan Piel, editor of Scientific American, withdrew an offer of a writing job from Forrest Mims III on the reported grounds of Mr. Mims's beliefs in creationism {Style, Nov. 1}, Mr. Piel engaged in conduct antithetical to scientific enterprise.

Science constructs theories to explain phenomena on the basis of those phenomena alone. Mr. Mims's technical writings nowhere give evidence of the intrusion of his religious convictions, and Mr. Piel's decision seemed to rest on the hypothesis that on certain subjects, they would. Mr. Piel might have put his belief to the test by offering Mr. Mims a fair chance to demonstrate his competence by writing an article on Darwinism. Mr. Piel did not; instead, he acted on a prejudice that expected Mr. Mims to write in prejudice -- an ironic and near-perfect case of projection.

The decision of the editor of Scientific American is not unlike that of the former director of the Corcoran Galley. Both decisions reflected a lack of conviction in the basic values and goals of the institutions in question.


The article "Big Bang Over Belief at Scientific American" made it appear that Forrest Mims III was rejected as a permanent contributor to Scientific American because of his belief in creationism. The article didn't, however, mention a primary factor in the dispute, which is that considerable scientific evidence supports evolution, while no scientific evidence supports creationism and considerable evidence contradicts it.

As a result, the promoters of creationism are forced to resort to misrepresentation, deception and falsehoods in their attempts to disprove evolution and prove creationism. The creationists distort everything from geology to astronomy to the laws of thermodynamics in their attempts to prove their case.

Creationists usually put their arguments in scientific-sounding terminology to give credence to what they say and aim their arguments at the general public, most often with the purpose of getting creationism taught in the schools. They can usually get away with this, because, as surveys show, the public is abysmally ignorant in matters of science and is therefore easily duped.

This is what rankles scientists. And that is why they are reluctant to do anything that appears to give comfort to creationists. DAVID PERSUITTE Arnold, Md.