Your Letters: Darwin, Barbie, Paul Harvey Host Liane Hansen reads listener letters commenting on Weekend Edition's month-long series on Charles Darwin, the death of broadcaster Paul Harvey and the 50th anniversary of Barbie.

Your Letters: Darwin, Barbie, Paul Harvey

Your Letters: Darwin, Barbie, Paul Harvey

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Host Liane Hansen reads listener letters commenting on Weekend Edition's month-long series on Charles Darwin, the death of broadcaster Paul Harvey and the 50th anniversary of Barbie.


Now, your letters. On the February 15th installment of our month-long series to mark the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, we went to the University of Kansas to explore the struggles devout Christians who are studying science face. Psychology Professor Patricia Holley, who was interviewed for the segment, was disappointment because the story reinforced stereotypes and mischaracterized her teaching methods.

She wrote, as we discussed, I do not teach evolution in any special way, as implied by your program. You asked me whether I had any special sensitivities to the faithful, and I explained that I was no more sensitive to that dimension than I am to any other dimensions students bring to my classes.

Moreover, I explained that I teach the philosophy of science to all of my classes and differentiate scientific inquiry from other ways of knowing. If, in the end, students feel the need to adjust their religious leanings, so be it. I do not assess this outcome in any way, and I explicitly stated so.

Profound thanks to my colleague, Scott Simon, for pulling an extra day of duty to fill in for me last Sunday. His tribute to long-time radio and television broadcaster Paul Harvey, who died last week at the age of 90, brought back memories for many of you.

Michael C. Allen(ph) of the U.S. Navy wrote, thank you, Scott Simon, for the best eulogy I have heard about Paul Harvey. He gave us, for years, the good news. Mainstream media always tells us the bad stuff, but Mr. Harvey said there was actually good stuff going on in the world every day.

Mr. PAUL HARVEY (Late Broadcaster): Those stories, which I think you need to know and those stories, which I think you want to know.

HANSEN: Mr. Allen continues, I will miss his broadcasts and will respect the opinion he had on every matter. We also paid tribute to another quintessential American, Barbie, the anatomically impossible doll, who turned 50 this week. Lauren Granite(ph) of Silver Spring, Maryland wrote to say we omitted a salient fact.

Ms. LAUREN GRANITE: Scott Simon said there was no Bat Mitzvah Barbie. Technically, perhaps, no, but he seems not to be aware of Tefillan Barbie. Tefillan are the ritual phylacteries that observant Jewish men have traditionally worn in their weekday morning prayers. As a result of the feminist movement, some women in the conservative reform, reconstructionist and Jewish renewal movements had taken on this mitzvah or commandment.

So, should we be surprised that a few years ago a young woman created Tefillan Barbie, complete with modest dress, Tefillan on her head and arm as traditionally worn and best of all, a volume of a Dean Steinfeltz's(ph) Talmud in her hand?

HANSEN: Ken must be kvelling. You can plotz, kvetch, ask questions or leave comments on our Web site, Just click on the Contact Us link. Comments and questions are welcome, too. Make sure you check out our video blog at

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