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Archive for Sunday, September 8, 2002

Prove the point

September 8, 2002

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To the editor:

Recently, two local science educators have written letters to the Journal-World rejecting Cal Thomas' suggestion that the evidence for creationism be taught in the public schools. Here is a good reason for accepting Cal Thomas' suggestion.

Creationism is either true or false. If it is true, it should be taught in science classes. If it is false, then students would benefit by understanding why the evidence for creationism, even as presented by the most persuasive of its supporters, is inferior to the evidence for evolutionary theory.

My experience supports the view that most science majors at KU (Charity forbids speculation concerning the average KU graduate) lack even a minimally competent understanding of why poorly supported scientific hypotheses are poorly supported. If science educators at KU or at Kansas high schools insist on teaching only theories that are supported by the best available evidence, this abysmal situation will continue.

This defect can be remedied by teaching the stuff that has been shown to be false, showing how the evidence for it seemed so plausible to some people at one time and then explaining with some care why, even so, that evidence was not good enough. Surely creationism is as interesting a case study of this phenomenon as the theory that hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women is good for them.

Don Marquis,

Lawrence

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