Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Not science

December 22, 2004

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To the editor:

Based on the discussions outlined in the Dec. 14 Journal-World article on the upcoming evolution debate in the Kansas Board of Education, several points apparently require continued clarification.

In scientific circles, the theory of evolution is well-accepted and is no more controversial than any other modern scientific theory. Consequently, there is no valid educational or scientific rationale for singling out evolutionary theory for "critical analysis" in the secondary curriculum. Scientific theories are not based on unsubstantiated speculation. Rather, they are foundational principles of modern science. They have been refined through continuing testing and comparison with nature. Currently, no credible, mainstream scientific organizations agree that there are any scientifically valid "alternatives" to evolutionary theory.

By comparison, the scientific community has found that creationism and intelligent design were not developed using accepted scientific principles of hypothesis, observation and testing. At their core, they rely on faith that a creator participated in the formation of the universe, not on scientifically verifiable facts. As a result, no credible, mainstream scientific organization recognizes them as scientific theories.

The beliefs of various cultures about the meaning of life are important topics that can be studied by Kansas' secondary students, but these subjects belong in a class about religion or philosophy, not a science class. We don't teach geometry in a French class or a golf swing in an English class. That would be inappropriate. It is surely inappropriate to teach religion in a science class and then compound the damage by telling students that it can be accepted as science.

Joe Heppert,

Lawrence

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