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Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

In the trenches

December 1, 2005

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To the editor:

I applaud the evolution exhibit at the Kansas University Museum of Natural History and the new courses examining intelligent design from the perspective of its mythological and religious foundations. These are welcome additions to the KU intellectual environment. I would like to point out, however, that other faculty have devoted their entire academic careers to the often-contentious job of teaching human evolution to successive classes of undergraduates who arrive at KU with no previous exposure to evolutionary theory.

Foremost among these professors is David Frayer, the chief architect and longtime instructor of Introduction to Physical Anthropology, which is for many students their first encounter with the genetic and fossil evidence for human evolution. David also teaches several upper-level courses on human and primate evolution. In two of his recent seminars, students designed and installed exhibitions on human evolution at the Museum of Anthropology. One of these exhibits included a public lecture series featuring talks by internationally renowned scientists in the field.

Many proponents of intelligent design are willing to accept the evidence for evolution insofar as it applies to microbes and other simple organisms. It is specifically human evolution they oppose. The scholars in the trenches, who find and analyze the evidence of human evolution and who present those data to our students in a cogent yet critical manner are unsung heroes in the ongoing battle against untested - and untestable - dogma. Thanks to all those dedicated to quality science education at KU.

Sandra Gray,

Lawrence

Comments

Kookamooka 8 years, 4 months ago

David Frayer ROCKS!! When you boil it all down molecularly....everything on earth is, as the late Carl Sagan notes, "made of the stuff of stars".

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Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

The true scandal is that evolution is NOT taught at all in most Kansas schools presently. A survey of evolutionary classroom reality gave Kansas a big fat F for its relative failure to address the subject in any form prior to university when compared to other states.

Ironically, ID might give many frightened (or just plain 'too tired to fight') biology teachers cover to start addressing the subject with their students for the first time. Perhaps instead of teaching the "controversy," teachers can now START teaching the theory.

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