To the editor:
I don't understand the scientific community's reluctance to engage in conversations with the proponents of "intelligent design." National surveys have shown that many Americans know very little about science. The discussions in Kansas regarding the new science standards have been pretty superficial thus far. Not a few of the letters and articles published in the Journal-World, as well as various comments made in the Board of Education hearings, illustrate this point.
I would think that biologists and their allies would jump at the chance to educate the public and broadcast their ideas. The refusal to debate comes across as arrogance, insecurity or both.
Teaching "intelligent design" in biology classrooms is a bad idea. However, the minority report submitted to the committee rewriting the standards includes some good ideas. The authors asked the committee and the board to pay additional attention to the history and nature of science. This is right on target.
If students (and their parents) learn about the origins of "modern" science, the presuppositions upon which the biological sciences rest and the models of explanation which they employ, they will have a better understanding of the scientific enterprise and some of the mistrust which underlies the evolution controversy might be dispelled.
John C. English,