To the editor:
State Education Commissioner Bob Corkins' qualifications (or lack thereof) have been hotly debated. While perhaps well-intentioned, he is better suited for other work. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is his following statement made at a recent University Forum meeting, reported in the Journal-World: "(Evolution is) the most well-researched and prevailing theory we have, but you don't teach it as fact when it isn't; you try to stimulate critical thinking skills on the part of the students."
This demonstrates Commissioner Corkins' woefully inadequate grasp of science. Darwinian evolution isn't a theory in the vernacular sense of the word. In the sciences, a theory is a framework used to describe and understand the world around us, to describe and understand the "facts" that we observe. Such a framework is recognized as a theory only after a firm empirical basis for its body of knowledge has been established by such things as long-term, extensive experimentation. Darwinian evolution has survived such rigorous testing for 100-plus years.
It is a fact that organisms have changed, or evolved, over this history of the planet, just as it is a fact that whatever you throw up in the air will come back down. Therefore, modern science views Darwinian evolution as both fact and theory, on the same scientific level as the theory of gravitation. A state education commissioner who doesn't understand this is bound to be a hindrance to the education of our state's students.