KU profs support evolution skepticism
Three faculty members sign petition voicing need to question theory
Three KU Medical Center doctors are among more than 500 doctorate holders who have signed a petition voicing skepticism of evolution.
The petition includes signatures of Kansas University’s James Harbrecht, clinical assistant professor of cardiology; Gregory Ator, associate professor of head and neck surgery; and Jeanne Drisko, clinical assistant professor of alternative medicine. Harbrecht and Ator declined comment; Drisko did not return a call.
“There’s no doubt that these scientists represent a minority, but it is a growing minority,” said Robert Crowther, spokesman for the Discovery Institute, which started the petition.
Signatures are vetted to ensure those who sign have doctoral degrees, Crowther said.
Leonard Krishtalka, director of KU’s Biodiversity Institute and a vocal critic of intelligent design, said if one worked at it, it’s possible to compile a list of signatures of people who believe the earth is flat.
“That’s just a PR campaign,” he said of the petition. “There is no debate among all scientists. There is no debate. Evolution is a fact of nature. Intelligent design is nothing but creationism under a new name.”
The petition started in 2001 with about 100 signatures. There is heavy representation from states such as Texas, Georgia, and Ohio where the issue of evolution teaching has come to the forefront in recent years. Six people who are listed as having ties to Kansas signed the list.
“I think it’s wrong – evolution,” said Darrell Parnell of Topeka, a retired Washburn University professor who signed the petition. “I think it’s going down the wrong track. … It’s not science because it’s close-minded. It’s not open to anything else. You’ve got to think outside the box, and that’s what some scientists have done before.”
Robert Lattimer, of Ohio, who received his doctoral degree from Kansas University in 1971 and now works as a senior research associate for Noveon Inc., also signed the petition.
“Among scientists, we’re a distinct minority,” Lattimer said. “Among the public, I’d say I’m easily in the majority.”
The full list of those who have signed the petition can be found at dissentfromdarwin.org.
The petition started in 2001 with about 100 signatures. There is heavy representation from states such as Texas, Georgia, and Ohio where the issue of teaching evolution has come to the forefront in recent years. Six of the doctorate holders who signed are listed as having ties to Kansas .