Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

The Debate over Laura Lorentzen's Summer 2008 Column Evolves

I have not read Dr. Laura Lorentzen's column, "Why We Must Teach Evolution in the Classroom," but have read the rebuttals to it in the fall 2008 edition. I'm not a trained scientist but I'm still appalled at what I'm reading about evolution in these letters.

To those who want intelligent design taught "side by side" with evolution, I would suggest that the two are not scientifically equivalent. Contrary to many assertions in the fall 2008 edition, evolution via natural selection and random variation is in fact scientific in that it has been observed and tested on the basis of evidence, not only in fossil records but even today in the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, resistance of insects to DDT, and, most currently, resistance of HIV to antiviral drugs.

Darwin's theory is also in keeping with scientific standards in that it has made predictions and is falsifiable. Now, being a historic science, it cannot lend itself to experiments in the lab but as Stephen Jay Gould wrote in The Panda's Thumb, to wit: science is an inferential exercise. . . . More than reasonable inferences have affirmed Darwin's theory as sound by scientific standards. Therefore, contrary to Joshua Scott's letter to the editor, it belongs in a science class, not in philosophy class.

Furthermore, reconstruction of past events is integral to science. Ever hear of geology? On the other hand, the existence of an intelligent designer cannot be proven or disproven by the scientific method and would be more appropriate for the philosophy class.

In addition, scientists such as Rev. John Polkinghorne and Dr. Kenneth Miller . . . are just two examples of religious voices who have no problem with Darwin's theory.

The existence of God is rightly beyond the scope of science.

Dana Franchitto

S. Wellfleet. Mass

It is just as reasonable to recommend intelligent design as a means to "unify science disciplines and provide students with powerful ideas to help them understand the natural world," to use Lorentzen's quote from the National Science Education Standards, as it is to recommend evolution. It might be better. I can say that as the parent of a child with developmental problems.

For many years, those who assumed natural evolution ignored major segments of DNA, labeling them as junk left over from past evolution. Recent research has stumbled on the realization that they are very important during embryonic development. Someone doing research from an intelligent design assumption would have asked, "What are their functions? …

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