Not just in Kansas, Anymore....

Mary Barkworth Mary at BIOLOGY.USU.EDU
Sat Jul 28 13:09:56 CDT 2001


I learned of the THEORY of gravitation, the THEORY of relativity.  I see
no problem about talking about the THEORY of evolution. Being a theory
does not imply that it is not reliable. I hope that aircraft designer
are familiar with the theory of gravitation (not to mention a few
others).  I am really bothered with the concept of teaching evolution as
fact.  Please note that I mention it as a theory in the same context as
the theory of gravity.

I have a major problem a with thinking of creationism as other than
reflection of a religious belief designed to make humans feel
tremendously important, somewhat comparable to believing that the earth
must be the center of the universe.  


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Pyle [mailto:deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG]
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2001 5:45 AM
To: TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
Subject: Re: Not just in Kansas, Anymore....


> >Some of the more disturbing excerpts:

[...]

> So what's so disturbing about all this? It seems to me that the
> way evolution
> is taught purely as a theory or explanation rather than a methodology
> almost begs
> for this kind of approach by its opponents.

What's particularly disturbing to us here in Hawaii, one of the
"hot-spots"
of evolutionary research, is this wholly unexpected move by our DOE.
Note in
the Star Bulletin article that Hawaii's Department of Education was one
of
only 10 states to received a grade of "A" from the Thomas B. Fordham
Foundation for the treatment of evolution in its Content and Performance
Standards. By contrast, Kansas received an "F" from this same report
after
its move to eliminate the word "evolution" from its standards. We'd
really
hate to see our state make such an embarrassing nose-dive in its
evaluation
in this regard.

> >"'Evolution' is often times confused with 'adaptation,' Matsumoto
argued.
> >'So many times in our textbooks and our science classes, adaptation
gets
> >replaced with the word evolution,' she said. 'Adaptation is a
> change within
> >a species to adapt to their survival rather than evolution, which is
> >changing from one species to another species such as ape to man.
> Matsumoto
> >suggested that such changes between species are not possible."
>
> See how the discussion is bogged down in theory rather than
methodology.

Along these lines ("theory", etc.), in my draft testimonial to the
Hawaii
BOE, I state that the concept of "Evolution" (change in the structure or
behavior of organisms over multiple generations) is actually a
scientific
*fact*, as it has been directly observed on small scales repeatedly, and
indirectly observed on large scales through the fossil record. I further
maintain that Natural Selection is the leading "Theory" to explain how
the
fact of biological evolution has led to a broad diversity of organisms
that
appear to be adapted to the environments in which they live.

I further maintain in my draft testimonial that, in fact, the theory of
evolution by natural selection does *not* relate to the "origin" of
life;
but rather to an explanation of the *diversity* of life.  From my
understanding, there is no extremely well-supported theory for the
actual
*origin* of life; only some interesting hypotheses supported in part by
some
compelling experiments.

Would these statements be consistent with the perceptions of the
majority of
folks on this list?  If anyone would be interested in reviewing the
complete
draft testimonial in order to provide either positive support or
constructive criticism, I would be more than delighted to send a copy. I
hope to submit it soon, though -- perhaps by tomorrow evening.

Thanks in advance for any useful feedback.

Aloha,
Rich

Richard L. Pyle
Concerned Citizen of the State of Hawaii




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