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Scientific theory carries weight



Published: Tue, February 15, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Scientific theory carries weight

T HE Vindicator recently reprinted a Columbus Dispatch editorial about the termination of a Columbus area teacher. It appears the teacher incorporated his personal religious views and beliefs into the teaching of his high school science class. He did this by rejecting Darwin’s theory of evolution and substituting his own faith-based story of creation. A hearing officer appointed by the State Board of Education determined that this conduct violated the U.S. Constitution, thereby justifying his dismissal.

After the article appeared in The Vindicator, a YSU professor took exception to the case, writing a letter that questioned whether the theory of evolution is a basic fact of science. This “question” is a worn out argument of Darwin opponents that it is “only” a theory and is not to be considered as reliable fact. While it is true that a theory may not be absolutely proven, the effects and consequences of that theory can be questioned, tested, observed and verified over a substantial period of time. That diligent scientific inquiry will enable an observer to make reasonable judgments on its accuracy by verifiable evidence. Such judgments have been consistently made as a result of the careful and persistent examination of the mechanics of evolution. There have been literally hundreds of scholarly peer-reviewed articles and studies by some of the world’s greatest scientists observing, testing, affirming and re-affirming Darwin’s theory. All of this has strengthened and reinforced the original theory.

Also the vast majority of scientists, worldwide, accept Darwin’s theory as the dominant thinking on the subject. The theory has been accepted by the National Academy of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the two most prestigious scientific associations in the country.

The YSU professor suggests that it is the rejection of God that leads to the acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. I assume he is suggesting that creationism, or “intelligent design” as it is now called, which follows the biblical version of the earth’s origin, should be taught as science in public schools instead of evolution. I believe, as do many religious leaders, that evolution and intelligent design can peacefully co-exist and without conflict.

As an observant Christian or Jew, can you believe in the creation story in the Bible? Yes, you can. As an intelligent, educated, thinking human being, can you also — at the same time — believe in evolution? Of course you can. The difference is that the theory of evolution should be taught in the public school’s science curriculum and creationism, or intelligent design, should be taught in private religious schools and/or at home. Creationism is religion, and evolution is science.

Richard P. McLaughlin, Youngstown


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