Letters: Case for creationism

In his Nov. 9 column, “Let there be light,” on the introduction of creationist ideas into biology classes in Kansas, Dan Mollison falls into the common trap of believing that when the ideas of two groups clash, there must be a truth somewhere in between. Like-minded individuals would do well to remember that, as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne remind us in a recent column on the subject in The Guardian: “When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong.”

In the case of the revised Kansas science standards, one side is based, not on “ideology” as Mollison suggests, but on copious evidence, meticulously collected, analyzed and criticized by thousands of individuals in an ongoing scientific process. The other side is based on argument from ignorance (“if we don’t understand it yet, then God/aliens/Invisible Pink Unicorn did it”) and religious belief. There simply is no middle ground on this issue; the latter idea does not belong in a science class, and those who espouse this view should not be allowed to rewrite standards to open the door to teaching their particular religious doctrines. If one is to teach a “debate” in a science class, then it must be between two scientific viewpoints. Creationism – which, make no mistake, is being promoted here – is not science, even in its repackaged “intelligent design” form.

In an era when understanding technological issues is increasingly important for the general public, it is irresponsible for the Kansas Board of Education to deliberately cripple the science education given to students in their state. There is no place for “teaching the controversy” when there is no controversy. One side is simply wrong.

Tim O’Hara

Graduate student