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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Bible v. Darwin, 2005: Students everywhere should be concerned about this attack on science

By Jeremy Millsap

On Oct. 28, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association announced that they would not allow the Kansas State Department of Education to use any copyrighted material that the two organizations had produced.

This is in protest of the state’s new education standards promoting the “intelligent design” theory.

In Petersburg, Ky., a new Biblical museum will be opened to display an “alternative” view of history.

It will have all the aspects of a regular museum, showcased from a strictly Biblical standpoint.

But all of these events are eclipsed by the trial unfolding in Harrisburg, Pa.

There, a group of parents are suing the board of education for forcing teachers to read a statement that evolution is only a theory and ensuring that students have access to a controversial, alternative textbook called “Pandas and People.”

Science is not just an atheistic approach to viewing the world. It is the process of experimentation, after having analyzed the facts, to find the most logical, and therefore probable, answer to whatever question you’re asking.

A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, means something fairly different from a theory does to most people.

Kenneth R. Miller, a Brown University biology professor, said, “Scientific theories are not hunches. When we say ‘theory,’ we mean a strong, overarching explanation that ties together many facts and allows us to make testable predictions.”

Almost everything that we take for granted is a scientific theory, such as the “cellular theory” or the “molecular theory,”-but no one ever says, “I don’t believe that germs make me sick; that’s only one opinion.”

Although it is possible that evolution is flawed, it does fit every model that we currently have.

There is thus no reason to challenge it without first finding a fundamental flaw through the process of experimentation.

The intelligent design argument-that evolution can’t account for all the complexities in genetic makeup-is also flawed.

Evolution is the idea that through the gradual and violent process of natural selection, the strongest organisms continue to develop and change based on what characteristics best aid them in their ecosystem. Some might argue that this process alone can’t account for all the diversity in the world, but in truth it can. It is estimated that roughly 99.9 percent of all the organisms that have ever existed are extinct. This includes all the plants and animals created since life began.

Scientists have found fossilized microbes dating back 3.7 billion years. If one can begin to fathom the length of time inherent in that number, one can get an idea of how everything could steadily develop.

Evolution may be controversial, but it is the foundation of medicine and biology. To teach biology and neglect to mention evolution would leave students confused and unable to make sense of the material being taught. To neglect this important aspect will only hinder a student’s education.

These attacks on evolution, whether you believe in the idea or not, are attacks on science, progress and national credibility.

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