Letters to the Editor – 10/15/2008

Re: Oct. 13 Editorial, Science should be taken more seriously in schools
Science teachers have it rough. Galileo, forced to renounce his discovery that our solar system was heliocentric under threat of death and torture by the truly anti-science 17th-century Catholic Church, would shudder at the harsh treatment experienced by the modern science teacher. A single student rejecting the instructor’s attempt to definitively say that humans are descendant from apes, based on the unproven, unobserved, poorly evidenced theory of macro-evolution, is too harsh a treatment to endure.

From the ludicrous argument your article made, any more single-student protests like this, I fear, could cause the gears of industry and American capitalism to grind to a halt. Maybe it’s already evidenced in the current mortgage crisis, which was caused by government meddling in private industry. Or perhaps our country’s failure to educate our youth in the fundamentals of science and mathematics has absolutely nothing to do with arguing over what importance to place on the theory of evolution in the classroom.

As an educated student in a math and science-related field, I have yet to encounter any unquestionable evidence capable of challenging my faith in a God-created universe. I can say with confidence that true science and mathematics are easily taught, learned and practiced free from attempts to poorly explain the grand questions of our existence.

Among any objective observer’s qualms with the “scientific,” “physical, testable” theory of evolution is the glaring lack of a physical, testable fossil record that clearly demonstrates consistent, small changes over time from one species to the next. Also, the discovery of cells, DNA and biochemistry, things Darwin had no inkling even existed, shows the unbelievable chemical complexity of even the most basic cells and cellular functions. Small changes at the cellular level usually lead to birth defects, mutations, cancer and death — not improved species, and definitely not new species.

No, our failure to measure up to other countries in math and science education has nothing to do with the amount of time spent or methods specifically teaching evolution. It’s our society’s post-modern stress on self-esteem and equality over correct answers. It’s the lack of reinforcement from parents at home, our young generation’s overly healthy sense of entitlement, and aversion toward hard work. It is several testable, physically observable trends in our culture, but it is certainly not the healthy debate — in our country that’s proud of free speech and thought — over evolution’s place in the classroom.

James McClenny is a senior majoring in engineering.