Re: Guide for Teaching Evolution

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Mon, 13 Apr 1998 08:49:25 -0500 (EST)

At 08:47 PM 4/10/98 -0500, Dick Fischer wrote:
>The National Academy of Science has its new guide for teaching
>evolution on this web page:
>Anybody see anything they don't like?
>Dick Fischer

I have not read the new guide for teaching evolution. But while in Raleigh,
NC this weekend I read an article on this issue in the Raleigh News and
Observer. The following is a letter I wrote to the editor.


Dear Editor:

The misgivings of many to the theory of evolution have been created by the
very same scientific community that is now so concerned that its teaching is
being squeezed out. ["Scientists write book to keep theory of evolution
visible," April 11.]

The word "evolution" can mean anything from the creation of the life from
non-living matter to the mere variation of some organism within a given
species. In many cases, experimental evidence of the latter is used as
evidence to insinuate the former.

To some scientists the theory of evolution is an all-encompassing worldview
in contradistinction to a theistic worldview. Such mixing of science,
philosophy, and theology must be openly discussed. What people object to is
the teaching of an atheistic worldview in the guise of science.

Scientists constantly make assumptions in order to build theories to explain
and make predictions. However, one must not use those very same assumptions
and turn them around and claim them as facts. That "any scientific debate
is centered not on whether evolution takes place, but how" presupposes as
fact that which is being assumed.

Clearly everything evolves. However, it is not self-evident to me that the
fundamental question of origins is a truly scientific question. If not, then
the answer must be sought in the very same places where we seek answers to
questions regarding meaning, values, and purpose. One must never forget that
an explanation of the totality of the human experience may lie outside the
realm of science.

Moorad Alexanian