Evolution wars

From: Preston Garrison (garrisonp@uthscsa.edu)
Date: Fri Dec 13 2002 - 01:39:21 EST

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    This was in the Texas-Oklahoma section ASA newsletter. Thought some
    of you might be interested.

    Preston G.

    Discrimination Against Those Who Question Evolution at Texas Tech

    Free Market Foundation, a conservative political activist group in
    Texas, reports that Dr. Michael Dini, Associate Professor in the
    Biology Dept. at Texas Tech, Lubbock, refuses to write
    recommendations for students who do not affirm a personal belief in
    evolution, regardless of whether they can show mastery of the theory.
    His biology course is required for all biology students.

    Here are Dr. Dini's own words describing this prerequisite for a
    letter of recommendation:

    "If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of
    recommendation, I will ask you: 'How do you think the human species
    originated?' If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a
    scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my
    recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical

    "Why do I ask this question? Let's consider the situation of one
    wishing to enter medical school. Whereas medicine is historically
    rooted first in the practice of magic and later in religion, modern
    medicine is an endeavor that springs from the sciences, biology first
    among these. The central, unifying principle of biology is the
    theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution,
    and which extends to ALL species. How can someone who does not accept
    the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a
    field that is so heavily based on biology? It is hard to imagine how
    this can be so, but it is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore
    or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary
    origin of humans can make bad clinical decisions. The current crisis
    in antibiotic resistance is the result of such decisions."

    You can read this statement in its entirety by going to
    click "About Dr. Dini," then click "How to get a letter of

    James Brink, the assistant provost, reportedly told Hiram Sasser of
    Free Market that "students with a strong faith or belief in
    creationism should not attend a public university, but rather should
    attend a Biblically-grounded university where their ideas are
    reinforced instead of scientifically challenged." The university
    president also reportedly refused to take action; the university
    issued a letter to concerned parents defending Dini's action as
    protected by academic freedom.

    There is a great article about this issue on the Boundless webzine by
    Focus on the Family, found at

    Free Market has contacted Texas Tech and asked them to make Dr. Dini
    change his prerequisites. At this time they are waiting to see what
    the University will do before they consider suing.

    There are two things we as ASA members can do at this time. The
    first is to pray; certainly this is a spiritual battle more than
    anything else. The second thing, if God leads you, is to contact Dr.
    Dini or the university and give them your view of his statement. Dr.
    Dini can be reached at
    <mailto:michael.dini@ttacs.ttu.edu>michael.dini@ttacs.ttu.edu. Free
    Market's Hiram Sasser can be contacted at

    If any of you contact Texas Tech or Dr. Dini, I'd like to report on
    it. I'll keep you posted of future developments.


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