Evolution and education

scottwalkercbsnewsWithin one day of the 206th anniversary of the death of Charles Darwin on February 12th, Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), testing the waters to run for President of the United States, “punted” on the question of whether he believed in Evolution.

A British Moderator asked Governor Walker, “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution, do you accept it, do you believe in it?

Mr. Walker said, “I’m going to punt on that one as well.  That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or the other, so I’m going to leave that up to you.”

The moderator responded, “Really?”

Another possible Presidential wannabe in the 2016 sweepstakes, former Governor Mike Huckabee, was one of three Republican presidential contenders in the May 2007 Republican primary debate who said he didn’t believe in evolution.

We have High School students across the nation who know better than that.

In 1925, Tennessee passed the “Butler Act” that made it unlawful to “teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible.”

Since then, there have been efforts to introduce  religion into the class room with “creationism” and “intelligent design,” invoking supernatural causation, as well as “an irreducible complexity” argument on behalf of “intelligent design,” making no logical sense and thus it has been soundly rebutted and ignored by the scientific community, leaving the theory unsupported by any peer review publications.

In the Pennsylvania case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, affirmed on appeal in 2005, the court barred teaching “intelligent design” for violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

One of the expert witnesses in the trial court was Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D (Biology, 1974), a former Asst. Prof. at Harvard (1976), and a full Professor at Brown University (since 1986).

Prof. Miller has written a number of High School and College Biology textbooks widely used throughout the United States including Loudoun County

Prof. Miller said that, “in nearly a century and a half of investigation, not a single piece of scientific evidence has emerged to contradict the idea that a process of evolutionary change gave rise to the species that exist today.”

“Darwin’s general idea of revolutionary change,” Prof. Miller said, “focused on variation within species, acted upon by natural selection, as the driving force in adaptation and speciation (the formation of new species).”

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) underscores Prof. Miller’s findings: “The concept of biological evolution is one of the most important ideas ever generated by the application of scientific methods to the natural world.”

Loudoun County High School students are fortunate to have Prof. Miller’s biology text.

There are still 13% of Biology teachers, nevertheless, according to a 2011 Penn State study, who “explicitly advocate creationism.”

Texas, Louisiana and Tennesse have laws that allow teaching “alternatives” to evolution in public school

Florida, Indiana, and Arizona allow tax dollars to flow to private schools to teach “creationism.”

Eric Pultzer, a co-author of the Penn State study with Michael Berkman, said, “[M]any religious leaders have affirmed their belief that there is no inherent conflict between evolution and faith.”

The Jesuit paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, wrote, “To create, even when we use the word omnipotence, must no longer be understood as an instantaneous act but as a process or controlled movement of synthesis.”

NAS has warned that evolution is “at the core of genetics, biochemistry, neurobiology, physiology, ecology and other biological disciplines.”

Evolution is therefore something a President should know about and “be involved in.”