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Creationism in the Schools

December 29, 1985

In an editorial, "Creativity in the Textbooks," (Dec. 12) there is current controversy over textbooks and origins.

Personally, I do not favor the teaching of creation science in the public school system, because I concur with the courts that it is an establishment of religion. However, I am troubled by some of the statements in your editorial. You quoted a scientist, "The books include sentences such as 'most scientists believe' now that dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago. . . . What is that supposed to mean? If dinosaurs are just a 'belief,' what are those bones in a museum?"

It is amazing how the educated professor missed the point so completely because of his mind set. It is rare for anybody to question the existence of dinosaurs. That's not the issue. It is the matter of time that concerns both evolutionists and creationists. Was it millions of years ago or was it thousands of years ago?

The editorial shows, apparently, a concerted effort on the part of The Times to demean the beliefs of people who believe in creation science. I think that is unfortunate, and it lowers the high level of journalism which is normally apparent in your editorials.

Personally, I believe in a literal six-day Creation and the Seventh-day Sabbath. God rested after He made the world. That is the basis of the fourth commandment, and why I personally observe the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Perhaps the best solution to the problem of origins in our public school system would be to recognize that the teaching of the theory of evolution is a denial of free exercise. This would counterbalance the establishment problem with creation science. After all, why should people teach their children a religious belief at home, only to have the state tell these same children that what they are taught at home is not correct and that their religion is wrong? That is an infringement on free exercise of religion, and it is state sponsored. Why not eliminate origins altogether on the elementary and high school levels and let them teach what they want to college students or adults?

One need not delve into the theories of origins when one is teaching about horses. One need not know how a horse originated in order to teach about a horse. The controversy over origins should not make children and adolescents a battleground. No one can prove creation or the theory of evolution.

Perhaps it is time to eliminate this speculation and this conflict which confuses children. Then both camps, evolutionists and creationists, would no longer use the public school system to force young minds into their own mold.

Isn't this why the pilgrims were forced to leave the Old World and brave the ocean's span to live freely? Isn't the freedom from conscience coercion and mental manipulation what the Founding Fathers had in mind when our nation began?

JOHN V. STEVENS, SR.

Westlake Village

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