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Creationism and Evolution

January 16, 1986

The creationist response to The Times' editorial (Dec. 12) was as predictable as the dawn. The creationists offer their usual baseless claims. They pretend that evolution is a guessing game, without factual support. They imagine that there is a great controversy about evolution within science and religion. When the theory of evolution is presented in the same way as any other theory in science texts, it alone becomes dogmatic and violates the establishment clause of the Constitution. Then they suggest that to be fair, since neither evolution nor creation can be proved, neither should be taught. All these claims have been refuted in many books and articles in the past few years.

Those of us from the scientific and religious communities who testified before the Curriculum Commission in Sacramento last month have looked long and hard at creationism. It is merely one aspect of the "technophobia" that is rampant in Western society today. Like all such movements, its proponents are True Believers who are immune to evidence against their version of the truth. For existence it depends upon ignorance. As long as most people don't know the facts and how they support the theory of evolution, creationism's non-standing in science and religion won't be obvious to them.

As Robert Root-Bernstein has pointed out, creationism is not a scientific question, but a political and educational one. That is why students must have textbooks that show why evolution is such a powerful and well supported theory that it has come to be the cornerstone of modern biology. Keeping these facts away from our children in the guise of "fairness" is unconscionable because it promotes ignorance in times when knowledge is vital. Those who don't want their children exposed to counter-intuitive ideas had best keep them away from all science, not just biology.

FRANK T. AWBREY

San Diego

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