Re "Science and Scripture," Opinion, Sept. 28
I share Crispin Sartwell's respect for the achievements of Darwinian science and agree with his call to teach science in historical and social context. But he is dangerously wrong to argue that the Dover (Pa.) school district's statement about intelligent design will better serve this educational agenda.
Sartwell's statement misunderstands the status of evolution as both fact and theory, mistakes an interest in evolution with an interest in the ultimate origins of life and misleads in identifying intelligent design as a credible alternative to evolutionary thought.
School boards won't improve science education by issuing deeply confused statements. Science education will improve when we give teachers the time, resources and moral support not only to put Darwin in historical perspective but also the means to get him right.
DEAN J. SAITTA
\o7Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Denver
Why all the fuss about teaching intelligent design? Bring it up in biology class, explain why it's phony and move on to some real science. It should take only an hour or so. Surely our schools can afford that much time to debunk a scientific fraud.
Re "The stubborn pull of dogma," Opinion, Sept. 27
David Barash doesn't mention an essential component of American culture that contributes to the popularity of concepts such as intelligent design: anti-intellectualism.
The average American probably would take it as a badge of pride that he's less interested in rational debate than his European counterpart, and therein lies the problem. America has cornered the market on blissful ignorance.
In addition to viewing others from his perch atop the Palace of Science and Culture, Barash could make the effort to create a mirror to observe himself. Then maybe he could see his own Brahean Blunders, including his unsubstantiated assumption that the evolutionary principles evident within the natural world, including humanity, could not be part of the wisdom-filled creation we call our universe.
Is it being "really very intelligent" to imagine that this awesomely complex and beautiful, intricately measured and timed world just happened accidentally?
If you look at what humans do and have done to themselves all over the world over the ages, I am not so sure if you can label the designer "intelligent."