Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 16 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Evolution Debate is about Honesty

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   No comments
Author 514931
Message James A. Haught
Become a Fan
  (2 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Evolution
Evolution
(Image by gjdonatiello)
  Details   DMCA

Public schools in my state suffered a Bible Belt attack on evolution. In my newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail, I supported teaching of natural selection, the scientific bedrock of biology. A visiting "creation scientist" from California came to town and repeatedly challenged me to debate. A talk radio host blistered me on the air because I wouldn't come on his show and quarrel with the creationist professor. But I felt it would be silly for me to argue about his supernatural beliefs.

After all, I wouldn't debate a Unification Church member's claim that Jesus appeared to Master Moon and told him to convert all people as "Moonies." And I wouldn't dispute a Mormon's belief that Jesus visited prehistoric America. Etc., etc.

Let them all believe whatever they want. It's pointless to go on radio shows and wrangle over mystical claims.

However, such claims mustn't be imposed on captive children in government-owned schools. That's prohibited by the separation of church and state, a core principle in the First Amendment in America's Bill of Rights.

America's time-tested freedom of religion means that every group may worship however it wishes in its own private church, but it cannot use the power of government to push its beliefs on others.

Therefore, it was gratifying that our local school board overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to let creationist teachers denounce evolution in class. Educated families owe thanks to four brave board members who withstood heavy pressure from fundamentalists.

To me, the whole issue hinges on honesty. Let me explain:

Science, from a Latin word meaning knowledge, is simply a search for trustworthy facts. It's human intelligence at work. The process is honest, because every researcher's claim is challenged by other researchers. They test and retest by many methods, until a new idea fails or holds firm. (A researcher who falsifies data is a loathsome criminal in the eyes of fellow scientists.)

While some individual scientists are pig-headed, an entire field cannot be. Science goes where the evidence leads. Science is honest enough to admit mistakes. When new evidence shatters a previous assertion, the old belief is dropped or modified.

No such setbacks have hit the theory of evolution. After 140 years of research, virtually the entire scientific world now agrees that evolution is a fundamental aspect of nature. Complex animals and plants arose from earlier, simpler ones, over hundreds of millions of years. The fossil record shows it. Geological strata show it. Radioactive dating shows it. The incredible diversity of species, with variations in different locales, shows it. The uncanny similarity of organs, bones, fluids and nerves in many animals shows it.

Evolution was proved when skimpy Indian maize was improved into today's nutritious corn. It was proved when drug-resistant bacteria grew from survivors of antibiotic treatment (survival of the fittest). It was proved when England's white moths were gobbled from soot-covered trees by birds, while less-visible black variations survived. It was proved by the clear fossil record that today's horse grew from a tiny precursor.

College biology books are filled with many more examples. All this is why evolution should be taught in public school classes along with astronomy, physics, chemistry and other established sciences.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Rate It | View Ratings

James A. Haught Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Megachurch Mess

Feeding 7.7 Billion

Religion-Tinged Politics

deadly labor struggles

The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of

Coal Mine Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: