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Feedback on Intelligent Design and "The World is Flat"

The Great Debate

After reading "The Great Debate" (March 2006, p. 75), which is an excellent article, I am struck by some comments made by Nick Matzke.

He claims "the Constitution prohibits the states from endorsing or promoting a religious view." This is revisionistic thinking. The Constitution actually prohibits the federal government from establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise by the people. The state governments should be free therefore to frame their responses to this debate without federal interference, since the states are actually the people referred to in the first amendment.

Matzke also claims that "evolution is indisputable," which is a patently false claim since there is a vigorous debate within the serious biological and mathematical scientific communities in regard to the inefficacy of evolution theory to account for the extreme complexity of living cells.

The fossil record has no accounting for such complexity, as it suddenly appears with no prior development in evidence. The debate among scientists is being framed as evolution against itself, which is where public schools should take instruction. Too many times, schools operate with evolution instruction that is obsolete and ignores the most current information. Rather than adopt such a dogmatic view of evolution, we should be urging students to research current debate topics online, and bring them to the classrooms. It is not wrong to tap into the ideas of ID scientists (Yes, there are many), and bring all relevant points to the table. It is amazing to me how often evolution proponents seem as fanaticized as religious people sometimes are. Since humans were not around at the origin of life, perhaps evolution itself is a kind of religious belief (knowledge without observation).

Mike Werner

Principal, O.H. Schultz

Elementary School

Mishicot (Wisc.) School District

I think the most rational remark reported in March 2006 article, "The Great Debate," is that the theory of "evolution is indisputable." Nonetheless, defenses of evolution suffer the weaknesses of historical writings in general. That is to say, several generalizations about evolution are deductive, i.e., they cannot be proved experimentally.

It therefore is obvious that not all the various claims about evolution are "scientifically solid," despite science teacher organizations' vigorous arguments to the contrary. Competent history teachers normally make this kind of information about their subject readily available to their students. To prohibit science teachers from following their example seems to me an anti-intellectual, unprofessional restriction on their academic freedom.

Patrick Groff

Professor of Education Emeritus

San Diego State University

More on The World is Flat

I was relieved to read your Speaking Out piece "Reading Fads" (December 2005, p. 77) in District Administration. I thought I was the only one who didn't see any point in the book you discussed. I went into a local bookstore to look through The World is Flat and decide whether to purchase it or not since it had been mentioned at every meeting I attended over the last month. I frankly could not find anything in it that even resembled new or interesting information. I am sure that many will write to reprimand you for your totally negative review but frankly I think you were right on. By the way I decided not to purchase the book.

John S. Boccuzzi

Assistant Superintendent of Schools

New Fairfield (Conn.)

Public School District