Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the San Antonio Express-News of San Antonio, Texas. The title is Evolution and religious teachings complement each other. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis.
As we usually do, we’ll omit the writer’s name and city, but beneath the letter-writer’s photo in the newspaper it says that he is “an adjunct professor for Palo Alto College,” a community college in San Antonio. Okay, here we go:
The demographics in America show we are primarily a Christian nation, and the topic of evolution and Darwinism can be a controversial one. So when discussing natural history, the approach an educator uses typically defines the success or failure of the lesson.
An inauspicious beginning. The letter-writer states up front that the religious views of the nation should have some bearing on the teaching of science. Well, in certain countries it may result in a beheading to teach science, so he’s got a point there, but this guy is talking about Texas. Let’s see where his letter goes after that introduction:
This is where I truly believe offering students multiple viewpoints of how we as a species possibly developed will pay off. In other words, let us not forget to give both sides of the argument.
Aaaargh!! Let’s read on:
Why push our views on young adults, when we are trying to teach them to create their own? In terms of Darwinism, I explain that it makes little difference what I believe as an individual or even as an academic. It is clear that there are two sides to the question of where we come from. One is from the biblical text, the story of Adam and Eve; the other, which is subscribed to by many natural historians, is evolution from simple organisms to the 21st century version of you and me. Most of us, unfortunately, believe we have to choose sides in this debate.
Yeah — why choose sides? That might require some thinking. We can’t have any of that. He continues:
We see elements of “survival of the fittest” in almost every creature on this earth; therefore, how can we not point this out as a possible explanation for our behaviors throughout history. Yet to ignore the spiritual side of human history is to lack objectivity both as an individual and as an educator. Once again, as a historian, the evidence is too extensive to ignore, leading us to believe that there is a high probability of our God being real. Not to mention, as a Christian, I strongly believe in him. So the question remains, how do we approach these conflicting views?
Yes, it’s just so confusing. Should the letter-writer teach science, or should he launch into a sermon? What’s a junior college instructor supposed to do? Here’s more:
The answer in my class is that perhaps they do not conflict in the way we have always been taught. Why can we not have both? I do not push this onto my students, but the argument should not be focused on Adam and Eve vs. evolution, because there is substantial evidence for both evolution and spirituality.
Great solution! Just muck it up with a little of both. Moving along:
The two sides complement each other, if we open our mind to their plausibility.
You see, dear reader, your problem is that you won’t open your mind. You should have had a great teacher like today’s letter-writer. And now we come to the end:
Does the combination of spirituality and an acceptance of evolution negate our chosen faith? God made us such complex beings with physical, mental, and emotional lives. Why could he not have also given us the power to evolve?
Now that’s a great teacher! Well, in Texas anyway.
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