This thing seems to be never-ending. It began three weeks ago with the news we wrote about in Drooling School Board Chairwoman. As you recall, Susie Kern, chairwoman of the school board of Brainerd, Minnesota, couldn’t figure out why the schools were teaching evolution. Since then, Susie’s friends and supporters have been driving our letter count ever closer to 1,000.
Because the letter writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We think he’s a CPA, but that doesn’t qualify for full name treatment. His first name is Lanny — not to be confused with “Lenny” who wrote the letter in #994: Evolution’s Problems. Excerpts from Lanny’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!
I would like to add my two cents to the debate over the “theory of evolution.” [Everyone else in town is, so why not you?] In the Sept. 13 Dispatch article, Craig Rezac, a science teacher, was quoted as saying, “The interesting thing about theories is that we have to find information to disprove it. There hasn’t been any information found to disprove the theory of evolution.”
In our post about the start of this controversy in Brainerd, we quoted something else that Craig Rezac said, but what Lanny quoted wasn’t in the article. Assuming Rezac said it, it’s true — when someone is denying a theory which is well supported by evidence. In that case, the burden of proof is on the theory’s denier, and he does indeed require some evidence — like the elusive Precambrian rabbit. How does Lanny respond? He says:
This is an inaccurate statement on his part. [Huh?] First of all, his statement is backwards. In scientific jargon a theory is a partially supported hypothesis — there needs to be support for it to move to the “theory stage.”
It’s true that theories need to be supported by evidence, but we never heard of a theory described as “a partially supported hypothesis.” Lanny tells us:
A hypothesis is a guess, an opinion. Without the need for proof, all opinions would become theories. [Huh?] A law is a theory that has been proven to be indisputable — like gravity for instance.
Groan. Theories never “grow up” to be laws. Creationists always get their definitions wrong. A good set of definitions is provided by the National Academy of Sciences: Definitions of Evolutionary Terms. There’s also this: Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions. The National Center for Science Education has definitions right here.
No one has ever made the statement seriously that evolution is a law. [That, at least, is true.] Therefore, it’s not proven in any way beyond reasonable doubt.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Having established that evolution is little more than a wild guess, Lanny says:
There should be room for other opinions on this important subject. [Got any suggestions?] Further, there are several intelligent design advocates [Hee hee!], with impressive scientific credentials, who take issue with the “theory of evolution.” They have raised very serious objections to it and have proposed alternatives.
Lanny is very impressed by the Discoveroids. Hey — who wouldn’t be? Let’s read on:
Are we teaching the alternatives that these well qualified advocates propose? [Probably not.] Isn’t that what teaching is supposed to be about[?] No, what we are teaching our children is opinion, not scientific facts.
Egad — evolution is just an opinion! Another excerpt:
There is a lot of money and scientific prestige behind evolution. That does not make it a fact that should be taught exclusively over all other options. Evolution is scientific orthodoxy, nothing more. It is a statement of unproven faith [Gasp!], exactly what Christians are being accused of.
Devastating. Absolutely devastating. And now we come to the end:
I applaud Sue Kern for her courage in bringing this matter up [We all do.] and I am very disappointed in her treatment by the educational establishment and this newspaper.
Susie Kern certainly has supporters. How many more of their letters will there be?
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