My Turn responses - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

My Turn responses

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From Mark Spiller

Allowing teachers to address creationism in the class room provides equal time for those who don't believe in evolution. Creationism is consistent with the founding principles of our great country - "In God We Trust", not Darwin. And even if our country continues moving away from God teaching about Creationism is the right thing to do.

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From T.

Thank you so much for speaking out about this issue. It is truly a sad day when science is allowed to be stripped away from our children's educational curriculum in the name of religious superstition. Tennessee law makers should be ashamed, and every citizen should be outraged that their tax dollars are being spent to fund a purposefully anti-scientific curriculum. It's hard to be hopeful in light of such tragedies.

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From Jim Aldridge

I have taken the time to answer your piece online at the TV 5 website, but I wanted to also address this via personal e-mail.

You argue that Tennessee is setting education back by recent legislation that allows teachers to present alternative theories of origin in the classroom. You mention that the U.S. is trailing behind the rest of the world in the areas of math and science education as a part of your argument against this legislation, but if the decline of the public education system happened over the same period in which Darwinian evolution was being taught, I fail to see how preventing alternative views to evolution from being presented is going to reverse that decline. If anything, Mr. Meredith, you may want to do a little more research before you present such an argument before a viewing audience.

Ironically, the Mid-South homeschool conference is being held in Memphis this weekend. There are numerous presentations being done at this event that refute Darwinian Evolution, some on the basis of religious conviction and a Biblical interpretation, but others on the scientific merits of the theory itself. What you may not realize, Mr. Meredith, is that Darwin's theory has had to be amended numerous times over the years as a result of advancements in other fields of scientific study. Shortly after the publication of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" (the original title of the work) Gregor Mendel's work in the field of genetics forced the development of "neodarwinism" because the mechanism by which Darwin said natural selection operated (pangenesis) was inconsistent with what was then proven about genetics. Additionally, as a result of numerous gaps in the fossil record and the lack of "transitional species" the theory of evolution once again came under intense scrutiny and still has yet to produce a satisfactory explanation for the inconsistency. Feeling the pressure of this "hurdle for the theory of evolution," Harvard anthropologist Stephen J. Gould developed the evolutionary school of "punctuated equilibrium" which actually states that the changes were not gradual, but rapid, and only occurred on the periphery of populations for a given species. In the language of evolution, such rapid change is known as a "saltation." The problem is that Darwin himself said that even the existence of one saltation would render his entire theory false. In addition, the Cambrian explosion (referred to by some as the "biological big bang") is thoroughly attested to by the fossil record and also poses a challenge for those who want to affirm Darwin's theory. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the debate; I could go on. The issue is not nearly as "cut and dry" as many have been led to believe, and I haven't even begun to address the issue of epistemology or the impact of works like T. S. Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" on such debates.

Beyond all of this, though, you need to know that many of us who homeschool have done a great deal of research and have chosen to reject evolution. My family is a great example. My daughter rejects evolution, but she can fully explain Darwin's theory, pangenesis, Mendelian genetics, Neodarwinism, and punctuated equilibrium. She's 14. Can you do the same or do you just accept the theory of evolution "on faith?" Might I make the bold assertion that the narrow-minded one in this debate may not be the families like mine who do our research before adopting a view and televising it as if we were somehow an authority? If you have a little time this Friday and Saturday, you may want to stop by the Cook Convention Center and speak to some of the presenters there who can give you a reasoned view of the "other side of the story." It's a side that you seem all too willing to ignore up to this point.

By the way... home school students, according to peer reviewed research, routinely outperform their publicly educated counterparts by 15 to 30 percentage points on standardized tests, even in the fields of math and science, all the while rejecting macro evolution. Maybe there is more to this than what you have been led to believe. If you don't want to ask questions at the convention, I might be able to arrange a time when I could come speak to you on the matter personally if you are interested.

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From Ashley Whitehead

I do not agree with the "Monkey Bill" that allows teachers to critique scientific theories. Many of the teachers in our TN school systems do not have the qualifications or hold a degree in science to be able to fairly critique theories or to show their truths. This will allow teachers to bring their own opinions and thoughts about science into the classroom. It will not allow a fair and objective teaching of ALL scientific theories ranging from the theory of gravitation to that of evolution. Most people, who do not hold a higher degree in science, are not knowledgable to thoroughly debate on scientific ideas with anyone, specifically our children! In addition to doing our children a disservice in the classrooms, we are also doing our state a disservice. Not only will this bill call negative attention to our state, but it can also hinder our ability to recruit science companies to our region and create more jobs. This is a prime example of why there is a separation of church and state..

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From Greg W., Blytheville, AR

Good day, Charles Darwin got it wrong. Evolution of species changing into other species has been proven impossible, not one single shred of evidence exists today that supports the theory of evolution. Granted, (micro-evolution-mutation of a species: example- long haired dogs, short haired dogs, etc) does occur, it's still a dog. Macro-evolution- mutation of a species into another species: example- frogs mutating into turtles is laughable at best. Not only has science proven this to be impossible, no examples of this occurring have ever been found. Genetically speaking, it's impossible.

With so much evidence against the possibility of evolution being true, and overwhelming evidence of all the species being created, we need to ask ourselves why the school systems won't consider any alternative answers. They would rather teach our young a lie. My opinion is to teach both possibilities, let the students decide for themselves. Scientists need to do science and let the evidence lead them where it goes, regardless of their personal opinions. All of us should be looking for one thing, the Truth!

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