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28 scientists urge school board to permit Darwinism pros & cons

MARIETTA, Ga. (BP)–A group of 28 scientists from the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and other institutions in the state have sent a letter to the Atlanta-area Cobb County School Board appealing for academic freedom to teach scientific controversy over Darwinian evolution.

The Cobb County board is currently considering a policy for the science curriculum to encompass scientific evidence supporting Darwinian theory as well as scientific evidence critical of it.

The proposed policy states, in part, that “discussion of disputed views of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced education, including the study of the origin of the species. This subject remains an area of intense interest, research, and discussion among scholars.” The school board has scheduled a vote on the policy Sept. 26.

The Georgia scientists have joined 132 other scientists nationwide who have signed a statement that originated last fall called, “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.” The statement urged “careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory” in the classroom, while also expressing skepticism toward the Darwinian claim that “random mutation and natural selection account for the complexity of life.”

“The scientific endeavor is the search for the truth. That is why it is important that students and teachers be permitted, even encouraged, to discuss differing views of origins together with the scientific evidence that supports or does not support each view,” Russell Carlson, a University of Georgia professor of biochemistry and molecular biology who signed the statement, said in a news release issued by the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which has become a key think tank for intelligent design, which utilizes science itself in reasoning that living matter is too complex to have been the result of random chance, thus some entity must have purposefully created it.

Among other Georgia scientists signing the letter to the school board: Henry “Fritz” Schaefer, a five-time Nobel nominee and professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia.

The intelligent design theory has been debated in other states such as Ohio and Michigan, and people nationwide are taking notice. In a Sept. 4 opinion piece in the Indianapolis Star, columnist Andrea Neal wrote, “To me, intelligent design makes some sense. And it will be a lot harder for the anti-religion folks to battle in the courts because it’s not a religious belief, it’s a scientific possibility.

“Creationism, the story of Adam and Eve, came straight from the Bible and was destined to fail all those church-state separation tests. Intelligent design has no such flaws,” she continued. “In fact, one need not believe in God to entertain intelligent design. One need simply conclude that patterns of development are too complex to be natural phenomena.”

In a previous Baptist Press article, Barrett Duke, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s vice president for research, said the naturalistic worldview underlying Darwinism “is what has brought us to this time in our nation when life has become so devalued.”

“Because the naturalistic worldview considers people to be no more than the product of chemical reactions, it allows no room for innate human worth,” Duke said. “The inevitable result of a naturalistic worldview is abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and the many other atrocities committed in the name of science and technology that we are witnessing today.”

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  • Erin Curry