Teach creationism
Teach creationism

Letter to the Editor, Lincoln Journal Star, 11/30/2014
It's amazing how the country slowly caves into gay marriage but will not cave into allowing for creationism to be taught in public schools. These are all moral issues. Even schools teaching "be kind to one another" is a moral issue. Don’t give me the “separation of church and state,” as cosmic-evolution (the big bang) is a religion. The liberals want a one way street, yet they’re always talking about “fairness.” This whole creation vs. evolution (cosmic evolution, macro-evolution) talk isn’t about us vs. them. It’s about starting assumptions (for both sides) and viable ways to interpret the facts. Teaching one side of an issue is indoctrination, teaching two sides is education. Do not let your kids be indoctrinated. Get involved with the public school boards.

There is still hope for this country. I see a glimpse of it in Texas, and I’m not even from there. A revolution (non-violent) starts with truth. The National Center for Science Education will be scared of this letter but so what? The truth shall set you free. God bless you.

John McDermott, Hickman, Neb.

My response-

John McDermott (Sunday letter to the editor) suggests that schools teach creationism. Creationism, along with ghosts and devils, were significant concepts in medieval culture. They are, however, irrelevant and inappropriate to modern science. The health of society depends on students learning the important discoveries of the last few centuries and developing the analytical thinking and formal reasoning skills to understand them.

Les Lane
2303 N 53rd St
Lincoln, NE 68504-2917

Published response:

John McDermott ("Creationism should be taught", Nov. 30) expresses his amazement that the teaching of creationism is still not permitted in our nation's public schools, repeating the usual creationist canards like fairness, two sides, initial assumptions, indoctrination, etc. He calls this a moral issue, which it emphatically is not, and by referring to the big-bang as "religion", he clearly does not understand the rules of science nor how scientific theories are developed. The big-bang, and especially the theory of evolution (McDermott's other target), are based on enormous amounts of data, collaborations among researchers, repeated testing, and continual critical assessment, with all interpretations and explanations inferred within the known laws of nature, i.e., without recourse to a divine creator or any other supernatural causation. It is this last phrase that drives the contention between creationists and some areas of science, and no amount of pronouncing that big-bang and evolution are religions will change that. Big-bang and evolution are powerful concepts drawn from the works of science. Creationism is not. It is fundamentally a religious idea and is not permitted to be taught as science in public schools, as has been repeatedly affirmed over the past five decades by federal courts in defense of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If Mr. McDermott doubts this, he should try googling Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), Daniel v. Waters (1975), McLean v. Arkansas (1982), Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), or Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005). If anyone is tempted to take McDermott's advice to push creationism by getting involved with school boards, they should first examine the Kitzmiller case where a misguided school board met a disastrous outcome for doing exactly that with intelligent design, creationism's fancy-dress sibling. Or read Edward Humes' (2007) excellent book Monkey Girl.

Norman D. Smith, Denton