To the editor: Some 20% of our public schools still strive to deny their students complete, accurate instruction on human evolution? How could this happen 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that denial unconstitutional?
The answer: Undue deference to religion persists in our supposedly secular democracy.
We still suffer the effects of a mid-20th century religious frenzy that put “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “in God we trust” on our currency. Meanwhile, public authorities and lobbyists have helped legions of “men of God” dodge culpability for their sex abuse of children.
Thus, religious conservatives have felt emboldened to discredit or ignore evolution in favor of the biblical doctrine of creation. Would that our nominal democracy didn’t function in some areas like a theocracy.
Dennis Alston, Atwater, Calif.
To the editor: An op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times urges the importance of applying science and philosophy to demonstrate the elegant complexities of our cosmos, our Earth and our human nature. Therefore, these areas of study should be included:
The significance of consciousness, meaning and value (the noted philosopher Thomas Nagel’s short book, “Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False,” is worth reading), accounting for the marvel of speech (read Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”), and the astonishing forming, combining and structure of our cosmos overcoming incomprehensible odds (Oxford professor Roger Penrose’s “The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind” references a formula derived by physicists Jacob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking).
These compositions are not based on religion, nor do they give importance to attitudes of people who believe God created the universe.
Chuck Davis, Irvine
To the editor: Ann Reid’s op-ed article was a breath of fresh air.
In 1989, when my daughter was taking a middle school science class in Redlands, her teacher skipped over the chapter on evolution in her textbook. I registered a complaint to no avail.
Reid states that providing instruction on the nature of science helps students recognize that “science and religious faith are different but not mutually exclusive ways of understanding the world.” I disagree. Science, reason, common sense and observation lead one to reject the supernatural.
It's a sad day when Reid states that 60% of science teachers downplay evolution or ignore it altogether. The story of evolution is true and mindbogglingly stupendous.
Jane Roberts, Redlands