Monday, February 2, 2004

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re "Georgia Takes On 'Evolution' as 'Monkeys to Man' Idea" (news article, Jan. 30):

I have always been amazed at the ability of the Christian right to bully educators into diluting the teaching of evolution and promoting so-called creation science in public school classrooms. I suspect that part of the reason for this is a misappreciation of the importance of evolution by the general public.

Evolution is not an isolated concept that can be expediently omitted from a high-school biology syllabus. Rather, it is the single unifying concept of modern biology. It unites all areas of biology, from ecology to physiology to biochemistry and beyond. Without it, students are denied a framework to understand how these different areas are related and interdependent.

Can you imagine asking a physics teacher to cover everything except Newton's laws?

Maybe soon a small group of reactionaries will persuade a school board to teach students that apples do not fall to earth because of gravity, but because of some mystical phenomenon that can neither be studied nor understood.

New Haven, Jan. 30, 2004
The writer is a research fellow, department of cell biology, Yale University School of Medicine.

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