Several months back a series on evolution was presented on PBS-TV (Sept. 24-27). I would like to comment on several aspects of the presentation. So there is no confusion as to my intention by this article, it is to propose evolution not be taught in our public school system.
In one sequence the conflict at the high school level between teaching the theory of evolution and special creation was presented. A public high school teacher, who favors evolution instruction, stated her concern was not that special creation would gain equal footing with the present practice of teaching evolution. But, that public schools would eliminate the teaching of evolution. That local school boards would make the determination that the majority of public sentiment was against teaching evolution in the junior high and high school curriculums. I think this observation is correct. The teaching of evolution as a scientific "fact" goes beyond what scientific analysis can support. Evolution can not and never will be proven by the strict application of the scientific method. Regardless of the number of scientists for or against the theory. Stating evolution as a fact is in essence a statement of faith. Therefore the theory (the hypothesis) of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin has been taken out of the realm of scientific investigation and put in the realm of religion.
The overall presentation of evolution by PBS struck me as heavy on the description of the natural world, but failing to address how evolution has supposedly worked. It could be compared to a thesis attempting to explain how a school bus works by describing its dimensions, function, social implications, operation, etc. and never mentioning the gas engine that makes it run. Or at best speculating on how the engine works. The discussion of evolution has a lot to say about the natural world, but can only postulate on how evolution accomplished it. Even the heavyweight notions attempting to explain the theory of evolution (the Hardy-Weinberg law, genetic drift, gene mutation, adaptive radiation, etc.) leaves one proclaiming this is inference! Which is certainly a valid early step in scientific investigation. But in stating opinion as fact, one puts evolution in the discipline of religion, not science. Therefore, as taught, evolution has no place in our public schools.
In the last hour segment of the PBS presentation, Charles Darwin is quoted on his outlook on evolutional theory. Throughout "The Origin of the Species" in reference to various aspects of evolution Darwin states "I think," "I believe," I am convinced," "probably," "we must infer," etc. This approach appeals to me as a touch of intellectual honesty. Darwin could be appropriately described as an evocreationalist. He recognizes the Creator and states three times in the last chapter of his belief in a created first "few forms." If you the reader are inclined to respond critically to these statements, please read "The Origin of the Species" word for word, beginning to end. Incidentally, I think this should be a requirement for anyone who labels him or herself as an evolutionist.
In dealing with evolution, I would like to challenge you to read one other widely accepted authority source, the Bible. The Bible is sometimes described as not being a science text; that its focus is the Creator and not His creation. But I think the Bible makes the ultimate science statement when it says God created something out of nothing: He spoke the material world into being.
Marlin Bricker is a retired fisheries biologist and fish culturist with ADF&G. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in the biological sciences.