Letters to the Editor printed by the Chicago Tribune on 9/4/93 in response to the Vista s

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Letters to the Editor printed by the Chicago Tribune on 9/4/93 in response to the Vista schools article. =========================================================================== PARK FOREST--It is generally accepted that a public school is not the proper place for teaching religion. Therefore, the recent decision by a California public school district to introduce the teaching of creationism in its classrooms is a disturbing and dangerous one. As an explanation for the origin of the world and of man, the biblical story of creation is clearly religion, while the theory of evolution is clearly science. Science has a legitimate place in a public school classroom; religion does not. Those who advocate the teaching of creationism often do so under the guise of presenting "the other side." But calling a viewpoint "the other side" does not necessarily bestow the viewpoint with validity. For example, in teaching about the Holocaust it is hardly valid to present as "the other side" the view held by some that the Holocause never existed, since there is simply too much incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Likewise, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that the Earth and man were not created in the manner described in Genesis. As a result, a public school should have no interest in presenting this view as "the other side" when it is totally without the support of science. Jeff Robertson ========================================================================= OAK PARK--Is the fuss in Vista, Calif., and elsewhere really about creation versus evolution? Or is it rather about whether minds should be open or closed? The scientific method is a self-correcting system of thought. That is its glory, but it seems to terrify dogmatists to the point where some of them would deny God the right to create through evolution should He so choose. And nobody knows that He didn't. Creationists stress the very important proposition that humankind is not incidental to the universe, just as anti-Galilean geocentrists did nearly 400 years ago. But we humans have not lost any special quality we may have had because Earth is no longer seen as the center of everything, and we will lose none for recognizing that we spring up out of that great wellspring of life that animates the world if not the universe. If that isn't sacred, what is? As to purpose, perhaps Shelley cam close when he suggested we are "the eye with which the Universe beholds itself and knows itself divine." And that requires clear vision and objectivity, not dogmatism and closed theologies. Charles F. Davis

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