Do we understand it all?

In NZ Skeptic 85 Alison Campbell discusses teaching evolution in the school curriculum with particular reference to the influence of local creationist pressures opposing this as a sole ‘theory’. If New Zealand Skeptics are to be true to their cause they must also take a hard look at their own basic assumptions. My concern from an informed amateur perspective is that in teaching evolution it is important to be intellectually honest to students. The fact of the development of life forms over billions of years and their gradual divergence from earlier morphological templates is beyond question to any rational inquirer even if it cannot demonstrated in the traditional hypothesis/experimental test paradigm. Furthermore, Darwin’s concept of natural selection is most obviously applicable to those life forms we are most familiar with and on which he based his inductive studies. At this level of macro development for instance, some morphological changes are clearly adaptive for predation or escape, and auditory or visual cues evolve to serve the attraction of mates or camouflage. However there is still substantial debate whether this paradigm can cover all stages in the evolution of life on Earth. It is when we get to the question of the origins of life or the complex operations within a single cell that questions arise. Such intricate developments are crucial to the central concept of Neo-Darwinism.

In the Middle Ages all sorts of complex theological problems were contemplated without seriously examining the basic assumption, the existence of God. We may be in a parallel situation now, assuming that the basic premises of Neo-Darwinism are beyond question as an explanation of life on Earth. Some day in the future explanations based on a hypothetical God or current Neo-Darwinism may be seen as equally quaint. Teaching evolution in schools must stay honest and show where there are still questions to be asked at a fundamental level. It would be ironic if after freeing young people from the irrationality and dogma of many religious systems we then indoctrinated them in a new secular orthodoxy.

Ian McKissack

Another view…

what a bunch of closed minded,negative pricks people you are!!Paranormal things happen often!.Hey Stuart Landsborough I sent u an email about enhancing ones psychic ability,I still haven’t heard from U!!Have U studied remote viewing??wake up to the possibilites,go and read a book called the Super Self and this has nothing to do with magic!!

Jenny Hyde,check out Jesse Marcels testimony about Roswell,and the nature of the unusual metal that scientist can’t explain.I read your book called the oddzone and it’s full of rubbish based on ignorance and lack of experience!!

Paul Leeks

(Punctuation and spelling as received-ed.)

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