Evolution Redux

Regarding Barry Palevitz's opinion article1 about whether biology faculty should write letters of recommendation for students who deny evolution, I raise a voice of caution.

Palevitz asks, "Do we as scientists and educators have a responsibility to society beyond transmitting facts and awarding grades?" The responsibility of scientists to society is primarily to be truthful, even about the uncertainty that may accompany their most precious conclusions.

If scientists openly acknowledge weaknesses in their understanding of evolution, will those weaknesses be taken up by antievolution forces and used to their own advantage? Yes. But for scientists to do otherwise is to disconnect the study of evolution from science, and to embrace evolution as a creed.

Be careful. The way dissenting students are treated by faculty will tell society how scientists view these ideas. To bully students into accepting an idea will be seen by people as enforcement of...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?