On science, trust experts
In the May 25 issue of The News-Review, a letter writer proposed that evolution and creationism should be taught side by side as electives. “There is just as much scientific evidence,” he claimed, “that creation occurred [as] there is that evolution [and the Big Bang] occurred.”
I don’t have enough room to delineate here the evidence for evolution and the Big Bang. Suffice to say that the writer’s description of the two theories makes it abundantly clear he does not understand either of them. I recommend he educate himself with a biology or physics textbook — creationist drivel has not infected our textbooks yet.
I study astrophysics at a research university and am involved in cosmology research, which allows us to probe the early universe up to a Planck time after the Big Bang. I have never met a creationist scientist. It is common for cosmologists to offer creationism as an alternative theory — presented for comedic effect — at the beginning of scientific talks. We all have a good laugh.
Although it is a world leader in science, the U.S. is in the embarrassing position of being the only developed nation in which scientific policy decisions are routinely made based on the opinions of laypeople — politicians and religious fundamentalists — even when they are in opposition to overwhelming scientific consensus. It is difficult for me to comprehend the arrogance that leads creationists, who have no training in science, to believe they understand scientific issues better than experts who spend their lives studying them.
The academy is a bastion of rationality, light, and truth in a dark world shrouded by superstition. I implore creationists: Please don’t preach in my school. In exchange, I promise I won’t think in your church.