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The Lie: Evolution


Dr. Mastropaolo-Initial Contact

Compiled by Karl C. Priest

Here is a series of telling behind-the-scenes exchanges leading up to a proposed creation/evolution debate in Charleston WV prior to Dec 16 school board meeting. Dr. Mastropaolo, with help from a gift from OVCEA, has been asked by KCSG to have Dr Mastropaolo be in Charleston WV soon to speak on the recent newspaper and school board debate on teaching evolution. KSCG (Karl Priest secretary) is the Creation Science group in Kanawha County, Charleston, WV. The names of those supporting evolution are deleted, except for newspaper articles.

Subject: Grassroots Report (Mastropaolo and Opponent Debate the Debate) Date: Sunday, December 05, 1999 10:04 PM

Dr. Mastropaolo noticed a small wire service article in his local paper about the situation here in West Virginia so he contacted the editor of the Gazette through an internet reference. He had no idea the editor had the expressed views below. What follows is the Email exchange as they debate the debate. The reader should be able to see why evolutionists don't do public debates. They will lose, based on the facts, when faced with a competent creationist.

(FYI: editorials and article about this proposed debate are at the end of this post.)

Dear Sir:

I am an emeritus professor from California State University, Long Beach presently writing on the issue of design versus evolution. My background is in biological research and publishing the proofs of experiments. I would be glad to come to Charleston to give the scientific proofs for evolution and for design to an open meeting for the press, the school board and the community. I have had 22 years of public school education which included a thorough evolution indoctrination. I recently started reading the primary references for myself and find the design hypothesis compelling. I am willing to debate the issues from the design side. Please let me know if there is any interest in having me come to Charleston in the role of "a friend of the court," speaker, or debater. Sincerely, Joseph Mastropaolo, Ph.D.

Dear Dr. Mastropaolo:

Thanks for your nice note. I pound the "creationists" fiercely in the Gazette - but we never have brought in a speaker for such an issue. Perhaps you'd like to e-mail me some commentary you've prepared on the issue.

Sincerely - (deleted)

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your note. I am not a "creationist" so I am not sure that I am eligible for an automatic pounding. In my view, I am a scientist with bona fide credentials and my study of the issue has caused my open mind to find the vast preponderance of evidence indicating unequivocally that all life forms were deliberately designed and the vast preponderance of evidence indicating unequivocally that the evolution of life, even for one molecule of one protein, was biologically impossible. My impression is that the evidence in hand, not opinions, not Genesis, not "once upon a warm pond" stories, is unassailable. My primary fealty is to the truth. If you have evidence that overwhelms mine, then I shall change my mind. If my evidence overwhelms yours, I hope your mind will change. I hope we have common cause in bringing the truth tested by fire to the community. I also believe that I can objectively speak to both sides of the issue because my 22 years of public school education did include a thorough indoctrination in evolution. I can speak to how that "evidence" has been shrinking in recent years. Might not an objective illumination of this issue of the ages increase circulation and subscribers amongst those interested in balanced, cogent reporting and reasoned editorials? Please let me know if there is any interest in having me come to Charleston in the role of "a friend of the school board," speaker, or debater. My curriculum vitae are available upon request. Sincerely, Joseph Mastropaolo, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, CSULB.

The opponent did not respond to this and several days went by until the debate issue was raised. I have numbered the exchanges to help you keep track.

(1) Mr. Sir:

I expect to be in Charleston the week of December 13-17, 1999. Would you like to debate the evolution issue? Sincerely, Joseph Mastropaolo

(2) Dear Dr. Mastropaolo:

Karl Priest already sent this invitation to me and others. I don't want to get drawn into a public spectacle that could degenerate into sarcasm’s and put-downs - even though it's tempting to play Clarence Darrow and retry the Scopes Monkey Trial. I've stated my beliefs repeatedly in Gazette editorials, expressing trust in scientists to find the most accurate, honest explanations of the origin of the planet and life.

However, our newspaper should cover your Charleston attacks on evolution, since this is a public issue before our school board. Do you intend to testify before the board at the invitation of Mr. Priest? Will you address his Creationist group, or a public rally sponsored by his group?

I assume that Creationists have only one goal - to support the Old Testament as a literal record of the origin of Earth and humanity. They challenge every scientific finding that disagrees with the O.T. Therefore, I have some questions for you:

Do you think this planet is only 6,000 years old?

Do you think that humans originated at the same time as all other animals, thus people lived alongside dinosaurs and the earliest one-celled creatures?

Do you think that all fossils were created in Noah's flood?

Plate tectonics researchers say the Atlantic Ocean floor has been widening for around 200 million years. Do you think they're off by 199,994,000 years?

Geologists say that West Virginia's coal was formed during a long epoch from 400 million to 250 million years ago. Was it really just 6,000 years ago?

Geologists say the deepest rock sections in the Grand Canyon originated 4 billion years ago. Are they off by 3,999,994,000 years?

I'd welcome an opportunity to print your responses in our newspaper.

Sincerely - (deleted)

(3) Dear Sir:

I do not engage in "sarcasm’s and put-downs." However, if you wish to play Clarence Darrow, I'd be glad to represent the other side. I do intend to address affirmatively the Board of Education on the resolution before them. I would be glad to debate anyone on the science of the issues. I have not been asked to address any public rally. Your assumptions about Creationists seem beside the point. In my first communication to you, I represented myself as an open-minded, qualified scientist willing to submit evidence that evolution is not science. If your evidence overwhelms mine, then I am willing to switch back to evolution, the monolithic indoctrination I received during 22 years of public schooling. If my evidence overwhelms yours, then I expressed the hope that you would change your mind. But that was where you stopped communicating. Does that mean that, contrary to your creed, you do not act as science indicates? Does it mean that your mind is closed and no matter the evidence you will be an evolutionist first, last and always? Is your commitment to science or to anti-theistic ranting? Please do print my views. Evolution is non-science and I believe I can prove it beyond any reasonable doubt. If any evolutionist has the science to overwhelm mine, I'll switch. If mine overwhelms, then let the evolutionist have the courage to vow a switch. Is there anyone in Charleston, or Kanawha County, with an open mind, a scintilla of science and the courage to stand up for evolution? Please let me know. Joseph Mastropaolo

At this point (I think) the Daily Mail article came out. It is included below.

(4) Dear Sir:

My offer is to debate science, specifically physics, chemistry and biology. According to my view, evolution is non-science. I shall go so far as to say that with regard to probability that evolution is impossible. If you agree with that view, then there is no need to debate. If you believe evolution is bona fide science, then you need to defend your view or it becomes non-science by default. Which do you prefer, debate or default? Sincerely, Joseph Mastropaolo

(5) Dear Dr. Mastropaolo:

We are on different wavelengths. Here's my viewpoint: I trust science as the most honest process of human intelligence. Conscientious researchers endlessly try to find reliable facts. Often, they're mistaken, and new evidence contradicts old evidence. This has occurred with various aspects of evolution, such as Lamarckism - and it may happen with other aspects. But the scientific search is honest, nonetheless, because researchers genuinely want to learn what is true. I'm not a researcher myself, but I read science books and trust the motives behind them.

In contrast, creationism is dishonest, because it starts with a conclusion - the Old Testament account - and tries to twist facts to match it. Creationists reject all evidence that doesn't fit the Bible story, and exaggerate anything that seems to uphold it. This is a closed-minded process, not honest inquiry. If a debate were held, busloads of such closed-minded people from gospel tabernacles probably would jam the auditorium, and the whole thing would be rather absurd. However, if the debate were conducted at a university before professors and students, it might be mentally honest.

If we were before such a university audience, I would ask if you think coal was formed only 6,000 years ago, and that all fossils were made by Noah's Flood, and that continental drift has been occurring for just 6,000 years, etc. You didn't answer the first time I asked - would you answer in a university debate?

Sincerely - (deleted)

(6) Sir:

Please pay attention. I am suggesting we debate science, not creationism. Physics, chemistry and biology are science, not creationism. If you trust science, then debate science. On the basis of science, I propose to prove to you that evolution is not science. As a believer in science and evolution, surely you should be willing to use science to defend evolution. The only reason I can imagine for your unwillingness to debate is that you sense evolution is not science and it cannot be defended. You would rather lose by default. You are one of the loudest voices in Charleston for evolution. You are considered evolution's champion. I am calling you out. Debate or default. Sincerely, Joseph Mastropaolo

(7) Dear Dr. Mastropaolo:

Actually, I haven't studied this issue intensely, because I always considered creationism (anti-evolutionism) unworthy of much consideration. I thought that the Scopes Monkey Trial and 140 years of world scientific research had pretty well settled the matter. However, I guess I should read more Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, to become better prepared.

Do you contend that Indian maize didn't evolve into modern corn? Or that Luther Burbank didn't create beneficial new plants through cross-breeding? Or that resistant strains of bacteria don't evolve from survivors of antibiotic treatment (survival of the fittest)? Or that Mendel didn't watch dominant genes prevailing over recessive genes in his flower research?

I always thought that such examples of evolution are so common and accepted that nobody doubts them.

Sincerely - (deleted)

(8) Dear Sir:

Well done. You do believe you have the science to defend evolution. When shall we meet for the debate? How about Monday 12/13/99? I am glad you decided to debate. It is unseemly for a champion to lose by default. Sincerely, Joseph Mastropaolo

The editor likely wrote the following editorials.

Evolve Schools aren't churches Saturday October 9, 1999

SCIENCE is an honest search for knowledge. It simply examines the reality of nature, without trying to twist findings to match any preconceived viewpoint.

Geologists, paleontologists and biologists overwhelmingly have concluded that life evolved on this planet over billions of years. These findings upset certain fundamentalists, who try to discredit anything that doesn't match the Bible.

Oddly, one of the protesters is a longtime Kanawha County teacher, Karl Priest, who leads an anti-evolution group and writes newspaper commentaries calling evolution a "lie" and a "farce."

Priest has made four trips to the county school board, seeking a rule change that would let teachers expose the "flaws" of evolution. In other words, he wants a right to tell students that evolution is a "lie" - thereby preaching his brand of religion to captive children by implying that the Bible is the only accurate account.

Instead of scrapping this request as a clear violation of the separation of church and state, the school board circulated Priest's plan to principals, and the board soon will vote on it.

We hope it's soundly trounced. It's just one more attempt to turn public schools into churches - a struggle that never stops in America.

Another article

Evolve Kanawha's creation plan Wednesday October 20, 1999

BACK in the 1980s, Louisiana's legislature passed a law saying public schools couldn't teach evolution unless they also taught "creation science," a system upholding the Bible's account that the universe was created in six days, just a few thousand years ago.

Scientists and educated people were horrified, because scientific evidence - geological, biological, archaeological, astronomical - overwhelmingly indicates that the universe, and life, is billions of years old.

A total of 72 Nobel Prize-winners filed a U.S. Supreme Court brief calling Louisiana's action absurd. One of them, physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who hatched the concept of quarks, said the law arose from "forces of ignorance and superstition."

On June 19, 1987, the Supreme Court voided the Louisiana statute, calling it a sham designed to make public schools espouse religion, in violation of America's separation of church and state.

This landmark ruling didn't bother mainline U.S. denominations with college-educated clergy. These churches accept evolution as an honest scientific field that really doesn't contradict the Bible's poetry. But fundamentalists went on the warpath. Ever since, they've tried to sneak "creationism" into public schools by undercutting evolution.

Now, incredibly, some Kanawha County school board members - and even Gov. Underwood - seem ready to violate the 1987 Supreme Court ruling by letting fundamentalist teachers impose creationism upon pupils.

The current showdown was provoked by Karl Priest, an Andrew Jackson Middle School teacher who leads a creationist group and writes newspaper columns calling evolution a farce and a lie.

Priest asked the school board to change its 1987 policy which says "creation science is not to be taught." Priest asked permission to teach children the "flaws" of evolution - presumably so he can tell captive kids that evolution is a lie.

Member Betty Jarvis had the board's lawyer draft a proposed new policy saying teachers may teach "theories for and against the theory of evolution." This sounds pretty much like the Louisiana law which the U.S. Supreme Court called a sham.

Member Pete Thaw says he supports the change - but other members seem leery of it. President John Luoni wisely told reporter Eric Eyre: "When in science class, we need to focus on science, not get off on other tangents."

An Associated Press report distributed nationwide said that Underwood "does not oppose teaching creationism in public schools." Presumably, Underwood was unaware that the Supreme Court outlawed it.

The Kanawha board is to vote on the proposal in December. We certainly hope the board kills it, and averts another court battle.

Freedom of religion, as spelled out in the First Amendment of America's Bill of Rights, requires government to keep its hands out of faith. This means that no dominant group can use the power of the state to impose its religion on others.

Kanawha County has many well-educated, scientific-minded people, who presumably don't want fundamentalist teachers telling their children that evolution is a lie. They probably don't want biology class turned into a theology battleground.

The board mustn't plunge into such a mess.

The other city newspaper wrote this article.

Charleston Daily Mail

Calif. man wants say in county schools

Rebecca Catalanello Daily Mail staff

Tuesday November 30, 1999

A retired professor from California is planning a week-long trip to Charleston to present the Kanawha County school board with what he describes as the "design" theory of creation -- a theory that is built around a refutation of evolution -- and wants to debate area evolution proponents.

Joseph Mastropaolo, a retired professor of science at California State University at Long Beach, has challenged Charleston Gazette Editor Jim Haught, retired Concord College professor Karl Fezer, and Unitarian Universalist pastor Rev. Terry Jonathan Moore to a debate -- a challenge to which he has gotten a less than enthusiastic response.

"It's just like debating abortion," Haught said. "It just goes on and on and on."

Haught, who has written numerous editorials and columns criticizing creationist theories, said he believes any such debate would simply be a "jeering match."

"I don't want to get into any silly contest of sneering at each other," he said. "It's just basically a waste of time."

Mastropaolo said he took interest in Kanawha County's recent debate over the teaching of evolution in schools when he ran across a wire story in his local newspaper. He has since contacted board member Betty Jarvis and plans to speak before the board before it takes its Dec. 16 vote on a proposed change to a policy concerning the teaching of controversial subjects.

"I think they should take the discussion out of the realm of emotion," Mastropaolo said, contacted at his home in Huntington Beach, Calif. Mastropaolo said he hopes to encourage board members to accept the proposed resolution and would be willing to challenge evolution proponents.

Moore said his parishioners have encouraged him not to participate in any such debate.

"I mentioned it in my sermon and members afterward advised me: ‘do not play into this hand. Do not give them this publicity.' "

Fezer could not be reached for comment.

The policy change under consideration would specifically give teachers the freedom to show what evolution critics call holes in the evolutionary theory.

Mastropaolo, 72, said he has never gotten involved in a controversy similar to that in Kanawha County. He did say, however, that he is in the process of writing a book and hoped this experience would help him relate his ideas in print.

Supported by: The ARK Foundation of Dayton, Inc. a non profit organization since June 1995, We support true science and Biblical religion. Email: ARKY Webmaster to send comments about this site. This site is scanned for viruses daily. This document was last modified 6:10 PM 12/11/1999

Background Information for the Debate in Charleston, WV

By Various Sources

Note Karl Priest is a local middle school teacher in Charleston, West Virginia and also heads up the local creationist group there -- Kanawha Creation Science Group

Subject: local "war" report Date: Friday, October 15, 1999

The local situation has made it to statewide talk radio. I did not hear the program, but here is a report from a Kanawha Creation Science Group member.

After hearing Don Marsh blast Karl this morning (on WV talk radio), I emailed the following letter to Talk-Line. Hoppy read the entire letter, and Marsh responded, "Then why do they need to pass the resolution?"

Hoppy, I heard Karl Priest speak at the last 2 board meetings he attended. He made it perfectly clear that, although he does believe in creation, he is not advocating that it be taught in the schools! The Board's own attorney drafted that resolution, and he assured the Board that it does not change or violate the existing policy.

So why do we need it? Betty Jarvis is correct - teachers do fear intimidation from people like the Gazette's editor and Marsh, who are vehemently opposed to the resolution. They do not feel free to present scientific evidences opposed to Darwinism, because the texts, for the most part, teach Darwin's theory as fact, and to oppose that belief automatically brands you as a fundamentalist Christian. Priest gave several quotes from anti-creationist scientists who do not find Darwin's theory to be credible.

Marsh needs to talk to the Board's attorney about this before he gives citizens the impression that this resolution changes things!

Citizen (name deleted)

Well, since the ACLU is involved I guess the evolutionists are getting nervous. This article, by the paper whose editor is a self-proclaimed "militant atheist evolutionist" is so full of propaganda and bunk I am torn between laughter and exasperation that they get away with it. No reporter called me (not that I would have said much) and (to my knowledge) no Gazette reporter was at the last meeting when the Board voted around 11:00 p. m.

Creating problems? ‘Evolution resolution’ opens a can of worms Thursday October 14, 1999


A proposed Kanawha County school board resolution that supports teachers who teach “theories for and against evolution” sparked mixed reviews this week.

School officials sent the “evolution resolution” to principals and teachers at the county’s 87 schools Monday.

“This is nothing more than a disguised attempt to bring creationism into our public schools,” said Hilary Chiz, who directs the state’s chapter of the

American Civil Liberties Union. “In case anyone thinks we’re far behind Kansas, just click your heels.”

A Kanawha County school board policy — approved in 1987 — states, “creation science is not to be taught. ”

School board Attorney Jim Withrow drew up the resolution at school board member Betty Jarvis’ request.

Jarvis said Wednesday she has fielded dozens of calls from teachers who feel they’ll be reprimanded if they criticize evolution theory in the classroom.

“We have to present all theories,” Jarvis said. “Creationism is a theory. A lot of science books deal only with evolution. Teachers are afraid to stray from the track.”

Karl Priest, an Andrew Jackson Middle School teacher who supports teaching creationism in schools, has gone to four school board meetings in the past year, urging board members to pass a resolution that would back teachers if they choose to expose “flaws” in evolution theory. School board members have put off Priest each time.

Priest said school board members were using “stalling tactics. There should be a part for teachers and students that questions evolution,” Priest said.

The school board plans to vote on the resolution at a December meeting. Board President John Luoni opposes it.

“We recognize there’s more than one point of view on the subject,” Luoni said. “But when in science class, we need to focus on science, not get off on other tangents.”

In 1987, school board members eliminated a policy that required teachers to give creation science equal time with evolution theory.

Ditty Markham, a counselor at Marmet Elementary School, sat on school board at the time and supported the policy change.

Markham said current school board members were “asking for problems” if they approve the resolution. She predicted groups on both sides of the debate would challenge it, “bogging down” the school board.

“It scares me when these kinds of things start creeping in,” Markham said. “They’re really opening up a door. They ought to stick to curriculum.”

Ken Pyles, a Methodist minister who teaches at Riverside High School, said school board members should trust teachers, not try to sway them on the issue.

“You don’t need the Board of Education telling you need to teach all sides,” Pyles said. “To have some big resolution, that’s demoralizing to education professionals. It’s undermining morale.”

Jewell Wilburn, a Grandview Elementary School teacher and president of the Kanawha County Education Association, said school board policy already addresses the teaching of controversial issues.

“If Mr. Priest’s intent is to tear down a scientific theory, I have problems with that,” Wilburn said. “The board would be opening up a can of worms. We would open ourselves up to national ridicule.”

School board member Pete Thaw doesn’t understand the fuss. He has read the resolution over and over. He sees nothing wrong with it.

“I can’t find anything objectionable in there,” Thaw said. “We have got to tell the kids there are two ideas. This is what we ought to be doing.”

In August, the Kansas Board of Education adopted new classroom science standards that do not require the teaching of evolution. Many scientists, educators and the state’s governor expressed outrage at the decision.

W.Va. Board May Lift Creationism Ban Friday October 15

By MARTHA BRYSON HODEL Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A proposal before a county school board would lift a ban on teaching the biblical story of creation.

The proposal, introduced by Kanawha County board member Betty Jarvis, was submitted for comment this week to principals and teachers of the 87 schools in the state's largest county.

“We have to present all theories,'' Jarvis told The Charleston Gazette. “Creationism is a theory. A lot of science books deal only with evolution. Teachers are afraid to stray from the track.''

Jarvis did not return telephone calls from The Associated Press.

The county board will vote on the proposal in December.

“The part that really disturbs me is the argument that 'this is the other theory,''' said Hilary Chiz, director of the West Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Creationism is not a scientific theory. It is a religious idea about human development, and this is simply a transparent scheme to teach religion in our schools,'' she said.

Creationism is the belief that a divine power created the universe in six days, while the theory of evolution holds that humans evolved from more primitive species.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled more than a decade ago that states cannot teach creationism. Since then, some creationists have turned to attacking evolution's validity.

Gov. Cecil Underwood, a former teacher, said he does not oppose teaching creationism in public schools.

“I think education is search for the truth. We need to look at all theories to decide what is the truth,'' Underwood said Thursday.

The Kansas State Board of Education sparked a national debate two months ago by approving science standards that de-emphasize evolution.

Intelligent design seen as key as evolution debate continues Baptist Press

By Lee Weeks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--As several state school systems wrangle over what to teach about the origin of life, a group of creationists say . . . . . click for (Link is no longer good. Karl 3-2021)

Subject: Praise & Prayer report Date: Thursday, November 11, 1999

We have been contacted by an outstanding (but, not nationally known) scientist from California who has offered to come, at his own expense, to speak and debate prior to, and at, the December showdown. PTL!

Details remain to be worked out so make this a matter of prayer.

Of course, we will want to reimburse him as much as possible.

Also, we have the promise (made to Bobby and I several months ago, of a prominent YEC author who is willing to come to Charleston to debate and speak. We have not contacted him regarding this issue.

It has become obvious that this is a fight that has national implications. The Gazette has lent its full force to fight us and principalities are throwing darts at a pace that will only increase. Please pray daily for the people who have stepped up to the front line and are engaged in this spiritual warfare.


This latest development in the unfolding controversy / debate in Charleston WV over a teacher's request the school board go on record permitting teachers to be critical of evolution science theory -- by pointing out its weaknesses. The school board vote December 16 on the issue---currently the board is split 3-2 in favor of not establishing a policy to clarify criticizing evolution -------- stay tuned-----

Subject: Grassroots Report (Evolutionist "Roars") Date: Thursday, December 02,

Below is an article sent to me by Dr. Fezer with a note saying he sent it to the Gazette which refused his proposal. He says his offer still stands if a willing newspaper is found of sufficient circulation.

Karl Priest

The Kanawha school board is scheduled to vote on a resolution that, in violation of the First Amendment and numerous court decisions, would allow science teachers to promote arguments based on biblical literalism. Karl Priest was and is the driving force behind this proposal. Now he has challenged me and others to debate Dr Joseph Mastropaolo, visiting from California, shortly before the Board vote. I refuse his invitation, but I offer a counterproposal that would give Priest the "level playing field" that he wants. A word of explanation: I have participated in three public debates with creationists, most recently with Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation

Research, which bills him as the world's leading creationist debater. At that event, the bused-in audience overflowed the auditorium before local college students even arrived. During the debate this audience cheered their champion and then, while I spoke, chattered. By agreeing to participate, I, in effect, enhanced what was a pep rally for creationists. I thought, and still think, that everything I said made a compelling case for evolution. For his part, Gish has a quick wit and, I have to admit, was more entertaining than I. In a circus, entertainment is what matters. After the debate I transcribed eleven minutes of Gish's remarks and analyzed them in detail. In those eleven minutes I found dozens of scholarly sins, such as false claims, misrepresentations, non sequiturs, and argument by bluster. On careful examination, not one of his arguments made any sense.

This analysis was published in a 17-page paper (available free to anyone who asks). As part of a friendly correspondence with Karl Priest, I sent him a copy and asked him to tell me if he could find anything unfair or unreasonable in my analysis. Evidently he could not, because he sent it on to Gish, leaving it to him to defend his own indefensible behavior. Eventually I heard from Priest, who said that Gish had explained everything to his satisfaction, but that "it would be futile" to summarize Gish's arguments for me because, said Priest, I am too biased to consider them objectively. So I have yet to hear specific criticisms of my paper.

"Creation science is a system of thought whose internal contradictions force its adherents, even those with scholarly credentials, into committing scholarly sins. Science is a very different system of thought. I believe that the scientific community must explain these differences to the public and document the scholarly sins of those who challenge the scientific consensus. But the scientific community must also explain to the public why there is a consensus on some matters, and why challenges to the consensus have been rejected. There are many books that do this.

The playing field is level. Creation scientists are free to submit research reports to reputable scientific journals. If they meet standards, they have as good a chance as others to get their work published. They also have their own vast publishing industry. That most of their material is judged to be of poor quality is not the fault of their critics. Nevertheless, I sympathize with their desire for a direct, public confrontation with the science they seek to "correct."

Better than a one-time oral debate would be a written one, spread over as long a time as needed, in which each side would have time to develop each argument carefully. My proposal depends on the willingness of a daily newspaper to commit one page a month to a written debate on this subject: up to half a page provided by each side. Each month's page would be limited to discussing one narrow, agreed-on topic.

The National Center for Science Education would appoint a coordinator for its contribution and the Institute for Creation Research (or the Creation Research Society) would appoint one for its side. These two persons would set an agenda and draw on the resources of their organizations. The actual authors could be anyone they select. Each side's monthly half-page contribution would consist of two parts:

(1) presentation of relevant facts and an analysis both of its own position and that of its opponent. This, together with appropriate documentation, would be submitted to the opposing coordinator in final form one month before publication. I'll call this the "primary piece."

(2) Commentary by each side on the opponent's primary piece and on anything from previous months. The first set of pieces could be published in March 2000 and could present differing conceptions of what science can and cannot do and of how the Bible should be interpreted. It would consider what is and what is not religious. The range of views on each side would be surveyed, but the debate would concentrate on positions taken by the debating organizations. Meanwhile, I urge the Kanawha school board to reject the proposed resolution at its meeting in December.

Karl D. Fezer, Emeritus Professor of Biology, Concord College, Athens and West Virginia liaison for the National Center for Science Education.


Be sure to see “Evolution is a Lie”.