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If you teach introductory biology, you've probably heard this refrain at least once: `I had to learn it, but I don't believe it.' The `it,' of course, is evolution. The admission usually comes at the end of the semester, when grades are safely in. Invariably, when you ask why, the student cites religious belief. Somebody once said, if you're not prepared to have your basic ideas challenged, you don't belong in college. I don't expect students to accept everything they learn, but in this case, I'd like to think the logic of evolution is as simple as apples falling from trees. Yet, despite my best efforts at marshalling mountains of hard data and explaining the consistency in scientific reasoning between disciplines--be it chemistry, biology, or geology--some students simply won't accept Darwin. The germ theory of disease and the cell theory are okay, but evolution is still "just a theory." Evolution deniers are frustrating, even maddening, especially when they're so young and should be open to new ideas. But what should I do when one of them asks for a letter of recommendation to medical school, graduate school, or worse--a preparatory program in science education? Sure she got an A in the course, but by denying evolution in the face of all the evidence, the student fails a much more important test--a fundamental understanding of the nature of science and the standards by which it operates. Michael Dini, Texas Tech University biologist and reportedly devout Christian, agrees, so he refuses to write letters in...
Source Citation (MLA 8 th Edition)
Palevitz, Barry A. "Letters of recommendation: from God or Darwin? (Opinion)." The Scientist, 10 Mar. 2003, p. 16. Academic OneFile, Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
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