Evolution Controversy

When I came to the US, I was very surprised to find out that a lot of people here consider the theory of evolution to be wrong of “just a theory” (the word “theory” as used by laymen is very different from its scientific use.) I come from a country (Pakistan) where most people do not believe in evolution, but I had better hopes of the US. Now comes the story of a student who’s suing a biology Professor for not giving recommendations to students who do not believe in evolution. According to the AP,

[T]he Liberty Legal Institute … calls Dini’s policy “open religious bigotry.”

“Students are being denied recommendations not because of their competence in understanding evolution, but solely because of their personal religious beliefs,” said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for the institute.

The student had this to say:

“It’s a theory. You read about it in textbooks. I could explain the process, maybe how some people say it happens, but I could not have said … I believe in it,” Spradling said Wednesday. “I really don’t see how believing in the evolution of humanity has anything to do with patient care or studying science.”

Eugene Volokh thinks it’s a complex case and gives arguments for and against based on legality and academic ethics. But I like what CalPundit had to say about this:

I would venture to say that belief in creationism indicates a striking lack of competence in understanding evolution, but hey, that’s just me.

Of course, I also wouldn’t recommend someone who didn’t believe in general relativity to a physics program, or someone who thought the Earth was 10,000 years old to a geology program. Blinkered of me, I know….

Volokh Conspiracy has a number of posts and readers’ comments about this case (1, 2, 3, 4).

UPDATE: Patrick Nielsen Hayden had a short post on this and the comments there are worth reading.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer