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LETTER: Creationist opinion alienates students

On March 5, 2013

 

To the editor:

 

Religion here at USU is often a shared experience between students. I have no issue with this. Some choose to pursue the study of religion at an academic level. I have no issue with this. Richard Winters, however, has chosen to use the Statesman to downgrade evolution to a “scientific plausibility.” As a biology major, I have an issue with this.

Evolution is not belief, evolution is not incompatible with religion, but it is not a religion itself — when filling out forms I do not put “evolutionist” in the religion box. Evolution is an extremely well-studied phenomenon that it seems Winters knows very little about. For example, the key idea of the Galapagos finches studied by Charles Darwin is a bit more complicated than “these finches changed over time as a result of natural selection.” Certainly, this happened, but the point of the observation that these birds have a range of different beak sizes, but are very similar in other ways demonstrated that the birds evolved from a common ancestor and adapted to different diets, and by natural selection evolved different beaks to eat these diets more efficiently. If Winters understood this concept he would have no need to ask “Where did these finches come from?” They come from an ancestral finch with a generalized plain boring beak and divergently evolved into the many different, yet similar, species seen today.

I am bothered that this newspaper promotes such talk. Students attend USU to discover subjects like astronomy, biology, political science, computer science and philosophy and explore them in a non-religious context. We have the Logan Institute of Religion to ponder such questions as the existence of God. Winters states that he has “no intention of preaching” but closes his piece with “All of existence testifies of (God) and logic and reason defy any other thought.”

If the Statesman continues to run things that insist that feminism and women’s rights aren’t worth supporting, homosexuality is immoral and that we must “understand that we have more in common with God than a gorilla,” then it undermines this university’s reputation as a place of learning, critical inquiry and acceptance of all people. I like this school and don’t want that to happen. I understand that this is just an opinion column, but I feel that The Statesman is not the place for opinions that alienate so many of our students.

 

Chelan Rogers

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