Letter: Efforts to put pseudoscience in Utah high schools are shameful

(Lucy Young | The Associated Press) In this photo taken Friday, Jan. 15, 2010, Royal Society librarian Keith Moore holds the manuscript of 'Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton' by William Stukeley, pointing to the word 'gravitation', in London. An 18th-century account of how a falling piece of fruit helped Isaac Newton develop the theory of gravity is being posted to the Web on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010, making scans of the fragile paper manuscript widely available to the public for the first time.

I am embarrassed by the Utah Board of Education’s efforts to put pseudoscience in high school curricula. Anyone who doesn’t even know what “theory” means in scientific parlance, as they clearly don’t, is entirely unqualified to decide what our children should be taught as science.

Gravity is “just a theory,” yet no one argues that we should teach a bogus alternative. We know that evolution happens; the only debate is the particulars of how.

I assume board members’ opposition to evolution stems from Mormon beliefs. I’m also a Mormon and, like the biology professors at BYU and thousands of other Mormons, I have no problem accepting evolution as the obvious explanation for the diversity of life on this planet. So-called intelligent design is not scientifically valid and has no place being taught as such. Many high school students will figure this out on their own and rightly come to distrust their teachers, and then theism altogether.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The Religion that is afraid of science dishonours God and commits suicide.”

There really is no excuse for this level of willful ignorance about something that has been so well-established since before anyone reading this was born.

Christopher Randall Nicholson, Logan