Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dr. Hill's letter to Rep. Dank

Rep. Odilia Dank February 10, 2006
2300 North Lincoln Blvd
Room 408
Oklahoma City, OK 73105'

Dear Rep. Dank:

I understand that bills are likely to be considered by the state legislature during the current session which will pertain to the teaching of creationism and intelligent-design in the tax-supported (public) schools.

As one trained in science (undergraduate degree in Paleontology from Caltech and UCLA) and in religion studies (Yale U. PhD.) and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) with nearly forty years of teaching in the latter field (Indiana U. and U. of Tulsa), I feel qualified to say

Creationism is a scientific theory (it offers an explanation for observable and testable phenomena just as all scientific theories do).
Other theories have been selected by modern science as more adequate. All scientific theories are only tentative, however convincing a particular one may be in giving a comprehensive explanation for the observable.

I can see no barrier to including creationism in a course taught by an scientifically trained teacher as a scientific theory--so long as the others developed by humans in a variety of cultures and modern scientific theories are included also.

Each theory should be described and put in its cultural and its historical context.

When this is done, that particular theory of the creation of a cosmic order derived from that ancient culture which eventually was incorporated in the Jewish and Christian Bibles is recognized as having been selected among scientific theories by those who have an emotional and theological commitment to the infallibility/inherency of those Bibles. Their primary motive is not scientific but religious.
They fear that the rejection of the first chapter of Genesis means rejection of the authority of the Bible.

"Intelligent design" is known to all philosophers as a philosophical (not scientific) theory and has no place in any academic treatment of science but is more than legitimate in courses in philosophy.

It is not derived from "creationism", is not a variant of "creationism" and is not a synonym for "creationism".

It is commonly know by philosophers [and long before there was any Judaism or Christianity] as "the argument from design". This is an "argument" or proposition that observable design must be the consequence of a designer. This argument is used by certain theologians ["theology" is a subset of "philosophy"] to define the Ultimate as Ultimate Mind or Designer--and popularly called, "God".
in English.

I suggest that each bill proposed be tested by the above definitions.

Harold E. Hill
1625 South Lewis Place
Tulsa OK 74104-5122
918 744 6389

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