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Respect needed

April 3, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 14

It was with great consternation that I read the Insights column (C&EN, Jan. 30, page 43) titled "What's Next in the Evolution Debate?" While I am a firm believer in evolutionary theory (and yes, like so many of our scientific tenets, it is still a theory), I found C&EN's tone both insulting—applauding the legal "smack upside the head" for those who supported intelligent design—and ignorant—"teach the controversy" is meaningless when there is no scientific controversy—to C&EN readers.

What many in this debate fail to see are the bold philosophical notions that either theory presents. There are questions here that have been posed for centuries, albeit much more eloquently, by the likes of René Descartes and Blaise Pascal.

While I have personal biases and faults like everyone else, I have been exposed to more than just "science," and certainly to many "theories." I have had to face the reality that even though I do not agree with someone else's beliefs, I can at least respect them. This is why I applaud the El Tejon School District in Lebec, Calif., for introducing a course called "Philosophy of Design." This is precisely what is needed: exposure and dialogue in the form of philosophy! How sinister could this be?

C&EN's statement, "Humanities classes may also represent a new frontier for antievolutionists," speaks volumes about how much we all need to learn before we can accept, and respect, each other.

Jason D'Acchioli
Ithaca, N.Y.


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