[Editor’s note: The references have been added from the authors’ original manuscript.] We, the undersigned, oppose the Statement on Evolution passed by the Professional Concerns Committee of the Faculty Senate at Northern Kentucky University. Use of the term “evolution,” without clarifying that it refers to different processes, one fact and one theory, hinders both science and education and promotes confusion and misunderstanding.
The term “evolution” is used to refer to two different things. “Evolution” is used to refer to relatively minor variations or adaptations (e.g., changes in the size of finch beaks or the coloration of peppered moths). This is a proven scientific fact.
“Evolution” also is used to refer to the conjecture that, given sufficient time, these adaptive changes could be extended such that all creatures could have developed from a common ancestor. This is an unproven scientific theory (see Johnson, 1993 for a review).
Debate exists within the scientific community about evolution. Some evolutionists suggest that this latter type of evolution is not a matter of dispute among serious scientists, and is questioned only by those who are ignorant. But consider the example of Pierre Paul Grassé, author of Evolution of Living Organisms (1977). Theodosius Grigorievich Dobzhansky, a giant of the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, wrote of Grassé’s book:
[Its] purpose is to ‘destroy the myth of evolution, as a simple,understood, and explained phenomenon,’ and to show that evolutionis a mystery about which little is, and perhaps can be, known. Now one can disagree with Grassé but not ignore him. He is the most distinguished of French zoologists, the editor of the 28 volumes of Traité de Zoologie, author of numerous original investigations, and expresident of the Academie des Sciences. His knowledge of the living world is encyclopedic. (1975, p. 376)
In truth, it does not matter if most scientists accept or dispute the theory of evolution. In science, facts are not decided by vote, but by evidence. Consider two areas of evidence that pertain to the theory of evolution….
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