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Open Letter

Dear Texas Board of Education:

I would like to spend a moment explaining to you why I like science, since you obviously fail to understand how it works.

Science is built upon finding explanations for what we observe in the world around us. These explanations start with a hypothesis, then get researched with experiments. Based on the legitimacy of the experiments, and its results, the hypothesis may be proven or disproven. If it continues to be proven, a theory is born, and humanity inches a little closer to understand more about the world it lives in.

This is very simplified, of course, but I state it this way since you seem to believe that evolution is a fly-by-night fantasy that has many logical holes.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Like all scientific theories, evolution has undergone much research. And, as new results are found, the theory changes and develops. Currently, there is nothing about evolution that cannot be supported by evidence. I am not a biologist, but I can speak to the truth of this, not only because I am a scientist, but because I understand the scientific method.

You see, the scientific method is a wonderful thing. It lets you make a guess — any guess, although educated ones tend to be more successful — and work towards proving it. If the evidence supports it, and the results can be reproduced reliably, then knowledge increases. As a teenager, this method lit the fires of my curiosity, and those fires burn bright even today. Indeed, this is the true lesson to be taken from any scientific endeavor: curiosity. Asking questions, researching them, finding an answer, and develping it into something that can improve humanity or progress our understanding of the world.

This brings me to your recent discussion about introducing the topics of creationism and intelligent design in your science classes. It is disappointing and discouraging, because these are not things founded in the scientific method. There is no evidence supporting their hypothesis, and there is no research on these topics that even comes close to casting doubt on the well-established theory of evolution.

If you truly cared about your students and their science education, you would instead foster their curiosity. Explain to them the scientific method, and then get them to think critically about what they are being taught. Chances are, at least one would bring up the topic of creationism and intelligent design on their own. This is the perfect launching pad into the discussion of the scientific method, and why these ideas fall so incredibly short of being taken seriously compared to evolution.

In fact, I invite you to encourage your students to question everything they are taught in their science classes. They should understand that what they are being taught is fact and knowledge to the best of our understanding, but that new ideas are always welcome. New research, new evidence — new curiosity — is our greatest asset.

You have no right to single out evolution, or the unsupported counter-arguments of creationism or intelligent design. This sends an inappropriate message that not only are scientific ideas set in stone, but that creationism and intelligent design are on the same level as evolution. This is not true — and I would hope that you realize it is not true. And if that is the case, it reveals that you don’t actually care about your student’s knowledge or curiosity: you care about furthering your own agenda of spreading these most unscientific of ideas.

And even worse, if you in fact don’t realize the message you are sending, then it becomes clear that you are not fit to dictate what your students learn in your school district, because you don’t even understand the core concepts yourselves. If this is the truth, then is it any wonder why we trail the rest of the developed world in education?

Thank you for your time.

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