Statement on Friday’s “Debate” of Darwin’s Theory

We note that this week Friday, 21 October, a “debate” on the viability of Darwin’s theory of evolution is scheduled to take place on our campus between two philosophers of science. While we, the faculty of the School of Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s University, recognize that academic freedom is an essential characteristic of institutions of higher education and that civil discourse is an important educational goal in a free, democratic society, we also recognize our scientific duty to comment on issues, events, and forums on our campus that fall within the realm of science and for which the scientific community has a clear point of view.

To that end, we note that our science faculty are not involved in the event itself nor in its organization or promotion. Although the philosophers involved in the event may identify philosophical issues for debate, we do not recognize any legitimate scientific issues up for debate with respect to evolutionary theory.

We write to state clearly that the theory of evolution has undergone significant review in the scientific literature and remains the best, most coherent explanation of the observed development of life on Earth. While specific mechanisms within evolutionary theory remain the subject of modern research, we reiterate that subject of evolution itself is not up for debate in the scientific community.

Numerous scientific societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Astronomical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Physics, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the National Academy of Sciences, have issued statements on the subject of evolution and intelligent design, confirming the demonstrated success of the former and rejecting the scientific viability of latter. The undersigned faculty in the School of Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s University fully embrace this point of view.

  • Dr. Gary A. Morris, Dean of Natural Sciences
  • Dr. Eamonn F. Healy, Professor of Chemistry
  • Dr. Richard Kopec, Associate Dean of Natural Sciences and Professor of Chemistry and Computer Science
  • Dr. William Quinn, Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Dr. Tricia Shepherd, Chair and Professor of Chemistry
  • Dr. Patricia Baynham, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Dr. Lisa Goering, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Dr. Charles Hauser, Associate Professor of Bioinformatics
  • Dr. David Wright, Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics
  • Dr. Raychelle Burks, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Dr. Santiago A. Toledo, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • Dr. Barbara Dugleby, Director of the Wild Basin Creative Research Center
  • Dr. Sughangi Ghosh, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

This post appeared in the Wednesday, 19 October 2016 edition of Hilltop Views.

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