An Open Message For Public School Teachers

To all of you who are teaching now (or who have ever taught), may this long overdue message of deepest love and gratitude reach your listening ears.

In the years my family spent attending public schools, gratitude was expressed almost daily by my clear mother for all the teachers were teaching us that she couldn't teach us herself.

Teachers, you must hear it loud and clear in every state of our beloved America -- Thank you for what you gave and are giving to our children! You are making an inestimable contribution to the true substance of our great nation.

Thank you with all my heart.

--Louise Phelps Byers

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Evolution Is Scientific Fact

I don't usually write in response to readers' letters in magazines, but feel I must respond to George Schmidt ("Evolution Isn't Fact," December Church & State Letters).

Mr. Schmidt is obviously operating under the same misconception as creationists -- that evolution occurs is a theory. Stephen Jay Gould, not exactly a Darwinian evolutionist, puts it best when he states that evolution is as accepted as scientific fact as the one that says the Earth revolves around the sun. Therefore, Church & State is entirely justified in including the creationism v. evolution in schools debate in its articles.

But before Mr. Schmidt fires off a response, let me clarify. While evolution is a fact, the mechanism by which it occurs is not. Whether the driving force is natural selection, punctuated equilibrium, catastrophism, some other mechanism or a combination of any or all of them is open to debate. This is the theory of evolution (wrongly termed "philosophy" by creationists).

So evolution is correctly included in school curricula and creationism, a totally unscientifically based idea, is excluded. I will admit, though, that the distinction between the fact of evolution and the theories of its mechanics, science-based though they are, is too often not made clear by educators.

--P. A. Nichols

Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Evolution: Not A Philosophy

George Schmidt tells us that evolution is a philosophy (December Church & State Letters). Evolution is a theory born of long and intensive scientific investigation into the cosmic and terrestrial life of the universe.

As a theory, evolution may not be a proven fact, but its scientific probings and conclusions approach reason closely enough to be accepted as unproven fact.

Americans United is not only fighting for evolution in...

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