In the Feb. 4 edition of The York Dispatch, Larry Hicks wrote an opinion column concerning the Freedom From Religion Foundation's newly erected "Praise Darwin" billboard in Dover. While I agree with Hicks that both sides of the Evolution/Creationism (or Intelligent Design ... same thing) debate tend to get a bit touchy about opposing views and freedom of speech, there are a number of common misconceptions perpetuated in his editorial that I would like to clarify.

First, the issue of Evolution versus Creationism is not a debate between Christians and atheists. It's a debate between Creationists and Evolutionists. Framing it as a debate between Christians and atheists not only trivializes the issue by stereotyping each side, but it is inaccurate and dishonest.

Not all those who accept the theory of evolution are atheists. Far from it. Biology professor Kenneth R. Miller, a key witness for the plaintiffs in the Dover trial, is a Roman Catholic. Nor are all those who do not accept it Christians. The sides consist of those who accept the scientific evidence with its resulting theory and those who do not.

In addition, though the "battle" was won in the Dover case (though not by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which was not involved), it is absolutely not over, and the Creationism proponents have most assuredly not "accepted their loss" or "licked their wounds and moved on."

Since the Dover verdict, there have been multiple challenges throughout the country related to this exact issue, one just recently in Texas.


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The Creationist movement refuses to give up, instead continuing their attempts to corrupt the teaching of science by claiming that supernatural explanations should be placed on equal footing with exhaustively researched evidence.

So not letting "well enough alone" is an accusation that should be leveled against the Creationist movement. It is because they won't "let well enough alone" that the scientific community has to continually spend an absurd amount of time defending science against the Creationists' misinformation.

Though I agree with Hicks that the display of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's billboard is a freedom of speech issue, the issue of Evolution versus Creationism in our classrooms is not. Nor is it an issue of separation of church and state. It is about education standards and intellectual honesty. Anyone who has followed this issue even passively has probably heard that the scientific community generally has no problems with Creationism being taught in schools in a philosophy class or a comparative religion class. It simply has no place in science class ... because it is not science. That is the real issue.

I have no doubt that the Freedom From Religion Foundation chose Dover as one of the locations for their billboards because of the fame that Dover now has due to the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. I'm sure it's not personal. It's not a matter of wanting to "rub salt in the wounds" of Christians in Dover. It's a matter of effectiveness. Location. Location. Location.

Hicks says that placing the billboard in Dover is obnoxious and rude and that it has everything to do with respect. He says, "Isn't that what the non-believers were accusing Dover Christians of five years ago? A lack of respect for their point of view."

No. It wasn't. Again Hicks perpetuates a common misconception. The "non-believers" were accusing the Dover school board of corrupting the science education of their children.

The Creationists continually peddle the idea that supernatural explanations are scientific.

And that is what's obnoxious.

Dan Gilbert is a resident of Red Lion.