Tuesday, March 10, 1981
The Michigan Daily
Adam knew Eve
I can just see it now. A biology teacher ad-
dresses his high school science class in a
pidwestern public school.
"Good afternoon, class," he greets his pupils.
"Today we are going to discuss human repro-
The students, being normally giggly
adolescents, start to smirk and chuckle,
"Now, basically there are two ways to create
human babies," the teacher announces.
The students, who thought they knew all
about the one way, abruptly stop giggling and.
By Howard Witt
people," she bursts forth anxiously. "Does that
mean I'm pregnant?"
"According to the Bible, yes. According to
science, no. It's up to you to decide which you
want to believe," the teacher smiles.
"What if you're a virgin?" another student
"Well, that gets a little more complicated,"
the teacher warns solemnly. "According to
science, if you're a virgin you aren't pregnant.
According to the Bible, if you're a virgin you
probably aren't pregnant, but you might be
pregnant. It depends if you have known God."
The bell rings. "Remember, everyone,
tomorrow you'll be tested on the three ways to
cross a body of water," the teacher calls out.
The dazed students file slowly out of the
AN ABSURD, blasphemous situation?
Yes-but it's not as far fetched as you might
think. For if the allegory of Adam and Eve is
forced into the public school science classroom,
can the biblical "facts" about procreation and
the parting of oceans be far behind?
Make no mistake-Adam and Eve could be
well on their way to public school. Just last
week, the debate pitting Charles Darwin's
Theory of Evolution against the biblical ver-
sion of divine creation once again surfaced in a
courtroom, 56 years and thousands of miles
away from the sultry Dayton, Tennessee scene
of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.
IN A CASE that threatened to undermine not
only legitimate science curricula in public
schools across the country but the venerable
separation of church and state as well, "scien-
tific creationists" (as these new fundamen-
talist champions of Adam and Eve call them-
selves) opened a conspicuous assault on Dar-
win in a Sacramento courtroom. They sought to
require California teachers to acknowledge
that more than one theory of creation, namely
the biblical version, exists.
Fortunately, they lost - for now. But the
creationists will certainly be back; the
Sacramento case was only the latest in a series
of invidious attempts to radically alter public
school science programs in nearly two dozen
states, where fundamentalists are pushing
THE CREATIONISTS, many of whom are
accredited biologists, want the biblical line
taught right alongside the evolutionary theory
because, they claim, there is no more evidence
to support the bearded, 19th-century English
naturalist than there is documentation to prove
the existence of a foliated, primordial pair.
They have formed several think-tanks, one of
which is located in Ann Arbor, to collect and
publish data that purport to disprove the
evolutionary theory. Fueled by the vociferous
support of conservativeaChristian groups such
as the Moral Majority and the influential ad-
vocacy of Presidential Candidate Ronald
Reagan, the creationist movement has picked
up frightening momentum.
turn to one another in confusion.
"FIRST, AS I'M sure you all have heard,
there is the sexual method of reproduction, in
which the male and female engage in inter-
course and nine months later a baby is born,"
the teacher affirms.
The students start giggling again.
"And then there is the biblical version of
preproduction, in which a man knows a woman
and then she begets a child," the teacher
The giggling halts again and a deathly quiet
)uffocates the room. One boy raises his hand
"D'you mean that you could make a baby
just by knowin' somebody?" he asks.
"According to science, no. But according to
the Bible, yes. For example, you've heard
tCain knew his wife, and she begat Enoch.'
It's really very simple," the teacher answers.
- A GIRL JUMPS up. "But I know a lot of
HAILING THEIR constitutional right to
religious freedom, the creationists consistently
argue that the Book of Genesis deserves equal
time in the public schools.
That is a terribly sad corruption of the First
Amendment, which was never intended to
equate religious mythology with scientific
theory - especially a theory strongly suppor-
ted by anthropologial evidence that is over-
whelmingly accepted by the international
Of course, the theory of evolution has not
been absolutely proven; that is why it is called
a theory. But it is skewed logic to maintain that
such an eminently plausible theory must share
the public school limelight with a biblical
story for which there is no physical evidence.
FAITH IS FINE, but it's not science. If those
who believe Martians dropped the first man
and woman onto Earth had as large a following
CLINT EASTWOOD (left) may not have intended his film "Any Which Way You Can" to be an
evolutionary statement, but it's hard to deny the similarities between man and ape when con-
fronted with this startling photograph from the movie.
as the Christians do, we might be hearing
arguments about "The Little Green Man
Theory of Creation."
And therein, fortunately, is exposed the
Achille's Heel to this Adam and Eve argument.
The creationists acknowledge they can't
produce much hard evidence favoring divine
creation, and have chosen instead to assail the
evolutionary theory as insupportable. They are
swinging wildly, according to the vast body of
secular biologists, and their criticisms are pet-
ty at best.
There is a reason why the theory of evolution
is taught in America's public schools: It
represents the best scientific explanation for a
set of observable data. Until another, better,
more scientifically verifiable theory is deduced
to replace it, the evolutionary theory should be
Christian dogma and Martian fantasy aren't
quite there yet.
Howard Witt is a Daily staff writer. His
column appears every Tuesday.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
U. S. military out ofF! Salvador
Vol. XCI, No. 128
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Anothervictim of the law
For only the fourth time in the last
decade, a human life has been
willfully and purposefully extinguished
at the hands of the government. Steven
Judy, the convicted murderer of a
woman and her three children was
electrocuted early yesterday morning
in a state prison just over the Michigan
border, in Michigan City, Indiana.
Despite the rare application of the
death penalty since the fifties, the at-
tention it has gotten from the press has
already subsided somewhat since the
hysteria generated by the 1977 killing
of Gary Gilmore. And if certain state
legislatures and the new leaders of the
Congress get their way, individual
executions will no. longer be con-
sidered even a bit newsworthy - there
will be far too many going on.
Steven Judy, like two of the other
= three killers executed in the last few
years, said he wanted to die; he
preferred that fate to the prospect of
spending most or all of the rest of his
life in prison. Yet, contrary to the
rhetoric of many conservative obser-
vers of Judy's case, his willingness to
go to the chair is not the issue. The only
relevant question is whether the state
has any business terminating the lives
of its citizens. We again submit that it
A majority of the American public
still favors capital punishment; it
evidently believes it can only be
adequately safe from repeat offenders
if murderers are themselves killed. If
they cared to, proponents of the death
penalty would notice that there is at
least one state that has humanely
eliminated the problem of convicted
murderers murdering again:
The state's penal system is so
careful about the convicts it releases
that recidivism has effectively been
stopped without resort to brutality.
The conservative wave that
produced last November's election
results might appear to be inevitable,
but a return to state-sponsored killings
is one unseemly development that
could well be averted. With the facts
before the public, and Michigan's suc-
cess as an example, the tide of this
cruel, unusual, and inhuman punish-
ment may yet be stemmed.
To the Daily:
The U.S. government has
decided to increase its military
personnel in El Salvador to 54,
along with helicopters and other
military-oriented hardware, in a
move to enhance the possible vic-
To teSport J
To the Daily:
Students registering for classes
will need to decide once again
whether to check-off the $1 con-
tribution box for the Public In-
terest Research Group in
Michigan on their tuition fee car-
I thought it might be helpful to
share with your readers my ex-
periences with this student-based
organization. For the past six
years, I have frequently worked
with PIRGIM staff and volun-
teers on a host of consumer
protection issues including
changes in tenant/landlord
statutes and energy and utility
reforms. I have been impressed
with their grasp of the issues,
dedication to the public interest
and willingness to work long
hours to ensure that their con-
stituency is represented in the
tory of the present military
government over the freedom
It is interesting to see that war-
nings of aid cuts have been issued
to the Nicaraguan government by
the United States in order to stop
PIRGIM is an increasingly
credible and important voice in
the halls of the Michigan
Legislature. Without this voice,
the public would be without con-
sistent and adequate advocates
in many cases.
The University's ad-
ministrastion has set up a fun-
ding mechanism for PIRGIM
during student registration which
gives all students the opportunity
to contribute $1 effortlessly to
I urge all students to carefully
reflect on PIRGIM's significant
contributions and then to decide
to contribute $1 for their very own
-Kent S. Wilcox
them from supplying the
revolutionaries in El Salvador
with equipment. Many
similarities exist in the political
process undergone in Nicaragua
and the existing struggle in El
Where does the State Depar-
tment find the ethics to issue such
warnings? the Sandinista gover-
nment should ignore U.S. "tough
guy" prattle and continue to sup-
port the people of El Salvador.
The State Department has tried
to ameliorate this question of
ethics with its usual stand: sup-
port an existing democracy. It is
difficult to characterize the
current government of El
Salvador - with its workers'
unrest and its disregard for the
needs of the population - as
The Nicaraguan lesson is
clear: a regime will not be
tolerated if its goals are not hand
in hand with the desires of its
constituents. The U.S. continues
to escalate its "proxy war" in El
I can only despair at the expen-
diture - estimated at $25 million
and the consequences of such:
more deaths and economic
destructiovin El Salvador.
Such an amount of money
would benefit more the ear-
thquake victims in Italy who still
live in worm-infested lodgings
due to lack of support funds. For
humanity's sake invest in life, not
United States out of El
Of apes and men
To the Daily:
As a minister's son, I feel
obligated to speak out on the
evolution versus creationism in
school texts controversy.
Current texts show a picture of
a naked man next to an ape, and
people think: "Yup, looks
like. . . " But if they showed a
naked woman next to an ape,
people would realize God is in His
heaven, and He does good work.
Reagan budget benefits everyone
To the Daily:
After reading your editorial en-
titled "Democratic opposition to
budget plan threatens 'poor,"
(Daily, March 7) it becomes ob-
vious that the Daily editorial staff
is not only composed of economic
illiterates, but is totally out of
touch with reality.
The statement that President
Reagan's economic plan is based
on untested theory and is really
an economic gamble is
meaningless. Low taxes, a
minute amount of government in-
tervention, and no federal deficit,
all essential parts of the Reagan
plan, worked for this nation for
150 years, and will enable this
country to become as rich and
prosperous as it once was.
Besides, every economic plan
is a gamble, but it has been quite
a long time since a president's
economic policy has had the
support that Reagan's plan has.
It makes a lot more sense to take
this "gamble" than to stay on our
present course - the road to
economic collapse. If this "gam-
ble" succeeds the winners will
be not just "the wealthy" but
everyone in this country.
The threat to the poor is not the
Reagan economic plan, but the
incredible inflation and tax
policies brought on by 50 years of
governmental erosion of the free
market system. The poor will
benefit more from reduced in-
flation and taxes than they will
from increased spending to sub-
sidize them. The long-standing
tradition of subsidization of this
nation's poor has given them no
incentive to better their economic
position. Government money
makes it easy for the poor to
remain at the same economic
It must be pointed out that
Reagan's proposed "cuts" are
not actually cuts, but reductions
in the projected Carter spending
increases for these programs.
Also, most of these programs are
nothing more than crutches for
the middle and lower middle
classes, not the truly needy.
The reason that most
Democrats are going along with
Reagan's budget cuts (and in fact
proposing more of them), is that
they, unlike the Daily editorial
staff, recognize that the people of
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