Letter to SBOE

A letter sent to the SBOE during the lead up to their initial January 2009 vote on science standards.

Dear Members of the State Board of Education,

My name is Joel Walker, and I am an assistant professor of physics at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX.

Since completion of my Ph.D. in theoretical physics at Texas A&M in 2005, I have accumulated three and a half years of experience teaching physics and planetary astronomy at the university level.

I am writing to you as a concerned private citizen of the state in support of the adoption of the proposed Earth and Space Science (ESS) course standards.

The stars (both in the magnitude of their distance and in the measurable rate of their recession) and the Earth itself (within its geological strata and also by proportion of radio emitting isotopes) testify in unison to the great age of our planet and universe.

Science cannot, nor should any instructor of science, deny the possibility of a creator. However, it is love of truth - a point of common ground with those who approach this debate as a matter of religious faith - which makes the scientist revolt against the obscuring of basic observed facts about the world in which we live. Surely science must proceed with skepticism, debate, and a free airing of disparate interpretations and views, but this cannot be a blind behind which unreasonable doubts reduce society to absurd agnosticism against observed fact. All men are free to believe in God. No man may deny that the older and deeper places of the Earth hold the remains of primitive creatures which increase in variety and complexity as the hand of geological time winds forward.

I am well aware of the arguments offered in scientific adornment by the advocates of young earth creationism, and I suggest to this panel that they are without scientific merit.

I would further suggest in a sincere spirit that the goals of any parent who wishes to pass their religious faith on to the next generation are best served by actively acknowledging the role of natural processes in their creation oriented world view.

Joel W. Walker

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