Daily Kent Stater

Evolution is more than a theory; it’s a proven fact

Dear Editor,

It was pleasing to read the Stater’s forceful editorial that identified the attempt by the minority religious right to establish religion in our public school classrooms. It is frightening to see legislators and school boards cave in to these forces of ignorance.

There were some statements in the editorial that should be clarified. First, the Georgia school board and the Stater state that evolution is a “theory.” A common variant of this statement is: “Evolution is just a theory.” Both of these statements are wrong and demonstrate a misunderstanding of the words “fact” and “theory.” Evolution is a fact, easily demonstrated through the observation and outcome of experiments.

It is a fact that is not doubted in science. There is no controversy about it. A theory in science is an explanation of facts, and a prediction of their future behavior. A scientific theory must be testable and is always provisional. The strength of a theory is measured by its stability in the face of testing.

Natural selection is the theory that explains the fact of evolution. It has never been falsified. It is one of the most well-tested and strongest theories in science.

Second, evolutionary theory, or natural selection, is not about the origin of life. It is completely silent on that issue. So far, the origin of life is unknown to everyone, and at this point any statement to the contrary is pure speculation. There is no evidence that some supernatural force created life.

All of us must be especially vigilant regarding attempts to inject ideas that are free of evidence and cannot be tested — such as Creationism or Intelligent Design — into science classrooms. Shame on those parents, educators and school boards who have allowed this to happen.

G. Dennis Cooke

Emritus professor, biological sciences


Reader applauds smoking policy

Dear Editor:

I feel compelled to respond to the January 19 Our View by congratulating Kent Interhall Council and Residence Services for passing a resolution regarding smoking outside of residence halls.

You state in your opinion that people should but out of a person’s right to smoke. You also acknowledge the wealth of information regarding the harms of second-hand cigarette smoke. As I see it, the latter trumps the former. No, it isn’t because I don’t smoke — it’s because this is a public health issue and not a rights issue.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with current smokers, former smokers, and smokers who have tried to quit but started up again. I realize how addictive nicotine is and how difficult it is to quit. As a friend of mine says, “It’s the smoke that’s the enemy, not the smoker.”

I believe that sums it up, and I encourage those of you who have an inclination to blame smokers to consider that most smokers, at some point, want to quit smoking.

Finally, for those of you thinking of quitting, I urge you to consider one of the many cessation resources available to you in Portage County.

As for you smoking at Kent State, I am happy both as a public health professional and as a proud alumnus to see that Kent State Residence Services has again taken a lead with regards to providing a safe and healthy environment for its students and staff.

As for your readers, I think they should know that according to a survey done on campus, 70 percent of Kent State students prefer to socialize in a smoke-free environment, and we all know that residence halls are a huge place to socialize.

As my friends in Cleveland like to say: “Clean indoor air!” It’s about health. It’s about time.

Aaron Bohannon

Coordinator, Portage County Tobacco Prevention Coalition