Online opinion

13th May 2011 at 01:00
Readers respond to articles on the TESS Website

Re: "Donaldson ignites masters debate" (TESS, 29 April), how long before the requirement becomes a doctorate? More learning does not necessarily make better teachers. Some views of - and actions taken by - highly educated people can be downright alarming.


With reference to "One in 20 don't give a monkey's about Darwin" (TESS, 29 April), Clare Marsh is reported to have said: "Their rejection of evolution is as strange as freshers in physics rejecting Newton's laws of motion." As a physicist, I do not find this strange at all. Newton's laws are capable of modelling empirical data. It is a simple matter to test them and confirm they are accurate. This is not the case with "evolution". If we stick to observable changes, there is support for the mechanisms of Darwinism. However, extrapolating to the unobservable past faces problems. There are many biologists who are prepared to say that Darwinism is inadequate to explain biological innovation. Students need to be encouraged to examine these issues critically. Good teachers will help their students to develop a scientific mind - proposing and testing hypotheses and showing how theory relates to data.


If a textbook entitled Explore the Holocaust had been produced by evidence-denying "revisionists" with an equally dubious agenda, would James13 (TESS, 6 May) be as enthusiastic about that? Would he be chiding its critics for dismissing as "holocaust denial" any textbook not committed to the "hard sell" peddled in many other volumes? Would he be asking why historians were so afraid of "outstanding" books like Explore the Holocaust, that aired the "pros and cons" of accepting the overwhelming evidence available?

Keith Gilmour

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