The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 15, 2006

'Where we stand'

By Althea Peterson

Transcript Staff Writer

Discussions are evolving on evolution in Oklahoma.

The University of Oklahoma Department of Zoology recently released a statement on evolution, which received unanimous support among its faculty. The statement begins “Evolution is a fact. Evolutionary theory is a cornerstone of biology.” Bill Matthews, director of the department, said the department included all faculty on the discussion before releasing the statement April 19.

“The faculty felt it was important that it showed where we stand on the issue,” Matthews said.

Ola Fincke, zoology professor who drew up the original draft of the statement, said calling evolution a “fact” probably surprises many in the public. However, she said it is the sole explanation for organism creation that can be tested, but has not been proven wrong.

“There is no valid alternative to evolution,” Fincke said.

This statement only comes one month after Oklahoma State University’s department of zoology released a similar statement on zoology, which received support from OSU’s faculty council. Stan Fox, regents professor of zoology at OSU, said their faculty also composed the statement as a group.

“It was in response to the pressure to put intelligent design in the curriculum,” Fox said. “We of course agree with OU that evolution is a cornerstone of biology.”

The difference between the two is a matter of science versus supernatural, said Matt Loven, OSU assistant professor of zoology.

“Among scientists, there is no controversy to evolution,” Loven said. “We believe it is an important part of education. I’m really excited to see that OU finally released a statement. The fact that two major universities agree on this is great.”

However, some do not feel that this news is “great.” Representative Thad Balkman, R-Norman, said the statement seems to exclude any other explanations to organism creation.

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