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August12,2013 GreaterAtlantaChristianSchool 1575IndianTrailRoad Norcross,GA30093 Dr.DavidFincherPresident Mr.ScottHarshHighSchoolPrincipal Dr.MistyOvermanJuniorHighPrincipal Dearall: GreaterAtlantaChristianhaslongchampioneditselfasaschoolofstellaracademicaccomplishment. ThisreputationisseenintheawardsandscholarshipsearnedannuallybyGACstudents,anditis reflectedintheachievementsofGACalumni. Nonetheless,suchareputationforacademicexcellencecanstillbetarnishedifthelessonstaughtfailto meettheeducationalstandardsoftheirownsubjectsifhistoryclassesweretoteachfantasy,orEnglish classestoignoregrammar,orforscienceclassestopromotepseudoscience.Andunfortunately,itnow appearsthatGAChasfallenvictimtothatlastoffense.

Thesubjectofevolutioninschoolshasanextendedhistory,andyetdespiteitslongevityitremainsa pointofcontentionforsome.Toofferonebenchmark,theScopesTrialwasin1925,atatimewhen evolutionwasalreadytheacceptedscientificoriginformankind.Amongthemorerecentdevelopments insciencearethediscoveryoftheneutron(1932),thediscoveryofnuclearfission(1939),thediscovery ofDNA(1953),andthetheoryofplatetectonics.Infact,backin1925,thenotionthattherewere galaxiesoutsidetheMilkyWaywasstillabrandnewandcontroversialclaimtoday,theexistenceof multiplegalaxiesisafoundationalaspectofastronomy,andnoeducatedpersoninsiststhatourgalaxyis theonlyone.Yetwhiletheseandotherfindingsarenowuniversallyaccepted,thescienceofevolution continuestoreceiveresistancefromsomeportionsofthegeneralpublic. Thatisdespitethefactthatthenumberofprehistorichumanfossilsalonehasexplodedinthelastninety years,withmultipleremainsdiscoveredofHomoerectus,Homohabilus,Homoneanderthalensis, andAustralopithecusafarensis(e.g.,Lucy).Andthefossilrecordmerelyprovidesarchaeological validationforwhatgeneticshasrevealedtousaboutthecommondescentanddivergentevolutionof life,whichcanbeseeninsidetheDNAofeverylivingthingontheplanet. BoardofTrustees Dr.BettyMorrisH.S.DeanofAcademics Mrs.MandyRicheyJ.H.S.DeanofAcademics

TheancientoriginsoftheEarthandtheuniverseareinturnconfirmedbyeveryotherbranchofscience thatcanopineonsuchmatters.Anthropology,archaeology,astronomy,chemistry,genetics,geology, paleontology,andevenphysicsallindependentlypointtoahumanspeciesthatismillionsofyearsold, andtoaplanetanduniversethatarebillionsofyearsold.TopromoteclaimsofayoungEarthisnot merelytorejectthescienceofevolutionitistorejecttheindependentconclusionsofnearlyevery fieldofscience. Theresimplyisnolegitimatescientificdebateoverwhetherevolutionisthebestexplanationforthe biologicaloriginsofhumanity.Assuch,thereshouldbenodebateoverwhatshouldbetaughtas science,inscienceclasses.Andwhenpublicschoolshavetriedtomuddythosewaters,thecourtshave universallyfoundthatcreationscienceisnotscienceatall. Still,althoughthecourtshavebeenquiteclearinwhatmaybetaughtinapublicschoolclassroom,GAC isnaturallynotboundbysuchprecedent.ButwhatisatissueisnotwhetherGACcanteach creationisminitsscienceclassesitswhetheritshould.Andtoteachunscientificprinciplesinscience classesistoundercutthevalueoftheeducationbeingprovided.Studentswhowillbeexpectedto grasptherealscienceincollege,andwhowillneedtoproperlyunderstandthescientificmethodand employcriticalthinkingintherealworld,willinsteadbehobbledbecausetheyvebeeninstructed insteadtodenyanddistrustscience. OtherChristianschoolsintheAtlantaareatakeamoreacademicapproachtothescienceofevolution. Asof2007,Westminsterdidnotteachcreationismatall,andMaristlimitedanydiscussionof creationismtoitsreligionclasses.WhereasGACsapproachwasdescribedasfollows: ConservativeChristianschools,suchasGreaterAtlantaChristian,presentevolutionasatheory alongsideintelligentdesign,atheorycompatiblewiththecreationstoryinGenesis,thoughit doesnotspecifyGodasthecreator. WebelievetheChristianschoolprovidestheidealenvironmentinwhichtolearnabout evolutionarytheory,intelligentdesignandthemanyhybridtheoriesthatfallbetweenthetwo, saysDr.DavidFincher,theschoolspresident.1 Asdisappointingasthiswasin2007,itseemsthatGACin2013hasswungevenfurtherawayfrom teachingscienceinitsscienceclasses.OnthecurrentGACSwebsite,theSixthGradeScience summarizedcurriculumincludesthefollowingdeclaration:

http://www.georgiatrend.com/October2007/EducatingWithFaith/

Creationism,withrespecttoGodsword,isemphasized.2 Thisdoesnotimplytheteachingofevolutionarytheory,oreventhepresentationofcompeting arguments(notcompetingtheories).ItflatlysaysthatBiblicalCreationismisbeinggivenprominence inascienceclassroom.Anditplainlyspecifiestheidentityofthecreator.Bothoftheseimplicationsare directlycontrarytotheclaimsmadein2007. Theissueisnotlimitedtojuniorhighscienceeither.Since2004,RobertHarshhastaughtbothbiology andhonorsbiologytoGAChighschoolstudents.Atthesametimehehasalsoservedasaleaderof theAtlantaCreationGroup,andpriortomovingtoGeorgia,heservedeighteenyearsasaleaderofthe CreationScienceFellowshipinPittsburgh,Pennsylvania. 3In2005,hepennedapublishedcolumntitled HowIBecameaYoungUniverseCreationist,whereheexpressedthanksforhisworkatGAC becausehehadthefreedomandtheencouragementtogobeyondpointingoutthatevolutionisdevoid ofgoodscience,totellingtherestofthestory.4 NoristhismererhetoricalblusteronthepartofMr.Harsh.Postedtohisinstructionalpageonthe GACwebsitearemultiplePowerPointpresentationsforhisstudents,includingseveralthattouchon evolutionarytheory.Thosepresentationsbearsuchtitlesas: NeoDarwinism:LogicallyImpossible HumanAncestry:FromGodorApes? IconsofEvolution:ScienceorMyth? Thelastofthesetakesitsnamefromawellknowncreationisttextbook,andthecontentofthe presentationappearstobeadaptedfromaseriesofcolumnsdiscussingthatsamebookthatMr.Harsh wrotein2002fortheCreationScienceFellowshipnewsletter.5(Theweaknessesofthisbookandits approachtoevolutionarysciencearebeyondthescopeofthisletter,butarewellsummarizedby ProfessorMassimoPigliucci.6AmorethoroughrebuttalwasproducedbyAlanGishlickofthe NationalCenterforScienceEducation.7)AttachedtothisletterareseveralscreenshotstakenfromMr. HarshsPowerPointpresentations,illustratingwhathisbiologystudentsarebeingtaughtintheirscience class.Additionally,hereareseveralquotestakendirectlyfromthosepresentations:

http://www.greateratlantachristian.org/page.aspx?pid=289 http://community.benchmarkemail.com/users/AtlantaCreationGroup/newsletter/ACGScheduleChangeOct072009Email 4 http://www.csfpittsburgh.org/2005OI/Feb05.pdf,http://www.csfpittsburgh.org/2005OI/Mar05.pdf 5 http://www.csfpittsburgh.org/2002OI/feb02.PDF 6 http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/PigliucciIconsReview.html 7 http://www.ntskeptics.org/creationism/discovery/icons.pdf


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NeoDarwinismIsStatisticallyImpossible! Theevolutionarylineofapelikeancestorstomanisalie! Prebioticsouptheoryisafairytail[sic] SimilarityoforgansindifferentspeciesispositiveevidencethataDivineEngineerplannedhow toconstructsuccessfulanimals. Materialistsbelieve:thatlifeevolvedbynaturalforcesintomorecomplexorganisms.....Letus examinethematerialistoriginoflifemythfirst.[emphasisintheoriginal] TheUltimateTruth!God,whoisextramaterialandextraUniverse,createdlifeby supernaturalmeans. RobertHarshspresentationsdonotreflectacurriculumthatisteachingacceptedscienceaclassinthe naturalsciencesshouldcertainlyneverprovidesupernaturalexplanationsforitsownsubjectmatter. GACstudentsarebeinginstructedinnothinglessthanscientificdenialismintheirscienceclasses.Not onlyaretheydeniedapropereducationinoneofthebedrockprinciplesofmodernbiology,butifthese presentationsareanyindication,itwouldseemthattheirsuccessinaGACbiologyclasswouldactually dependuponthemadoptingthatdenialistattitudethemselves.Theconsequenceisthatscientific knowledgeispunished,whilepseudoscienceisrewarded.What,then,isthevalueofagradeinaGAC biologyclass? Perhapsmosttroublingisthatasobjectionableasalloftheabovemightbe,itisstilllimitedtothefruits ofmereonlineresearch.ThisisonlywhatGACanditsstaffhavechosentoreleaseforpublic consumption.Wereonetositinonafreshmanscienceclass,ortoreviewatestorhomework assignment,ortoengageateacherdirectly,whatelsemightbeobserved?WhenRobertHarshtestshis biologyandhonorsbiologystudentsonevolution,aretherightanswersthosethatareconsistentwith establishedandacceptedbiologicalscience,orthosethatrejectthatsciencebutareconsistentwithMr. Harshspersonalbeliefs? Oftentimes,evolutionisseenasathreattofaiththatmustthereforebeunderminedanddiscredited.This attitudeisreflectedinMr.Harshsownpresentations,wherehetellshisbiologystudentsthatifevolution istrue,thenmanhasnosoulandreligionisfalse.Butitisafalsedichotomytosuggestthatabetter understandingofourphysicalworldrequiresthesacrificeofourspiritualbeliefs.Itwasnotthedeathof faithwhenwelearnedthatEarthwasnotthecenterofthecosmos.Itwasnotthedeathoffaithwhen welearnedthatthehumanbodyismadeofthesameelementsandproteinsandnucleotidesasallother livingthings.Ithasnotbeenthedeathoffaithinthelasttwentyyearsaswehavediscoveredover900 planetsoutsideourownsolarsystem.Anditwillnotbethedeathoffaithifandwhenweencounterlife someplaceotherthanonthisplanet.

Itisnottheroleofreligiontorejectscienceinthedefenseoffaithrather,itistheroleofreligionto recognizethatscienceinformsusabouttheworkingsofourworld,andtodefendthespiritualintheface ofourgreaterunderstandingofthephysical.Thealternativewouldbetostayweddedtoafirstcentury understandingofscience.Asstudentsgraduate,theywillmoveonnotjusttocollegesthatwillinstruct theminmodernscience,butalsointoaworldthatissteepedinscience.Theywillbefacedwithchoices ofbelievingintherealversustheethereal,andiftheyvebeentaughtthatchoosingonenecessitates abandoningtheother,thentheresultwillbeeithermoreatheismormorescientificilliteracy. No,thedefenseoffaithshouldneverbetodenyscience,butshouldinsteadbetofindandproclaimthe gloryinthenewdiscoveriesthatsciencemakes.Earthwasoncebelievedtobethecenterofall Creation,aroundwhichtheheavensthemselvesrevolved.NowweknowthatEarthisjustoneof severalplanetscirclingoneofbillionsofstarsinoneofbillionsofgalaxies.Butthesheermagnitudeand varietyofouruniverseisfarmoreaweinspiringthananysimpleEarthcenteredcosmologyeverwas.If theGenesisaccountofcreationwereliterallytrue,manwasmadefrommeredust,justafewthousand yearsago.Whereasevolutiontellsusthattheelementsthatmakeupourbodieswereforgedinthe heartsofstarsthatexplodedbillionsofyearsinthepast.Itisnotthefaultofscienceifonefailsto recognizethebeautyandmajestyinthat. Thus,ourcomplaintissimple,anditsremedyissimpler:scienceclassesatGACshouldteachscience, nothingmore,nothingless.Regardlessofwhatonesreligiousfeelingsmaybe,evolutionisscienceand creationismisnot.ThatiswhatistaughtatthecollegesthatGACstudentswillattend,andtoinstead teachthempseudoscienceanddenialismisadisservicetothem.Itisalsoadisservicetotheirparents whosacrificesomuchfortheirchildrentoattendGAC,underthebeliefthattheirchildrenwillreceive thebestpossibleeducation.Anditis,sadly,somethingofanembarrassmenttothoseofuswhoclaim GACasouralmamater.Butitdoesnthavetobeanyofthesethingsthepowertorightthecourseof GACsscienceeducationrestsinyourhands. Signed, LorenCollins('97) SaraBaker('97) AaronBickell('97) BrandonBier('97) LaraCollinsBoyce('00) LyleCollins('99) BryantGreen('87)

CourtneyHutton('97) AdamKissel('97) StephanieWickhamKissel('95) StaceySnaxWettermann('97) PatrickWickham('93) SeanWickham('95)