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Evolution series on PBS sparks `Editors' debate

The logic of how evolution explains our origins “is just so natural that it really shouldn't have much controversy,” Dr. Roger Thibault, an associate professor of biological sciences at Bowling Green State University, said yesterday during a taping of The Editors television program.

Some of the controversy arises “as we try to use religion to explain science, for which it was not intended,” he said. “But science never tries to explain religion.”

Tim Kollmorgen, a science teacher at Trinity Lutheran School, said religion explains “where we all came from. There's a loving creator that made all of us and keeps us in His care at all times.”

Mr. Kollmorgen said he teaches that change occurs over time. But he does contest “the upward change of, say, microbes to men.”

The men discussed their differing views of natural selection, science, and religion in light of the recent PBS series Evolution.

They were questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade, and Marilou Johanek of The Blade editorial board. The Editors will be broadcast at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

The men disagreed too about whether religion and evolution can be compatible. “I think many religious scientists believe that natural selection is the mechanism of the creator,” Dr. Thibault said.

Mr. Kollmorgen said by mixing evolution and belief in a creator, “We have our loving God using this mechanism of evolution, which involves suffering and death because of all the mutations required, and a loving God wouldn't use that mechanism.” He said there are “scientists with many degrees who also say the evidence supports the Biblical account just as well as the other.”

Dr. Thibault said, “They're not credible.”

Mr. Kollmorgen spoke of a bias in science against evidence other than that supporting evolution. Schools don't have to teach religious doctrine, but “the beginnings of life are just as easily explained by a creator as they are by this chance, and the chance is the part I have a problem with.”

But science makes no statement about a creator, Dr. Thibault said.

“By the very nature of what science is, it gathers information of the here, the now, that which can be tested, that which can be seen, and that which can be observed,” Dr. Thibault said. “A creator that works with all individuals, all mortal souls, is outside the realm of science by definition.”

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