In response to Michael Zimmerman's article on teaching creationism and "proper" evolutionary science {op-ed, Sept. 1}, I personally believe in evolution and disdain the attempts to force a religious point of view on everyone, calling it a scientific principle. But I disagree with Mr. Zimmerman that this issue is of major importance and that failure of the public schools to teach evolution, and to teach it properly, makes a difference in being able to make informed decisions about AIDS prevention, genetic engineering and cancer treatment. That idea is preposterous.

He noted that only 11 percent of the biology teachers surveyed knew that evolution occurs because "individuals produce different numbers of offspring." So what! Is it essential that anyone other than an evolutionary biologist know this? High school kids are graduating without the basic skills necessary to read or comprehend his article. Yet Mr. Zimmerman is concerned that they might think that evolution is a ''purposeful striving toward 'higher life forms.' '' Would teaching children that they are not descended from God's created beings help them learn to add, subtract or use long division? (They can multiply, of course, but at different rates.) Mr. Zimmerman's case, even if it is entirely correct, is not worthy of the time and space given it.

Teach the children math. Teach them English and other languages. Let them learn how to read, and make reading enjoyable.

Teach chemistry. Teach drama. Please teach history -- the study of where we came from recently, as opposed to where we came from originally. Teach evolution if you wish, but only as a part of our history and biology. Give everything the attention it deserves.

Our religious heritage is also a part of our history and to some degree of our biology. Put it in its proper prospective also. Remember, many of us think, and therefore act as if, we are descended from creatures that God created. (Some may think, and act as if, they are the descendants of apes or other lower creatures.)

But please don't leave unchallenged the idea that teaching creationism or teaching evolution improperly is going to change the world.


I read with interest and some perplexity the comments of Oberlin biology professor Michael Zimmerman. How in the world can a supposedly erudite scientist look at the wonder and order of things on our Earth, and in the universe around us, and reject the concept of an intelligent, loving Creator? He apparently prefers to believe that in the beginning there was a "Big Bang" and through purely random consequences all this came into being.

Mr. Zimmerman said, "Creationism is a pseudoscience because it pro-fesses to know all the answers. It is untestable and immutable." If believing that, ''In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth'' makes me a pseudoscientist, so be it. That belief is indeed untestable -- that's where faith comes into it. And it is reassuringly immutable, which is more than can be said for the harebrained theories that have come out of the scientific woodwork over the years.

I was glad to find that Mr. Zimmerman is at least superficially familiar with the writings of Henry Morris and with the work of the Institute for Creation Research. I have read some of Mr. Morris' books, and they make eminently more sense than the evolutionary theory that Mr. Zimmerman states is central to biology. Show me one fossil uncovered by evolutionist scientists that supports their pseudoscientific theory. RICHARD L. AULT Front Royal, Va.