Letter to the Editor: Opinions may differ but respect should remain consistent regardless of the belief

Cornerstone Cru President, Sean Phillips

Editor's Note: Newton Lecture Hall is not named after Isaac Newton, but George D. Newton, a local attorney who served as Geneseo Justice of the Peace, Livingston County District Attorney and  State Supreme Court Justice in the 1960s.

Cornerstone Cru and its members would like to thank everyone in attendance at the Creation Ministries lecture presented by Jonathan Sarfati on Oct. 25. We also appreciate the concerns that have been raised by freshman columnist Grant Bille in the Nov. 3 issue of The Lamron, in his article "Creation theory leaves no one laughing." 

Bille seems to question the credibility and authenticity of the invited speaker, Jonathan Sarfati. Sarfati, however, is most certainly a distinguished chemist who has works of great merit. He is no fool and was not intending to present anything remotely related to a stand-up comedy piece. Instead he presented an alternative view to the dominant theories of evolution. Our goal in bringing this speaker to campus was to present another theory on the origins of the world, called creationism, which is a Christian-based view, and we are happy to have brought in a scientist to support our view. 

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, science is "knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws, especially as obtained and tested through scientific method." Creation Ministries International is an organization that uses science to provide evidence for the creationist beliefs about the origin of life, our world and the universe. There are many highly-esteemed scientists, from all branches of science, throughout the world who agree with these viewpoints. There are also many esteemed scientists throughout the world who disagree with these viewpoints and use science to provide evidence for their evolutionary beliefs about the origin of life. 

The point is that if science can be used to point in either direction, then science has clearly not established a verdict. Some elements of evolution are scientifically valid and do not contradict any elements of the creationist viewpoint; however, there are many elements of evolution that are impossible to actually prove and that do not stand up to the scientific method. While it may or may not be an accurate statement that "most scientists" in the United States believe that the complete theory of evolution is true, that does not mean that it is. The scientific method is not a democracy; there are no votes. 

In his column, Bille wrote, "Somehow a man holding these unscientific beliefs is permitted to speak on a campus dedicated to learning, in the same lecture hall where science classes and presentations are held." We assume that Bille is not an advocate for the refusal of our First Amendment rights but we would like to remind him that the lecture hall is named after a person whose beliefs aligned with those of Sarfati, not Bille. Isaac Newton was a Christian and a creationist. Therefore, if Newton was alive today, should we not allow him to speak in Newton Hall?

Creationism is definitely not science but we can use science to strengthen our faith. Not all aspects of the theory of evolution are science either but evolutionary biologists can use science to strengthen their faith. We ask only one thing of all students, faculty and columnists of The Lamron: Please show respect for opposing views and to people whose beliefs are different from your own. We have shown respect for the views of the school and of each student who came to the lecture. We enjoy the conversations sparked by this and similar events. We enjoy the intellectual growth that comes from having these conversations. 

To every person who was in attendance at the Sarfati lecture, we thank you for coming and we look forward to further discussions in the future.