But any scientific theory of the origins of the species is necessarily not based on repeated and repeatable experiments. At best it is based on inferences from existing experimental data. As impressive as the evidence for evolution as the origin of the human species may thus be, it will always remain in part akin to social science: the scientific effort to explain what cannot be directly proven. Lots of scientific theories (such as the big bang) are in this category. And theories of this kind tend to evolve over time as new evidence emerges.
On the practical level, what is to be gained by excluding from med school or grad school people like Micah Spradling, who felt that affirming evolution as a personal belief would violate his faith? Mr. Spradling's dream is to study prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Will his ability to treat people with injured limbs be seriously compromised by his inner feelings about the origin of the human species?
If professor Dini had required students to be able to intelligently explain the evidence for evolution and the reason for the impressive scientific consensus behind it, I would have no problem with that. But to define scientists as a guild of people who swear inner loyalty oaths to certain particular truths is not only unjust, but bad for science.
We cannot advance science by turning its conclusions into a new form of dogma. Have faith, professor Dini: Scientific truth does not need to be defended in this way, at such a high cost.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.