Last I checked, church and state didn’t even have letters in common.Rearing its head once again in the public eye, the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools and how it is taught has been brought to the forefront.
This time though, it has returned under the guise of intelligent design – a theory that says that life began with all forms of life having their features already intact rather than developing.
In Dover, Pa., the superintendent must come to a class before evolution is taught and read a short statement about alternatives to the theory and where students may learn more should they wish to do so.
When the theory of evolution is taught in public schools, I can say with confidence, since I went to public school, that they say “theory.” There is no need to restate this fact, and that it is indeed a theory is indeed a fact.
At the very least, the basic tutoring of what exactly the scientific method entails discusses what theories are and what they imply based on observation. I myself have yet to read a biology textbook that says, “The theory of evolution is the end all, be all, and that’s all there is to it.”
Biology is a science, and the teachings and theories that are taught in such classes are rooted in scientific studies and disciplines.
The purpose of a science class is to teach the sciences, not to present arguments against the validity of what students are being taught.
Besides, it is important for students to learn the sciences, including biology. If they are denied this right to learn, then under the reasoning of those who frown upon teaching evolution, students would be no better off, receiving only one side of the story.
It is not the place of biology teachers to discredit what they teach by way of warning labels or disclaimers.
In today’s America, the government is exerting more and more moral control over secular activities and institutions and even the president is pushing for and supporting this through legislations he passes. Intelligent design is just another way that the government is attempting to impose control, and is merely a dressed-up way to refer to creationism.
As reported in TIME, the book “Of Pandas and People,” which discusses intelligent design, says forms of life “began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact – fish with fins and scales.”
Call me crazy, but that’s just a fancy way of saying the phrase “creation,” and implies the exact same thing.
All children who attend public school are offered the explanation of evolution. Every child who attends or is part of a religious institution is offered an alternative: A being of some sort created all that is.
While all students must attend school, they are not required to attend church. The burden of a child who does not attend church not receiving the knowledge of alternatives to evolution should not fall upon the state.
Of course, my natural and initial response would be for religious institutions to stand up and say the explanations they offer in place of evolution are indeed theories as well. This I know is rash, as private institutions, including schools and universities, have no obligation to qualify themselves.
Intelligent design should only take the place of evolution if it becomes the overwhelmingly agreed-upon opinion of the public.
This obviously is not the case.
Should creationism or intelligent design be taught in public schools, it should be in another class, not science or biology. It is not a science, though recent attempts to say it is being presented from a scientific background say otherwise.
Intelligent design is based on hypothesis since there is no proof. Evolution is a theory because it is supported with evidence and has yet to be disproved.
Under this logic, alternatives should also be taught in classes such as geometry and calculus.
After all, using the same logic as those who support intelligent design, the theorems are just that: only theorems.
Should the separation of church and state be adhered to, there is no place for creationism or intelligent design in public schools.
The trial of John Scopes in 1925 found it appropriate to teach evolution in schools, and consecutive rulings by the Supreme Court since have found teaching alternatives to evolution to be in violation of the separation of church and state, a small bit you will find in the First Amendment.
Recently, a court ruled that “warning labels” in textbooks in the Cobb County School District in Cobb County, Ga., were found to be unconstitutional, adhering to previous rulings by the Supreme Court.
As for those who choose to believe in intelligent design and creationism as the basis for all things, consider this: If that theory is so, then God, or whoever set things as they are, created science. So what’s the big deal?
Copy Desk Chief Ryan Claunch is a junior news-editorial major from Abilene.