Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Evolution debate redux... Are you kidding me?

In today's age of virulent strains of swine flu and antibiotic resistant bacteria, climate change, diminishing natural resources and a U.S. economy built on outdated technology, are we seriously still debating whether or not to teach sound science in our nation's biology classes? Really??

I apologize right now for the soapbox I am about to mount, but I have to say something and I am mad! I am a faithful person. I go to church and take my kids. I believe in God and that my life has a purpose, but people that is my FAITH. I can tell you that I believe it, but I cannot prove it. That is what makes it powerful in my life. I also believe in science and the important place it has in our classrooms, economy and society at large. Science is built on observation and testing, and is entirely separate from faith.

Numerous great scientists have written about how faith and science offer different answers to different questions and in no way destroy each other. (Finding Darwin's God is an excellent example and a really good read.) A minister friend once told me, "science tells us how and when, the Bible answers who and why." In fact, I know many scientists who are incredibly faithful people, representing different religions and traditions. The problem with "Creationism" as espoused by the Texas State School Board and many others like them, is that they don't simply want a religious perspective presented in science classes, they want their religion presented.

None of these folks want a Native American creation story sold to science students, nor do they want the Hindu story, nor the Chokwe, nor any one except their own Evangelical Christian story. The truth is, they fear most what they do not truly understand themselves, and they obviously do not understand evolution.

I hear other people say, "so what's the big deal with presenting the other side, and then just moving on?" In a word, no. Would we present another perspective on gravity, or thermodynamics? Would we teach students that gravity is simply a "theory?" Perhaps it's all just a huge coincidence and tomorrow their pencils could roll off the edge of the desk only to fall up instead of down? Of course not. We would never do that.

So, why invent a controversy where there is not one? All scientists worth their salt agree-- Evolution is the absolute foundational theory upon which all biology is built. This includes the health sciences and all modern medicine. Please accept that the United States will never truly lead the world in science and technology if we are teaching mythology in our high school biology classes.

Take your children to church with you and place them in Sunday School where they can learn about the mysteries of faith. Better yet, become a Sunday School teacher yourself and change the lives of children by sharing your own faith. But, please do us all a favor. Let your children and mine go to school and learn about the scientific method and how scientific inquiry and discovery explains the observable phenomena in our world. Let teachers do their jobs and share the scientific fundamentals that will allow our kids to take the lead in reshaping our economy for the 21st century.

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