As a high school student I attended Indian Hill in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sitting in my fourth period class on yet another boring day of high school I couldn’t help but notice my science teacher acting a little peculiar. My teacher was teaching the subject of evolution to a diverse class. It is like he became a different teacher. I remember that was the fastest day of class. All through high school I noticed my teachers would act uncomfortable when dealing with the subject of evolution.
Most of my teachers would quickly hurry through the lecture with little class participation and discussion. Other times I’d notice my teachers becoming bias to certain viewpoints and swaying the class activities to their side. So I wondered, do teachers feel uncomfortable teaching a subject or subjects so strongly debated over. On the other hand my teachers would never give an alternative theory or belief to counter what evolution says. With all the different opinions around the spectrum, is it impossible to narrow down one specific theory or belief to teach?
Evolution, creationism and intelligent design should be taught in public schools only to inform and educate students with the knowledge from the theories debated upon. Evolution and intelligent design are two intricate theories while creationism is a belief. Within evidence or knowledge of each theory there is a basic explanation of how life was sparked. Evolution, which is currently taught in science classes, is a process of natural selection or survival of the fittest. This means that species evolve or adapt to their surroundings in order to survive.
A man named Charles Darwin is given credit to the theory because he was the first to show evidence of species adapting over time in the Galapagos Islands. His evidence can be interpreted to the creation of human species with discoveries of ape skulls showing change equivalent to what human skulls look like today. This is a huge concern to many individuals around the world apposed of Darwin’s theory of evolution: believers of creationism and intelligent design. Creationism is based on the biblical story Genesis, the first book found in the beginning of the Old Testament.
It explains how human life was created by God. There are many different versions of the story varying from many monotheistic religions like, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. An example of creationism is the story of Adam and Eve. As described in the beginning of the Old Testament, Genesis describes them as the first human beings on earth created by God, thus beginning human life. Although creationism may be similar to intelligent design, they do have some differences which should be discussed.
Intelligent design based on a historical theory, design theory, which “is the view that nature shows tangible signs of having been designed by a preexisting intelligence” (Dembski). This is different from creationism because instead of involving religion, intelligent design says there is a higher force that created life but not God. Intelligent design simply claims, “That intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable,” rather than trying to infer God’s existence or character from the natural world ((Dembski).
So should evolution, creationism, and intelligent be equally taught? It’s simple; there is no solution to debating between evolution, creationism, and intelligent design because it is never ending. So, why is evolution only taught in schools and not creationism and intelligent design? The reason is evolution has fossil records, scientific research, and minor evidence, while creationism and intelligent design have none. This is wrong because evolution isn’t proven, just like creationism and intelligent design. Therefore how can the curriculum include one and not the others?
It is very important to teach all subjects as theories and not facts and to allow creationism be an optional class your parents sign you up for. The reason that evolution is only taught in public schools is because a bill had been passed by the education committees of both houses of the state legislature when the Senate had to vote for it in March 27, 1996. “This is a very simple bill,” said sponsor, Democratic state Senator Tommy Burks before the vote. “All the bill does is what it says it does; require that all teachers shall teach evolution as a theory” (Masci 32).
This is my biggest concern going back to biased teachers. As a freshman in high school my science teacher taught evolution as fact and the only explanation. Clearly it is not. In fact, evidence from American’s in our society shows that, Nearly half of all Americans reject evolution theory. Some say flatly that the Bible explains creation. Others, including proponents of “intelligent design” theory, argue that life is so complex that evolution had been confirmed by fossil record, genetics and other scientific disciplines (Masci 32).
If half of Americans reject evolution, why aren’t the other halves beliefs recognized in public schools as well? Creationism should be incorporated in the curriculum as an optional course which your parents must sign their child up for or sign a permission slip allowing their kid to enroll in the class. David Ross an author of Reasons to Believe encourages a different viewpoint and interpretation of creationism. He does not believe that the six days in the Genesis story are really twenty four hour days. “In Hebrew, day can refer to a twelve hour period, a twenty four hour period or epoch,” he says.
Therefore, Ross argues, the six “days” of Genesis are actually six epochs that could have stretched back billions of years (Qtd. in Masci 32). Ross takes the side of a creationist: he suggests how evolution could have occurred within the six epochs. I agree with Ross and his type of research and thinking can close the gap between the two theories. The problem with a creationist excepting the idea of evolution is that it goes against their own religious values. This is a huge problem because I believe in creationism along with evolution and I don’t want to be punished by God for not following the Bible word for word.
I believe religion should be opened minded with the Bible as a guide. Proponents of evolution say, people don’t have to reject evolution in order to be religious. They note that Pope John Paul II recently reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church position that Darwinian Theory is not inconsistent with the idea that humans were made by a divine creator (Masci 32). I being a Christian agree and admire Pope John Paul II because he shows strong religious beliefs while being open minded to the idea of evolution and creation science. Barry Lynn, executive director f Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and an ordained minister, agrees. “I don’t find any conflict in believing that there is an ongoing divine presence in the world and believing that science has it more or less right on evolution” (Masci 32). So why has the Supreme Court in a number of decisions ruled that the teaching of creationism or prohibiting the teaching of evolution violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause? I think that the court decisions are out of date. For example, in 1968, the Supreme Court ruled in Epperson vs.
Arkansas that a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution violated the Establishment Clause because the state was designing a curriculum based on the principles of a religious doctrine (Masci 32). The ruling was in 1968, multiple decades ago, and I’m not proposing evolution be prohibited all together but public schools should allow the teaching of creationism, intelligent design, and evolution. Arkansas found itself back in federal court in 1982, this time defending a statute that required public schools to give equal treatment to creation science and evolution. In the case, McLean vs.
Arkansas Board of Education, a district court ruled that the statute was unconstitutional because creation science was not science but religion (Masci 32). This is unreasonable because it dwells too much on the fact that creationism is not a science. So what; a teacher should explain that there is no scientific evidence but still allow the idea to be taught equalizing the views of all public school students. Hence, I believe the Establishment Clause needs to be rewritten so public school students have the capability to stage their own opinions on controversial topics: they deserve that right.
At the very least they should be exposed to a concept known as “intelligent design. ” Intelligent design is much like creationism; it’s a theory that specifically states there are too many gaps in evolution for it to be considered fact. Like creationism, intelligent design explains how an intelligent being must have been present in the developing of earth. School boards and lawmakers in nearly half the states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New York, are examining similar proposals (Clemmit 27). With more research and more information the other states will soon follow the trend.
This is important because now, unlike the 60s, the Supreme Court will be more open to intelligent design in public schools. Closed minded supporters of evolution say intelligent design is just a new, more acceptable name for biblical creationism (Clemmit 27). Honestly they are right, but does that mean it shouldn’t be allowed? My point is simple, if scientists don’t want intelligent design to be taught as a science then fine. Intelligent design doesn’t need the support from scientists to be recognized and get the message across.
Intelligent design believers argue that they only want an equal hearing of alternative theories of life’s origins and a chance for students to examine what they say are serious gaps in evolutionary science (Clemmit 27). In many people’s views there is substantial evidence that living things were actually designed by an intelligent being and the “evidence should not be censored” (Clemmit 27). However the problem is that the evidence isn’t evidence that would be supported by the scientific community. In that case intelligent design could be taught as a social studies class.
I think the students need to fight the battle and they should be given the right to learn both sides in public schools instead of learning bias views from teachers that are uncomfortable teaching the subject of evolution. The harsh reality of the truth is that many individuals are not opened minded; rather they are conservative and stick to their own initial beliefs. This factor proposes a problem to both believers and non believers of evolution and intelligent design. For example, parents can persuade their own children to a certain side if the other side of the issue is not introduced.
Like specifically if a non religious child enters a public school, which only teaches evolution, he or she will be likely to believe evolution of their beliefs because they were only introduced to one of the three topics. This goes both ways, “There’s no way in the world a Christian child can go through the public schools and expect to come out a Christian,” says Robert Simonds, president of Citizens for Excellence in Education, a division of the National Association of Christian Educators (Marshall 1).
Though I disagree with his bold statement, he does make a valid point. Religion is forbidden to be taught in schools these days, so the belief of intelligent design is neglected. In other words, Simonds is saying Christian students aren’t given the exercise of his or her beliefs in their own education. Instead they’re forced to learn evolution in science class. According to a Gallup poll surveying 18 years of age and older, clearly shows that sixty eight percent argue that creationism should be taught along side with evolution (Marshall 1).
This state shows that about seventy percent of the surveyed population feels creationism should be taught in public schools. With such a drastic number one would think the government would realize that the bill written to separate church and state needs reworking. There are many examples in history and on file that show students fighting their right to belief what they want and have evolution be taught as a theory as it is supposed to be and not as fact. A fifteen year old student named Danny Phillips voices his opinions, “There is a whole lot of purpose and intelligence behind what we see” (Clinchy 1).
Danny is not asking that the theory of evolution by natural selection not be taught in schools, nor does he want creationism or intelligent design taught in evolution’s place. What Danny wants is that, “Schools teach the theory of evolution as a theory. Treat it as they do science and present the evidence for and against it. Otherwise, the school is in essence censoring half of the information” (Clinchy 1). If a fifteen year old boy from Colorado can understand the concept, why can’t the Supreme Court? I think the strict courts dwell too much on the wording.
An article written by Gerald Skoog titled, Legal Issues Involved in Evolution vs. Creationism, explains how in 1975 the Indiana Commission adopted a creationist textbook. But it was turned down because they wanted to but creationism in the biology section (Skoog 1). That alone shows that many people like me oppose the Supreme Court law of separation between church and state. The Supreme Court obviously won’t let creationism or intelligent design be taught as a science so the next step or solution is to address creationism and intelligent design as an idea instead of science.
Once established as ideas the curriculum can be written so that students get to learn and experience all the beliefs of Americans. Students should be exposed to what other people think and base their own opinions on what they want. No one should force another to believe something they don’t want to belief. It’s not right and unjust. The Supreme Court and government officials need to rewrite the constitution allowing the teaching of evolution, creationism, and intelligent design to be taught in public schools. The most important thing revolving around this debate is the education of kids in public schools.
They deserve the information presented on all sides. Children are the generation of the future, and there are more students being taught publically than privately with the economy hurting today. The only way to resolve this public school problem is to show all sides as theories or ideas that have not yet been proven as fact. Scientific evidence or not, it is important for young children and adults to learn all the ideas of how their own species originated. Being able to make and defend your own opinion is what the real working world is all about, learning that life skill will truly turn knowledge into power.
Clemmit, Marcia. “Intelligent Design. ” CQ Researcher 15. 27 (2005): 637-660. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. 10 May 2009 <http://library. cqpress. com/cqresearcher/cqresrr2005072900> Clinchy, Evans. “THE GREAT NON-PROBLEM OF EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM. ” Education Week 16. 25 0-1 (1997). EBSCOHost. Editorial Projects in Education Inc. 20 May 2009. <http://web. ebscohost. com/ehost/detail? vid=5&hid=103&sid=29a23fd2-2ad8-407b-b39047aafec7ec29%40sessionmgr102&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=9704073396>. Masci, David. “Evolution vs. Creationism. CQ Researcher 7. 32 (1997): 745-768. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. 7 May 2009 <http://library. cqpress. com/cqresearcher/cqresrr1997082200> Marshall, Patrick. “Religion in Schools. ” CQ Researcher 11. 1 (2001): 1-24. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. 13 May 2009 <http://library. cqpress. com/cqresearcher/cqresrr2001011200> Skoog, Gerald. “Legal Issues Involved in Evolution vs. Creationism. ” Educational Leadership. 38. 2 (1980): 156-57. Education Information Resource Center. 20 May 2009 <http://www. eric. ed. gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetail