Mar 29, 2004
The Ohio State Board of Education voted last week to open the state's science curriculum to religion.
By a 13-5 margin, the Board passed a science curriculum including a 10th grade section called "Critical Analysis of Evolution."
Of course, we should take a critical stance toward any subject. It's how science moves forward through the constant testing of our theories against new evidence, and if necessary revising those theories to more closely fit the evidence.
But that's not the aim of this section of the science curriculum. Under the guise of looking "critically" at evolution, this section once again gives a hearing to "creationism."
Creationism is the belief that all life was created supernaturally by a god, roughly 6,000 or so years ago. When all attempts to put "creationism" into public school science education failed decades ago, its advocates tried to sneak it in behind the term "intelligent design." They argued that the diversity of life on earth could only have come about through the direct intervention of some kind of supernatural intelligence that is, a god. But "intelligent design" was not a scientific theory either there was simply no evidence to back it up.
This latest attack on science is being pushed by the so-called "Discovery Institute," which claims it's only fair that all theories be given equal time.
Science is not a question of "fairness," but of what can be examined, investigated, turned into a theory which explains all the known facts, tested and tested again against new evidence that is discovered. The only theory which explains the development of life's diversity on this planet and has stood up to such testing is evolution. And it has withstood assault from religion for over 150 years.
The Board of Education was peppered with calls supporting the new curriculum. One board member reported that "about 75% of the e-mails, letters, and phone calls that I've received in support of it have either quoted scripture or stated religious beliefs."
Science education SHOULD give a BETTER understanding of the world and how it works. Instead, the Ohio Board of Education has chosen to give in to pressure from religion.
Religion has always been at odds with science, opposing scientific theories which better explain the universe we live in because they contradict religious dogma.
This section of the curriculum is optional. You can bet it will not be used in the best schools, that is the ones where the wealthy send their children. They will insist upon a rigorously scientific education. Instead, it will find its way into the school districts in the rural areas and small towns, and in areas of the cities where the children of workers go to school. The children of workers will suffer the most.
Clearly, a Board of Education that allows this confusion to be taught does not value a scientific understanding of the world, nor the children of the working class.