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Several skirmishes are being fought across the United States over the teaching of origins in public school science classes.
Several skirmishes1 are being fought across the United States over the teaching of origins in public school science classes. Because of the international nature of AiG’s website (i.e. would someone in Australia, for example, know—much less care—about each of these American battles?), as well as our observation that the issues involved are usually the same across the board (i.e. why be repetitive and cover each similar controversy?), we only occasionally report on these school skirmishes. What happened in Ohio’s schools last week regarding the teaching of evolution, however, was such welcome news that it merits some comment from AiG.
In a lesson plan approved for use in Ohio’s tenth-grade biology classes, the state school board has decided that science teachers have the green light to critically analyze evolution. There is no mandating that Intelligent Design (ID) or biblical creation be taught,2 which is expressly prohibited anyway by the “Academic Content Standards” approved by Ohio’s state board of education in 2002.3Nevertheless, some reporters in the secular media managed to report that ID was now in Ohio’s science classrooms, including Cincinnati, Ohio’s Channel 12 television, which should have known better after interviewing this AiG spokesman at length.
As we have often stated on this website, AiG is naturally in favor of the critical examination of evolution, but we have been opposed to the compulsion of any alternate view (i.e. ID or biblical creation). This concern of AiG’s derives from a belief that evolution-biased instructors who are forced to teach ID or biblical creation will teach it in a counterproductive—and perhaps mocking—manner.
As a result of Ohio’s new biology lesson plan that encourages (but does not even mandate, by the way) that teachers present evolution critically, we hope that many more instructors will take the opportunity to expose students to the assumptions and limitations of historical science in general. In that way, students may more likely realize that it’s not a matter of “science vs religion” in the origins question. Because evolution is a belief system about the past as much as ID and biblical creation, the whole attempt to “keep religion out of it” is artificial anyway.
AiG encourages Christians to be well-armed with an understanding of the main “big picture” issues, and not just be equipped with a few favorite anti-evolution arguments (see Part 2: Culture Wars: Ham vs Bacon, Searching for the “Magic Bullet” and Creation: “Where’s the Proof?”).Of course, in the current anti-Christian climate where American courts are not sympathetic to any hint of Christianity being brought into a science classroom, some of these larger philosophical issues will no doubt be aggressively challenged by so-called “civil liberties” groups like the ironically named American Civil Liberties Union. But AiG does want to alert Christians in America of possible opportunities to let their local and state school boards know that fairness should be sought in exploring such a controversial topic as evolution, and that in the spirit of also helping to build the critical thinking skills of young people, students should hear the arguments for and against evolution.
The attacks on the Ohio school board as being “anti-science,” of course, show that evolutionists don’t want scientific scrutiny of their theories. Further, the false claims that ID is now mandated in public schools also undermine their credibility.
For the sake of academic freedom, all young people should be aware of the grave problems with evolution theory. They should also be able to critically examine the assumptions in areas outside biological evolution (such as the age of things, the limitations of dating methods, the validity of the big bang theory, etc.)
To read AiG’s views on evolution in public schools and our cautions about attempts by those who want to mandate that ID be taught in schools, read AiG’s views on the Intelligent Design Movement.