Are Those Who Question Evolution Creating a Missing Link in Pennsylvania Schools?

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By questioning carefully, discerning students may learn that evolutionary claims really don’t hold water.

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A recent survey of Pennsylvania teachers by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed that 20% of high school science teachers “believe in creationism.” Coupled with a complaint by a college student that her Advanced Placement Biology teacher had “sped through the chapter on evolution,” this revelation has generated some harsh words about who should be teaching high school science and how.

The Duquesne University student, who had also been taught in her church youth group to believe that God is the Creator, complained, “In high school, a lot was not taught correctly, and it didn't prepare me for college. They should have gone into evolution in detail. The controversy should not be what is taught in school.”

The Pittsburgh paper’s columnist writes that this student’s experience “represents the ill-kept secret about public school biology classrooms nationwide—that evolution often isn't taught robustly, if at all.” And Duquesne University biology professor David Lampe, who organizes the university's annual Darwin Day celebration, complains:

I don't think we'll ever stop people from objecting to the teaching of evolution. It is not an issue of interpreting scientific data. No one in science seriously questions whether evolution is real. It is still a theological problem for people.

Those who want to teach creationism or can't teach evolution shouldn't be there. If they want to teach creationism or intelligent design, it's a nice Sunday school topic. There's a forum for that. People who don't believe in evolution should opt out of modern science and resort to rattling chicken bones.

Penn State University political science professor Michael Berkman, coauthor of Evolution, Creationism, and the Battle to Control America's Classrooms, believes that evolution should be the “driving theme of the biology course, beginning to end.” He notes that teacher skepticism is undercutting the effectiveness of evolutionary teaching. “How do you become a science teacher when you are a young-Earth creationist?” Berkman asks. He believes teachers are also reluctant to teach evolution “robustly” because “many students have been primed by parents and youth groups to raise difficult and challenging questions.”

As we have discussed before, teaching children to discern the difference between experimental testable “here-and-now” science and worldview-based interpretations about origins imposed on scientific data by evolutionists is key to developing critical thinking skills in students.

Abiogenesis, for instance, is never observed in biology, but most evolutionists believe life came from non-living elements through natural processes. Evolutionists claim new, more complex living organisms evolved through natural processes, but biology reveals that living things do actually reproduce “after their kinds,” as the Bible indicates. Evolutionists claim that variations in living organisms eventually produce novel genetic information and new kinds of creatures, but biology demonstrates that living organisms only vary within their kinds. Evolutionists claim mutations provide the raw material for evolution, but mutations destroy genetic information rather than create new genetic information as evolutionists claim.

The observable facts of science support the biblical history of life’s origin.

The observable facts of science support the biblical history of life’s origin. And while current law prohibits the teaching of the Bible in public school science classrooms, students can be taught to think critically and look carefully at the claims of evolutionists. By questioning carefully, discerning students may learn that evolutionary claims really don’t hold water. Yet science educators are set against allowing high school teachers to encourage students to ask revealing questions.

By contrast, atheists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, stars of the just-released documentary The Unbelievers, in a recent interview discussing their plans to rid the world of Christianity declared they want their film to get viewers to question their religious beliefs. Dawkins and Krauss are confident that questioning, intelligent people will accept evolution and ultimately atheism.

So which is it, to question or not to question? Questioning is good, atheistic evolutionists say, so long as faith is being questioned. But questioning is not acceptable, they assert, when evolution is being questioned. Questioning is not okay, they believe, when it might reveal the fact that evolution’s primary principles are not supported by observational, experimental science.

We however are not afraid of questions. Scripture commands Christians to prepare themselves to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV). Our hope for the future depends on our faith in the grace of Jesus Christ, who is both Savior and Creator. Answers in Genesis seeks to equip people with the answers they need from both science and Scripture so that they will see that observable science affirms Scriptural truth. It is our hope to encourage people to have faith in God’s Word and in the God of the Bible.

Read more about the “evangelistic” agenda of atheists set to eradicate God from history in this week’s analysis of the claims of The Unbelievers.

To read AiG’s views on the teaching of origins in government-run schools, including the problem of mandating that instructors teach creation or intelligent design to their students, see “What Happened in Kansas?

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