Teaching Creationism in the Classroom

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/education/creationists-on-texas-panel-for-biology-textbooks.html?pagewanted=all

The article I looked at is from the New Times and examines another way creationism is encroaching into public school classrooms. The New York Times reported that multiple people on the panel to decide the high school biology textbooks in Texas believe in creationism. The article points out that members of the Texas state government are creationists as well including people on the State Board of Education and Rick Perry, the governor of Texas who said “in Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools — because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right,” (the exact quote is from PolitiFact, the NYT only referenced the quote).

Creationism in public high schools is a far more serious problem than many people realize and extends far beyond Texas and even the south. Randy Moore, a professor at the University of Minnesota did at study from 2000-2004 of over 2,000 college freshmen that asked them about their high school biology class. The study found that 5% of students’ biology class discussed creationism without ever discussing evolution and 23% of students said their biology class discussed both evolution and creationism.

http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1662/0002-7685%282008%2970%5B79%3ACITBCW%5D2.0.CO%3B2

Minnesota is not a place where you would think creationism in schools would be a major problem. I think it would be interesting to see studies done nationwide and in southern states especially where numbers would most likely be higher.

For me, creationism in the classroom is something I can relate to. Last year, when I was a senior in high school, a freshmen biology teacher at my public high school showed her class an offensive cartoon from the famous creationist Ken Ham. The cartoon related evolution to satan, euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, divorce, racism and abortion. I was a news editor on the school newspaper and I reported on the story with another editor:

http://thesoutherneronline.com/frontpage/?p=29658

Many of the students said that the teacher would answer their biology questions by saying that ‘that’s the way god made it’. This instance of creationism in the classroom brings up the issue of when teachers ‘freelance’. Freelancing is when the school, school district and state never tells teachers to teach creationism but they teacher does it anyway.

Examples like the textbooks in Texas give creationists another way to compete with evolution in the classroom in addition to ‘freelance’ teachers. In Randy Moore’s study he said that teachers teach creationism for a number of reasons such as ignorance of the law, religious beliefs and pressure to teach creationism/avoid evolution. Not only is it illegal when teachers include creationism in their biology classes, it is cheating students out of learning evolution. Do you think creationism could be taught in any sort of context (i.e. a religion class) in a public school? What do you think could be done to reduce the number of biology teachers ‘freelancing’?

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51 Responses to Teaching Creationism in the Classroom

  1. gatorade15 says:

    Interesting article punky 1218! I think creationism will always have supporters, mostly religiously based; however this number will continue to decline as it has for many years. As more scientific findings surface (fossils, geological records, molecular biology) it becomes easier to support evolution and difficult to side with creationism.

    That being said, I think that teaching creationism alongside evolution can hold some value. On the one hand, it appeases creationism proponents, hopefully bringing the controversy out of the classroom so education can proceed as best as possible. On the other hand, as Rick Perry states, by teaching these two theories alongside each other, it will help students hone their decision making and analytical skills, choosing the theory that resonates most with them.

    As an evolution supporter, I think it is a bit silly to teach these two theories alongside each other, almost degrading the scientific community by equating religion with the scientific method and theory. However, it may do more harm than good by fully eliminating creationism from the classroom. Creationists will always exist (though likely in smaller numbers), and they will always argue for their theory to be taught. So teach the kids both theories; with a curriculum composed of many sciences (chemistry, biology, physics), almost every student will be inclined to support evolutionary theory over creationism anyways.

    What do you guys think? Does it make more sense to teach the two theories alongside each other? Or will it do more harm than good?

    • punky1218 says:

      I find that a little shocking that an evolution supporter to be ok with creationism being taught inside of the classroom. An idea that not a lot of other people talk about is that since creationism is rooted in Christianity is fair for creationism to be taught in public schools to Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist students? And if it is ok to teach creationism to those students, would you have to teach all of those other religions’ theories on the origin of man to students in public schools? Where do you draw the line?

      • Because Rick Perry and others seem to incorporate creationism into the classroom under the name of fairness and analytical thinking, maybe calling their bluff by countering with the idea that all religious creation stories should be taught would end this. I’m sure Christians would not be okay with Islam being taught in their biology classes.

      • moneytrees3001 says:

        Bringing in other religions is a worthwhile tactic when trying to secularize a number of things in American society. What if our money said “In Allah We Trust”? What if our pledge of allegiance made us say “One nation under Zeus”? Christian fundamentalists can call atheists nitpicky and disagreeable all they want, but how would they feel if they were the ones alienated by federally approved parts of American society?

      • arcanium82 says:

        @moneytrees3001

        You bring up a good argument by pointing out the fundamental flaw in the Evangelical Christian tactics: What if the shoe were on the other foot? They run into this problem in many different areas as well. Just recently in Arizona there was a proposed law that would allow shop owners to refuse service to homosexuals based on the owners religious beliefs. Conservative Christians thought this was a great idea, until you start to peel back the layers of the onion a little bit.

        If Christians can refuse service to gays on the basis of religion, what stops the Muslim owner of the dry cleaning store refusing service to a Christian on the basis of religious beliefs? “I’ve been getting my shirts cleaned and pressed here for years, what do you mean I can’t come in anymore??”

        Suddenly, once the realization that people could use this law to discriminate against Christians, it was no longer such a great idea. One of the fundamental Christian values is: Treat others as you would want to be treated. It is ironic how often modern Evangelical Christians forget this…

    • glowcloud says:

      I don’t see why creationist supporters need to be appeased at all because they are uncomfortable with reality and progress. That’s almost like schools offering the option of segregation for students who are uncomfortable with people of different races intermingling. Eventually people need to overcome their personal beliefs and face reality. Also, there is no other subject area where we would consider teaching the religious viewpoint alongside the accepted knowledge. Why should we treat evolution any differently?

      • greyelephant1 says:

        glowcloud, that is a great point! I like comparing this situation to segregation and as the article mentions, climate change. Climate change is taught because it is true: there is evidence of the average temperature rising and one can’t argue that. However, the causes and whether it relates to humans is a different story. Evolution is easily taught because many people do believe portions of the theory such as natural selection adaptation. But, the teaching of Creationism violates the Establishment Clause.

      • sunny2018 says:

        I agree with this point completely; there will always be those afraid of progress. Why cater to their needs and hold the majority back? Religion is an important part of US culture, Christianity in particular, but it shouldn’t get in the way of science education. I think we all come to this conclusion specifically in writing our group papers over the education trials.

    • sm4321 says:

      I agree with you gatorade15 that teaching creationism alongside evolution can hold value. I think that it does make sense to present the two theories alongside each other, at least in the sense that they are presented in the same course, much like they have been presented to us in UW. While Professor Schell teaches us about both the theory of evolution and the theory of creationism, as this blog posts comment section displays, we all clearly have a clear idea of which one is more valid scientifically and we are all able to make our own decisions and form our own ideas. I do not think that it will do more harm than good as I personally think that each person should be granted knowledge of both of these ideas.

      • I agree with what you are saying, sm4321. I think that for the purpose of analytical skills, decision making, and other academic purposes, creationism could be a useful learning tool in the right stage of a student’s education and in the right environment. To address what glowcloud was saying about the need to appease creationists–it has been made clear over the years that creationists do not have a problem with speaking up to have their beliefs represented. To be clear, I fully support evolution, and as someone who plans on dedicating their whole life to medicine, I don’t see any ideological significance of creationism. However, If creationists do not have grounds from which to draw the argument that their beliefs are not being represented–aka if creationism is being taught but purely as a teaching tool–then there would likely be less conflict in the courts, in the media, and in general. I think that if this were to happen, that there would have to be a very solid foundation of evolutionary biology taught before creationism is introduced as an alternative. What do you guys think about ways we could do this?

      • graduallychanging says:

        Sm321, although I agree that religious concepts should be taught in schools, they should not be taught in science courses. Your comparison of the classes teaching both evolution and creationism with our UW course is somewhat like comparing apples and oranges. The problem is not that religious ideas are being taught (I think, like you, that we should all be conscious of other people’s beliefs), but that they are taught as fact and placed on the same level as the theory of evolution. It is a person’s choice to decide whether or not to disregard evolution and believe in religious doctrine, but students cannot weigh both ideas when they are taught that both creationism and evolution are equally accurate from a scientific perspective.

        To be clear, your last sentence states my point perfectly, but I don’t think that it is safe to compare a writing course where we study the politics of evolution to a biology course where students are supposed to be being taught the “latest” scientific discoveries.

    • sunny2018 says:

      I think that teaching creationism only has value in a sociology/anthropology class where culture is being discussed. It has no scientific basis, therefore it should not be discussed as if it is on equal grounds with evolutionary theory.

    • butterjones says:

      in response to graduallychanging’s comment– I like that you said that religious ideas could be taught in schools, just not in science classes. Usually, I’m all “no creationism whatsoever!!” when we discuss this issue, but now that you bring it up, I do think that religious ideas can be useful in other academic classes. For example, in my school we had a popular lit elective, “Bible as Lit”, where they used the bible as a novel, and we discussed the bible for a long time in AP Lit. because it is necessary for understanding allusions in literature. We also covered various religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Judaism in freshman and sophomore social studies/history classes, alongside Greco-Roman and ancient Egyptian texts, all for cultural understanding. I think that religious teaching like this can be very very important for students, just as long as it’s presented as a cultural lesson, not fact.

  2. I had the opportunity to speak with an evolutionist who teaches at the University of California, Irvine in the fields of biology and genetics. This particular individual was involved in the case I was assigned for our last project. When I asked him why evolution could not be taught alongside creation-science, he answered: “creation science is simply not science.” Which I would personally agree to. What caught my attention is what he stated after, he said creationists are not only using the Bible as a source of scientific evidence, but in doing so they are insulting the Bible itself and religion. His main point being, religion teaches us how to get to heaven, and is not a scientific book that should be taken literary. As you mentioned punky1218, when a teacher in your high school mentioned ‘that’s the way god made it,’ she is actually using the Bible as justification for her believes. Yes people are entitled to their own beliefs but you, punky1218, are correct that in not teaching evolution-science they are not only breaking the law, established by Supreme Court precedent, but they are also negating their students from learning actual science. The debate is over. Creationists came up with the word “creation-science” and its meaning.

    Gatorade15- I do not think that teaching creation-science alongside evolution-science would “help students hone their decision making and analytical skills, choosing the theory that resonates most with them.” We simply can not allow creation-science, which has no scientific proof at all, to be taught in the public education school system. In teaching both and having student choose which is better, would be like teaching students that we are born from our mothers, but maybe, we could have been brought to our houses by a stork. It simply does not make sense.

    • punky1218 says:

      Californiarepublic, I think you make some very good points. I think teaching creationism along side of biology validates creationism as a science and I think that that is a very dangerous to the scientific community. The conflict comes when teachers or students come from very religious backgrounds and they have a hard time separating science and religion. How do you suppose we go about teaching evolution to these very religious people?

      • regan1984 says:

        This is a very interesting point punky1218. If creation should be taught, than how do you accommodate other religious beliefs of creation? First, to answer to the concept of creation science, you’re right California republic creation science is not a science. It can’t be so because it cannot be proven that creation scientists are engaged in a disinterested search for scientific knowledge, they’re simply trying to disprove evolution. Going back to punky’s question, I don’t understand why states continue to push creation in public schools? You run into a lot of legal issues. Why not just focus on such religious teachings in private schools. I realize that that idea discrimates against those who can’t afford to attend them, but in terms of legal issues there wouldn’t be any because private schools are independent institutions. Do you guys think this is where creationists should be putting they’re efforts, especially if you believe creation beliefs should be taught in schools? Or should creation not have a place in education all together?

      • The question is not how to teach evolution-science but rather, what can be done to change their perspectives? The answer is: nothing. There is no method to change the opinion of an entire group or population. The best way to go about it is to teach evolution-science, excluding creation-science, and hope that generations later, creationists will learn to adopt what is considered “real” and forget about creation-science. After all, in my opinion, this “creationist movement” is a method of shifting the attention towards the “flaws” of science.

    • I agree, californiarepublic79, It is unfair to students to teach them two apposing ideas when only one is scientifically supported and force them to choose on their own. It is misleading and creates a mistrust. It would be like making them choose between medicine and witchcraft. It is a dangerous idea.

      • sm4321 says:

        While I understand loosely the ideas that you have, californiarepublic79, I have some issues in the way you’re presenting them. A lot of your argument comes from the legal basis, especially those things that come from the constitution. I understand the separation of church and state, and that the public teaching of evolution violates this. That being said, you must not forget the other constitutional rights that people have such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I do not think that you will ever eliminate the theory of creationism, nor do I think that is right. People who believe in intelligent design and the theory of creationism have a RIGHT to do so, just as people who believe in the theory of evolution have a RIGHT in that. I do not think that it is correct to attempt to exterminate a belief or a way of thinking, nor do I think that it is possible.

      • sm4321 says:

        not evolution, creationism. Sorry for that error.

      • macnplease says:

        It also ignores other religious beliefs, almost disrespecting them. To say that Christian Creationism should be given as much exposure in public schools as Evolutionary theory implies that the other religions are inherently wrong. I would still argue that NONE of the religious theories should be taught, but it’s worth thinking about nonetheless.

      • moneytrees3001 says:

        sm4321, the idea of passive vs. “proselytizing” atheism is something that has always interested me, thanks for bringing this up! My stance is that a state should never FORCE its citizens to accept a certain ideology, as this would put it on par with a totalitarian regime. However, I think actively working to spread one’s opinion and attempt to influence other’s beliefs is a worthwhile pursuit; this work is done every day by politicians and activists. If a large portion of the society believes in creationism, I think it is in the best interest of our state to convince as many of those people as possible to accept scientific truth. At the end of the day it is still their choice, but I would say it is ethical to try and make them change their beliefs.

      • pianokid123 says:

        sm4321, obviously you have a right to believe whatever you want in this country! Not only does this apply to believing wrong scientific “theories,” but also it applies to hate speech: racism, homophobia, and misogyny are all protected under the Constitution! While you have a right to believe in these disgusting and dangerous concepts (and voice your opinion on them), you DO NOT have a right to turn these beliefs into law under the 14th amendment. Similary, while you can believe whatever ridiculous, unscientific thoughts about the origin of life on Earth, you DO NOT have the right to promote these beliefs in a secular classroom environment. Teaching Creationism is a blatant violation of the first amendment.

  3. thinkbrush says:

    I think this article connects really well to another story I read about creationism in Texas and it’s effect on the US as a nation and this may be something you were hinting at, punky1218. Because Texas is so large, textbook publishers often write curriculum they think the State Board of Education in Texas would approve. I think this story represents the dangers of the privatization of education. The market forces textbook publishers to sell whatever Texas wants and unfortunately, that is not congruent with national consensus. You can read more about it here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/02/great-texas-textbook-debate-201421613551126796.html

    • punky1218 says:

      I think the article you posted and the one I did go hand in hand with each other. Many of the people on the Texas State Board of Education and the panels to decide textbooks believe in creationism and it makes evolutionists rightfully uneasy. It would be hard for a teacher to teach their biology class if they were required to use a textbook with creationism in it.

  4. I agree that teaching creationism alongside evolutionary science ina biology would not only be innappropraite but also insulting to the scientific community and evolution. It is true that evolution has years of scientific research and dedication supporting it where as creationism is based off more philosophical ideas. there is no epistemic reasoning to support creationism. Or at least I would argue that. HOwever, I do believe that there is a place for creationism in the public school system. However, certainly not in a biology class. I think that teaching creationsim breifly in an attempt to give students a background on the debate between creationsim and science could be beneficial. This debate that has now existed for years is a great topic for social study classes.
    well I dont think that students should be taught ot believe in creationism or put it on equal footing as evolution, the conflict that has existed can be very helpful for the reasons that gatorade 15 mentioned.

    • sm4321 says:

      vikingsfootball33, kudos on taking a strong position and offering reasons for it. As someone that is not strongly opposed to the existence of the theory of creation in science classes, I am interested in where you do think there is a place for this in public schools? Could you add more about where or how you think creationism could be taught in the public school system?

      • I believe that the debate between creationism and evolutionary theory can be an interesting and beneficial topic in classes that focus on social interactions. Like history or other social sciences. In this case I believe that maybe it is important to understandwhat exactly creationist believers in order to understand the exact dynamics of the difference. So in situations wherestudents arestudying the classic debate between evolution and creationism I believe they could be taught creationism. But it should not be presented as a scientific alternative to evolution becuase I believe that it is not. It should not be advocated for or replace evolution in biology classes. It could have its place in a social studies class but not in a biology class.

  5. sm4321 says:

    Punky1218 – nice post. A lot of the articles and topics you’ve mentioned are familiar to a lot of us, as this in broad terms has been a great degree of our focus in class as a whole.
    I would just like for a moment to make a personal comment/point. I know that North Carolina is not some of the “deep south” states that are typically referenced when being extremely conservative, but it is indeed southern. I want to quickly eliminate the thought that all southern schools, public or private, have a strong bind to the teaching of creationism and the discrediting of evolution. I went to a private religiously based school until the seventh grade. During my education there, I was never encouraged to more strongly consider the theory of creation over the theory of evolution, in fact, I do not remember the theory of creation ever being presented to me as a valid theory. I know that this is not the case of all private religiously based schools, but that was my experience. Furthermore, during my time attending a public middle and high school, I was never presented with the theory of creation as one that held water in terms of validity.
    So – in reference to your questions, Punky1218, I do think that it is appropriate, and valid, for classes to mention or briefly discuss the theory of creation if students elect to take classes that study religion. Do classes like this exist, though? I do not know what exactly could be done to cut down on the freelancing of biology teachers in public schools. While I understand the constitutionality of the separation of church and state, do teachers have any degree to freedom of speech? I understand that it is problematic when we consider the possibility that teachers ignore teaching of evolution or intentionally display the theory of creation more valid, but what is the problem with them adding a mini-unit or something to that degree about creation? Maybe I am the only person who doesn’t see a problem with the display of both theories so long as there is not intentions to negate one or the other.

    • I think it is a responsibility problem. Teachers are responsible for children and what they say can have a big impact. They need to be trustworthy sources of information. It is their job to ensure that the agreed upon curriculum is conveyed to student effectively and if they are not doing this they should not be allowed to teach. Classrooms should not be places where teachers have the freedom of speech to say whatever they like. They have to much influence on students to be allowed that type freedom. There needs to be strict educational guidelines.

      • sm4321 says:

        anonymousgwustudent, that is a valid point. Does this mean that teachers loose all rights to things such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion while in the classroom?

      • waterbottle19 says:

        That is another good point, and I agree. Teachers are role models for students. Students trust in the instructions of the teachers, and that trust is broken when teachers transform from being completely objective in the classroom to asserting their own personal beliefs. While I do agree something needs to be done like anonymousgwustudent suggested, I’m not sure if stricter guidelines will solve anything. These teachers are already teaching outside of the established curriculum.

      • I agree with you here, anonymousgwstudent. I remember in grade school and middle school that when things skirted around political conversation in school, teachers would make a point of telling students that they weren’t allowed to share their opinions inside of the classroom. Why then do you think that teachers have no problem sharing their opinion on evolution when they are forced to conceal it with other, arguably just as important matters?

    • waterbottle19 says:

      I think you raise an interesting point in regards to whether teachers have the right to free speech in the classroom. However, there is already established legal precedent asserting that teachers do not possess free speech in the classroom. In Webster v. New Lenox School District, the court upheld that a teacher’s freedom of speech is not being violated if he or she is teaching creationism because it is violating First Amendment’s establishment cause and injecting religion into the schools. I agree that creationism could possibly be taught in schools, but its place is not in a science classroom taught next to evolution. Rather, it should be taught in a separate theology class.

  6. waterbottle19 says:

    This was a very intriguing post! While I do agree creationism could be taught in the classroom, it has absolutely no place a science course. Science is careful observation utilizing the scientific method. As established in Edwards v. Aguillard, creationism has no scientific basis. In addition, it is contrary to the standards set by states in regards to teaching science classes.

    Rather, creationism could be taught in a theology class. My high school had an Old Testament class and a New Testament class. Instead of teaching creationism in my high school’s biology class, it was reserved for the the two bible classes. While biology was a prerequisite for graduation, taking the either one of the two theology classes was not. Science was kept in the science classes and religion was kept in the theology classes.

    • glowcloud says:

      I agree that creationism can be taught in school as long as it is not inflated to seem as valid as evolution. I think it is okay for schools to acknowledge that alternative theories exist, in fact it should be encouraged. But I think that it needs to be taught in a secular manner, as a way of explaining that “this is how some people think” rather than “this is also possibly true”. It should be given as much weight in these settings as other religious viewpoints on current issues so that they can be seen in context; for instance, how fundamentalists view the LGBT community. Then students can learn about these theories and consider them appropriately.

      • sm4321 says:

        I agree with you, glowcloud. I think the acknowledgement of an alternative theory is important. The way that the material is presented does have a lot to do with the way it is absorbed by students and I agree that it should be displayed in a secular manner.

      • pianokid123 says:

        glowcloud, I was wondering if you could ellaborate on your use of the word “theory.” A scientific theory is very different from our usage of the word in the common vernacular. Creationism and Intelligent Design are not considered to be scientific theories, or even science for that matter. Perhaps a better word is “philosophy?” Check out this article for the proper usage of the word. http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html
        A scientific theory is the closest thing to fact that there is. In science, a fact is like absolute zero or an asymptote. You can get infinitley close to proving a theory undoubtably, but you will never be able to prove it 100%.

    • Waterbottle19, if you dont mind me asking. Was your highschool public or private? And what exactly did you guys study in the bible classes?

      • waterbottle19 says:

        My high school was a public high school in Tennessee. I never took the class because it didn’t really interest me, but as I understand it was primarily a study of the history of the bible and a study of some of the concepts found within it. It wasn’t promoting Christianity or discouraging the following of other religions.

  7. collegeblogger19 says:

    Personally, I don’t think creationism and evolution should be taught alongside each other in science classes. Like californiarepublic pointed out, the Bible does not prove any scientific evidence and should not be regarded as a textbook. Evolution is the only theory of the two that is actually science-based, and therefore, should be taught in science classes alone. Teaching creationism relates to the article we read for class about “teaching the controversy”. I don’t think teaching the debate between creationism and evolution is necessary for a science class, but would be beneficial to learn about in a social studies class, like vikingsfootball stated. The controversy between evolution and creationism has more to do with social problems rather than science.

    • punky1218 says:

      I think the placement of creationism is important in regards to which class it is in. By putting creationism into a biology class you would be implying to students that it is scientific fact. On the other hand, by putting it in a social studies class you would be telling students that this is an issue in our society and not implying the validity of creationism itself.

      • sm4321 says:

        I think that the presentation of creationism in a social studies class could be a possible solution, punky1218. However, I find it difficult to believe that simply switching the classroom in which the material is presented will solve this complex issues. I think that there will constantly be a person, group, or organization that has an issue with the way these two theories are displayed in public school classrooms.

      • pianokid123 says:

        I agree Creationism has a very valid place in a Social Science classroom. Anti-evolutionists have had a prominent role in determining legislation in the United States, and have such conflicts have even made it to the Supreme Court multiple times. I remember learning about the Scopes Trial in AP US History, so clearly this is already happening, and is completley secular/appropriate. It would be censorship not to mention how Creationists have been trying to destory science education for over a century in the United States! That being said, trying to waste valuable class time teaching Creationism in a Biology class is laughable. If anything, biology classrooms should teach why Creationism is bogus.

  8. glowcloud says:

    To address the problem brought up about freelancing, it is possible that certain people cannot be trusted to present the facts and the facts alone when teaching evolution. Perhaps the school districts should have administrators sit in on biology classrooms for a period when the topic of evolution is discussed in order to ensure that the proper material is being taught in a proper manner.

    • macnplease says:

      This would be an effective measure but it could also potentially be an expensive one; hiring workers for such a specific role, and a great many employees at that, would cost the public school systems a great deal of money. Alternatively, there are cheaper, more effective ways of keeping tabs on a teacher with a potentially religious motive; teacher-evaluations by students. The school board could create a uniform evaluation that could be used to monitor a teacher’s behavior and curriculum. That way, the school system would not have to form an entirely new branch and waste their funding.

  9. macnplease says:

    It is sad and appalling to see how public school boards and teachers continue to go around the law and around morality in order to advance their religious beliefs and impress them upon others. It is especially depressing considering how long this controversy has dragged on. For years, Opponents to creationism have been arguing the same things: it’s simply illegal and immoral to teach anything but Evolutionary theory in biology classes.

    To address your question, Punky 1218, the only time I can imagine teaching creationism appropriately would be in a religion class, focused not on one religion but including the fundamentals of every established religion in the world. This way, it would be a lesson based in faith not parading around as a lesson based in fact. Even then, a religion class seems dicey at best.

  10. serrobert says:

    I have seen many people saying that the teaching of evolution is against the law. Education is a matter that is given to the states. So is it not the state of Texas that can decide what is taught in their own classrooms? Also I do not understand why for so many people the presentation of creationism is such a bad thing. I think it solves the entire conflict. It would stop these repeated controversies and court cases, and it would allow for critical thinking and freedom to be expressed in American classrooms. Many claim that the presentation to Creationism is wrong is school because it is not fact, but lets face it. If someone was going to become a biologist, they would have to learn everything to do with evolution in college anyway. We are talking about public and mandatory education. Shouldn’t that education than represent the beliefs of the public that it is serving?

    • pianokid123 says:

      serrobert, The United States is a nation of over 300 million people of all different religions, nationalities, sexualities, genders, and ethnicities. There is no “one size fits all” for America. That is why in our Constitution we agreed to have a secular government that does not endorse nor prohibit religion. While Texas may be its own state, it still must obey the Constitution of the United States of America. By teaching Creationism, you are promoting a religious view and treating it as fact; this is unethical, unAmerican, and unconstitutional. The reason people are so upset about the teaching of Creationism is because “there is no such thing as a small Constitutional violation” (Kitzmiller v Dover trial). Creationism should not be part of any biology curriculum, and is more appropriatley the topic of a Sunday School sermon.

      • lumastan says:

        I completely agree with pianokid123, though i unerstand your point serrobert. Though it may be public desire in a specific area to teach creationism in that specific school area, that desire must be channeled through a private mean, because all public endeavours must not appear to hold allegiances to any sort of non-secular belief system.

  11. lumastan says:

    Great article! I think an important thing is to separate personal beliefs from public works, meaning that I do not think it matters whether the entire board of education is creationist, so much as they recognize the separation of personal beliefs from the work they do in the name of the public. The problem is not the existence of creationism (though this could be argued as such), but rather its inclusion in the public sphere, because of its incompatibility with the secular nature of the US government, as pianokid123 points out. One questions why creationism supporters dont simply put all the effort they do into attempting to make creationism taught in public schools into opening more private sunday schools and such, which poses no illegality.

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