Creationism need not be taught in public schools

February 12, 2009 — by Kirstie Lee and Uttara Sivaram

Whether man sashayed into existence pre-made and gift-wrapped or has monkeys for his aunts and uncles is an argument that has pitted die-hard scientists against the born again religious for decades. A message to both of them: Leave it out of public education and let the poor kids learn science without snide remarks from the opposing side.

According to the New York Times, the Texas Board of Education tentatively came together to discuss the controversial aspects of science textbooks being used in that state’s public schools. The popular story of “Peter and the Wolf” comes to mind, does it not? A stir-up in Texas about intelligent design is a “been there, done that” sort of thing. In fact, most people probably picked up their newspaper, glanced at the article about Texas, scanned through it and spotted two words—“evolution” and “creationism.” After that, they flipped the page to the entertainment section, where the daily lives of the Obama family were being documented in the form of cartoons and high-definition candids.

The Board voted eight to seven in favor of eliminating all language in school textbooks hinting at Darwin’s mental instability and the inconsistencies of the evolution theory. Good for them. It’s no use handing out books to students when all they find inside is the equivalent of a squabble between atheists and conservatives. Learning a biological theory is hard enough without having to double take on every postulate concerning common ancestry or natural selection.

Teaching evolution in science classes is not the problem. If students were taught the facts and not the controversial opinions surrounding the facts, there would be no problem. Textbooks shouldn’t force students to believe any one side. They should be presenting these hypotheses as the generally accepted scientific explanation that may or may not be true.

Let kids decide on their own whether they are happier imagining their roots as a monkey or their God-fated appearance on Earth. If they cannot be trusted to make these kinds of decisions on their own, leave it to their families, not to school textbooks, to influence them in the way they think is most appropriate.

Trying to implement religion and creationism in science classes is like suddenly introducing pottery in math classes. The two don’t mix well, and usually produce students with a doubtful and uncertain understanding of the material. A day where science teachers storm into religion classes ranting about the impossibility of phenomenon described in many religious texts is yet to come. So let religion be taught in religion classes and science taught in science classes without arguments about the overlap.

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