Thursday, September 01, 2005

God Help Us

The Pew Forum just released the results of a survey which "found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools." Yes, you read that right.

I guess this should come as no surprise, but it shocks the hell out of me to know that I’m in the minority of Americans who believe that superstition has no place in public education. It’s pretty depressing.

And it gets worse.

John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum, said he was surprised to see that teaching both evolution and creationism was favored not only by conservative Christians, but also by majorities of secular respondents, liberal Democrats and those who accept the theory of natural selection. Mr. Green called it a reflection of "American pragmatism."

"It's like they're saying, 'Some people see it this way, some see it that way, so just teach it all and let the kids figure it out.' It seems like a nice compromise, but it infuriates both the creationists and the scientists," said Mr. Green, who is also a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio.

Eugenie C. Scott, the director of the National Center for Science Education and a prominent defender of evolution, said the findings were not surprising because "Americans react very positively to the fairness or equal time kind of argument."
I honestly don’t get that upset at fanatical Christians who think evolution should be taught in schools. They live in a completely God-centric world, so why wouldn’t they expect to see their beliefs reflected in public institutions? But the fact that some "liberal Democrats" support the teaching of evolution in public schools drives me crazy. Why anyone who doesn’t believe in creationism would suggest that it deserves a place in the curriculum is beyond me. If at the end of the day, we’re just going say, "one idea is as good as the next" why bother going to school? Why bother learning how to objectively evaluate one argument against another if we call every debate a draw in spite of the evidence? Liberal democracy is supposed to allow for the exchange of ideas, not the surrender of reasonable judgment.

To all "those who accept the theory of natural selection," but want to give creationism a place in the classroom for the sake of fairness, let me remind you that out of the myriad organisms populating our planet, you have been lucky enough to evolve with a spine. Use it.

--Matthew McCoy