Friday, May 06, 2005

Evolution on Trial?

Hey, this is a clever idea - huh? Let's put evolution on trial. We will have prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys and witnesses for both sides. We will have a judge and jury and this will be a very reasonable way of showing whether or not there is merit to teaching evolution in our schools and whether or not to teach other "theories" on the origin of life. Yeah, this is exactly what is happening in Kansas, right now - sponsored by the august and venerable Kansas Board of Public Education. Of course the Kansas Board of Public Education is an elected body and there are essentially no requirements for running for a board seat. No need to have a background in education, or to have any experience. The Board can hold a hearing on evolution, and make decisions regarding whether or not evolution should be taught in schools even though not a single board member is an expert on the subject or an expert in science or really have any qualifications to take on this important and weighty responsibility. Naturally, most of the reasonable scientific community sees this as the farce that it is, and have chosen to boycott the whole thing meaning the "defense" attorney has no witnesses to call, though he promises to vigorously cross examine the witnesses called by the prosecution.

If this didn't terrify me so much, I'm sure I would be rolling on the floor laughing. But what the hell is going on here? The State of Georgia wants to ban the word "evolution" from the science curriculum and text books. Barring that, they tried putting stickers inside the covers of the books "warning" that evolution was just a "theory," not a fact. That is equivalent to saying that Einstein's "Theory" of Relativity is just a "theory"....I mean that must be true right, because it has the word "theory" as part of its description!

Oh this is only happening in a few isolated places - right? Actually, the journal Nature reported in 2000, that 1/3 of the students in this country attend schools where evolution is either not taught at all, or is presented as a questionable hypothesis on the origin of life. That was 5 years ago, and we haven't been making progress, we've clearly been moving backwards. How long before Congress decides to weigh in on this issue? How long before Bush adds this topic to his education agenda? And because judges across the country have been pretty willing to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools, how long before the Republicans are calling for a constitutional amendment banning the teaching of evolution in schools?

Absurd you say...may be right now; but isn't that the direction this country is heading in? As more and more of our elected officials are fundamentalist Christians, what can we expect. The American public is making its will known - separation of church and state? Not in this country - "we" don't want it anymore. More on this later.

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