Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Science is a mystery to me. I have never been good at it. I failed biology spectacularly at school, receiving a dazzling U for unrated for my final exam, chemistry nearly blew me up (literally), and as for physics, well, let us just say I accept things as they are and never really felt the need to question them. For me life is NOT about the how it works, but that it does. I guess you could call me simple in a non-offensive way. However, for some, science is their life, their be-all-and-end-all, and honestly I thank goodness for those people. Without them, the world would not be as it is today. They are our lifeline to existence and development.
Yesterday, whilst on a long car journey, I discovered an ongoing issue with science. My ignorance to this is not a surprise given my interest in the subject but it got my attention. I tuned in to a public radio station and happen to listen to a discussion about Evolution versus Creation. It seems that when it comes to public education there is a conflict raging here in the USA on how to teach science.
I did a little homework (this is science remember) and found that this ongoing battle has been running for decades and not just in the USA, but also all over the world. I found court case after court case reciting the first amendment clause, people battling a state or each other, and polls taken left, right, and center to see which side is tipping the scale. New names and scientific offshoots appeared such as Creation Science and Intelligent Design but when it boils down to it, it is nothing other than the battle of the two sides. It is a huge deal.
Creationism was studied predominantly in school science initially (obvious of course). Then with time and development of theories such as those of Darwin (let us just ignore the whole WW2 issue with Darwin's theory and elimination of the weak. That totally blew my mind!), and the need to separate religion from state, "Evolutionist Science" came into play. Some US states have passed their own rules to give equal time in the classroom for both sides of the argument but most do not mention Creationism at all.
Religion you may or may not know is a huge no-no in American public schools. Heavens, my son received a good telling off not long after we moved to America. He took his favorite joke book into school and one of the punch lines (out of at least a few hundred) happened to be, 'how the devil are you?' This is a common expression in the UK, a sin apparently in a US school.
Whether you believe our existence is as a direct result of the handiwork of God, or that we came from a monkey looking primate is not why I am concerned. It is the fact that education, it seems, is tilted to such an extent that we deny believers of either side of the scientific argument the right to learn and form their own opinion.
Surely to make your own judgment is a human right. If both of these theories are presented in such a way that it does not try to indoctrinate our children to any religion or belief, then our teachers are giving them the right to decide for themselves. In addition, could it be that giving a historic view of how science is viewed from both sides could possibly lead to connections for future development. There are always two sides to every story.
As so many high-ranking individuals have presented their stance on this issue, is it possible this conflict is actually a political and religious battle hidden under the guise of education and our classrooms are the dividing lines? If so, I for one am not comfortable with this. Education should not be a weapon to eliminate others view. It should be unbiased. It is there to help our children learn, grow, and develop into well-rounded educated individuals and they cannot do that without all the facts.
So, for me, I vote for my children knowing the facts of Creation and Evolution. I will trust that when they feel informed enough they will make their own decisions and be courageous enough to respect others even if their opinion differs.