Monday, March 14, 2005

Evolution Revolution

Once upon a time, Conservatives railed about relativism in the schools. The constant refrain was that there are right answers and wrong answers, and students should be taught the right answers and not just in a way that makes them feel good about themselves.

Cut away to today's debate on whether evolution should be taught in schools, or more specifically, the religious right's attempts to undermine it by whatever means necessary. In today's Washington Post story on this issue one of the parents is quoted as saying:

"If students only have one thing to consider, one option, that's really more brainwashing," said Duckett, who sent her children to Christian schools because of her frustration. Students should be exposed to the Big Bang, evolution, intelligent design "and, beyond that, any other belief that a kid in class has. It should all be okay."

Explain to me why every version of the "truth" is acceptable here, and not say in math class. I mean if the kid really believes that 2 + 2 = 7? Should that be OK too? What about if his parents say that 2 + 2 = 7? Is it OK then? (I should add that I wish that had been in place back in the day, because it would have really helped my math SAT score.)

Should we teach every story about how the world was created? The Hindu version? The Scientologist version? (Which I believe has to do with aliens.) The version I just made up? (It involves penguins.) And is this all that different than Oakland proposing to teach Ebonics?

That is not to say that evolution has been proven beyond a doubt, it is a theory, which is why it is called the "Theory of Evolution". But it is the best theory that incorporates the information that we have at hand, and until it is disproved, or a rival theory that can be scientifically tested is developed, lets not pollute the minds of kids with answers that make them feel good.

Religion is an important part of life to many people (including yours truly) but it shouldn't be used to hide our heads in the sand about reality. Somehow I think God can live with the fact that we think we evolved from apes, especially since it appears that we did.