Should Schools Have the Choice to Teach Evolution or Creationism?

May 14, 2017

One of the most controversial topics in this world is that of science vs religion, also known as Evolution vs Creationism. This topic has made way to cause issues between schools, their teachers, the school boards, the parents of the students and even the students themselves. Some believe making the decision to outlaw religion in schools is a violation of people’s natural rights. Others believe allowing religion in schools is a violation as well but of the First Amendment, the separation of Church and State. Not allowing schools to choose between the two takes away the natural rights of people. Intelligent Design should be allowed to be taught in schools because it is the legal thing to allow and it is people’s natural right to believe so.

The first reason in support of allowing schools to decide between teaching Evolution and Creationism is that it takes away the natural rights from students. In the court hearing Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District, John H Calvert made the statement that the ‘twisted’ decision of the court… caused the state to introduce materialism and the religions it supports. He brought up the question, ‘If religion is being outcasted because there's no evidence, what makes evolution any better? Considering there is no evidence.” In schools, evolution is taught as a fact but it is not definite. Most people fight for what they know is right, and in this trial every person in the jury showed lack of understanding of Religion and Evolution. This shows, and proves that despite everyone's efforts to keep one or the other, there is no definite right or wrong, if “fact” is the road approached. In this case, the court believes it's okay for the state (schools) to put into the minds of their students only the materialistic views. “How is this secular, neutral, or non-ideological?” Daniel Dennett asked. Most people would agree that this was not secular nor was it non-ideological but during this trial, these people swore it was. This shows that there was no room for ‘discussion’ or any way for the judge’s decision to be moved. This makes for a biased trial and therefore making the decision unfair, and honest.

But that is not the only legal reason in support of Creationism. In addition, according to the constitution, the First Amendment, separation of church and state, specifically states that religion should not be discussed in school. This shows that when the word “religion” is involved, the immediate thought of everyone is that there is existence of a “divine creator.’ Judge Jones, the judge of the trial, states that the evolution theory“ in no way conflicts with or denies the existence of divine character” Which is false. The definition of religion is a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practice. This technically turns evolution into its own “religion” Alan Boswell testified and stated that schools should have the choice to choose what they believe, not the state. A biology teacher teaching evolution makes sense. A creationist teaching evolution does not and vice versa. Most people would argue that having the state making decisions for every school within state lines is unlawful. This shows that it is in the better interest for schools to be able to choose what they teach, if not involve both religion and evolution in their curriculums.

The main reason typically offered against the teaching of creationism is that it improperly promotes one religious view over others. “We need not dig into the theological soils in which creationism is rooted to see that this is so.” Said Robert T. Pennock, in the book “Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological.” In their literature, creationists write as though they are defending the Christian faith and that the enemy consists only of godless evolutionists, but in reality it is the religious who are more often in the forefront of the opposition to seeing creationism taught in the schools. The plaintiffs opposing the “Balanced Treatment” Act in the Arkansas case included Episcopal, Methodist, A.M.E., Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Southern Baptist officials, and national Jewish organizations.

Creationists and other conservative Christians often take issue with the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution that set up the “wall of separation” between Church and State in the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education case. However, the idea of tossing all religions into the science classroom to see which one wins would violate what some take to be the original intent of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Professor R.T Pennock says that “Creationists typically teach that Christianity stands or falls when ith the truth or falsity of each and every specific claim in the Bible interpreted.” Christian parents who are familiar only with creationist literature do not have any idea of how vast the amount of evidence that supports evolutionary theory truly is and how weak the specific claims of creationists are.

Another strong opinion against this choice, Co-authors Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner, professors at the University's College of Biological Science, surveyed 1,000 students enrolled in introductory biology classes at the University of Minnesota to examine whether biology majors were more likely than non-majors to encounter evolution and/or creationist views in their high school biology classes. They also wanted to find out how the inclusion of evolution and/or creationism in those classes affect students' views on the subject when they enter college. The First Amendment does not permit the state to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma & hellip the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them. Considering the vast majority of high school students have their own religious beliefs , teaching creationism would be unconstitutional and actually breaking the federal law because in 1987 the Supreme Court struck down laws that required "equal time" for evolution and creation science by simply saying that even if the word “science” was used in all reality. Creationism is still religiously based in disguise and would also be considered illegal. A teacher can teach about religion, though it is not encouraged. A state, district, or school cannot ban evolution, require equal time for creationism, or require a disclaimer on evolution.

Some critics like Barbara Carroll Forrest, an author of “Creation’s Trojan Horse, argue that movements like the Intelligent Design Movement” or Creationist Movement, undermines the separation of Church and State. Barbara Carroll Forest was also an “controversial expert witness” in the courtroom of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Trial. This shows how different people’s opinions on this topic are, and how difficult it is to support such a controversial opinion.

Also, In a poll taken in 2005 by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 38% of Americans would prefer Creationism was taught. This means that 62% of the American population would prefer Evolution. This shows that it is in the best interest of the American people that Evolution should continue to be taugh in school without the inclusion of Creationsim.

In conclusion, giving or not giving schools the option to teach evolution or creationism has created many issues within the school system. One could argue that allowing the choice undermines the depression of church and state, and improperly promotes one belief over another. Another could argue that not giving schools the option simply just takes away the natural rights of all students and teachers. Both sides have positive and negative outcomes, and while some people believe they are right and others are wrong, not one answer can be determined.

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