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Keep Creationism Out of Science Class This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State ...”

- President Thomas Jefferson, 1802

I’ve lived in Madison County all my life. Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Madison has more rolling farmland than town. The closest Wal*Mart is half an hour away on the edge of Charlottesville, a liberal oasis best known as the home of the University of Virginia and the Dave Matthews Band. Having Charlottesville so near has always made me feel a little immune to the rural side of my hometown.

It never occurred to me that Madison County would decide to teach creationism in its high-school biology classes. In my mind that only happened in small towns in Tennessee or South Carolina, never Virginia, never so close to places like Charlottesville and Washington, D.C. Sadly, this year the school board voted to give creationism and evolution equal time in science classes.

You should know that I am homeschooled. The vote to teach creationism really won’t affect me firsthand, so why do I care? Sometimes I don’t even know, since my friends who go to the high school don’t care half as much as I do. I think it’s partially the flawed argument to get creationism into the school that bothers me. Some claim that evolution is only a “theory”and shouldn’t be taught as fact. They claim that creationism should also be taught to give students options to choose from, so they can form their own opinions.

At first that logic seems sound: schools should not teach just one idea. But is it fair to say that evolution is only a “theory”? In science, the word theory is used differently than it is in everyday speech. In science, something must be proven before it becomes a theory, and so things we take for granted as fact (the existence of electrons, or the orbit of the earth) are technically still theories.

Evolution is a widely believed theory among scientists, in fact, almost all of its opposition is based on religion. And now we come to creationism. It is impossible to call creationism a scientific theory since it is based on religious beliefs, not science. To believe in creationism, it is essential that you believe in the existence of a higher being. But wait, God in public schools? Doesn’t this go against separation of church and state, one of the fundamental concepts of the Constitution?

It does. In fact, many communities have been sued for teaching creationism. According to U.S. law, schools can teach different explanations of life on earth, including creationism, but not in science classes. There, only genuinely scientific explanations of life on earth can be taught.

Why does Madison County and increasing numbers of school districts believe they can get away with teaching creationism in science classes? Well, in the end it all comes down to the fact that those who want creationism out of the schools are in the minority. There isn’t a large enough, or active enough, group to protest, and no one individual has enough time or money to fight the school board.

Creationism is a very exclusive belief, only fitting in with a certain branch of Christianity. It is not fair to teach a belief unique to one religion in schools as science; it discriminates against anyone who does not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. The act of teaching creationism as science goes against the principles upon which our country was founded. The beauty of our Constitution is its protection of people’s right to practice any religion they choose. Keeping religion out of public schools is meant to ensure our freedom of religion, and teaching creationism as science is putting this freedom in jeopardy.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

Inappropriate HS said...
Jan. 29, 2015 at 11:40 am
For those that say creationism can be 'proven' or 'backed' by science I would assert, strongly, they do not understand the definitions of scientific analysis, peer review, or what is required in order for an 'idea' to be a scientific theory. Replication is also a requirement for scientific theory. I could go on, but I know that those who disagree with me for 'religious' reasons will never see the truth of this. Hence, separation of church and state...ALL THE WAY.
 
ambnyc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 9:08 am
Agree. Religion should be kept at home and in churches, not in schools.
 
Markus said...
Feb. 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm
hey i'm from germany and I just read your text in my english book under the topic religion in the US. Very good article and I totally agree with you!
 
Intrigued said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm
I understand your stance on this. However, I must point out that creationism, as researched, can also be backed by scientific analysis and research, not to mention logic. It is fair to say that the best way to find this truly is to present both sides and discuss. But then, the question boils down again to: Should we have that happen in kids' lives?
 
ambnyc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

Okay, what scientific evidence/backing and logic is there to prove that an invisible big man in the sky created the Earth?

Is it anywhere near as convincing as it is for evolution?

No.

 
Lilliterra replied...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 6:03 pm
I have an article titled, "What Darwin Didn't Know", that details some evidence and logic supporting Creation. PS: Saying God is some "invisible big man" is like saying that evolution claims people evolved from chimpanzees. Both are false understandings of thing which are really more complicated. Maybe you should learn more about Creation before you start dissing it.
 
Intrigued replied...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm
I appreciate the honest unbiased feedback :D
 
ambnyc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm
There is absolutely no scientific backing or grounds for creationism, nor will there ever be. Science is a study of the natural world. Therefore any supernatural phenomenon is beyond its reach. Creationism is scientifically impossible; it's just a matter of coming to grips with letting that belief go. Some people don't, but 99.9% of the scientific community will agree that we came about through evolution. I should also mention that creationism is logically unsound. It is a biblical belief, spe... (more »)
 
tolerant said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 9:03 am
I  totally agree to you. Creationism shouldn't be taught in science classes.
 
BookWorm579 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 23, 2009 at 3:31 am
Well, I'm pretty sure that more than one branch of Christianity believes in Creationism, but besides that, I completely agree with you. I'm Christian so I do believe in intelligent design, but I also really enjoy science so I know the merits of Evolution. I just make sure to keep religion and science in their respective places at all times.
 
hummysun said...
Dec. 7, 2008 at 12:26 am
hear hear buddy.
 
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