Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Louisiana Bill on Evolution: A Wedge for Creationism or an Opportunity for Reason?

Here's a great article written by Jason Streitfeld, an obviously confident atheist who realizes that condemning critical thinking in our science classrooms is not a wise choice...

The way public schools in America teach science simply isn´t working. Students don´t learn how exciting and dynamic scientific discovery can be. Instead, they memorize (or, at least, they try to memorize) dry facts and formulas. Rarely do they engage in the sort of critical thinking and comparative analysis that makes science such an integral part of civilization.

Amen to that, brother!!! I have mentioned time and time again how much I've learned about science due to this debate. The controversial aspect is so tantalizing that it's impossible not to get excited about science when considering all that we have yet to discover about our universe.

This new bill may be supported by those who wish to see Creationism and Intelligent Design taught in public schools. However, what the bill supports is exactly what American students need: encouragement to think critically about controversial topics.

The bill is designed to "create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

The thing is, that not only does the bill allow for critical analysis of evolution, it also protects teachers who have been persecuted in the past by fervent creationists for teaching evolution. Both sides win with this bill.

Ultimately, by reacting negatively to this bill, atheists and supporters of Darwinian evolutionary theory are proving their opponents right: they are acting like reason and the facts are not on their side. This could be enormously damaging to their cause.

In short, let the students hear it from all sides and discuss it in the classroom. Whatever the outcome, it can´t be worse than what we have now.

Exactly. Distrust in science and scientists is on the rise, and as long as scientists and organizations like the NCSE continue their current course of sending out the troupes whenever anyone raises their hand with a question about evolution, that distrust is only going to get worse.

What the hell are you all so afraid of? If your theory is as solid as you propose, you have absolutely nothing to fear. Is your theory so weak that it can't stand up to a little criticism?

[HT: EN&V]