Listening to all the Chicken Littles in the press, you'd think the sky had fallen in Kansas. When the Kansas Board of Education voted not to include macro-evolution in their state standards, dozens of hand wringing editorials decried the vote as" religious prejudice," "banning knowledge," and" destructive to education." As we speak, lawsuits are being threatened.
But wait a minute! What did the Kansas Board of Education actually do? Contrary to the hysterical reports, the board did not ban the teaching of evolution. On the contrary, the vote actually increased coverage of the topic in the state science guidelines--by more than fivefold over earlier guidelines. All the board did was refuse to require teachers to tell students that Darwinian macro-evolution is a fact beyond dispute.
The vote can best be understood as a protest against placing any scientific theory beyond the reach of criticism.
This board ought to be commended for taking a courageous stand for academic freedom--for giving students an intellectual right that scientists themselves take for granted: the freedom to examine all the evidence, pro and con, on every contested issue. Without this freedom, science education degenerates into science indoctrination.
What Christians ought to be telling people is that we don't want to ban Darwinism. We don't want LESS taught in the classroom, we want MORE taught. Of course students should know the basics of evolutionary theory, and all the evidence cited in its favor. But they should also learn the evidence AGAINST evolution, the problems and anomalies.
For example, let's teach the gaps in the fossil record, which is completely incompatible with the idea of gradual, continuous change in living things. Let's teach the Cambrian explosion, when all the basic body plans appeared suddenly in the earliest fossil record--contradicting the dogma of a slow, gradual appearance of new life forms. Let's teach what the discovery of DNA means--that at the core of life is a language, and that there are no known natural forces capable of producing such information.
As well, we should teach the frauds and fakes that have duped scientists, sometimes for centuries--like the recent revelation that the peppered moths were faked. The idea was that after the industrial revolution, the tree trunks darkened and the lighter moths were picked off by birds, while the darker moths proliferated--the showcase example of natural selection in action. It now turns out that the moths don't even rest on tree trunks, and that the photos that are included in every biology textbook were faked--that scientists glued dead moths onto the tree trunks.
Why aren't these facts taught in the public school science classroom? Why should only one view be taught? This is a question I deal with in my new book, How Now Shall We Live?, written with Nancy Pearcey, the executive editor of BreakPoint.
It's not a question of teaching religion in the science classroom. It's a question of teaching Darwinism honestly--not covering over its weaknesses with dogma. Let's set scientific proposition against scientific proposition, and let the strongest one win.
Perhaps those who are reacting so hysterically to the Kansas decision are really afraid of what those kids will discover--this time it is Christians on the side of academic freedom.
Copyright (c) 1999 Prison Fellowship Ministries