Saturday, January 29, 2011
Are the "Good Guys" Losing in America?
The battle between science and religion has been going on for centuries. Part of the conflict is over the teaching of evolution in American public schools. Religious parents don't want their children exposed to ungodly evolution and the most vocal of them want creationism taught as part of the science curriculum.
Now you might think that that this particular battle has been decisively won by the "good guys" because of all the court victories. Not so. The results in the classroom reveal that evolution is not being taught except in the most liberal states and a substantial number of teachers are teaching creationism in spite of the law.
You can read postings on The Panda's Thumb [Who controls America’s schools? Who should?] and on Pharyngula [Bad science education in the US]. Each of these authors has their own take on the issue.
I want to raise another question. What good has it done to win all the court cases? Has it prevented an even worse disaster? Has relying on lawyers to defend evolution been the right strategy or should more emphasis have been placed on promoting good science instead of the American Constitution?
There's one point that few people raise. Evolution is taught badly even in universities—and so is everything else. You might think that by the time a student graduates with a degree from university he or she will be knowledgeable enough to reject superstition and rely on critical thinking. If we can't even do a good job of teaching adults in university then how can we expect public school teachers to do any better? In an ideal world every parent who is a university graduate should be an ally of their child's teacher when it comes to supporting good science education.