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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Virginia educators get it right

The Virginia-Pilot:

What, [Linda H. Anderson] asked her students at Tallwood High, is creationism? Their answers boiled down to the idea that God created the world and all its inhabitants.

Then: “Is there a reason why we don’t teach creationism?” Her answer: “Creationism is a belief, and we don’t go into different people’s beliefs, whereas evolution is based on some science. This is a science class.”

YAY!!! This is exactly the right way to handle it. Evolution is a science and is based on factual observations of natural phenomena. Intelligent Design is a personal belief based on faith and scripture written by men. Let the earth speak for itself and let us listen to what it says rather than blindly accepting what other men only believed to be true.

Anderson, though, couldn’t escape the controversy. It entered in the form of Jeremiah Horton , an outspoken freshman and evolution skeptic.

“Don’t you have to believe in evolution to think it’s true?” he said. “Isn’t it like a religion?” And later: “Why are we teaching it?”

Anderson, unruffled, responded: “Because it’s the scientific method. No one is asking you to believe in it. It’s a theory.” But one, she told the students, based on evidence. “It’s a hypothesis that’s been tested and tested.”

Well, besides the theory part, her response was okay. I would have said something like, "Well, not believing in gravity won't let you fly. Evolution is based on observable phenomena. The facts are still there whether you want to believe them or not." Unfortunately, many educators are avoiding the the topic of evolution for fear of retribution from parents and students:

“If you stay focused on what children need to master the SOLs by the time they graduate, you will avoid a lot of problems,” said Veronica E. Haynes , Norfolk’s senior coordinator of science. “We have to be sensitive to everybody’s beliefs. We don’t want to offend anyone.”

Instead of making all of our children more ignorant, maybe we can implement a policy that only believers in evolution can reap the benefits of those scientific findings (e.g. the flu vaccine). Then through natural selection, only true believers will survive.