Most educated individuals can agree that science and science education is of the utmost importance to our children and our future. The state of Florida does not see things quite the same way as evident by a recent law that allows ANY individual to challenge what is being taught in science class. To make a long story short, if an individual is uncomfortable with what is being taught in science class, they can challenge the teacher and the school district. If/when this challenge occurs, the school district is required by law to hire an unbiased hearing officer to handle the complaint.
On face value, the law is not a terrible idea, as one of the most important aspects of a democratic society is the freedom of speech, and the ability to challenge information that is being presented whether in school, the media, or elsewhere. The problem, and a huge one at that, is that ANYONE can challenge any part of the science curriculum being taught in schools. To put it more bluntly, and if this offends anyone, I do not apologize, a high school dropout can challenge any teacher with a doctorate in Evolutionary Biology because he/she is teaching evolution and not creation.
To make it perfectly clear, my doctorate in Criminology none withstanding, I have no idea why we are the way we are. I do not feel like I am smart enough or qualified enough to answer that question. What I do know is that there is a scientific basis for evolution, while creationism whether it is right, wrong, or otherwise is a religious perspective. Unless I am completely off base (which is always possible), regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum or what religion one is affiliated with, there is zero expectation that any theology class touch on evolution. While there is plenty of evidence that science and religion can and likely should work together, it is ok that they are taught separately.
Ideally, a curious student should be exposed to both perspectives in their separate domains, and be able to choose which of the theories if any, they believe. The issue with the new law in Florida is less about education and more about individuals trying to insert their biases into public school curriculum. Science is very much under attack, but not necessarily for the reason most believe. Science is under attack, at least in Florida, because it is no longer allowed to operate independently in its own domain. While the idea of separation between church and state is a different topic for a different time, science class and theology, or any other discipline for that matter should be able to co-exist peacefully without intruding on each other’s turf.
Science is very much under attack, but not necessarily for the reason most believe. Click To Tweet
Creationism Website. (2017, July 3). Retrieved from http://www.creationism.org/
New Florida law lets any resident challenge what is taught in science classes. (2017, July 3). Retrieved from http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/new-florida-law-lets-any-resident-challenge- whats-taught-in-science-classes/2329141
Than, K. (2015, May 13). What is Darwin’s theory of evolution? Live Science. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/474-controversy-evolution-works.html
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