Monday, September 01, 2008

Teaching Evolution in Florida

The New York Times recently published a profile of a Florida biology teacher who was involved in developing that state's standards for teaching evolution in high school. It's pretty dismissive of people of faith who believe in creation rather than evolution--and that's why I found it an interesting read. It offers some good insight into the liberal worldview that considers Christians to be backwards, anti-science fundamentalists.

For example, Mr. Campbell (the biology teacher) had this to say about the previous standards, which didn't require teaching evolution as the origin of the human species:
But at the inaugural meeting of the Florida Citizens for Science, which he co-founded in 2005, he vented his frustration. “The kids are getting hurt,” Mr. Campbell told teachers and parents. “We need to do something.”
Get that? He believes kids are hurt when they AREN'T taught hard-core evolution. He went on to say, in response to a question about why intelligent design isn't taught along with evolution:
“We also failed to include astrology, alchemy and the concept of the moon being made of green cheese,” he said. “Because those aren’t science, either.”
Another thread running through the article is the importance of knowing how evolution is taught and preparing Christian kids to protect their faith. I remember reading in one of Lee Strobel's books (either The Case for a Creator or The Case for Faith) that high school biology was a major cause in his loss of his childhood faith. I'm not an expert, and I don't claim to have a perfect answer of how to teach the origins of life in public high schools. But, it seems to me that it's not enough to just tell our kids that our faith is Truth and the stuff they learn in science class is some sort of distraction. True, at the end of the day Christianity does require faith--you can't literally prove every tenet of our faith using scientific methods. But it seems to me that providing scientific arguments against evolution, and pointing out the holes in the theory from a scientific standpoint, are important elements of the discussion.

One last thought--I was encouraged by the Christian students quoted in the article, who were holding to their beliefs even as they sat through the classes on evolution:
When the subject of evolution came up at a recent [Fellowship of Christian Athletes] meeting, several of the students rolled their eyes.

“I think a big reason evolutionists believe what they believe is they don’t want to have to be ruled by God,” said Josh Rou, 17.
Wow, he gets it. Not only does he know evolution is wrong, but he knows how the liberal worldview benefits from replacing God with some confused theory about the origin of life.

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