Public School Battles Continue


"AUSTIN - In a major defeat for social conservatives, a sharply divided State Board of Education voted Thursday to abandon a longtime state requirement that high school science teachers cover what some critics consider to be "weaknesses" in the theory of evolution."  Dallas Morning News, 22 January 2009

Louisiana (here, too) and Mississippi also have important decisions pending that will influence the teaching of science in public schools.

No matter how these particulars unfold, my prediction is this:

"Until the majority of churches in America preach evolution enthusiastically from the pulpit and teach evolution in inspiring ways in religious education classes, we will never see an end to the science and religion war in America."

For those parents and pastors who truly do believe that exposure to the evolutionary sciences will lead children to question their faith, and especially if a loss of that particular faith (say, scriptural literalism) consigns the child to suffering for eternity in Hell, then of course the war shall continue, even as particular battles are won and lost.

While I am enormously grateful to the National Center for Science Education for helping educators and citizens around the country develop effective actions for countering anti-evolution legislation and regulations, I know that religious leaders need to do their part, as well. Thankfully, The Clergy Letter Project, has scores of sermons to download or peruse -- sermons delivered by clergy in Christian churches, including Methodist, Presbyterian, UCC, Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, and more.

I highly recommend that website as a resource for clergy - especially in this "Year of Darwin" - February 12 being the 200th anniversary of his birth, and November 24 set as the date for celebrating the 150th anniversary of Darwin's landmark book, On the Origin of Species, that launched biological evolution into both the world of science and the world of public controversy.  Visit the Darwin Day website for more news and resources.

And if you don't already have a copy of the January 2009 Scientific American: "The Evolution of Evolution: How Darwin's Theory Survives, Thrives, and Reshaps the World -- A Special Issue on the Most Powerful Idea in Science", I highly recommend buying one or reading it at the public library. It's fabulous!