Creationism causes classroom controversy

 By Genevieve Ott

     Bill Nye recently featured his firm scientific stance in a YouTube video called “Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children,” while Elaine’s boyfriend on a famous Seinfeld episode cried “You stole my Jesus fish!”

     The Creationism/Evolution debate is a controversy as prevalent in pop culture as in school systems.

     “Ever since Galileo and the Church had started the dispute… society has debated the true origin of the universe,” stated Chris Adams (12).

     Thanks to Galileo, there has since been the discussion of whether Creationism should be taught alongside Evolution in Biology classes. A famous example of this issue is the case of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, where The Kansas State Board of Education angered Oregon State physics grad Bobby Henderson. The Board debated, in stride with common controversy, whether Creationism should be added to the state’s high school Biology classes.

     This did not sit well with many teachers or with Henderson, so he created a religion all his own as a declaration of defiance.

     Henderson, as any analytical physics grad, knew to look for loopholes in the newly approved education amendments. The new course guidelines never specified a religion or a certain type of Intelligent Design. Creating deity The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Henderson proposed Pastafarianism as a substitute for disgruntled science teachers who didn’t want to teach traditional Creationism.

     Kansas State Board of Education suffered the hilarious consequences of mixing religion, science, and schools, but the disagreement remains in many other states. Hereford hasn’t adopted the side-by-side learning plan yet, but in this mostly conservative area, it wouldn’t be unexpected.

     Yet even some of Hereford’s religious students maintain respect for the integrity of science in schools. “I’m Catholic, but I also find truth in the Big Bang theory,” stated Chris. Students have found ways to balance faith with thought and some education systems suggest that schools do the same.

     Unless the school in question is one affiliated with a religion or specific church, I think creationism has no place in science classes—or any other, really. Following with the principle of a separation of church and state, public schools (which are government-sponsored) should abandon any inklings of religion.

     Science requires the ability to objectively question; anybody who vehemently agrees with Creationism would be unable to take a step back and examine it in a class room. Even those who side with Evolution can point out its shortcomings, loopholes, or flaws as a theory (which is inherently not a confirmed law).

     The central problem of this debate then centrally lies in that word: theory. Creationism has never been described as a “theory” by its supporters, but a rule, a regulation, whereas Evolution is clearly portrayed as a proposition even by its founding scientist, Charles Darwin.

     Teaching Creationism in Biology classes would divide students and stray from the neutral nature of a curriculum. Religion is absolutely welcome where course guidelines suggest healthy debate and knowledge of all viewpoints, like a Philosophy class. However, biology as a discipline is generally rooted in empirical evidence and fact. Because neither Creationism nor Evolution are proven scientific laws, biology accepts Evolution as it is not only partial to any religion, but can more easily be observed in the natural world.

     Public school systems should respect but not necessarily acknowledge both perspectives. It seems silly to have mandatory prayer in between bells at a public school, so why should religious ideals be injected into other aspects of a school day? Biology needs to remain an unbiased science free from any religion; otherwise, pretty soon children will be taught that tiny elves are the ones performing protein synthesis.