On Nov. 8, the Kansas Board of Education voted 6-4 in favor of alter the science standards in public schools in favor of an “Intelligent Design” curriculum. No amount of perfume can cover up the stench of dogma in the halls of the Kansas Board of Education these days.
What we have here is a move to install religious beliefs into the public schools, and the public schools seem to be going along with it. One group’s beliefs are another’s fairy tale. Nevertheless, that won’t keep the religious nuts from cracking their shells open, and imposing their beliefs onto the rest of us.
The creationist bunch loves to point out that their argument is based on truths, and that evolution is merely a theory that can’t be proven. When scientists use the word theory they mean to say that they are as sure as can be that their statement will explain a natural phenomena or event.
They don’t mean to say that they are 100 percent sure. But, through trial and error, repeated testing, and continued modification, they are as sure as possible that their explanation is the best explanation possible.
But perhaps the creationists are right. Maybe it is time to let religious beliefs enter our schools. But why stop with Christian creationism? If that idea is equally viable as evolution, then every other creationist belief, from every religion in the world, is just as viable, and should be taught as well.
One day a science teacher can teach evolution. The next day the teacher can teach Christian creationism, as set out in the Bible. On the day after that the teacher could teach the Taoist belief that the universe started as a “cosmic egg.”
On the following day the Hindu belief can be taught, followed the next day by the Islamic belief, followed by the Hopi Indian belief. And don’t forget the Mayan, or the Norse, or the Maori belief of how the universe was created. And so on, and so on.
You see, if one creationist belief is going to be taught, then that validates every creationist belief system. To teach only Christian based creationism is to sanction a specific belief over another.
The proponents of Christian creationism only want the schools to teach their creationist beliefs, not the multitude of beliefs from around the world. If it doesn’t conform to what they believe, then they don’t believe it should be taught.
Ultimately they wish to squeeze out the evolutionary theory out of the public schools, because that doesn’t conform to their beliefs. If we allow one belief system to enter our schools then it is tantamount to validating one religion over another.
Our public schools are not institutions that need to concern themselves with religion. There are a multitude of churches, synagogues, temples, and shrines that have been founded for the express purpose of teaching specific religious beliefs. To now ask public schools to shift through the multitude of beliefs, and teach the ones “sanctioned” by the community is ludicrous.
Evolution doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. Evolution has theories, tested through empirical data and experiments. It is not an absolute monolith of knowledge. It changes with new knowledge, and is flexible enough to change itself. It is much like what it tries to explain, ever changing to ever changing conditions.
Creationism is inflexible, never open to new ideas, or new discoveries. Evolution is a science, creationism is a belief. If we are teaching beliefs in our public schools now, then all beliefs should have equal weight. It’s only fair.
Eric Gomez is a junior English major.