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Evolution: Vital to Education

[5/1/10]

In 2005, a United States District Court judge declared that the Cobb County Board of Education in Marietta, Georgia, exceeded First Amendment limits. The school board had placed stickers on specific textbooks, encouraging students to consider evolution solely as a theory. According to the judge, the former acted unconstitutionally by not acknowledging separation between church and state.

The board’s action would have been reasonable, had the stickers been on all textbooks, mentioning more than just evolution. But the board seemingly focused on evolution out of concern for religious preservation.

The evolutionary theory, like any other concept, may have its flaws; regardless, it is vital to education. Evolution refers to the idea that living things have evolved over time, beginning from the earth’s formation 4.5 billion years ago. As unclear as this idea may be, it has substantial evidence backing it, including the fossil record, geographic distribution of connected species, and recorded genetic changes throughout generations.

Children should be presented information in schools, regardless of its debate. A lot of these ideas may be budding controversial topics, but they are promising gradual developments resulting from the turn of the century. A school’s primary job is to educate and prepare youth for adulthood. Many of these developing topics will train children for future careers, where they will probably need such knowledge.

But the method of education seems disputed.

“Our kids are being presented theories as though they are facts,” Kentucky State Representative Tim Moore said.

Moore proves a point, but in seventh grade biology, you cannot tell a twelve-year-old to question every concept before he or she learns anything. That would be like telling a child to think about writing words before learning the alphabet.

People naturally learn to question things from past experiences; once we reach our early teenage years, we learn to not accept everything we hear.

As a high school student, I can relate to this. I have many teenage friends who take pride in calling themselves atheists, yet their parents are Christians, Hindus, or Buddhists. These peers are not trying to rebel or stand out, and they have obvious religious influences at home.

What happened? My friends reached an intellectual level where they learned to question their surroundings and draw their own conclusions.

Essentially, schools can teach what they like, but children will always question it and—based on their own knowledge and past experiences—decide what to believe. If a school teaches evolution but a child’s parents continuously advocate creationism at home, then the child will probably lean more towards those religious values instead.

Many Christians, specifically evangelical conservatives, believe schools need a counterweight to teaching evolution. The former also suggests alternate teaching schemes, like intelligent design, the idea that life is so multifaceted that there must be a more intelligent being behind life’s creation.

Schools introduce religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam in seventh grade. So technically, there is a counterweight to evolution. Plus intelligent design is far less backed than the evolutionary theory. There is little confirmation presenting its happening, but it most likely could be taught in schools if there was more evidence.

With religion, each faith is synonymously a theory that a population has invented and continues to believe in.

Likewise, a population of biologists invented evolution, and they continue to believe the theory and spread it. Not to mention that these scientists have a whole lot more of evidence as support.

Evolution has no reason to be treated differently from religion. If we do not teach theories like evolution in schools, children will not be aware of the world’s debated issues. When they reach adulthood, they will be unable to make further investigations to explore these theories and correct them.

What will happen to our world if theories are merely produced but never dissected?

We must question everything, but by damming up debated information from youth, we are losing future ideas, theories, and solutions.

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