If John Thomas Scopes was alive today he would be all smiles! The National Centre for Science Education announced Friday that the Texas Board of Education has officially accepted the use of scientifically accurate biology textbooks in their high school curriculum, while rejecting supplements backed by creationists.
Scientific supplements were presented by a panel of scientists and educators while creationist supplements were submitted by International Databases. After reviewing the submissions, the board sided with evolution, accepting the scientific supplements and rejecting those of the creationists by a lop-sided vote of 14-0. Disturbingly, until now, the teachings of Charles Darwin and evolutionary theory have been strictly prohibited from being taught to the young, bright minds of Texas.
Even more alarmingly, the teaching of evolution is still rejected in other states. Recent polls suggest that more than 40% of Americans accept the literal accounts of genesis and disregard any evidence or idea regarding evolution. Don’t misinterpret this post as a form of bashing Christianity or any other religion for that matter; I am merely alluding to the absurdity of continuing to deny students the right to learn about topics such evolution which are founded in such overwhelming scientific evidence. In such states science and religion should at least be taught hand-in-hand; let the student decide what to believe. But let the factors in the debate be displayed evenly. This disregard for evolutionary theory is not just happening in the southern United States, but is happening to varying degrees all around. Many high school curricula briefly mention evolution and the theory behind it, but typically don’t teach it to the extent and depth it deserves and requires.
As avid atheist Richard Dawkins (whose 200 2Ted-talk “On Militant Atheism” is below) would agree, evolutionary theory is at the core of modern biology and should without a doubt be emphatically tackled in the high school biology classroom – but it isn’t. Evolution deserves an entire section of the high school biology curriculum and typically gets no more than a “hello-goodbye” treatment. As such, the misconceptions and false statements regarding evolution are persistent throughout the world and are often used by the church as arguments against evolution and its credibility.
Something has to be done. The complete disregard for evolution and insufficient attention in the classroom has been denying the world of potentially great scientists for over 150 years. It’s time for a change. Evolutionary theory is essential to the understanding of life as we know it today and needs to be delivered early on in detail. The acceptance of evolution into Texas high schools is a big step in the right direction and is a huge victory for science and knowledge. Hopefully with this, more states will follow suit. So raise your glasses and give yourselves a pat on the back biologists, to a victory for science!