Creationism and Evolution For a long time school administrators, teachers, parents and even students have argued for and against the teaching of either creation and/or evolution. Evolution has been taught in many public schools for generations because of the scientific methods and support it has as a scientific theory of how we as humans came to be. Many religions hold different views of how humanity as we know it was created and these people believe that students should be able to hear their side as well. There is one main problem, the separation of church and state and the limits that are set within this statement. Should creation be taught as theory just like evolution? Do other creation myths need to be told to support other religions? Where must we as parents and teachers and students draw the line? In my opinion evolution should not be taught in junior high or high schools for several reasons. First of all, there is obviously too much conflict to make it worth while. When I was taught about evolution in ninth grade it was covered in a fifteen minute period and dismissed.
It wasnt something that was central to understanding the rest of the natural science that I was being taught and the teacher foresaw problems with discussions surrounding the issues of creationism versus evolution. If evolution is taught in a Christian majority classroom, the students are bound to want to discuss how they have been brought up believing things differently. These students are in a difficult part of their lives as it is; trying to establish their own personal identities, figuring out what they want to do with their lives and trying to rebel against their parents. Why should science teachers add to this with a theory that conflicts with most if not all religious beliefs. They are telling students that whatever they have been taught to have faith in is also just a theory and that the evolution theory has more scientific proof.
This creates a lot of stress for the students, their families and the clergy at their church. Why do we need to this? Is it simply to introduce a theory about how Charles Darwin believed the world was created? Another problem is the fact that religion is not supposed to be discussed. This has changed over the years to some extent, but not enough to support any beliefs in the school buildings. If we teach creation alongside of evolution, we are getting away from the scientific part of the discussion and basing the proof of our theories on faith. Students and teachers are not allowed to pray in school, they are not allowed to hold Bible studies in school and they are not allowed to promote certain religions to others within the school. Why then should we start a discussion that will more than likely lead to a religious discussion and then cut it off when it does? If we teach creation alongside of evolution, what creation do we teach? Do we cover Christianity and Native American stories and leave out others? Do we try to teach a bit of all of the creation stories? No, we only bring up the Genesis accounts.
This leaves out many other religions and beliefs. If we attempt to cater to all the creation stories, we find ourselves in a theology course or a social studies course rather than the science we intended to support. As far back as 1925 we see court cases that bring up this issue. In Dayton, Tennessee a man by the name of John Thomas Scopes, a high school biology teacher went against the law and taught evolution theory to his students. At this time the teaching of any creation theory had been banned in Tennessee probably for the same reason I am arguing.
Many other court cases have come up since then arguing for one side or the other; creationism vs. evolution. The people who supported creationism looked at it from a scientific standpoint and called it “Creation science,” but this only worked for a while until another case brought this idea to an end. The establishment clause in the constitution ruled that “Creation science” still has roots in religion and therefore violates the separation of church and state. Another group arguing on the side of creation suggested that creation could be taught simply as a theory much like evolution, as long as it received a “balanced treatment.” It was no big surprise that this idea made its way into the court eventually and ran into the same establishment clause of the constitution that creation science ran into.
Obviously there are not many ways to get around the fact that creationism can not be taught in classrooms. For whatever reason it is going to offend someone or another person may disagree with how it is being taught so the best method would be to simply not worry about teaching it. The class we are most looking at is science and there is no scientific basis for the Genesis accounts. Some may argue that teachers are trying to brainwash students with alternate ideas that conflict with their religions, and in this sense there will always be conflict somewhere. If a child whose parents are scientologists takes a high school health class, not much of it will make sense to the student and their parents may want them taken out.
When African or Asian students take American History, they may wonder why their ancestors are not better represented in the books and curriculum. We will always have conflict in the school system, we just have to work around these conflicts. The issue of religion is very important to many people and this is the reason that I believe that neither evolution nor creationism should be taught in a mainstream science classroom. If students want to know what the scientific explanation for the universe is they can go to a library. If they want to know what the main religious belief about the creation of the world is, they can go to a church and ask a clergy man.
Why do we have to get teachers and school administrators in the middle and create an unstoppable conflict? If the history of this issue isnt enough to convince, try teaching one or the other to a group of ten high school students that havent learned about evolution yet and see what you come up with.