New controversies over the teaching of science have become center stage where two states have created legislation which changes the monopoly of teaching Darwinian evolution only while enacting a provision that allows the teaching of students on how to be critical thinkers which includes evolution. Other theories in science the general practice of critical thinking is never challenged, only when it comes to the framework regarding evolution does it then stir up controversies.
Can a public school teach about other inferences concerning origins that is not connected with evolution such as creationism or intelligent design? The U.S. Supreme Court in its 1987 case Edwards v. Aguillard struck down a Louisiana statute that required instruction on evolution to be accompanied by teaching on “creation science.” However, it left a provision where it says, “religion may be taught in public school if it serves “a secular educational purpose.” Secularists claim, in science, it serves no secular educational purpose because it violates the establishment clause of “separation of church and state,” however some think it’s alright to teach it in a history course rather than science which is like claiming that science involves no history.
John Adams happens to be on of the founding fathers of America and he said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.” The principles of faith were incorporated into the United States governing documents. The phrase, “separation of church and state” is not found in any of the governing documents like the First Amendment. What it does say is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
In the congressional record where 90 founding fathers of the United States were recorded in their discussions that framed the First Amendment where they repeated many times over that the clause was to prevent what they had experienced living in Europe under religions like Catholicism or Anglicanism which were elevated to a state religion. James Madison proposed the First Amendment this way, “nor shall any national religion be established.” On September 3, 1789, the Senate introduced the First Amendment this way, “Congress shall not make any law establishing any religions denomination.”
All the proposed versions of the First Amendment had a pattern and that was prohibiting the government from establishing a particular denomination in preference to another. Religion and denomination were used interchangeably throughout their discussions. And it may surprise some but early in American history, the Bible was used in the classrooms. Fisher Frames, the one who offered the final wording for the House version of the First Amendment who was committed to sound education noticed fables of moral stories were starting to replace a very important book, he said this… “Why then, if these [new] books for children must be retained as they will be-should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book?” Ames believed the Bible should not be separated from the classroom.
Clearly Fisher Ames’s view of the First Amendment who was also responsible for the wording of it, continued to believed the Bible should remain in the classroom. Rush who signed the Declaration of Independence and who served under three Presidents (Adams, Jefferson and Madison) and was known to be one of the leading educators of that time said this in a 1791 educational policy paper, “In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, (if we remove the Bible from the schools) I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them.”
Rush believed that if the Bible were to be removed from education the crime level would raise nation wide. Compared to others of today verses people who lived in the early history of America, there is a huge contrast to what people think of the First Amendment and how it is being used for example, prohibiting even the mentioning of Christianity or religion in public schools under conditions they see fit. So do you think the founding fathers of the United States would be against teaching creationism in public schools? No! Also, most likely the founding fathers of America would not like the idea of Darwinian evolution being taught in public schools. But this is to show the true intent of the First Amendment on how it was framed and worded when controversies in science come up.
This begs the question, does Science Daily teach religion in its science section, if read in class, would it be advancing the supernatural for a secular purpose? Well let’s see…
“Launched on Aug. 5, 2011, Juno is 182 days and 279 million miles (449 million kilometers) into its five-year, 1,740-million-mile (2,800-million-kilometer) journey to Jupiter. Once in orbit, the spacecraft will orbit the planet’s poles 33 times and use its collection of eight science instruments to probe beneath the gas giant’s obscuring cloud cover to learn more about Jupiter’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere, and look for a potential solid planetary core.”
“Juno’s name comes from Greek and Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, and his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter’s true nature.”
Exploring Jupiter will be an amazing and exciting mission! But what about NASA naming the spacecraft after a pagan God from Baal Worship that was passed on through the Greeks then Romans? Why not calling the spacecraft Jesus? Or would that be a violation of Church and State? Look at Science Daily teach us about paganism in its science section! Just when you thought you heard it all! Could this be read in a science classroom in a public school in the United States?
Ok, one of the new laws which will allow creationism and critical thinking is SENATE BILL No. 89 from the great state of Indiana!
“Sec. 18. The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”
Here is what a well-known and very good creationist site, Answers in Genesis had this to say about this new bill…
“The amendment requiring any school opting to teach alternative viewpoints to teach the views of multiple religions in science class adds to the problems with Senate Bill 89. The point of academic freedom in science class is not to turn science into a class on comparative religions and suggest a multiple choice scenario for origins. With all due respect to the well-intentioned boosters of the current bill, to require teachers present material in the way now described in the amendment will not improve students’ scientific understanding but instead will likely cause more harm than good. Biblical young earth creationism offers models consistent with observable evidence, but treating it as a “religious option” will just obscure its consistency with science and make all ideas but the evolutionary fairy tale look foolish.”
I agree with Answers in Genesis, but I like the science standards in Texas as well which came out better than expected and the Louisiana’s Science Education Act which allows critical thinking that includes evolution. This particular law is in its fourth year. And the other new law Senate Bill 1742 from the great state of Oklahoma!
“An Act relating to school curriculum; creating the Oklahoma Science Education Act; providing short title; providing legislative intent; providing for the assistance of teachers in teaching scientific curriculum; promoting critical thinking; allowing for open discussion of scientific theories; directing teachers to teach certain material; allowing supplemental material to be taught; prohibiting the promotion of a particular belief system; directing the State Board of Education to adopt rules; providing for codification; providing for noncodification; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.”
And that is not all in the great state of Missouri the HOUSE BILL NO. 1227, 96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY says…
“If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a textbook, the textbook shall give equal treatment to biological evolution and biological intelligent design. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught.”
Then it goes into detail on what it means by biological intelligent design…
“Intelligence-directed action is necessary to exceed the limits of natural species change, which is a combination of autogenous species change and environmental effected species change,”
“The lack of significant present-day observable changes in species due to random variation, mutation, natural selection, adaptation, segregation, or other naturalistic mechanisms implies intelligence as the cause for all original species.”
This new law in Missouri is not a good science standard to teach kids. While the modern intelligent design movement has valid points against Darwinism, it is basically the same in essence, old earth, species turning into other species and so on. The only difference is where the information comes from, the intelligent design movement says from intelligent agents while Darwinism says information comes from errors in the genetic code. This may confuse students on what is creationism and what is in the modern intelligent design movement.
It is not advocated that public school teachers be required to give some sort of version of creationism or intelligent design as a course, on the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to mention alternatives in the classroom and show the many weaknesses in evolution when presented all the positives about it as well as teaching critical thinking in science.
Senate Bill 1742 from the great state of Oklahoma which is modeled after Louisiana’s Science Education Act is much better than the one from Indiana or Missouri. Certainly the monopoly of Darwinism only should be changed!