Preserving The Sanctity Of Science
By Theodore Sares
In one of the most important legal clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge recently barred a Pennsylvania public school district from teaching “intelligent design” (hereafter referred to as ID) in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise. Creationism holds that there is scientific evidence to support the Genesis account of the creation of the earth and of life. However, legal doctrine holds that the public school classroom must be religiously neutral and that schools must not advocate religious views. In 1987, in Edwards v. Aguillard, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism in public schools results in the unconstitutional establishment of religion. Evolution, on the other hand, is intrinsically anti-religious and the teaching of same presents no such issues.
In Missouri, a legislative approach was tried but it now appears to be dead according to the April 2, 2006 edition of the Kansas City Star. HB 1266, the so-called Missouri Science Education Act, would have provided, "If a theory or hypothesis of biological origins is taught, a critical analysis of such theory or hypothesis shall be taught in a substantive amount." The bill was opposed by a wide range of teacher groups and school organizations, and even several faith-based groups. The Star quoted the chief lobbyist for the Missouri affiliate of the National Education Association as expressing concern about the possible economic consequences of HB 1266 as follows: "We need to be doing our utmost to increase science literacy so our kids can compete."