October 4, 2010
Creationism v. Darwinism (Evolution) in Public Schools
Should evolution be taught in public schools? This question has raised intense discussions since the 1925 trial of Scopes v. The State of Tennessee. As Tungate (2006) stated “The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a law prohibiting the teaching of human evolution in a split decision despite noting it was not drafted with as much care as could have been drafted (para1). Teacher John Scopes’ misdemeanor conviction for teaching human evolution was later overturned on technical grounds, but teaching human evolution remained illegal in Tennessee until 1967” (para1). This trial is sometimes referred to as the scopes monkey trial. Should the controversial question about “teaching evolution in public schools” be expanded to include; which theory should the public school teachers teach to their students about how humans came to be in existence, creationism or evolution? Numerous religious leaders, parents, and even some educators would like to have the creationism theory taught in public schools in place of the evolution theory or at best along side of evolution. Another question we need to consider, should religious matters be taught in public school? Statistics according to Lac, Hemovich, and Himelfarb (2010) showed that the “Gallup poll in 2005 found that although 63% of respondents felt it was acceptable to teach evolution, an even greater majority (76%) of this very same sample responded that they would not be upset if creationism were taught in schools”(p.253). This paper will examine both sides of the argument of creationism and evolution in public schools. Religious views of Creationism and Darwinism in Public Schools Almost since the time that public school education came to be in existence; religious leaders, parents, and society have been debating whether or not God has a place in the public schools. As child attending public schools in Florida we were able to say the morning prayer, in addition to saying the pledge of allegiance; around about the age of ten, the ability to say the morning prayer changed to a moment of silence because a number of people challenged the prayer that was said on the basis of “not everyone prayed to that God”; quite a few years go by and the saying the pledge of allegiance was cancelled due to people challenging the “one nation under god” statement. This challenge came from people complaining that “God” is not the same for everyone in the United States, the challengers of this school activity stressed that there are other religions, i.e. Judaism, and Islam among others and that children who do not pray to “God” do not feel right about praying to a god that is not from their religion. The twenty-first century public schools now not teach about religion in any form other than in a material based framework. Since the public school teachers are not allowed to teach religion or about religious matter to the students. This paper will examine both sides of the argument regarding religion in relationship to the creationism and evolution theories. Creationism theory
Merriam-Webster (2010) defines “CREATIONISM as: a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis” (para.1). Moore (1999) suggested that scientist and others are happy with the court decisions that keep creationism out of the classroom because it’s theory is region based and religion has no place in public schools (p. 330). Moore (1999) citing (Berman, 1997) “The religious right often exploits the evolution/creationism controversy to promote its goal of instituting Christianity in public education” (p.334). Moore (1999) stated in 1992 a religious group won the majority seat of the school board in Vista, California, this win permitted them to...