In 1859, Darwin proposed natural selection or “survival of the fittest” in his book “Origin of Species” as the theory of evolution. Many public schools in U.S. use science textbooks that favor the theory. Many efforts have been tried to teach alternatives besides the theory, but those efforts all failed.
In the 1920s, the Tennessee state outlawed teaching the theory in the public schools. A group of the Darwinian supporters hired a substitute teacher John Scopes in small town of Dayton, Tennessee to challenge the law by teaching the theory in the high school.
His practice led to the complaints by a group of parents. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offered to defend anyone accused of teaching the theory of evolution. During the debate, eloquent defense lawyers to seize weaknesses of plaintiffs ‘lawyers on poor understanding the Bible, made plaintiffs’ lawyers very passive. Finally, Scopes was found guilty and ordered to pay a US$100 fine, (later canceled), but in many people’s minds the plaintiff failed, and this is the famous “Scopes Trial”. In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Tennessee law violates the Constitution and had it overthrown. However, debate around the issue has never stopped.
Phillip Johnson, a retired law professor University of California, Berkeley, published book entitled “Trial of Darwin” in 1991. Johnson pointed out that the Darwin’s theory believes that the seemingly chaotic universe can create very organized organisms, which is a natural philosophy or “scientific materialism”. The idea, just like intelligent design (ID), is another philosophical point of view. Therefore, ID should be taught in the scientific class as well as the Darwin’s theory.
On November 8, 2005, Kansas State Board of Education approved the following changes to its science standards:
1. Add to the mission statement a goal that science education should seek to help students make “informed” decisions.
- Provide a definition of science that is not strictly limited to natural explanations.
- Allow intelligent design to be presented as an alternative explanation to evolution as presented in mainstream biology textbooks, without endorsing it.
- State that evolution is a theory and not a fact.
- Require informing students of purported scientific controversies regarding evolution.
The ID supporters have challenged the practice of public schools many times and debated with the Darwinians in the courts; what they want is to teach, in addition to Darwin, that even evolution might be true, but the Darwin’s theory is not correct to illustrate the mechanism of the evolution, and super-nature might be involved with initiation of organism and generation of new species. Their efforts have failed so far. In my opinion, ID and creationism are the beliefs, even if there is an inherent rationality within them. However, they cannot be studied with scientific methodologies, and does not belong to the scope of science.
A new study by Penn State’s Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer says that only 28 percent of America’s biology teachers consistently teach the scientific evidence that evolution has occurred, while 13% only teach creationism. Sixty percent don’t teach much at all,
There are various reasons for teachers not to teach the Darwin’s theory in the classroom. Someone may be afraid of getting into trouble if doing that; someone might even do not agree with it, how can somebody teach it if ones think it wrong?
Attitude of the majority of biology teachers (60%) is the crux of the problem. The Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism are beliefs that are wrapped under cloth of science. In the auditorium of science, ones can not teach any faith, including these theories; they have no scientific valued, and cannot be proved to be wrong by any way. The so-called evidences are just far-fetched “perjuries”.
The debate between the supporters of Darwinism and creationism or ID is not one between science and religion. It is a debate between two beliefs, or between a pseudo-science and a faith. The key to the textbook issue is not teaching creationism or ID in the science classroom in public school. The right thing to do is to remove the Darwin’s theory from classroom in the public school, or start to offer students a course to introduce different religions or believes, including so-called Darwin’s theory or ID or creationism. Or help students to understand what a pseudo-science is by telling what the Darwin’s or Neo-Darwin’s theories are.