The student news site of Air Academy High School

The Jetstream Journal

Filed under News, Showcase

Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

Labeled+for+reuse+under+google+images
Labeled for reuse under google images

Labeled for reuse under google images

Labeled for reuse under google images

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Science and religion clash once again in the heated debate over whether the Theory of Evolution should be taught to students in schools. When Charles Darwin published his monumental work On the Origin of Species in 1859, many of the world’s leading religions were up in arms at the books alternative origin to humankind.

For those who are unfamiliar with this biological theory, Darwin theorized that man evolved from the likes of primitive life forms through means of natural selection. Basically, the desirable traits of a creature were passed on to the next generation of that species. The more desirable traits a species had translated to its fitness, or its ability to survive in its environment. Not only this, but the theory would estimate the world to be 4.5 billion years old.

This theory differs vastly from many religions’ explanations for how mankind came to be.  Specifically, the Christian religion says that God created a man in his image that would come to be known as Adam.  From Adam’s rib, God then created the first female, to whom we know as Eve.  All humans are said to be the offspring of these two lifeforms.  Also, Genesis of the Bible proclaims that the earth is only about 6,000 years old.  Many Christians were outraged about this proposal and deemed it satanic even.

This loathing of evolution has correlated into the modern age with the theory’s integration into the school curriculum. Many Christians were not comfortable about schools teaching their children the theory of evolution and demand it be outlawed.  In 1968, the Supreme Court case Epperson vs. Arkansas declared anti-evolution laws were null and void because “the First Amendment does not permit the state to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma and hold that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them.”

By the First Amendment, Congress decreed that public schools should remain religiously neutral and cannot promote one religion over another.  In other words, a public school biology teacher cannot legally teach their students about Creationism in any promotional manner. On the flip side of that, however, that same biology teacher cannot denounce any religious expression or explanation. The simple solution to this issue is to let any and all students opt out of the evolution portion of a biology course’s curriculum. No student is required to learn about the Theory of Evolution.

But what are these students missing out on if they choose not to partake in learning about this theory?  The famous geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky once stated, “Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light, it becomes a pile of sundry facts some of them interesting or curious, but making no meaningful picture as a whole.” Dobzhansky would argue that the theory of evolution should be taught in schools because it is our best explanation for the existence of the human species.

Mr. Chisholm’s teaches his class at Air Academy

Air Academy Honors Biology teacher Nathan Chisholm would agree with Dobzhansky’s resolution. He believes that evolution should be taught in schools because of its importance to the scientific community. He states that biology simply does not make sense without this fundamental theorem. When asked about his opinion on the religious people that do not believe evolution has a place in the classroom, he said, “There is a common misconception that science and religion have to be mutually exclusive, but they can be reconciled independently.” Though he advocates students learn the material of evolution, he also believes religion can play a role in the way students perceive the creation of man.

Being religious does not have to disqualify a student from learning about evolution in school.  The two seemingly juxtaposed ideologies can coexist given the maturity of that student and their devotion to either end of the spectrum.

Air Academy junior Marie Cloonan is a self-proclaimed Catholic, but she is also taking AP Biology this year. When asked how she reconciles her faith with what she learns in AP Bio regarding evolution, she responded by saying that she does not take literally the six days described in Genesis by which God created the Earth, or by explaining that God’s day is inherently different from that of the 24-hour human day. She says that creating every minute detail of the Earth might have taken billions of years as theorized by scientists.

Marie Cloonan is a Catholic taking AP Biology.

Marie says that her interpretation of the Bible helps her reconcile the curriculum of AP Bio with the theology that she learns at church. She states, “Sometimes evolution may question my faith, such as ‘Why does natural selection occur if every species is made in the image of God or why does evolution take place?’ Some questions I can’t answer and that’s why I separate them in some aspects.  When I cannot answer a question, I realize my faith and that no one has all the answers. So instead of totally ignoring the other belief, I explore both aspects. I believe that’s essential to having them coincide with each other because if you shut one out of your brain completely, then you can’t have a deeper understanding of the one you choose to believe.”

Marie is a prime example of how religion and science can coexist in the modern age. In fact, the author of the textbooks used in Air Academy’s Honors Biology course is written by a devout Catholic, Ken Miller. Miller also wrote the book Finding Darwin’s God which argues that evolution is compatible with a belief in God. He states that his in-depth study of biology has only strengthened his eternal bond with his God.

It is possible that this raging debate can be cooled by the friendliness of understanding. Clashing ideas can live in harmony if both parties are respectful of the others beliefs. Religion does not have to infringe on the progress of science such that the two entities are kept apart and do not overlap in faith nor understanding.

Print Friendly

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?”

  1. Megan Reynolds on May 2nd, 2017 11:49 am

    I love this article Ryan. Nice way of including individuals around the school and making them involved in our newspaper!

    [Reply]

  2. Jessica Cox on May 2nd, 2017 12:06 pm

    Marie has an awesome point! I love the idea of exploring both aspects.

    [Reply]

  3. Maria Mettler on May 2nd, 2017 12:12 pm

    This is a really good and important article. Looking at both sides of a story is always important.

    [Reply]

  4. Luke Negley on May 2nd, 2017 12:13 pm

    Great article Ryan! I like how showed both sides of the argument.

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Senior Edition

    A Letter To The Class of 2018

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Senior Edition

    Returning to The Halls of AAHS

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Senior Edition

    From Ordinary to Extraordinary

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Senior Edition

    The Move To AAHS

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Senior Edition

    Big (Marching) Shoes to Fill

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Showcase

    Making a Wish Come True

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Showcase

    Classroom Bullies

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Showcase

    Social Media Overload

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Showcase

    Education, Money, and You

  • Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?

    Showcase

    PROM

The student news site of Air Academy High School
Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?