Saturday, September 16, 2006

 

Three Questions for America: 1) Should alternatives to evolution be taught in schools?

Dworkin professor law philosophy New York University Oxford (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)

The New York Review of Books: Three Questions for America by Ronald Dworkin is based on his book "Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate" (Amazon UK | US)

1) Should alternatives to evolution be taught in schools?

Nothing frightens liberals and moderates more, I think, than the vision of religious organizations and movements dictating what may be taught to children in public schools, either through formal legislation or school board rulings or informal intimidation of teachers. Many Americans are horrified by the prospect of a new dark age imposed by militant superstition; they fear a black, know-nothing night of ignorance in which America becomes an intellectually backward and stagnant theocracy. But someone must decide what children are taught about history and science. If the elected school board or the majority of parents in a particular jurisdiction sincerely believes that Darwin's theory of evolution is radically wrong, why should they not have the power to prevent that error from being taught to their children, just as they have the power to prevent teachers from converting their classes to the Flat Earth Society? It is no answer that children must not be taught the biblical theory of creation because the Bible must be kept out of the classroom. The Bible also condemns murder but that does not mean that children cannot be taught that murder is wrong.

...In recent years a few religious scientists have claimed a refutation of the main tenets of Darwinian evolution that does not rely on biblical authority or the biblical young-Earth account of creation. This refutation purports only to show that an "intelligent design" rather than the unguided processes of random variation and natural selection that Darwin postulated must be responsible for creating life and human beings. The thesis has quickly gained enormous attention and notoriety. Several states have considered requiring teachers to describe the intelligent design theory as an available alternative to standard evolutionary theory in public high school biology classes. A Pennsylvania school board adopted that requirement a few years ago, and though a federal judge then struck the proposal down as an unconstitutional imposition of Christian doctrine in public schools,[1] other public bodies in other states are still pursuing similar programs... [Creationism]
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The other two questions in the article are:

2) The Pledge of Allegiance

3) Gay Marraige

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