I know I shouldn’t react like that. After all, we’re in the midst of an era of good feeling and reconciliation with Obama’s election and we want to bury hatchets and grudges and ill will and move forward and extend our hands. Which is good, great, badly needed.
Still. Every time I read about the Texas State Board of Education holding hearings about what to teach about evolution in the public schools, I get a bit, let’s say, distraught. The last time I looked, it was 2008, still the 21st century, the age of science and technology and progress. We want our state and nation to retain leadership in the world, don’t we?
So why are we arguing about a theory that is generally accepted by all scientists? Why are we dragging the Bible and Adam and Eve into the classroom? Teach the controversy, the strict Biblical constructionists suggest, even though there’s no controversy to teach. Once again,
There’s nothing to argue about. Science is clear — but here we are, wasting our time and voices and patience and money on something that isn’t controversial and isn’t remotely scientific. Why not teach the controversy on whether 2 plus 2 equals 4? I’m sure there must be some dissent there. Surely some creative soul feels hampered by the rigidity of that equation.
But, no. In our state, people will go on dressing up like pioneer women and dinosaurs and we will have to pretend to have civilized conversations about something that’s sad and laughable and inarguable to the rest of the world. If this passes into the state curriculum, one scientist said, our state will be a laughingstock.
The economy’s tanking, the war rages on, we have so much real work to do. Why does this battle between science and fairy tales continue to play out, year after year, generation after generation?
All right. Take a deep breath. Paste on a tolerant smile. Speak in a well-modulated voice that’s somewhat less piercing than a scream. It’s the era of good feeling and reconciliation, after all. We’re supposed to be building bridges and understanding, not blowing them up. And we know that evolution takes time, that it meanders and retraces its steps, but eventually, over the millennia, progress will be made, even if it’s so damned slow it drives us crazy. So, I. Want. To. Scream. But. I. Won’t.
As the thug with the ducktail said in American Graffiti, “You know, Rome wasn’t burned in a day.”
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)
I found my way over here via Tessa at Nuts & Mutton and I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. Oh I so agree on this whole BS about evolution and science vs the biggest fairy tale. How regressive does the US want to be? It is truly frightening how this illogical thinking has taken over. The impact of such thinking does not bear thinking about .
Glad you brought this up, Ruth. You know, the Bible and evolution were taught side by side in my high school and no one really thought much about it. Of course, that was the 70s. Somewhere along the line, someone came up with the strong (and sometimes angry) conviction that Christianity and evolution are at odds with each other. Then someone decided they were at war with each other. And now here we are not being able to teach our children real science.
Believe it or not, a scientist has found a middle ground and he has managed to soften the thinking of some if not change it entirely. His name is Francis Collins, MD, and he was the director of the Human Genome Project, the agency that decoded human DNA. His latest book, The Language of God, has been on the NYT bestseller list for a good long while, partly because people like me have bought dozens of them to give to friends and relatives. It is compelling, it is entertaining, and it completely dispells the notion that God and evolution are counter to each other. I am agnostic and loved it. My friend who is an ordained Baptist minister loved it.
The Language of God is a peace offering to both sides and I encourage everyone to read it. It makes scientists open to religion and makes fundamentalists open to science.
Still an Agnostic But There’s Hope for Me Yet
Religion has no
place in a Science class — is
it invoked in Math?