The state education committee in South Carolina has agreed to a series of new science standards for students, but has omitted a crucial clause that refers to evolution through natural selection:
[box type=”shadow”]”Conceptual Understanding: Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population over multiple generations.” P. 78 of the South Carolina Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science.”[/box]
Senator Mike Fair, a Republican who had advocated dropping the reference, said he believed it was right to teach children other “theories”:
[box type=”shadow”]”Natural selection is a direct reference to Darwinism. And the implication of Darwinism is that it is start to finish. To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong. I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact.”[/box]
The new standards will now be sent back for a final review.
Robert Dillon, a professor of biology at Charlestown College, said that the aim of the committee was to promote the idea that teaching evolution was controversial:
[box type=”shadow”]”They’re trying to make evolution appear controversial, they’re trying to make it somehow different. Well, it is controversial, but the controversy is political or religious, it’s not scientific. It’s this richly symbolic situation.”[/box]
This is yet another attempt by Christian fundamentalists to pollute the minds of children with pseudoscience based on superstitious claims. It is part of an ongoing campaign to promote the false idea that the United States is a Christian nation. Every time one of these attempts has been challenged in court, they have been defeated and labelled as blatantly unconstitutional.
One of the most significant of these decisions came in 2005, when a school board in Pennsylvania changed its biology curriculum so that intelligent design would be taught as an alternative theory to evolution. The decision was successfully challenged by a coalition of groups who argued that the changes were unconstitutional. Judge John E. Jones III ruled that “the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause.”
It is not only wrong but also wildly irresponsible to lie to children. If Americans want to teach their children that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old and was created by God, they are free to do so in the privacy of their own home or their place of worship. However the US Constitution is very clear: a religious worldview cannot be promoted in public places and on the taxpayer’s dime.