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Separation Of Church And State: Creation And Evolution In Public Schools

1892 words - 8 pages

Creation and Evolution in the Public Schools
On October 28, 2010, Christine O’Donnell, the Delaware U.S. Senate Candidate, posed the question “Where in the Constitution is ‘Separation of Church and State’?” O’Donnell was making a point in a debate that took place in front of a law school audience (Madison). The law students laughed at her seemingly silly question but the joke was on them. The term “separation of church and state” never appears in the Constitution. In many court cases relating to teaching creation in public schools, the First Amendment is always cited, the separation of church and state is often questioned, and creation is ruled as unconstitutional (Raloff). Evolution has become the only acceptable theory to explain the origins of the Earth and human life. Because of this, students are being indoctrinated with only one idea of how life came to be. To stop the bias and protect academic freedom in science classrooms, creation should be taught alongside evolution in public schools.
Until 1963, creation was taught in science classrooms but when evolution became an accepted scientific theory to explain the origin of life, it became the root of controversy in the system of public education. The state of Tennessee instituted the Butler Act in 1925 which prohibited public school teachers from denying the biblical account of creation. In the same year, John Thomas Scopes, a high school substitute teacher, taught the theory of evolution in his classes and was charged with violating the Butler Act (Pierce). This charge led to the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial. The American Civil Liberties Union came to the scene to back the defense of Scopes in a case that would be the beginning of publicizing scientific evidence for evolution (PBS). Now, evolution is the only theory of origin taught in public schools. Creation is seen as taboo and teachers are forced to leave the topic alone so they do not offend any of their students or lose their jobs. Evolution continues to be questioned and it should not be the only theory taught in science classes. Teaching creation alongside evolution has many benefits including improved critical thinking, less discrimination, and an alternative theory for students to consider.
Creation taught alongside evolution will improve students’ critical thinking skills. According to Linus Pauling, “Science is the search for truth” but only one scientific theory is being taught in the science classrooms (Strobel). If scientists now want future generations to continue searching for truth, then creation should be included in the school curriculum so that students can test all the options. This will improve the critical thinking process in students because they will be required to make their own decisions about what they believe. Students will be more involved in their science curriculum because it will require them to understand the topic to the fullest extent so they may voice intelligent opinions on...

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