Would You Want Your Student Learning Creationism in Science Class?

Did God create Man in his image or is the human race the result of natural selection? The fact is that many people are convinced that no one knows for sure; it is this ambiguity that is leading some to say that both evolution and creationism are theories that should be taught equally in public schools. But would doing so violate the U.S. Constitution?

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creationism in public schools

Opening the Door

Recently, Indiana proposed a bill allowing creationism to be taught in public schools, and South Dakota overwhelming passed a resolution that the Bible should be taught in school districts across the state.

In May 2011, New Jersey governor Chris Christie came under fire when he stated that it should be up to public schools in the state to decide whether they wanted to teach creationism in science class.

But courts have in the past decided that teaching creationism in public schools clearly violates the separation of church and state. Is it time to introduce this subject as a viable theory or does attempting to do so only spark endless debate?

Two Sides of the Coin

Some say that the teaching of creationism would merely be offering students another theory, another school of thought, and that it would not be pushing religion on anyone. But many disagree.

'If they're talking about the Bible, it's hard to imagine an instructor won't take it to the next step and preach about religion,' Rep. Mark Feinstein, D-Sioux Falls in South Dakota, told the Rapid City Journal in January 2012.

But Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, countered as reported by The Chicago Tribune: 'What are we afraid of? Allowing an option for students including creation science as opposed to limiting their exposure?'

Majority Rules?

In 2009, a USA Today/Gallup poll showed that more than two-thirds of Americans believed that God created human beings.

Still, this does not necessarily translate into support for creation science. In fact, a whopping 89% of New Jersey voters stated that creationism should not be taught in public schools, according to a NJ.com poll conducted after Gov. Christie's remark.

And shortly after the bill was announced in Indiana, the American Civil Liberties Union called it 'unconstitutional.' The statement went on to say that the issue would surely wind up being fought in court.

Theory, Not Fact

Would it help to know that creationism would be presented as a theory, the same way in which evolution is, and not as scientific fact? Some believe yes.

In fact, a letter in the Opinion Page of The Washington Post in January stated that teaching creationism would not necessarily sway students into believing it as fact, but could instead point out 'fallacies of creationist arguments' and 'dispel myths associated with the subject.'

Still, though, such an approach would certainly not sit well with the 66% of Americans who believe that God created the human race. So there might be a good reason why nearly 90% of New Jerseyans in that NJ.com poll opposed the teaching of creationism in public schools.

Perhaps some things are better left unsaid...or, in this case, untaught. At least, that is, in a public school venue.

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