This past week Wired.com published an article examining what they call “anti-science education” laws that have been proposed since the beginning of 2011, and it shows a surprisingly high number of efforts to stifle evolution being taught in America’s science curricula. In the first four months of the year, seven states have proposed nine pieces of legislation to limit the emphasis they place on the theory of evolution in schools, or to promote the study of alternative evolutionary theories. The newest effort to oppose evolution in the classroom has focused on teaching students about “critical thinking” that focuses on critical interpretation of scientific theories. Some states like Kentucky, Oklahoma, and New Mexico have proposed laws with similar phrasing, but they’ve died in committee where many legislators see this ambiguous wording directed solely at promoting alternative evolution theories like intelligent design.
Other states like Texas have more overt intentions, proposing bills specifically aimed at intelligent design being taught alongside evolution, and politicians have gone as far as proposing “nonevolution” being taught as well. Evolution has been a divisive topic in education for almost a century now, and despite growing scientific support for it, opposition has persisted. It may not be an issue we are going to resolve here, but this recent Wired article brings to light the weird connection between non-science issues and scientific decisions. Whatever your view, it’s important to stay informed on both sides of the debate, so check out these websites:
Written by: Walter Palmer