Friday, July 01, 2011

What Is Being Taught in Public Schools?

Digital Journal has an article about the struggle involved in teaching evolution in Dayton, Ohio. The story and accompanying video are quite alarming and show not just a complete misunderstanding of what evolution actually is but a fear associated with it.

The usual “acceptance of both God and evolution” argument is turned on its head by the teacher who argues that he doesn't “think that God has to have evolution to make a world.” Because of his extreme dislike for evolution, his biblical world view puts God in a box by denying Him the option of using evolution. In other words, evolution is so bad that God simply could not have possibly done it that way. As the writer of the article points out:
However, beyond the church and state controversy, the teaching of Creationism may have a grave impact on America's long-term competitiveness in science. According to a recent Huffington Post report, the World Economic Forum slapped the United States with a ranking of 48th among measured countries in the quality of mathematics and science education provided to students.
But the video segment ends with a big bang of its own:
“How can, like, an African American person evolve from a white person,” one student asked. “We're different skin.”
Even basic human variation involving melanin, latitude, sunshine and Vitamin K is a complete mystery to these students. That is astounding and sad and it makes one wonder about the competence of the teacher even in areas that don't involve evolution.

Interestingly, the narrator of the video does not come without some internal preconceptions as well. Remarking about the teaching style and beliefs of the teacher as it relates to his class, she states:

Unable to deny the word of God to his students or himself, Joe Wilke [sp?] walks a thin line between religion and science.

Why would he need to deny the word of God to teach evolution to his students? This is an a priori assumption that is a mirror image of the constraint in which Mr. Wilke places himself. Mr. Wilke is unable to deny a particular interpretation of the word of God, not the word of God, itself. This nuance is lost on the narrator.

It is this kind of biological education that leads to students coming out of high school thinking that evolution is religion, suggesting that the answers given by the Miss USA contestants might not be that unusual.


  1. Loren Haas11:19 AM

    Dayton, TN. For an excellant perspective of growing up in Dayton, see "Evolving in Monkey Town", by Rachel Held Evans. Ms Evans survived the schools of Dayton with thinking skills intact.

  2. Thanks for the correction. I inferred that it was Ohio from the text of the linked article, since there is a Dayton, OH.

  3. Darryl1:14 PM

    I think you were right at first, Jim. The article mentions the teacher in Ohio, although it then confuses the issue by mentioning a proposed law in Tennessee.