Teachingon evolution has created significant debate and controversy.Previously, the debate was mainly between those advocating forteaching of only the positive case for evolution and the ones seekingfor the removal of the subject from the curriculum or requiring somekind of creationism together with evolution. Boards of schools havebeen forced to deal with apprehensions concerning good scienceeducation along with conflicting arguments about restrictions by theconstitution. In the recent past, the new strategy to teachingevolution has been created to satisfy the test of good science andmeet the court standards of constitutionality. This strategy utilizesthe term “teach the controversy” whose idea is to use scientificdiscrepancies concerning evolution to assist the students learn moreabout the phenomenon and about the manner in which science deals withit. Based on this approach, students are supposed to learn thescientific argument supporting evolution, along with the scientificcriticisms of different aspects of the theory.
Accordingto the Supreme Court of the US, the constitution allows schools toteach evolution and scientific disparagements of the generalscientific theories. Those seeking to completely eliminate evolutionfrom the curriculum have learnt that the right to teach the subjectis intrinsic in the First Amendment. Further, the Supreme Court hasalso stipulated that the criticism of the evolution theory may beneeded as a component of the curriculum. In Edwards v. Aguillard(1987)’s case, the court stated that it did not imply that it wouldnever oblige that scientific critiques of existing theories be taught(Young & Largent, 2007).
Typically,public schools have wide discretion in regards to development ofcurricula. Inclusion of additionally scientific informationconcerning evolution theory, together with information that queriesits explanatory power, can been used to achieve the objective ofenhancing science education. Specifically where the impact of a“teach the controversy” tactic is to assist the critics andsupporters of the theory of evolution to get a better understandingof what the phenomenon claims along with evidence to support it, themeasure of constitutionality can be achieved easily. It is imperativeto note that parties with different perspectives on the issue haveagreed to the constitutionality of presentation of scientificcriticisms of the theory of evolution. In 1995 various non-religious,legal and religious organizations appended a statement referred to as“Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Lawthat permitted any genuine scientific proof supporting or against anyrationalization of life to be taught. Nevertheless, administratorsand school boards should keep in mind that presentation of sciencecurricula that deal with theory of evolution must focus on scientificproof and theories sensibly inferable from the evidence, instead ofon claims that are founded on religious beliefs.
Currently,neither creation nor evolution is taking place. Further, neithercreation nor evolution can be accessed by the scientific method sincethey are concerned with history and origins and not events that canbe repeated or observed at present. Nonetheless, they can be createdas scientific models which may be used for predicting and correlatingfacts that have been observed. It is impossible to prove or test anyof the two as they can only be compared in regards to comparable easethrough which they can explain data existing in the real world.
Ultimately,there are convincing scientific and pedagogical reasons that supportwhy the two models are supposed to be taught in public schools. Asection of students, along with their parents believe in evolution,some believe in creation, while some are yet to decide. In the eventthat creationists want schools to teach the creation model only, theyare supposed to send their children to private schools for this andif evolutionists decide that only evolution should be taught, theyshould establish public schools to achieve this. All public schoolsare supposed to be neutral and teach the two approaches or neither.
Should teachers be forced to read disclaimers stating that teaching of evolution is not supposed to dissuade learners for accepting creationism?
In case students state that evolution is not compatible with their religious beliefs, should the teachers adjust the teaching to accommodate the religious liberty of the students?
Is the government supposed to utilize public funds in promoting teaching of evolution?
Young,C. & Largent, M. (2007). Evolutionand creationism.Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.