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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Poe
Opinion Editor

My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan Poe April 12, 2024

Creationism has no place in classrooms

Last Wednesday, the Texas Board of Education began hearing testimony on a new proposal that would allow science curriculum to challenge the theory of evolution. On Friday of last week, a split decision was handed down, which allows for students in public schools to study “all sides” of creation arguments, but put an end to a 20-year statute which required the “strengths and weaknesses” of all creation theories to be taught.

I find the concept of students learning any aspects of creationism in a science class irresponsible and foolish. Bottom line, religion has no place in science textbooks or classrooms.

During my junior year of high school, when my A.P. Biology class began the unit on evolution, my teacher informed my class of a disclaimer. She acknowledged that there were three commonly accepted theories about the origin of life on Earth: the first involved extra-terrestrial beings planting life on this planet; the second was that life was created by some higher power, also known as creationism; and the third was the theory of evolution. She then said that for the purposes of that science class we would only discuss the last of those three, because that was the only theory with scientific proof.

That’s how it should be when it comes to evolution in the public schools.

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The debate over whether or not to teach evolution in public schools is 80 years old, dating back to the infamous Scopes trial in 1925. But obviously, many places are still fighting for evolution to be challenged in our educational system.

This is what makes the decision in Texas so important. While Texas is far away from Michigan, it has one of the largest textbook markets in the country. This means that textbook manufactures are likely to cater to standards set by the state. And some of those textbooks would inevitably reach Michigan, as well as the other 48 states. I find the prospect chilling at best.

Since 2006, the Michigan Board of Education has required public school teachers to ensure that evolution was taught to students but not intelligent design or any other creation-related theories. Although changes in textbooks won’t change the standards set by the state of Michigan, it will change the way evolution is taught in our classrooms. Putting intelligent design and creationism in science textbooks gives those theories a scientific legitimacy that they shouldn’t have. But moreover, I find myself questioning why we need to teach religious theories within the walls of public school classrooms anyway.

Many argue that creationism and intelligent design, just like evolution, are theories. But evolution is a tested scientific theory (like the theory of gravity), based on extensive study, experimentation and observation. Most modern scientists readily accept the theory of evolution as fact.

Creationism, without a doubt, is religious and not scientific. And it’s counterpart, intelligent design, is merely creationism doctored to look like science.

While the argument against evolution is often to be made by more conservative religious groups and individuals, there are plenty of religions that don’t take issue with evolution at all. The Catholic Church, one of the most conservative Christian denominations, does not believe the theory of evolution goes against any of its teachings. However, it does believe that natural selection is a process driven by God. Judaism, including the more traditional branches, does not find conflict between their teachings and evolution. Neither do Buddhism or Hinduism, two of the oldest and most prolific religions on the planet.

More conservatives should take heed from these religions and leave the debate over evolution outside of the classroom. Let parents take their children to church to learn religion, and let them learn about science in school. It’s time to stop mixing the two.

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