A false distinction

Again the question rings out: Can they coexist? Should the orthodox philosophy of the state and its people be one of slavish adherence to Christian religion or the equally well-defended tenets of “science,” or should both be held in equal regard?

It ought to be common knowledge now that the Florida State Board of Education, in deciding to teach evolution in the schools, bowed to the pressure of certain constituencies in the state and mandated that it be taught as a “theory.” This proved to be as much of a concern to some as the teaching of evolution itself was to others.

The debate is an argument between two mortally opposed forces, one of which lays its sacrifices at the nebulously-defined altar of science and the other of which lays all its faith on a single book. Proponents of the first believe that keeping evolution out of the schools is akin to robbing children of their exposure to truth. People of the Book tend to view evolution as blasphemy and task the state with teaching their children things that will not contradict their deeply-held beliefs.

When the competing views are held against the constitutional framework for the country created by the founding fathers, one would have to fall on the side of the former. Even if the evolution is antipathy to one’s beliefs, children in the educational facilities of a state claiming to give most views equal legitimacy ought not to be denied access to anything with widely held support.

This is not a choice between science and Christianity or even science and God. It is a choice between keeping beliefs from our children because we fear them or allowing them to see the distinctions between truth and falsehood in an environment where both will be exposed as such.

If evolution is absolutely true, why worry? Calling it a theory and comparing it to other “theories” should lead most students, if not teachers, to reach the same conclusion many do today. They ought to fall on the side of evolution. People will choose truth if they know it to be such.

Andrew Hamner is a freshman majoring in journalism. He may be contacted at a.hamner@umiami.edu.