“We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world”, these were President Obama’s words in his second State of the Union address given in January 2011. These words are particularly applicable to GEDI. They sum up what is trying to be achieved by many countries and what can only be achieved through an educational revolution, to quote Sir Ken Robinson. A revolution in how we fund, deliver, think about, and value education at all levels. Given these inspiring words I was disappointed, although not surprised, when Tennessee passed a bill touted as anti-evolution.
The idea behind the bill was to allow science teachers to teach alternatives to evolution during science class. This on the surface sounds reasonable. The idea that science should be challenge, questioned and critically evaluated on a constant basis is the very grounding of scientific principle. However, any serious challenge must produce evidence that contradicts the accepted norm. In regards to evolution there is none. Second, the teaching of any alternative theories requires strong evidence of their own. It was no surprise that many of the people behind this and other similar bills are religious and believe in creationism. Creationism is not based in science, but in faith. It purports myths about evolution, which mis-educate and mislead many people. If evidence of this is required, it is believed that 40-45% of Americans believe the world is less than 10,000 years old. Creationism’s embarrassing lack of evidence and cringing lack of understanding regarding evolution should be a shame on all those who believe in it. People have their faith and with this I have no problem, however, faith is just that and should not try to force itself in to the science classroom where it does not belong.
Similar bills have been passed in other States and Counties and more are being written and proposed as I write this. Until a clear distinction is drawn between what is science and what is faith, and until politicians and the scientific community stop bowing to the religious pushers of this nonsense any chance America has of out-innervating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world seems bleak.