Evolution rules in public school classrooms, and has done so for decades. Even despite the fact that many favorite evolution arguments in the textbooks are known to be false, and others are downright frauds, evolution has enjoyed total control. State education laws and national teaching standards mandate that it be taught exclusively, even denying the existence of alternate scientific theories of origins. Evidence which doesn't fit evolution cannot enter the classroom, and students who object are often humiliated before their classmates and persecuted at grade time. But things are beginning to change. Evolution's dam is starting to crack. Soon its stranglehold on education may loosen.
Please don't jump to the wrong conclusion. Biblical creation will not replace evolution in public school science classes. The courts have decisively ruled that "religion" doesn't belong in public schools. However much it is true that creation was in public schools in years gone by and however much the founding fathers of our country and its education system intended for it to be there, in the present climate it will not be re-introduced. It only does harm to try.
But evolution is religion also! This fact has been well documented in these pages and in secular sources as well. The religion of evolution doesn't belong there either. Our science classrooms should return to teaching science, not history, or philosophical (religious) views about the past. Evolution, with its view of origins— where we come from, who we are, where we're going—doesn't belong in the science classroom. Nor does its view of morals as rising from animal instincts, nor its low view of human life. Yet evolution has seized total control of our schools and, to a large extent, the worldview of our students. This ought not to be.
The first major crack in evolution's dam appeared in August, 1999, when the Kansas State Board of Education voted to reject new teaching guidelines following recommendations handed down by a national educational "elite". These were even more aggressively evolutionary than those in years past. Several professors, educators, and concerned citizens had worked with the school board to propose a new set, one which allowed the evidence, pro and con, into class, encouraging critical thinking skills. These guidelines were adopted, setting off a firestorm of criticism from evolutionists worldwide. Soon "experts" were pouring into Kansas advocating the removal from the school board of those who allowed evolution to be questioned, and large amounts of outside money poured into the coffers of opposition candidates. The following November, evolutionists regained control and reversed the decision. Now Kansas schools are more evolutionary than ever.
But the dam had sprung a leak. Perhaps it had been temporarily plugged, but soon other states and other school boards began considering what they could do to improve science education and remove religious education from the science classroom. Since that time major efforts have occurred in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Michigan, California, Indiana, Washington, Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii, and probably others. In each case, evolution losses have not been dramatic. Often the same group of evolution devotees rallied to its defense.
Meanwhile, creation organizations, ministry and research continued to flourish. The Institute for Creation Research, in particular, continued to educate people on the scientific bankruptcy of evolution and the strong support for creation. ICR is not a political organization, nor does it lobby school boards or support candidates. We do provide information and counsel when we can, as we did in Kansas and many other states, but we focus on education, not legislation, feeling that an informed citizenry will win in the long run. And we have seen a tremendous ground swell of opposition to naturalistic evolution and a desire to see better education with less "religion" result from our efforts.
Creationist organizations haven't done it alone, of course. A recent major player is the "Intelligent Design" movement. This group contains quite a few highly placed scientists and philosophers. They do not claim to be a Christian movement, but are decidedly anti-naturalistic. They articulate with power the religious underpinnings of evolution and the bankruptcy of its arguments. In many ways this is a better fit for the public schools, since it is scrupulously non-religious and pro good science teaching.
As a side note, ICR is not against the Intelligent Design movement. We are not part of it, for we are a group of scientists who are openly Christian. We not only oppose naturalistic evolution, we propose supernatural creation, and advocate a personal relationship with the Creator, the God of the Bible, through His Son Jesus Christ. We support the work of the ID group, but feel it doesn't go far enough. Even if a person sees the design in nature, they still need the Savior. Both crusades are valid and vital.
In January of 2002, President Bush signed into law the new Education Bill, which contains specific instructions that students should be introduced to all the evidence, including that evidence which doesn't support biological evolution. Furthermore, they should be taught how to think critically about these issues, not just parrot the party line. (This bill is discussed in the Back to Genesis section of this issue of Acts & Facts).
The first state trying to apply the new federal law is Ohio. Predictably, the same evolutionary minions have descended on Ohio and trot out the same tired arguments. As of this writing, no decision has been made, but one thing is certain, many are now aware of the true nature of the issue. They see the fervor and bluster of the evolutionists' claims. They recognize a snow job when they see it. While leading evolutionists are all atheists or live their lives as if they were, the people of America are not. They resent the teaching of religion in the name of science and long for something better. They decry the ill effects of evolutionary thinking and morality in their families and in society. In reality, the deck is stacked against creationists in Ohio, and they may not succeed, but the dam has begun to break. Things will never be the same.
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.