Thursday, March 4, 2010

Global Warming & Evolution on the Same Ticket

Apparently, lawmakers in various Midwestern states, such as Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, are trying to link the issues of evolution and climate change together, according to the New York Times. What could these two issues possibly have in common? In this case, a group of people feels that these theories may or may not have factual evidence, and children need to be taught that in public schools.

My initial reaction was, "whatever brings the science of climate change into the classroom is probably a good thing. Making young people aware of the issue can only help, especially since they are overwhelmingly accepting that humans are changing the Earth's climate." But upon further consideration, maybe the best thing we can do is keep these issues out of the classroom. After all, kids can't remain insulated from these issues forever. Once they become curious, they'll seek out information, and honestly that might be better than learning from a teacher who is legally required to give climate change skepticism and intelligent design theories equal justification.

If these lawmakers want to teach more critical thinking and evaluative skills, I'm all for it. But they are openly admitting that they are trying to get a religious agenda exempt from separation of church and state. Students don't need anti-science to be taught alongside science, and trying to teach critical thinking by sanctioning intelligent design and climate change skepticism in the classroom sounds to me like a proposal that requires some critical analysis of its own.

Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty