Digital Culture

“Just a theory…”

Cobb County, GA is at the center of a court case testing, again, how to deal with evolution in high school science textbooks. A sticker was placed in all science textbooks in the county stating:

“This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”

While I will actually agree that the sticker doesn’t present any actual falsehoods, evolution is certainly just about the closest thing to a fact we’ve got in science these days. No respected scientist believes anything else…so why the sticker? Cue the fundies:

The first witness, parent Marjorie Rogers, started the drive to put the stickers in the books. She said it was only fair to put a small disclaimer in a textbook where religious-based ideas about the origin of life are not mentioned.

“I don’t want the Bible taught in the classroom. But there is a wealth of science that would support intelligent design, and that is not taught,” she said. “There should be a marketplace of ideas.”

Guess what, Marjorie…scientific inquiry is the original marketplace of ideas. “Intelligent Design” lost. There’s absolutely nothing “intelligent” about it…nor scientific. Evolutionary theory is the way that life has speciated on Earth. Get used to it. But I fear that with the new political climate we might just see some of these typically rational judgements go the other way…welcome to Jesusland!

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