But in a nation where evangelical Protestantism and other religious traditions stress a literal reading of the biblical description of God’s individually creating each species, students often arrive at school fearing that evolution, and perhaps science itself, is hostile to their faith.
David Campbell is the courageous Biology teacher who is striving to overcome the prejudices of his students, many of whom come from fundamentalist Christian families who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
The poor treatment of evolution in some state education standards may reflect the public’s widely held creationist beliefs. In Gallup polls over the last 25 years, nearly half of American adults have consistently said they believe God created all living things in their present form, sometime in the last 10,000 years.
Even within the fundamentalist movement there is reason to hope that reason and common sense will prevail. Last year wired.com interviewed Rev. Michael Dowd, former evangelical minister who now works as an itinerant evolution apologist. Rev. Dowd sums it up like this:
There's a difference between flat-earth faith and evolutionary faith. In flat-earth Christianity, the core insights -- sin, salvation, heaven and hell -- are understood in the same way as when people first formulated ideas. I still value the same concepts, but interpret them in a radically different way.
What's your opinion? Although I'm no expert on this business, I tend to think the United States probably cannot afford to impede the education of its young people. I'm hoping for improvement, encouraged by the example of Rev. Dowd.