The theory of evolution, the very foundation of modern biology and the best-proved theory in the history of the world, is being censored because the right-wing Christian campaign of fear is working. Teachers are afraid that teaching the truth will cost them their jobs.
If any of my readers think it's time to be optimistic, think again. I'm one of the most optimistic of the atheist bloggers (see my Is Christianity Dying series), but my optimism was seriously tempered this morning. According to International Business Times:
The crux of the [national Center for Education Statistics] study is what the authors call the "cautious 60 percent" who neither advocate for the science of evolution nor push creationism, but simply avoid the issue altogether. Teachers may want to avoid controversy, but [doing so] undermines science as a mode of thought and means of finding out about the world.Why does this matter? Because it affects you and me and our children and grandchildren. Our society is incredibly ignorant about the day-to-day implications of evolution, and it's causing great harm.
- A decade or so ago, I heard a public-health official scoff at the importance of drug-resistant tuberculosis. "We're only seeing 2% of TB cases that are drug resistant, so there's no cause for alarm." I was horrified when I heard that. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of evolution would have known that the drug-resistant TB would (and did) rapidly expand. Today we have terms like MDR-TB (multi drug resistant) and XDR-TB (extensively drug resistant). This official's ignorance of evolution helped cause this problem.
- Over 80% of all antibiotics in the USA are given in low doses to cattle, sheep, chickens and other animals because it increases weight gain and overall productivity. The result is that just about every pathogen that might infect a farm animal (or human) has developed drug resistance. Evolutionary ignorance at the FDA and among ranchers is making modern antibiotics useless.
- Alien plants and animals are escaping from one continent to another and causing ecological disasters. Customs agents face a hostile traveling public that doesn't understand why they should throw out perfectly good fruit and other produce. Politicians' evolutionary ignorance makes them unconcerned. Anyone who understands evolution knows why alien species are almost certain to be calamitous.
And saddest of all, America's students are being denied one of the greatest pleasures that science can offer: an introduction to the Theory of Evolution, the most fascinating science of all. I've rarely met a person who studied evolution and didn't find it fascinating. Biology without evolution is nothing more than boring facts. But with evolution, it's a wondrous world that all makes sense.
What a tragedy that sixty percent of our science teachers don't feel safe teaching the most important science of all. Why are we allowing these right-wing Christians to hold an entire country hostage?