Texas citizens are trying to rally support for Intelligent Design instruction in public school biology classes which, they say, currently teach evolution as fact, without any consideration of alternative views.
To that end, conservative groups in Montgomery County, Texas, are planning a forum for next month titled “The Censorship of Critical Thought in our Public Schools: Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.”
“Most of [the forum's supporters] have natural science backgrounds. We want to bring back critical thinking to schools so students can learn to evaluate ideas instead of falling victim to indoctrination,” Jim Jenkins, president of the local Republican Leadership Council told WND. “If we can bring back critical thinking we’ve done a lot to advance the cause of science.”
“We are also pushing for policy change so a teacher who believes in creationism can work in the public schools without feeling threatened,” he added.
Mark Cadwallader, a chemical engineer and another panel member, says public school textbooks promote evolution as a scientific fact when it remains an unproven hypothesis. He said he would be satisfied if public school biology teachers would at least include a discussion of evolutionary theory’s shortcomings, reports the Magnolia Potpourri newspaper.
“Evolution is a hypothesis which should be presented with all the arguments, pro and con, as true science requires,” Cadwallader told the local paper. “We want to go forward with a petition signed by members of the community to get school boards to enact a new policy requiring educators to teach the strengths and weaknesses of the evolution theory.”
Cadwallader doubts the forum will cause an immediate policy change, but said he hopes the petition will demonstrate public support for balanced biology instruction and motivate school boards to act.
The petition calls for warning labels on textbooks containing statements about evolution and asks that teachers alert students to religious, non-religious or philosophical bias found in textbooks and other curriculum materials.
The Magnolia school board president said she would be willing to hear the public’s concerns regarding how evolution is taught in the classroom, reported the Potpourri, but thinks it could be difficult to monitor how teachers present the issue to students.
The battle between evolutionism and creationism in the classroom is not limited to public schools.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Patrick Henry College, a Virginia-based Christian institution, was rejected for accreditation by the American Academy for Liberal Education because of its policy requiring faculty to adhere to a “biblical worldview” regarding the origin of the world. The denial is currently under review.
“I think what they are saying is that because we teach creationism we’ve introduced what to them is faux science into our courses,” Patrick Henry College President Michael Farris told WorldNetDaily. “They ignore the fact that we teach about evolution. It’s not good enough to teach about evolution; apparently we have to teach that evolution is the only way to think about things.”
Jenkins and his colleagues hope to change that attitude, at least in their school district.
“We’re giving away free tickets to the American Humanists and other groups who would disagree with us,” Jenkins told WorldNetDaily. “About half of the forum will be Q&A where we invite the audience to get involved. We expect a lot of participation.”
The forum will take place at Montgomery County College on Sept. 18 and will include discussion of four major topics: The Origins of Life, Natural Selection, The Fossil Record and DNA: The Language of Life.
Jenkins and others like him believe a little hard work and perseverance can make a big difference in the public arena, especially in the local community where their efforts have the greatest impact.
“The Christians and conservatives are just sitting on their hands, but when we fight back just a little bit we make huge gains,” Jenkins said.