America’s whack-a-mole debate about evolution in the public schools has reappeared in Virginia, where state assembly has proposed legislation to modify curriculum to include study of the “scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.” If the anti-evolutionists get their way, Virginia elementary and secondary schools will have to develop new curricula that explores the weaknesses of evolution, a strategy intended to make room for alternative theories of origins.
Taken out of context, the Virginia bill appears attractive, which is why such bills can get traction so quickly. Who wouldn’t want to “create an environment in public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific controversies in science classes”? Shouldn’t we applaud efforts to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present scientific controversies in science classes”? Or to “review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories”?
Originally posted on The Daily Beast on January 19, 2014.