America has a complex and enduring commitment to pluralism. We want people to be free to act — and believe — as they please. But we must all play in the same sandbox, so we are attentive to the idiosyncrasies of our playmates, especially when they don't make sense to us.
Few idiosyncrasies are more perplexing than the ways people connect science and religion. Widespread rejection of evolution, to take a familiar example, has created a crisis in education, and it now appears that biology texts might be altered to satisfy anti-evolutionary activists in Texas. Many on the textbook commission believe their religion is incompatible with scientific explanations of origins — evolution and the Big Bang — so they want textbooks with more accommodating theories and different facts.
Originally posted on USA Today on May 27, 2010.