New Report Reveals Creationism-Evolution Conflicts in 28 States
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into science class, here come the creationists again. They are trying to turn it into theology class by pushing Bible-based creationism over a scientifically sound curriculum.
The media spotlight surrounding the creationism-evolution battle has largely died down since the furor over the Kansas Board of Education’s August 1999 decision to stop the teaching of evolution and the subsequent voter backlash. But a new report released today by People For the American Way Foundation shows that creationists’ efforts remain unabated. The report details creationists’ activities across 28 states.
The report, entitled Creationism in 2001: A State-by-State Report, reveals a concerted and troubling campaign launched by the Religious Right to deny science teachers the authority to teach their classes the most authoritative scientific information about the origins of life. Within the last two months alone, for example, bills limiting instruction on evolution have been introduced in the state legislatures of Michigan and Arkansas. The Michigan bill goes so far as to require students to explain why, under creationism, “life is the result of the purposeful, intelligent design of a creator.”
“The Religious Right has shown it will sacrifice good teaching and good science to accomplish its goal of eroding the constitutional separation of church and state,” said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way Foundation. “Sadly, our school children and their education are the victims of these attacks.”
The report catalogues several ways in which creationists aim to promote creationism and suppress instruction on evolution: changing the law; rewriting the curriculum; replacing the word ‘evolution’ with ‘changes over time’ in state and local science teaching standards and texts; forcing textbook companies to include a statement that evolution is ‘controversial’ or ‘that human life was created by one God of the Universe’; and even changing the name of creationism itself.
“Creationism has failed in the courts and at the polls time and time again,” said Neas. “Now the Right has ‘intelligent design’ theory, a sort of creationism-lite that’s supposed to fly beneath the radar screen.”
The report also reveals the means creationists are employing to effect their changes: targeting state and local school boards, stacking textbook committees and curriculum committees, rewriting school libraries’ purchasing and donation acceptance policies, and otherwise attempting to gain control over teachers, administrators and state and local legislators.
Creationism in 2001 details the Religious Right’s attempts to through The report recounts happenings in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and at the national level.
Download a copy of Creationism in 2001: A State-by-State Report.