Time for debate to evolve

NEW VOICES: Time for debate to evolve
Leanne Comey | Special To The Orlando Sentinel - 1/19/2008 - original
I'm just as reluctant as the rest to believe that we evolved from monkeys. That, however, doesn't change the fact that evolution is indeed a scientific theory that ought to be taught in classrooms.

Just in case you've been living in a box, you may not know that Florida is undergoing revisions to its Sunshine State science standards, and, no surprise, evolution has become the hot topic.

In reality, there should be no debate. Evolution is a scientific theory based on decades of scientific evidence. It plays a huge role in the development of modern science and is key to understanding the foundations upon which science has . . . evolved.

Intelligent design, on the other hand, is blatantly antiscientific. Can you imagine what sort of chaos would ensue if a biology teacher decided to incorporate the book of Genesis into lesson plans? Yet here we are, once again debating evolution vs. intelligent design in schools and seemingly reaching no new avenues for a proper solution.

We need to evolve as a society and realize that religion and science are two distinctly separate entities. My suspicion, though, is that the zealots who blur the lines between religion and science are the same people who continually diminish the separation between church and state.

What's more, by teaching intelligent design or creationism in schools, we run the risk of offending nearly everyone. Exactly which theory of intelligent design should we incorporate in schools? And what exactly should we call the "higher being" in question? If we choose intelligent design, we choose one religious theory while filtering out the rest. By teaching intelligent design, educators are sending students the message that one religious theory is, in fact, superior to the rest.

Though I can't recall much from my ninth-grade biology class, I clearly remember that the textbook actually did define intelligent design. I also can remember that studying evolution elicited no objections among my then-14-year-old peers and not one stormed out of the classroom due to offensive material. Now that Florida's science standards are under the microscope, are we just supposed to throw all that out?

Sorry, Darwin, it's out with the old and in with the new, or should I say out with the politically correct and scientifically proved, and in with the peachy, monkey-less theological adaptation.

There is no place for intelligent design in Florida's science curriculum, or in other states', for that matter. That move alone would require us as a society to redefine science to include the supernatural. No, thanks, I think I'll forgo the study of UFO's, extraterrestrial beings and ghosts, though, Santa Claus sure seems nice.

No one is forcing students to believe in evolution, just to study it. If you don't want to accept that we evolved from monkeys, then don't. But I challenge anyone to sit in on a freshman biology class, observe the behaviors of hormone-enraged adolescents and then continue to deny the parallels between monkeys and human beings. If you want to learn about intelligent design go to (insert name of your religion's place of worship here) or read (insert name of holy book here) -- but stay out of my classroom.

Charles Darwin is no doubt rolling over in his grave.

To him I say, cheer up, old Charlie. It's only a matter of time before we humans evolve into beings capable of rational thought.