The Battle Against Evolution Continues
People who believe that the Bible is literally true in every particular have a hard time with modern science. Their belief that God created the world in six days is at odds with the science-based notion that the world is several billion years old. Beginning with the Scopes trial in the 1920s and into the present time, Fundamentalists have worked diligently to suppress the teaching of scientific ideas that conflict with their religion, especially the evolution of species. Anti-evolution is not a mainline Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish concern. Theologians of these religions have decided that science and religion have different concerns: science tries to work out the mechanisms of the natural world, religion tries to give it meaning.
Despite losing in court in every case since Scopes, anti-evolutionists have been resilient, resourceful and surprisingly effective. The recent decision in Kansas not to include evolution in state teaching standards is only one of their recent victories. At this time Alabama and Oklahoma have approved disclaimers to be pasted into the fronts of their biology textbooks to warn students of the dangers of evolution, and Fundamentalists are active in every state every year trying to eliminate ideas that are contrary to their religion. Scientists and science teachers could be more careful in their use of language so as not to give the impression that science speaks to religious questions. The more careful use of language and a better educated public are worthy and important goals, but efforts to this end will have no effect on fundamentalist intolerance. Anti- evolutionists understand the science well enough to think that it challenges their beliefs, and they will continue to fight it.
We spoke with Dr. Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, about anti-evolution activities .