Public schools should be allowed to teach The Theory of Evolution, so long as they correctly identify it as a theory. Children are potential adults, and can make their own conclusions about whether The Theory of Evolution is a fact or not. If children can be taught one theory, then they are perfectly able to digest others.
I hear from time to time that we all surely believe in evolution, because we can all observe that things change over time, people become generally taller, world records are broken in track and field and weightlifting on a regular basis, and similar such occurrences. This tactic is simple logical slight of hand. Everyday evolution is not the type of evolution the Utah public schools primarily teach. The Utah Eduation Association website supports the fact that many educators believe The Theory of Evolution to be much more than a theory.
Nothing from The Theory of Evolution has ever been proven. The Evolution Theorizers have had nearly two centuries to explain such things as
- How all of the parts and processes that make up the human eye (or an animal eye, for that matter) would have any functional benefit to an evolving organism until they came together in one perfect eyeball. Charles Darwin himself admitted this gaping hole in what he referred to as his "theory".
- How the complexity that is involved in a single cell could have come about on its own.
- How, in the absence of any evidence that it has ever occurred, one species could evolve into another.
Let's examine The Theory of Evolution for a minute as being a part of our culture. Whether for better or for worse, it has become such. It has also been okay to teach Islam from a cultural perspective in the public schools. Why then shouldn't other religions that are a part of our culture, including but by no means limited to Christianity, be exposed to the children as additional forms of cultural enrichment? What better way to get children to understand that different people have different opinions about the world, and that we can all get along despite our different opinions, than to teach them about the various popular theories that exist? Why limit the public educational experience to the propounding of one theory? I hope the fear is not that by exposing them to a variety of cultural experiences, to include religion, that they might become more intellectually mature and decide for themselves that The Theory of Evolution is baseless!
Very few Creationists or Intelligent Design proponents are asking that Creation Science or Intelligent Design be presented as fact. It is simply asked by most of these advocates that Creation and Intelligent Design be presented as equally popular and probable theories.
Your next argument, if you disagree with me, is, I'm sure, that the difference between The Theory of Evolution and Creation Science or Intelligent Design is that research into the Theory of Evolution is observable. I will grant you for a moment and just for the sake of argument that evidence of Creation or Intelligent Design cannot be observed. If that were true, that merely puts Creation and Intelligent Design on the same footing as The Theory of Evolution, for which there is no observable evidence either. Uh, uh, uh! Hold on a sec. Keep in mind that everyday evolution and The Theory of Evolution are two separate things. A multitude of evidence exists for everyday evolution, but none for The Theory. But somehow The Theory is what is most heavily propounded in the public schools, and a near-monopoly at that in the world of theory.
It is disingenuous for public educators to believe that children are mature enough to be taught one theory, but that they are too immature to be inculcated with others. Let's teach The Theory of Evolution, but let's also teach other plausable theories. No child will be harmed by learning more than one theory regarding the meaning of life. After all, look at what they already watch on television. Wait, that's for another post... ;-)