Volume 9, Issue 1 University of Houston
Education should be backed by evidence
by CAITLIN CUPPERNULL
Geneticists have detected evidence of recent human evolution among people of East Africa, the New York Times reported. The genetic changes could have taken place less than 3,000 years ago and have resulted in some humans having the ability to digest milk into adulthood.
This trait originally disappeared after weaning, but because of the domestication of cattle and the consumption of their milk, that has changed, the Times reported. Despite this new evidence and the multitude of facts and fossils gathered over the past hundreds of years, many still refuse to believe that humans have evolved.
Numerous groups work to have creationism or intelligent design taught alongside evolution in public schools. In the past, schools in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Kansas have succeeded. A Georgia school board voted to place a warning label in textbooks stating that evolution is a theory, not a fact. In the last two years, many of these decisions have been reversed, but not without a fight and not without attempts to bring intelligent design back into public schools.
The Intelligent Design Network, one of the organizations trying to incorporate intelligent design into school curriculum, said on its Web site that it “promote(s) the scientific evidence of intelligent design because proper consideration of that evidence is necessary to achieve not only scientific objectivity but also constitutional neutrality.” It goes on to list its evidence as “the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the ‘messages,’ and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life.”
While the ION’s attempt at objectivity is respectable, its decision to claim unexplained occurrences as scientific proof of intelligent design is not. Science should be trusted. It is, in its ideal state, untouched by personal bias and strives to bring pure knowledge and proven data into our schools. However, some people are still unwilling to accept certain discoveries because of personal, and thus far unproven, beliefs.
When those advocating intelligent design can support their claims with substantial facts, extensive testing or evidence of a God or spiritual being, then it deserves to be taught in schools. Until that happens, evolution should continue to be taught as the cause of human development and existence.
The claim that evolution is a theory, not fact, is an outdated attempt to pass off a view that some are uncomfortable accepting.
Humans are now intelligent enough -- thanks to evolution -- to accept science and to stop being biased and blinded by religious, spiritual or outdated information. Students should be taught things that can be proven, and if people want their children to learn intelligent design or creationism, it should be taught outside of a public school.
One can only hope that the new discovery in East Africa will help foster the realization that evolution is real and bring honest education to all students.
Cuppernull, a communication freshman and Opinion editor,
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.