Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Both sides of the story

When I was young, before I realized I would be far to short and unattractive to ever seriously contend for a beauty pageant, I dreamed of being Miss USA. I'm pretty sure almost all girls dream of being that glamorous, that talented, that poised; of being so beautiful you light up the stage, and the television cameras can't help but follow you around.

Not that I've watched a beauty pageant in a while, but I don't think I realized how dumb most of the girls sound when they open their mouths.

So, if you were to ask me the question, "should evolution be taught in school?" my answer would be something along the lines of, "YES! Evolution is a basic scientific principle that helps us understand much about the world around us and so it should absolutely be taught in schools."

According to many of this year's Miss America contestants evolution should be taught in schools only as a contrast to creationism, you know, so kids can decide for themselves what to believe.

Seriously? What schools did these girls go to where creationism was taught? Did they not pay attention in science class, or were their teachers that terrible or misinformed themselves that only a handful of them (almost exclusively from the coasts, you may note) even seemed to recognize evolution as science? And what is it with "both sides should be taught?" There are no "both sides" to evolution. There's a well-tested theory with an awful lot of evidence backing it up on one side and on the other...religious dogma.

While these young women may be exceptionally poorly educated, I have my doubts they're very different from most of their generation. I find it intriguing they seem to think the information presented in school is something one chooses to believe or disbelieve. Sure, there are interpretations one can choose to accept or not accept (though it really takes more education than you get in high school to be able to discern between interpretations), but the vast majority of what you're taught in school (including evolution!) isn't so much stuff you choose to believe or not; more like that's the stuff we're all expected to know and understand in order to be educated, reasonably thoughtful citizens of our nation. Having that knowledge may open up more choices, particularly educational, social, and (hopefully) employment opportunities, but believing what your taught in a secular school or not isn't really the choice you have before you.


  1. Vermont seemed to be the most informed. Otherwise, that was truly frightening. Of course, they're like politicians, not wanting to upset either side, so all trying to straddle the fence. I kept hoping one of them would have the guts to say essentially what you said, but of course was disappointed. And to the women who think we should teach creation as well, I wish I could ask them which version. Which religious myth should we choose? All of them? Oh, wait, you only think this one particular one is "true" and all the rest are obviously stories? Mind-boggling.

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