In August of 1999, the teaching of evolution in schools was banned by the state of Kansas. Since last year in Texas, educators have debated over which textbooks to use in grade school science solely by the language of evolution each text contains. And today in Georgia, educators talk about replacing the word "evolution" with the phrase "biological changes over time."

Apparently, Americas apprehensions about teaching the theory of evolution are popping up all over the news. In hearing these debates, one usually thinks that it is only religious groups or fanatics trying to preserve their stories by eradicating the teaching of evolution. However, I think that culturally America has trouble accepting the theory of evolution because of other stories they tell themselves. While religion does play a large role in our stories of creation, we have many ethics and ideals outside of faith that contrast with the theory of evolution. We may have trouble facing the facts of evolution because of what it says about the human race. Accepting the theory of evolution places us on the same level as all other species in terms of how we came into existence and how that existence will end. It means letting go of many misconceptions we hold about ourselves. For example, that humans are somehow superior or meant to wield control over the earth. It affirms that we have not been here for nearly as long as our world, and will be long gone before the world ends.

Evolution, it seems to me, touches more closely on our fears about death and our place in the grand scheme of things than it does on our faith. The reason evolution comes into such great conflict with religion is because questions such as, "Where will we go after our lives here end?" are so important to us. Consequently, the fear surrounding the theory of evolution belongs not only to the religious and the fanatical, but also to anyone who has ever asked him or herself such questions.

America was founded on the concepts of idealism and opportunism; we all are brought up to take advantage of our opportunities and succeed to the best of our abilities. The nature of evolution is to go against these ideals. Evolution occurs randomly, meaning the human race did not "earn" its place as sovereign of the earth. Americans see themselves working toward a society that is closer and closer to perfection. As individuals, they are taught to be the best they can be. The theory of evolution tells us that we are adapting to random changes. So in essence,they, as an idealistic society, are rejecting being educated about this existential system of how they came to be. Even aside from all religious affiliations, it is not too surprising that due to the stories they have always told about themselves as a culture, the theory of evolution is, at the very least, a little scary. "Reason and evidence alone cannot assuage such fear. Many proponents of creationism and intelligent design play on that fear, painting their argument as a defense against godlessness. Denial of evolution in the face of overwhelming evidence is irrational. The fear of chaos, however, is understandable, especially in light of today's frighteningly uncertain world."

This might explain a little better their resistance to teaching evolution in schools. How can they raise their children to believe in this story while also assuring them that they have every opportunity to succeed as long as they try? Under evolution, life is not fair, and this is just as difficult and frightening a thing to teach grade-schoolers as is the theory of evolution itself. Teaching evolution in schools is the only way to remedy their fears about their existence in this world. "True science shows no deference to any particular religious view. That is its place, and therein lies its value of objectivity, as an ever-important and integral methodological tool in our on-going struggle to question, comprehend, and live together in peace."

I look forward to reading your replies regarding this issue. Stay healthy,be safe and sleep well, Karlosthejackal
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I'm just reading a book about the development of evolution theory (and something on creationism/intelligent design) and I had the same reaction when I heard about the schools in parts of America.

However, most Americans do not feel this way, so it's a bit unfair to generalise that 'America is afraid of evolution'. Even in Kansas, I believe they started teaching intelligent design in science along with evolution, rather than instead of it. This is still a wrong-headed thing to do though, rather like insisting that religious education classes start teaching evolution theory alongside Genesis! There is no scientific basis behind intelligent design so it should not be taught in the same way as science. There is no conflict to any normal Christian about creation/evolution as they just see evolution as God's way of getting things done.

A lot of Americans are terribly embarrassed about the activity of the small, but unfortunately vocal, minority who are anti-evolution. And rightly so, as it is making them the laughing stock of the world. But parents and others are fighting back. See this link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9973228 / to a story about members of a school board being voted out because of their introduction of a pro-intelligent design policy! A quick quote from the article: “My kids believe in God. I believe in God. But I don’t think it belongs in the science curriculum the way the school district is presenting it,” said Jill Reiter, 41, a bank teller who joined a group of high school students waving signs supporting the challengers Tuesday.

You could also google 'Flying spaghetti monster' - a spoof 'church' set up by scientists to tackle this issue head on.
28% of americans believe in evolution; thats the lowest of al developed nations by some distance.
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That is a depressing fact.
It makes me ashamed to call myself American.
This is a think that I can't understand. My country is very relogious too, and the conservative party is every time stronger (even though it's like a Franco reflection), but I believe that anyone here could think that the bible theories about adam & eva are true. I hope that democrats will win the next elections in the USA...
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Hello KJ

You probably already know these documents from Kitzmiller vs Dover; but I'll post the link here, in case anyone else is interested:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html

You don't often come across ID proponents in the UK, so I find the whole case intriguing.

MrP
I'm sure many of you have read/watched "Inherit the Wind".

I have to live in a place where folks are still trying to put intelligent design back in the science curriculum. Poor me.
MrPedantic
You probably already know these documents from Kitzmiller vs Dover; but I'll post the link here, in case anyone else is interested:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html

One click on the link is enough to freeze my computer. Are you sure there isn't some mysterious force at work here? Emotion: stick out tongue

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