Controversy over the Teaching of Evolution

Controversy over the Teaching of Evolution

Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott

March 26, 2012
State Farm Room BAS S102
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Many topics in the curriculum of American schools are controversial, but perhaps the one with the longest tenure is evolution. Politics plays a role in this controversy in a number of ways. Politicians have keen antennae for cultural values, and the "fairness" argument (i.e., it is only "fair" to "balance" evolution with creationism) regularly is exploited, Middle Tennessee State University logoregardless of the appropriateness of its application to science education. Variants of the fairness argument such as balancing evolution with "scientific alternatives to evolution" or balancing evolution with "strengths and weaknesses of evolution" have in fact become the current predominant antievolutionist strategy, partly in response to a series of legal decisions that have excluded the advocacy of creationism in public schools. Tennessee currently is wrestling with a bill in its legislature that would compromise the teaching of evolution in exactly this fashion.

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