When Tory MPP Monte McNaughton asked the Minister of Education if local school counsels would be allowed to opt out of the controversial new sex-ed curriculum, Liz Sandals shot back with, “I assume if he was Premier you could opt out of teaching about evolution too.” At this point, Tory MPP Rick Nicholls chimed in with, “that’s not a bad idea”.
Watch this video of Mr. Nicholls as he responds to media questions about teaching evolution in schools. I appreciate his willingness to express his disbelief in evolution, yet he seemed very reluctant to do so, quickly point out that he does not speak for everyone in his caucus. When asked directly whether schools should be allowed to opt out of teaching evolution, he said that he would leave that decision up to the Minister of Education. I find his indifference troubling, especially since it is coming from the party whose official job is to oppose and challenge the position of the government.
The apologetic nature of his comments not only resulted in criticism from the Liberal party, but also in members of his own party distancing themselves from him. This illustrates the importance of understanding the creation/evolution debate and how to properly answer the skeptics. After this story broke, a friend asked me how we stand up for what we believe without alienating ourselves, so I thought I would give you my answer to the question of whether or not we should teach evolution in schools.
Should We Teach Evolution in Schools?
- We cannot intelligently discuss whether we should teach evolution in schools, without first defining what is meant by evolution.
- We should teach observable science in schools, as that is where all of our modern technology, medicine, etc., comes from.
- Observable science is based on the scientific method, which is observable, testable and repeatable.
- Things like mutations and natural selection, are observable science. Although they should definitely be taught in schools, they should be taught as science, not evolution.
- Other parts of the evolution theory, such as the origin of the universe, the earth and mankind are not part of observable science. Theories about these things that happened long before we were around can be classified as historical science and have no bearing on modern technology, medicine, etc.
- Creation is actually more supported by observational science, as we do see animals reproduce after their own kind, but do not see one kind of animal turn into another, as suggested by Darwinian molecules-to-man evolution.
- Teachers should be free to teach creation, evolution, or any other theory of historic science that they wish, as long as it is taught as a theory and not as fact.
One of my greatest concerns about evolution is the way that it is being taught as science or fact. When Mr. Nicholls suggested that opting out of teaching evolution in schools might not be a bad idea, Mrs. Sandals said that as someone with a science background, she disagrees. We need to stop confusing evolution with science, if we have any chance of having an intelligent debate on the matter.