CHILDREN'S EXPRESS: NY--The Kansas State School Board recently shocked the nation when it voted to eliminate evolution as an explanation for human origins from the state science curriculum. We spoke to Dr. Steve Abrams, one of the key board members who rewrote the science standards which list the subjects that students will have to know for state assessment tests. The board voted against including evolution as an explanation for the origin of humans and animals, in those standards.
"I believe there is sufficient evidence and analysis tolend credibility to the fact that the current model of evolution may in fact be in error. And consequently, I did not wantit taught as fact," Dr. Abrams told us.
For Abrams, and for many other who agree with him, the key word is "theory." Because evolution's explanation for man's origins cannot be proved, he insists teachers should make clear this explanation is only a possibility.
Originally Abrams suggested the standards include a description of the two basic theories of species origin: evolution, the scientific theory of the origin of humans and animals and creationism, which says a divine being is the creator.
The final draft includes neither description but Abrams is clear on the subject. He says he does not advocate that creationism be taught in public school, since it is a faith-based theory. And he does not recommend evolution be cut from Kansas student lessons. But teaching evolution as theory, and not as fact, says Abrams, is essential.
The Debate In NYC Schools
After we spoke to Dr. Abrams, we discussed the subject. As science students ourselves, we learn both evolution and creationism in our varying schools. We discovered quickly our religious beliefs sharply divide us on whether we think evolution or creationism should be taught as facts or theories, or whether either explanation should be taught at all. We defined our religious beliefsand let our conversation go from there.
Terence: I'm kind of an atheist and kind of in the middle.I'm not really sure where I am yet. I think about it a lot.
Sean: I'm an atheist, so I'm not religious.
Michael: I'm Jewish, I'd say I have a lot of faith in God.Igo by standards set by the Torah.
Terence: We should be including evolution in school. It provides a doorway to our past. The reason people believed in God so fiercely when the bible first came out -I can't say "came out" but you know what I mean -- was because there weren't scientists back then. No one knew about atoms, about the stars, no one knew about the earth, no one knew that there were people before them - who were furrier but were in a way related to them. Evolution should be taught in schools because it's the most likely theory that has to do with our origins.
Michael: I don't believe that either should be presented at all. Especially in a public school. Private school is one thing. But public school, people from all different races come. Parents don't necessarily want their children to be exposed to those kinds of things at young ages, such as, "We were once gorillas," if they're religious Jews.
Terence: I believe that the bible is taken way tooseriously. People take it as the end all-be all. Who wrote the bible?I'm not much into religious philosophy but it seems to me it was most likely a person. I'm not downing on it, It's great stuff, some of it might be true. I think some people needto relax with their beliefs.
Michael: Maybe a person did write it. But how was this world created? There's a lot of questions about that. You think that it just happened by the Big Bang or something? Nothing higher than us was involved in it? Just chemicals coming together?
Terence: I believe that you can't expect the Big Bang to come out of nowhere. The way the world works, there has to be something up there. There's probably some God, I wouldn't say God Himself, that used evolution. People take it too for granted. They don't let ideas from the world, outside religion and outside the Bible maybe make a little sense there.