The battle over evolution in the classroom is always an interesting one. As some states battle to teach creationism alongside evolution (or to eliminate the teaching of evolution altogether), it often comes down to a basic debate of science versus faith. That comes as a surprise to no one. But it makes for some interesting rhetorical battles at both the school district at the state levels.
What is surprising, though, is the latest Gallup poll data, reflected on the front page of today’s USA Today. More than 1,000 adults were surveyed the first week of February, asked to weigh in on their opinion of evolution. The results? 39 percent of Americans believe in the theories put forward by Charles Darwin and defended by Clarence Darrow down in Tennessee more than 90 years ago. A quarter of adults (25 percent) don’t believe in evolution, siding with the Old Testament and William Jennings Bryan. And a whopping 36 percent have no opinion on the topic.
Eduflack gets the battle lines between those who believe in fish with feet and those who do not. But how can more than a third of adults have “no opinion” as to whether they believe the theory of evolution? What, exactly, were they taught during their school days? Did they have a bad experience with a monkey or in Sunday school? It’s no wonder our school districts get confused when it comes to how to proceed on the future of such science instruction. That 25 percent of creationists may be vocal and clear of their intents and purposes, but the 36 percent who don’t know, don’t care, or generally don’t have an opinion speak louder than all. Or maybe there is a third alternative that we just haven’t considered yet?