School Districts in several states have been criticized by groups demanding that science classes give “equal time” to non-scientific explanations of the origin and history of life. They argue that it is only fair to let students hear all sides of the debate. Do you think nonscientific views about the origin of species should receive the same emphasis as evolution in science courses? Why or why not? Be mindful of your statements and don’t forget to cite your sources.
Some issues and additional questions to consider:
• Who should decide the curriculum, “experts” or members of the community?
• Are the two alternatives both scientific ideas? Who judges what is scientific? If it is fairer to consider alternatives, should the door be open to all alternatives?
• Are constitutional issues (separation of church and state) involved here? Can a teacher be compelled to teach an idea he or she thinks is wrong? Should a student be required to learn an idea he or she thinks is wrong?
• What does it mean to be scientific? Should nonscientific ideas be taught in a science class? Should science be open to all explanations?
• Are certain interest groups attempting to redefine what it means to be scientific by teaching nonscientific alternatives?
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