Just pick: Pro-evolution or intelligent design. For some, the answer may be a clear-cut decision for one or the other. For others, the choice may be a bit more complicated. It may be because of religion or other influencing factors, but this choice, in the U.S., at least, will never be a unanimous one because of one dominating staple of American life: freedom of choice. A new bill proposed by one of Madison's own, State Rep. Terese Berceau, D, is trying to push legislators towards one choice: pro-evolution. The bill seeks to ban the teaching of intelligent design as science in Wisconsin public schools.
Not only was the bill proposed by a Madison representative, it was also designed by UW-Madison scientists. According to "The Capital Times," these scientists who helped draft this scheme are contacting friends and allies in other states, in hope of similar legislation being drafted around the country. One biochemistry professor at the school, Alan Attie, who helped Ms. Berceau draft the bill said, "We think what we've introduced is just a standard for science education and we would like it adopted nationwide."
Mr. Attie combated his opposition by saying that they are misinterpreting the bill since it was not created to ban intelligent design, but to allow for the opportunity to investigate what science is and how to define it. Discussion of intelligent design would be prohibited in science classes only, allowing for it to have free reign in other classes. So what they're saying is: if a science teacher is educating students about the development of earth and humans, no mention on God or any supreme being is allowed. But if the math teacher wants to educated students about the development of earth and humans right along with multiplication, it is legal for her to do so.
This opportunity for investigating and defining science that Mr. Attie is calling for is already here. Intelligent design is already scarce in the school place. Administrators are threatened about even the slightest mention of a supreme creator. Students should have the opportunity to explore and decide for themselves which view to take, and nothing, not even the law, should be able to take that away from them. Mr. Attie also added "We're trying to uphold standards for science education, but by no means do we want to stop discussion. We've very interested in discussing this issue at length, but we want truth in labeling. Intelligent design is religion and it's not science."
There are many Christian groups that have expressed opposition to the bill, but there are others who have put their opposition into action. William Dembski, one of the leading supporters of intelligent design, is offering a $1,000 award to the first teacher in Wisconsin who would challenge the policy by teaching intelligent design as science within a public school curriculum. Another critic of the bill, Gary McCaleb, a senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said in an interview that his firm would thoroughly investigate the legislation. "Mandating a point of view and trying to enshrine your current science in law is, to me, just scientists begging for disaster," Mr. McCaleb began, "It's very problematic to have scientists trying to shut down the debate."
It is difficult, if not impossible, to convince people of a single way of creation, especially when the scientific community has enough trouble agreeing itself. According to "evolutionnews.com," there are over 500 doctoral scientists who have signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary version of Darwin's theory of evolution.
It started with no prayer in public schools and has led to a ban on teaching intelligent design in public schools. What is the point of preaching freedom of choice when the government is constantly trying to limit these freedoms? Wisconsin, especially Madison, is known for its liberal politics, but hopefully, this government will not allow he state to become the first to further limit every student's education.
Joelle Parks ([email protected]) is a sophomore intending to major in journalism.