The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

War on science

Written by: Matthew Balsinger


The state of Tennessee has joined an increasing trend in largely Republican-controlled southern states in declaring war on science education.

On Tuesday, Tennessee state legislatures passed a law that gives teachers the right not to teach evolution and climate change science based on the personal beliefs of the teacher. This may sound even-handed and just, but in reality it is extremely damaging to our society.

The astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson once said, “Facts are true whether you believe them or not.” Science itself is the process that deals with separating facts from beliefs. In science, you must have data and evidence to support your claim; in fact you cannot make any claim in science without supporting it with evidence.

First, evolution is literally a fact of life. The Theory of Evolution is the backbone of modern biology; it is the unifying theory of biology. Antibiotic resistant bacteria, environmental adaptation to change and the diversification and distribution of life over time are all answered with this simple but profound theory. Without evolution unifying biology, you are left with random facts.

The climate is warming and humans are contributing to it. You are allowed to voice an opinion in how much we are contributing to the warming trend, because that is debatable; but to outright deny the existence of global warming and its manmade causes is an outright lie.

Every single expert in the field and all the data support this conclusion. The multi-year ice in the arctic is decreasing, animal habitual ranges are moving away from the equators in response to warming, and we know for a fact that carbon-dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas that retains temperature on a planet.

Educators have an obligation to their students to never lie, and this law gives teachers an outright opportunity to lie to their students based on their religious beliefs alone. Any educator who will not teach the theory of evolution or climate science based upon what he or she believes is a disgrace to science and to education.

In the past 120 years of evolutionary theory, there has not been one shred of evidence to refute the theory, yet Tennessee feels it appropriate for teachers to deny the theory is reputable. We wouldn’t stand for educators not teaching the theory of gravity because they don’t believe in it; why is it then okay to make the exception for evolution?

It’s not only sad, but also incredibly dangerous that anti-evolution proponents can pass laws to circumvent the facts. Intelligent design proponents lost in the halls of science long ago and resort to these tactics because it’s easier to pay for your beliefs to be expressed than it is to accurately support them with evidence.

I want you to consider the utter weakness of views that push such legislation as this ridiculous law. Why are religious science convictions so weak that they must pass laws to protect them? Everyone has the right to his or her own opinion, but not the right to facts.

Science is not about opinions, but about facts, and if your opinion is devoid of facts, than it is irrelevant. Science classrooms should not be the battleground between religion and science, because science is reality.

The United States currently ranks 25th in science education in the world. This is not surprising when we consider that we currently have to fight a war on good science education.

In my next article, I will specifically explore the theory of evolution, why it’s not up for debate and why denying it is destroying the future of our country.


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