Evolution is a fact of life

Written by: Matthew Balsinger

This is the second article in a series on science and education. To view previous articles, visit www.buchtelite.com. This article explores why denying the evolution theory is detrimental to our society.

The United States is built upon the idea that opinions matter and that individuality, including personal beliefs, is protected under laws. “Personal beliefs” are then used by some as justification to pass laws that protect teachers from teaching evolution within the classroom. They say that the Constitution cannot force you to teach something that you do not believe in. It is religion using the law to influence science, and this is wrong.

The Constitution entitles you the opportunity to be a science teacher; however, it does not entitle you the opportunity for you to rewrite science as you want it to be, which is where personal beliefs become irrelevant.

To be a scientist, you must follow the scientific process, which means you must follow the evidence regardless of your personal beliefs. If your personal beliefs don’t agree with science and you cannot let them go because they are important to you, then science is not your field. You should not be a science teacher if you cannot teach what the evidence concludes. You do not have the right to make the argument that science is unfair toward your opinion and then legislate it to the rest of us.

The theory of evolution is a fact of life. Over the past 160 years, the theory of evolution has been continually tested, tried and supported by the scientific process. In fact, over that same period, there have been hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed, testable, reproducible predictions that have supported the theory of evolution. There has not been a single prediction or test that has produced evidence against evolution. The fact is that every reputable scientist in the field supports the theory of evolution.

Many believe that because evolution is “just a theory,” you must treat it and teach it as less than reputable. Ever heard of the theory of gravity or the atomic theory or the germ theory of disease? Literally everything in science is a theory, because theories are made up of facts. A hypothesis can only become a theory when it has been sufficiently and continually supported by facts and evidence.

Evolution theory came from of a series of unanswered questions on observations, questions such as why there is a struggle for life or why organisms progressively change throughout the fossil record. Why do offspring derive characteristics from their parents? All of these are answered by, and only by, the theory of evolution.

The reason teaching science is as crucial to our society as it is, that both cannot stand if we do not keep personal opinion out of them.  Decisions in our country must be made by consensus, much like in the scientific process. Science by design is without bias; the facts are the facts regardless of you believing them or not. Most importantly, we must protect our children’s right to make their own decisions.

I interviewed several students last week for campus voice, in which I asked if evolution should be taught in public school classrooms. One response summed up everything.  Junior Sadie Dietrick responded “I cannot make an informed decision because I was never taught about evolution.  How can I make an informed decision on something if I haven’t been taught about it?”

You see, we all have the right to our opinion. However, we do not have the right to subjugate our opinion onto others. We do not have the right to not teach a specific theory because we don’t agree with it, because to do so would be denying someone’s right to learn.

Take, for instance, if I didn’t believe in the number three or the fraction 1/3. If I become a math teacher, do I then have the right to not teach in any context the number three or the fraction 1/3? The answer is no. So then why should we allow it in science?

Why are states like Tennessee limiting the scope of not teaching science because of “personal beliefs” to evolution? Why not extend that protection to those who don’t believe in gravity, or germ theory or atomic theory?

I believe that singling out evolution for extra scrutiny is religiously motivated, which makes it an unconstitutional reason to legislate.

In my next article, I will discuss manmade climate change and why climate change science is not only solid, but crucial to being taught in the classroom.