Legislator Leads Effort to Counter Darwinism in South Carolina Schools
by Jim Brown
December 29, 2005
(AgapePress) - - An education panel in South Carolina is mulling changes to a biological evolution teaching standard for the state's schools. The state's Education Oversight Committee recently moved to modify four biology teaching guidelines in an effort to balance schools' teaching of evolution by introducing a broader range of scientific viewpoints.
Republican Senator Mike Fair says the Oversight Committee is trying to, at the very least, get public policy to embrace neutrality as it relates to scientific philosophies. The South Carolina lawmaker, who is spearheading an effort to incorporate critical analysis of evolution into the state's public school science curriculum, believes criticism and analytical questioning of Darwinism should be permitted in the classroom.
The problem with the state's current treatment of biological evolution in the classroom, Fair contends, is that South Carolina science teachers "are delivering axioms rather than an encouragement or even framework for students to critically analyze the subject matter. It isn't that there's a huge outcry to kick Darwin or Darwinism out of the public schools."
In fact, the senator says he hopes the revisions in the state biology education guidelines will stimulate more discussion and debate about evolution and other origin theories in the classroom. However, he acknowledges that the changes have angered some philosophical materialists in higher education.
"Those professors are just falling out of the trees, as it were, complaining," Fair says, "because we're trying through the public schools to encourage the classroom teacher, through the curriculum, to be more rigorous and more relevant and to critically analyze information to determine what is fact and what is fiction on this subject of Darwinism."
It was for that purpose that Fair, a creationist, introduced a bill in the South Carolina legislature last summer requiring state schools to expose students to the "full ranger of scientific views that exist" on biological evolution. Nevertheless, the conservative lawmaker has found many proponents of Darwinian evolution uncomfortable with and resistant to the introduction of competing theories.
Fair says although intelligent design is a secular scientific perspective that he considers appropriate for public schools, the idea of teaching the theory in South Carolina schools has yet to gain much political support across the state.
Jim Brown, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.