Currently there is a growing debate in our society as to whether we should teach intelligent design (creationism) along side evolution in science classrooms across the country. Currently the battle is being fought in the state of Kansas. The Kansas State School Board, which is stacked with Christian conservatives, is attempting to rewrite our understanding of the origins of life. Fundamental Christians are incensed that their religious dogma does not get mention in science text as an equally plausible explanation for how life occurs. It doesn't seem to matter to them that their scientific explanation has absolutely nothing to do with science and everything to do with their selfish need to have their religious beliefs taught as science, regardless of whether it is right or wrong.
Normally I laugh at these religious extremists, except in our current political climate they are winning ground in the debate. They are winning because moderates, liberals and fiscal conservatives are not fighting back. According to MSNBC reporter Alex Johnson, mainstream science organizations spurned invitations to participate, dismissing the hearings in Topeka (Kan.) as an effort to attack and undermine science. This is a critical mistake, when only one side of a debate is voiced they usually win; even if they are a fringe group made up of Christian Al-Qeada. It has been approximately 150 years since Darwin first published "On the Origin of Species" and still half of the country doesn't readily accept evolution. Lets face it – we have a communication problem. This is why I am writing and suggesting that it is time for the silent majority to take the gloves off and fight. Next time some religious extremist or neoconservative starts bashing reality give them a verbal lashing, don't back down. I honestly believe if we fight back this debate will die away quickly. I believe this because history has taught me that it is impossible to constantly fight off the truth.
James C. Carlson
Graduate Degree Program in Ecology