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Students being turned off from science

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posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 04:16 PM
The battle over teaching evolution is raging in communities across the country, but the headlines rarely focus on the “quiet” impact of this controversy.

Science is becoming a political “hot potato” for some students — transforming what should be a dynamic, fascinating topic into a total turn-off. And some students are choosing silence over losing a prom date.

“Children are very much worried about their place in the world. Some students only ask me about evolution privately, after class,” said Wes McCoy, PhD, who teaches Genetics, Biology and Astronomy at North Cobb High School in Kennessaw, Ga.


McCoy, who has won the Georgia “Outstanding Biology Teacher” award, is active in his Presbyterian church and also serves on the National Executive Board of the Presbyterian Association on Science, Technology and the Christian faith, is saddened by what he has seen in his classroom.

“Students face consequences if they choose to accept evolution in a family or a church or a community that patently rejects evolution ... It might affect whether you get a date to the prom, or whether you get that summer job or not,” McCoy said. “You may even anger close family members. Conversations about evolution can make family reunions very tense.”

And at a time when the National Science Foundation projects that the number of scientists and engineers reaching retirement age is expected to triple in the next 10 years, McCoy and others argue that the “evolution wars” are taking time away from their life’s work — making these children excited and prepared — to become the next Jonas Salk or Bill Gates.

Science politicized
The town of Kennessaw, where McCoy teaches, is part of Cobb County, Ga. It was in Cobb County that a U.S. district judge recently ruled against the “evolution is just a theory” disclaimer sticker, which had been placed on science textbooks by the local school board.

So is this a “victory” for the educators, who argued against the stickers in federal court?

“The decision to place stickers on the books already reflects an unfortunate politicization of science,” said Brown University professor Kenneth Miller, the co-author of"Biology," the textbook that had the stickers removed.

“Clearly the right thing to do was to remove those stickers and treat evolution as any other subject. But in a sense it has already done damage to science teaching by implying that evolution is especially weak and especially shaky, when it reality it is neither,” Miller said.

Clare McKinney teaches biology and zoology at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana. She is also a Christian who has been on national news defending the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

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In my opinion, not having enough scientists in this country is a really bad thing. America is one of the lead countries in scientefic development and being kicked out of this lead would harm us.

Some people really need to realize that science class is not Sunday School. Schools are teaching evolution because it is a scientefic theory.

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