Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Gauging the spread of ignorance

The Washington Post had a short article this morning about a Maryland school district that recently adopted, by 6-0 vote, a biology textbook that discusses evolutionary theory. I find it strange that this is considered newsworthy, even if the school board did have a debate over whether it should adopt books that also discusses creation theory. I mean, what's so odd about adopting a standard scientific text that teaches standard scientific theory?

What I find really strange, however, is the tone of the article towards the text itself. The title of the article is, "Cecil County Adopts Text Stressing Evolution". In the first paragraph of the article, the journalist states that the textbook "emphasizes the significance of Charles Darwin." Does that strike anybody else as odd? I don't see articles noting when schools adopt a physics text that "emphasizes" Newtonian Mechanics, a chemistry book that "stresses" Boyle's Law, or a geometry book that "includes material" on Euclid's Elements. I know, of course, that many people feel that Darwin threatens their fundamental belief systems. Nonetheless, has the fundamentalist worldview so saturated our civic culture that it becomes newsworthy when universally accepted scientific theories are taught in science classes?