JEFFERSON CITY—Evolution won’t be the only theory of biological origin made available to public school students if the bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, House Bill 1227, becomes law during the current session of Missouri’s General Assembly.
“I feel there’s such a bias in the classroom,” Brattin said. “Certain sciences are being taught as fact when they are nothing but hypothesis.”
Brattin’s proposal would require teachers to present information that has been verified or is capable of being verified. Otherwise, it must be identified as unverifiable.
Textbooks covering biological origin would have to devote equal treatment to evolution and intelligent design and must be supported by physical evidence.
“Basically,” he said, “I think we need an objective approach to science. The jury is still out on the origin of species. There are two sides to the argument. Students should have Darwin’s Theory of Micro-Evolution or Intelligent Design or any other theory.”
Rod Butterworth, president of the Creation Museum of the Ozarks at Strafford, said humanistic evolutionary philosophy is the only way the subject of origins is dealt with in most public schools. No alternative views are permitted.
While the facts of both theories may be the same, he said conclusions are often different.
“Dinosaurs, for instance. A bone doesn’t have a date stamp on it,” he said. “It becomes a matter of interpretation. There is evidence it may not be as old as claimed.
“That kind of information is excluded. Students don’t know there are other ways of looking at that issue.”
David Krueger, chairman of Missouri Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission (CLC), said he has never had a personal issue with evolution being taught in the classroom, but he has an issue with the fact that alternatives are never taught.
“I am all in favor of teaching intelligent design, and I think a lot of Southern Baptists would probably say, ‘Yes, we’d like to see intelligent design taught in the public classrooms as well.’
“I would be all in favor of the bill. I think alternatives ought to be taught.”
Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the CLC, said that what drives this debate is not so much the Christian community’s demand to have their worldview taught but that the evolutionist advocates have gained control of the entire education system.
“Now evolution is taught as though it is some kind of scientific fact, which is actually dishonest,” he said.
“The good news is that after generations of indoctrination, the teaching of evolution is the least accepted teaching of worldview philosophies. Less than 10 percent of the American population say they actually believe in [evolution].
“The bad news is that while only 10 percent of the population expressly believe in evolution, the vast majority of Americans, including Christians, do not evaluate how deeply rooted that teaching is in their day-to-day lives.”
Rep. Brattin believes students should be allowed to decide for themselves which theory to believe, based on facts presented to them.
“With my bill, they would have to dissect the science to determine what is a true, undeniable fact of science and what is theory. They have to criticize both sides.”