What should they say instead?
Alabama’s famed textbook-warning stickers might be on their way out. The National Center for Science Education reported recently that new science standards in the “Heart of Dixie” make the old stickers outdated.
Alabama’s textbooks have carried the warning since the beginning of the twenty-first century. New standards, though, suggest that evolution will no longer be scientia non grata in the state.
So here’s a puzzler for the SAGLRROILYBYGTH: If the old stickers are out, what should new stickers say instead? Of course, smart-alecks will suggest that we leave science textbooks sticker-free. That is the smart answer, but it leaves us with nothing to talk about on a Tuesday.
So let’s make up new stickers. A few ground rules:
1.) The language has to be readable and straightforward. No jargon.
2.) Maximum 250 words.
As SAGLRROILYBYGTH are well aware, I’ve been working on a new evolution/creation book with my co-author Harvey Siegel. For years now, we have wrestled with this big-picture question. In short, we want science teachers to teach evolution and nothing but evolution in their public-school science classes. But we need to help teachers, students, and families understand that learning evolution does not need to impinge on any sort of religious belief.
Our simple prescription: Students need to know about it. They need to understand it. But they do not need to believe it. Students need to be able to explain intelligently what scientists think about evolution. If they choose not to accept it, that is their business. More than that: It is the public schools’ business to make sure students and families feel welcomed, whatever their religious beliefs. It is the schools’ business to encourage students to be who they are.
With all that in mind, here’s my entry:
These textbooks include information about evolution. Evolution is our current best scientific understanding of the ways species came to be different from one another.
Science encourages you to be skeptical about evolution and every other idea. If you choose not to believe that evolution is the best explanation of the origin of species, you have every right to doubt it.
You need to know about evolution. You need to be able to explain how scientists think it worked. You do not have to agree with these scientists.
Okay, okay,…it’s a long way from perfect. Can you do better?