Recently, I read an interview from popularmechanics.com asking Bill Nye, the science guy his opinions about a poll. The poll consists of 926 high school biology teachers. The website mentions that “only 28 percent of teachers taught evolution as a well-supported fundamental idea of science. Meanwhile, 13 percent openly supported “intelligent design” in the classroom, and 60 percent fell somewhere in-between”. The article also mentions that the teachers on that 60%, teach evolution with “caution” by including nonscientific views, only talking about genetics or saying the students only need to learn evolution to pass the exams. The article focuses on the responses of Bill Nye, currently the executive director of the Planetary Society.
When Nye is asked what does he thinks about the results of the poll, he says that “It’s horrible. Science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe in science, then you’re holding everybody back”. He goes on and says that “but if we educate a generation of people who don’t believe in science, that’s a recipe for disaster”. He mentions that every technology today comes from science, weather forecasting and so on. I have to say I agree with Nye. Even though science can be wrong sometimes, and it might change. For example when saying that eggs are good but in a couple of years later saying that eggs have too much cholesterol. However, this is what makes science strong, the ability to know when something is not true and being able to publish it and educate the public. Lately, I’ve read some articles that mention some schools in the south, such as North Carolina and Arizona allowing “silence periods”, or wanting to have a religion class as an “elective”. The silence period got around the courts because according to the court, “it does not specifies that students have to pray during this silence time”. However, I don’t think that having a “religion” class, or more specifically a Christian religion class is going to be ruled constitutional. How come people never argue for a Muslim religion class?
Nye is asked what is the funding issue on why teachers aren’t teaching evolution correctly and he replies that “Oh the teachers get pulled every which way. People get on school boards just with this agenda of not teaching evolution. The school board comes running in and beats them over the head”. This was also discussed in the book. How some conservatives religious people are being elected into school boards and pass guidelines that might not be the most ethical.
My favorite answer from Nye is when he was asked if teachers should be mandated to teach evolution, his reply “What other fundamental theory in all of biology is there? Intelligent design, as the judge in Dover, Penn., said, is “breathtaking inanity.” It was so stupid it took his breath away. I agree with him. It’s great to teach in history class, though. People believed the earth was the center of the universe. People believed the earth was flat. It was reasonable at the time, but we don’t learn about those ideas in science class”.
He also replied to the people that say that evolution is just a theory, “Evolution is a theory, and it’s a theory that you can test. We’ve tested evolution in many ways. You can’t present good evidence that says evolution is not a fact”.