University of Connecticut – Something odd has happened recently in Georgia. Department of Education Superintendent Kathy Cox has called for the elimination of the word “evolution” in Georgia schools, while still allowing the concept of biological change over time. She claims this action is necessary because evolution is a “negative buzz-word,” which is pure nonsense.This is a clear open-and-shut First Amendment case, in two ways. First, it’s a clear attempt by creationists to force religious doctrine upon the schools, forbidden by the Establishment Clause. Second, it’s a very clear violation of free speech to prohibit teachers from speaking the word “evolution.” It goes beyond censorship to something even scarier. It rings of Orwell’s warning against newspeak. When people try to con-trol our language, they are trying to control our thoughts.
Evolution is not a “negative buzzword.” It is a well-respected theory that explains a natural process with support from the entire scientific community. If it is a “negative buzzword,” then so is gravity, heliocentrism, Boyle’s Law, thermodynamics, momentum, mass, velocity, nova, dinosaur, endothermic reactions, the Periodic Table of the Elements and carbon testing. The only place evolution has a negative connotation is where science has a negative connotation.
The entire thing is intellectually dishonest. It tries to weigh the debate by forbidding one side. It’s an attempt to prevent students from learning and thinking, which defeats the entire purpose of a public school education. It only guarantees that Georgia’s students will graduate with a poor grasp of the theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. This is a very important theory in biology and people should know it. Even if they do not agree, it can only serve their best interests to understand it.
Even many creationists don’t like the proposal. How can you ban the word evolution, but not ban the teaching of evolution’s meaning?
In the end, nobody’s happy with the proposal, and its consequences can only be bad. The state of Georgia should vote down this ridiculous proposal.