The United States already has a dismal record in math and natural science education when compared with a number of school systems worldwide, why further cloud the issue by introducing Christianity-based beliefs in biology classes?
This whole tiresome debate is based on one simple issue; the desire of religious conservatives to introduce in schools their skewed views of how life originated and changed. “Scientific creationism” and “intelligent design” involve a god-based belief system; objective and empirical science cannot afford those luxuries when studying the origins of life and how it has evolved.
Beliefs are different from empirical evidence and that is the first rule I establish when I teach a basic Introduction to Sociology course. I have students examine their own beliefs (religious and otherwise) and tell me how these might influence their ability to learn in an objective manner. Later in this same course some students are amazed to hear me speak of how religious belief systems were invented by people, usually thousands of years ago. Many times these religions served to explain the unexplainable when science was not advanced enough to do so. They were also a great way of controlling the masses by promoting rewards and punishments for compliance or noncompliance. It is sad to see that the desire to pollute science with narrow religious-based beliefs is still with us.
I think that U.S. high schools should mandate the teaching of math (including calculus) and four years of natural sciences to ALL students. I also think that a class or two in comparative religions would go a long way towards showing students that its a big world out there and that Christianity is only one of several major belief systems.
One of the reasons I moved from the U.S., live in Brasil, and spend as much time as I can in Europe was to escape a place where American Idol is actually an important TV event, where the average citizen cares little for his health or conserving natural resources, and where this idiotic debate over teaching religion in science classes continues. Look what we have had in the White House for nearly eight years and you can understand why it sometimes makes me reluctant to admit what country I was born in.