Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Let Academic Freedom Ring: Unless We Liberate Science from Political and Religious Forces, Our Students Don't Stand a Chance in the Global Workforce

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Let Academic Freedom Ring: Unless We Liberate Science from Political and Religious Forces, Our Students Don't Stand a Chance in the Global Workforce

Article excerpt

IT'S PREVAILING OPINION in the United States that in order to hold on to our economic standing internationally, our workforce needs to grow more tech-savvy. To that end, our students need rigorous science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) training. But first, we have to stop political and religious pressures from threatening children's education in the basics--such as knowing what constitutes a theory and applying the scientific method--in schools and in society at large.

If those principles were understood and accepted, then, for example, a docent at Grand Canyon National Park who is asked by an inquisitive child how old the Grand Canyon is could answer that, based on geologic evidence, we can conclude the chasm was carved out by the Colorado River roughly 5 million years ago. Instead, park officials are instructed not to comment on the canyon's age. Why? Because the National Park Service is deferring to the wishes of religious fundamentalists who believe the Grand Canyon was created by a flood, as described in the Bible's account of Noah's life, only a few thousand years ago.

A literal interpretation of the Bible also may be taught alongside the theory of evolution in, for instance, Kentucky, where law states that teachers may tell students "the theory of creationism as presented in the Bible. …

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