You can’t, or at least you should not, debate science. By definition, science is factual information that has stood theoretical tests with data that stands up to consistent scrutiny. The idea that evolution is a theory, and ought to be taught, as Texas conservatives insist, along side creationism, is patent nonsense. One concept has been determined to be true by science. The other is reliant upon faith.
Facts don’t cease to exist because we deny them. And believing in something, no matter how hard you want it to be true, doesn’t always make it come into existence. I understand people of faith and appreciate the profound importance of their religion and belief system. But their unwavering commitment doesn’t make it fact. Perhaps, it will be proven to be true that Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged horse and Jesus arose from the dead to go serve at the right hand of God, his father. I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.
If you live in certain parts of America, however, you aren’t exactly encouraged to think critically on these questions. The Texas State Board of Education, for example, continues slip creationism into textbooks, and charter schools, which get money from the state based upon the students they enroll, feel less encumbered to keep religion out of their curricula. Children are being taught Christianity. In many public schools in Texas, there are classes on the Bible, which are supposed to teach the document as a part of religious history. Instead, in many cases, the class is used to spread the faith into young minds. We can safely assume there are no public classes taught on the Koran in Texas.
Texans always rely on Oklahoma to feel better about their own culture. And generally, the state just north of the Red River does not disappoint. The latest and most absurd example comes from a TV station in Oklahoma City that did a spot of creative editing on the new FOX-TV program Cosmos. As everyone knows by now, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has resurrected the late Carl Sagan’s show and has modernized it with updated science and graphic production. Tyson, whose talents and personal wonder are certain to fire new young minds with his TV show, is dealing with resistance from people who use the Bible as a textbook.
KOKH-TV did not want its audience to learn about the scary evolution that has happened to humans and has been proved by scientists since the early work of Charles Darwin. Tyson, in fact, hardly even suggests the concept in the last ten minutes of Cosmos. He says, somewhat innocuously, “We are newcomers to the Cosmos. Our own story only begins on the last night of the cosmic year.” This was interpreted in Oklahoma, it seems, to mean God didn’t create us out of mud 6,000 years ago and give us the intellect to create saddles and throw them over dinosaurs. Give KOKH-TV credit, though, for knowing its audience. The station appears to have previewed Cosmos, working under the assumption that Tyson was certain to be talking all fancy science stuff, and they came up with a plan to silence his blasphemy as soon as it emitted his pie hole
“Three and a half million years ago,” Tyson said as he pointed to fossilized footprints, “Our ancestors, yours and mine left these traces. We stood up and parted ways from them. Once we were standing on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground. Now, we were free to look up and wonder.”
Oops. He must’ve meant Jesus had something to do with it somehow. Not to worry, though, if you were watching the show on FOX in Oklahoma City, you saw a very quickly inserted promotion that covered up Tyson’s silly science. Hard to believe this was accidental.
Internet writing doesn’t seem an adequate space or place to discuss religion. But you can cover stupidity pretty easily here. This is just one of many examples that provide entertainment, and, yes, a bit of frustration.
But Oklahoma is just OK.