Her insinuation that her biology teacher was teaching science as a religion is a nearly perfect example of how the religious right falsely assumes that science instruction must include all philosophical and religious perspectives. Science does not deal with faith explanations; rather, it attempts to explain the natural world by observations and testable theories that are subject to change and even rejection based on the evidence. This is why science constantly changes.
If Ms. Campbell were truly interested in exposing students to all the many ways, including science, that people seek to explain the world, then she should support having schools offer courses in comparative religions and philosophies – the more, the better. It has been my experience that those on the religious right are very much opposed to this approach, although they have no problem with courses on “Bible study” or any course that promotes only their particular version of life and how humans should live.
I appreciate Frank Carl’s endeavors in organizing a local chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. This organization does not seek to prevent the practice of religion. Rather, it protects both believers and nonbelievers from all those who seek to use government to impose their particular religious views and practices on others.
Judith E. Gordon, Ph.D.
(The writer is a professor emerita of biology at Augusta State University.)