Intelligent Design Belongs With Darwin in Classrooms; Political Correctness Does Not

Intelligent design belongs in classrooms, political correctness does not, argues Candi Cushman.

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But that's just not true. More than 700 scientists have signed their names on a petition (launched by The Discovery Institute in 2001) stating their skepticism that natural selection can sufficiently account for the complexity of life. The statement says that there "is scientific dissent" that "deserves to be heard." Among the nationally acclaimed signers are a professor of chemistry at Rice University, the director of a computing research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an emeritus professor of chemistry at Penn State who is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

These are brilliant minds. Don't they deserve representation in our education system? Shouldn't students have the opportunity to investigate what these scientists have to say about the complexity of the human cell and new discoveries in our planetary system that may point to evidence of design?

It's hard to understand the extreme efforts to shut their voices down.

In this day and age, people shouldn't have to fear losing their jobs simply because they want to question a theory. The fact that this is happening in America cuts at the heart of the freedoms this nation holds dear, like free speech and the right to express controversial ideas without fear of punishment.

But ultimately it's the students who suffer most. This kind of oppressive climate denies them the opportunity to have an intellectually stimulating debate, not to mention giving them a terrible example of a police-state climate.

But the good news is that wherever there's tyranny, there's always rebellion.

That's why we're seeing the academic freedom bills sprouting up across the land, as well as efforts by school board members to allow teachers to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. These measures don't push anything onto teachers. They are simply protecting educators' and students' First Amendment rights to have a free and open dialogue.

The very fact these protections are necessary, should send a wake-up call to those who truly do care about tolerance and academic freedom in this country.