|Striking a Blow for Good Science|
|by Dr. Robin Zimmer|
|April 17, 2012|
Opposition to the “Evolution Bill” equates to opposition to good science.
The State of Tennessee just passed controversial legislation enabling public school science teachers to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution.
I am absolutely appalled that some Tennessee educators could be opposed to this long overdue legislation, introduced by Tennessee Representative Bill Dunn. As a Ph.D. with over 30 years of experience within academia, government and industry, I have found that “good science” is evidence-driven and always entails the unencumbered search for clarification, proof and truth. Accordingly, good science can only be practiced by good scientists, who have been raised and trained to practice a high level of critical thinking. They are trained to question, to dissect, and to analyze doctrine from all angles. Very simply, they are highly skilled at critical analyses from the perspective of evidence - for and against.
Our nation (as well as our state) is losing its scientific dominance and leadership in the world. Why? I believe the answer lies in early (pre-college) education and training. The Wall Street Journal reported that 80% of our high school seniors nationwide are now scoring below proficiency in science and mathematics (January 26, 2011). Moreover, our country has now slipped to 31st in world science and math education. It is clear that something is wrong with our approach to teaching and something must be done for the welfare of our kids, our state and our great nation.
The “evolution Bill” offers an improvement in our approach to science education. The bill simply proposes that public teachers be permitted to allow critical analysis of scientific theories within the public classroom. Nothing more and nothing less. Did modern man evolve from ape-like animals? Maybe so, maybe not. Is there evidence that life on earth was purposely designed? Maybe so, maybe not. Was life on earth seeded from space aliens? Maybe so, maybe not. Do I sound repetitious? Are you getting my point?
Empower the students to analyze the evidence from all angles by applying critical thinking principles. Let us not encumber our high school and middle school students by dictating controversial theories and doctrine to them so that they can memorize and regurgitate it all back come exam time. Memorizing and filling in the teacher’s answers on an exam may produce good note takers, but not good critical thinkers and scientists.
As President and COO of a Tennessee based biotechnology firm, I am passionate about good science education. After all, my company’s welfare is highly dependent upon good scientific thinkers and problem solvers. Where will these good scientists come from? Overseas?
Finally, some folks have stated that this newly passed bill is “confusing”. I don’t find it confusing at all, I find it necessary.