Bill Seeks Total Picture About Evolution

Evolution is a theory, not fact.

       Youngstown area State Representative Ron Hood wants to make sure it's taught that way. State Rep. Hood, R-Canfield, has introduced House Bill 679, legislation that would require science teachers in Ohio to include both sides of the story about evolution.

       The proposed law states: "Whenever a theory of the origin of humans or other living things that might commonly be referred to as evolution is included in the instructional program provided by any school district or educational service center, both scientific evidence supporting or consistent with the theory and scientific evidence not supporting or inconsistent with the theory shall be included."

       Hood first introduced a bill with this language in 1995, during his first term. "There were families in my district (near Youngstown) who were upset that evolution was being taught in school as fact rather than theory," Hood explained. "Those who believe it's a false theory find this problematic."

       In his 1859 book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, English biologist Charles Darwin proposed that life as we know it may have evolved from simple, lower life forms. This view is also known as macroevolution, different than his theory of microevolution, which shows how changes occur within species. Darwin never claimed to have proof for his theory of the origin of species.

       Of course, macroevolution stands in stark contrast to the biblical view that an all-powerful Creator made the heavens and the earth, as recorded in the first and second chapters of Genesis.

       Hood discovered that, while some science educators in Ohio understand that evolution is unproven, there are others who teach it as a given.

       "There are many teachers sensitive enough to understand that evolution should be taught as a theory," Hood said. "But there are many who don't. They have an agenda to indoctrinate our children with a false theory. For those parents and constituents who have problems with this, we want this protection."

       "Those who believe strongly in evolution, believe in it religiously. I don't like the religious nature in which evolution is being taught."

       HB 679 differs from the action taken by the Kansas State Board of Education last year, which voted to de-emphasize evolution in its science testing standards. Hood said he just wants to see all sides of the evolution question considered when it's taught in school.

       For instance, a study published in the April, 2000 issue of Nature magazine casts doubt on the idea that the bushy-browed Neanderthal is the missing link between man and ape. The article explains that the DNA of Neanderthal "man" was significantly different from that of modern human beings. This is the kind of information that should be shared in a science classroom, Hood explained.

       Hood said he didn't push for standards, which include "intelligent design" theories of creation, because he felt the current bill has a good shot at passage in the General Assembly and should withstand any court challenges.

       "This legislation is in a better position to pass next session (starting January 2001)," Hood said, "Both candidates for Speaker of the House are interested in this bill. There will be a more conservative House of Representatives, which helps the chances of this bill getting through. We'll have a tough fight in the Senate but if a lot of things go our way, I think this has a legitimate shot."

       Hood said he's counting on the support of pro-family lobbyists, particularly the Pro-Family Network, to help get the bill passed. "Anytime you're considering something of a controversial nature you must have mobilized groups working behind you," he said. "Without that, passing the bill will not be possible." He added that his bill should improve science education in Ohio. "When I was in the classroom I had one teacher who taught evolution as theory, another taught it as fact," he said. "I think this will help (science education) be more accurate. I think it's positive, because we're pursuing truth and accuracy rather than indoctrination. If we can go in this direction, science will also gain a better name in the Christian community."

"(c) 2000 Focus on the Family. Taken from Citizen Magazine, July 2000. Used by permission."