The Best of Our Knowledge # 875
Albany, NY – RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
AMERICA'S RELIGIONS: AN EDUCATOR'S GUIDE TO BELIEFS AND PRACTICES -
Religious literacy. There's a growing controversy over whether religion
should be part of any curriculum in public education. One school of
thought believes teaching religion has no place in public classrooms.
Therefore, the separation of church and state we hear about. On the
other side of the issue, others respond that it is important because
religion has such a monumental impact on the world's culture and
history. Regardless of what personal beliefs one holds, there is a
movement that's pushing to add teaching of the world's religions to
the public school curricula. Obviously, not everyone supports that.
But an increasing number are beginning to agree that teaching history,
without recognizing the role religion plays, limits a student's ability to
better understand the world. Among those who subscribe to that latter
premise, is Dr. Benjamin J. Hubbard, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Hubbard is the
co-author of a book created to help educators understand, appreciate,
and handle religious diversity in the classroom. The book is called,
America's Religions: And Educator's Guide To Beliefs and Practices.
It focuses on a wide range of religious beliefs from: Buddhism to
Christianity, and Islam to secular humanism.
Jim Horne reports. (9:45)
CAN A DARWINIAN BE A CHRISTIAN?
EVOLUTION VS INTELLIGENT DESIGN -
The Creationism movement appears to still be advancing in America
and other places around the world. Supporters are attempting to
restrict the teaching of evolution, and introduce their current favorite
theory, Intelligent Design, into the classroom. Creationists say
Darwinian evolution cannot account for the complexity of life, which
they assert can only be explained with reference to some kind of creator.
Such efforts may be having an impact. According to Gallup surveys we
reported on in earlier programs, only about one-third of Americans
believe that Darwin's theory is endorsed by scientific evidence.
The poll also indicates nearly half of respondents believe humans
were created in, more or less, their present form 10-thousand years
ago. What accounts for this revival? Some observers point to the
increasing political influence of the religious right. Others point to
decades of well-funded creationist efforts to chip away at evolution's
stature, reducing it to just one in a number of competing theories.
Dr. Michael Ruse has been researching and writing about this debate
all of his life. Dr. Ruse is a native of England, who emigrated first to
Canada, before arriving about seven years ago at Florida State
University in Tallahassee. Professor Ruse is a Philosopher of
Science, and is the author of many books on evolutionary biology,
including Can a Darwinian Be a Christian? His most recent book from Cambridge University Press is called, Darwinism And Its Discontents.
Glenn Busby reports. (8:23)