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Introducation
Definitions
Religion vs. Science
First Amendment & Religious Explanations of Creation
Promoting Religious Explanations in Public Schools
Harming Religious Education
Conclusion

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Religious Doctrine in the Science Classroom;
Putting Education & Religious Freedom at Risk
RULE
Teaching Religious Explanations of Creation in the Public
School Science Classroom Harms Religion and Education

Any effort to introduce a theological doctrine into public school science curricula would inevitably offend some teachers and students. After all, a Protestant fundamentalist's "literal" reading of Genesis would likely differ markedly from that of a Catholic or an Orthodox Jew.

Both public school educators and religious leaders should be concerned about the prospect of biology lessons degenerating into debates on Biblical or religious interpretation. Our history has been largely free of the kind of sectarian discord that has plagued other countries precisely because we have kept government out of religion and religion free from government control.

Teaching religious ideas as fact further undermines science education by misinforming students about the scientific method -- the basis for science literacy. The scientific method teaches students the fundamentals of science -- how to observe data, perform experiments and form scientific theory. Religious explanations for creation are not science they cannot be confirmed or denied by the scientific method. Teaching them as science confuses and misleads students about the scientific method, thereby depriving them of a high-quality science education.

Many religious people, of course, are able to reconcile religious teachings with those of modern science. But this task should be left to families and their clergy based upon a full understanding of the scientific basis of evolutionary biology. To deny students an adequate education in biology for fear of insulting their religious sensibilities underestimates the ability of believers to distinguish between scientific facts and matters of personal faith.

Other Materials about Freedom of Religion
School Vouchers
First Amendment Primer
Charitable Choice
Faith and Freedom: 
The Case for Separation of Church-State
Religion in The Public Schools
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