This is just terribly sad – Jerry Coyne gave a lecture on evolution at a public school and a lot of the students were simply “offended” in their religious beliefs.
I am dispirited. I’ve just returned from a two-hour lecture and Q&A session at the Woodlawn Charter School, a public school run by the University of Chicago on the South Side of the city. Some of the high-school biology students are reading Why Evolution is True, and I gave a presentation on the evidence for evolution—with a tiny bit about why religion prevents Americans from accepting evolution, for I was asked to mention that topic—followed by an hour of questions.
Some of the questions were good, and some of the students really interested, but there was also a lot of religious pushback. One student, I was told, sat through the entire lecture muttering about how she shouldn’t be forced to listen to this stuff since it went against her faith. Another student’s “question” was to inform me that she was offended that I said that Adam and Eve never existed (I talked about the human bottleneck of 1200 people), and asked me how I knew that.
And the teacher who invited me told me she encountered stiff resistance from many of her kids about evolution—resistance based solely on their religious upbringing.
That’s just sad. It’s such a waste. So much to learn, so much to explore, and all they can do is mutter and be offended, because adults have fed them a lot of made-up crap along with the idea that they’re supposed to get indignant if anyone says anything different. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. That’s a hokey old slogan, but by god it’s the truth.