The Alabama State Board of Education has created a one-page insert for its biology textbooks that regurgitates the same old arguments that creationists have been trying to use for a long time to discredit evolution. The insert says the following:
This textbook discusses evolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants, animals and humans.
No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life’s origins should be considered as theory, not fact.
The word “evolution” may refer to many types of change. Evolution describes changes that occur within a species. (White moths, for example, may “evolve” into gray moths.) This process is microevolution, which can be observed and described as fact. Evolution may also refer to the change of one living thing to another, such as reptiles into birds. This process, called macroevolution, has never been observed and should be considered a theory. Evolution also refers to the unproven belief that random, undirected forces produced a world of living things.
There are many unanswered questions about the origin of life which are not mentioned in your textbooks, including:
- Why did the major groups of animals suddenly appear in the fossil record (known as the “Cambrian Explosion”)?
- Why have no new major groups of living things appeared in the fossil record in a long time?
- Why do major groups of plants and animals have no transitional forms in the fossil record?
- How did you and all living things come to possess such a complete and complex set of “instructions” for building a living body?
Study hard and keep an open mind. Someday you may contribute to the theories of how living things appeared on earth.
This insert will likely be challenged in the courts. Previous attempts along these lines like the sticker in Cobb County, GA and the statement read to biology students in Dover, PA have been found to unconstitutional, as I discuss in some depth in my book God vs. Darwin: The War Between Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom.