Evolution: Where do you stand?

by BARBARA CASTELLINI '15

“Bill Nye the Science Guy!" Just saying the name causes a high school student to reminisce on her 4th grade science class, hearing the jingle from his famous 90’s TV series. Likewise, when Catholics hear the phrase “In the beginning...” they make a connection to Genesis 1:1 or, more commonly known as, the creation story. These two ideas, modern science and religion collide in their answer to an age-old question: “How did I get here?”

On Tuesday, February 4, Bill Nye, the celebrity engineer, and Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum, debated Evolution and Creationism. Their debate took place in Petersburg, Kentucky, just outside the Cincinnati. The tickets sold out in minutes and come Tuesday night approximately 3 million people were tuned in for the debate via a live stream. Plenty of local news channels picked up the story and even twitter was filled with commentary. Bill Nye took the stage dressed in his usual bow tie and argued with the same vitality he had decades ago, making simple, grade school chemistry fun.

Ken Ham was ultimately not the favorite to many SUA students, many were caught up on his limited evidence and repetitive claims, including the Earth’s age being limited to a mere 6,000 years. When students in Mr. Porter’s AP Biology class, currently studying Darwinian Evolution, were asked what they thought about the debate the class went into uproar with loud opinions being voiced from every corner of the room. Most saw flaws in the Creationism side of the debate and tended to favor Bill Nye’s stance on evolution: the popular scientific theory that the Earth began with a “Big Bang,” all life evolved from a common unicellular ancestor, and natural selection has occurred over time.

The debate’s prompt was as follows: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Directed by CNN correspondent, Tom Foreman, both men presented the highlights of their side’s evidence, not hoping to persuade one another, but instead to persuade parents that the viewpoint they represent is viable to teach their children. Certain religiously affiliated schools such as Cincinnati Christian Hills Academy chose not to teach Evolution, whereas many public school systems have eradicated Creationism from their textbooks.

SUA students are fortunate enough to learn the basis of both theories, enabling them to make a conscious decision or decipher a mutual relationship between the two. SUA prides itself on molding women ready for an innovative world. That goal includes the ability to create educated opinions. Private school students are often considered “sheltered” because their beliefs are seldom challenged by nor different from their peers. However, when one ventures into college and the real world it is very likely that their views will not always coincide with those around them. The real world makes it imperative to think critically on all the facts and form personal opinions, so, Evolution: Where do you stand?