Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas wants to remove evolution references that are being taught in Arizona high schools. When evolution is mentioned, she wants teachers to emphasize that it is only a “theory”. She is also attempting to rephrase ways in which the Big Bang theory and other scientific consensus is introduced to students.
“Evolution is a theory in many ways. That’s what our children should understand,” she said to Capital Media Services. She insists that she is not trying to replace teaching science to students with the Christian “intelligent design” idea – the religious idea that a theistic God created the universe without processes such as evolution and natural selection. Instead, she wants to emphasize that evolution is unproven.
However, last November at a Republican event, Douglas was directly asked if she believed intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution. She stated, “Absolutely”.
The publication, Live Science, once reported the alarming results of a Penn state study that the majority of high school science teachers in the United States take no position on their belief of evolution, likely in order to avoid conflicts with people such as Arizona’s Diane Douglas. Only about one third advocate for evolution in defiance of religious sensibilities. But most alarming to the scientific community, 13% advocate in favor of intelligent design.
Average Americans fare poorly in their understandings of science. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the Americans test poorly on basic science questions and also found that the United States lags behind 39 out of 41 nations in percentage of science and engineering graduates.
American Federal court cases have consistently supported the teaching of evolution and have blocked the teaching of intelligent design. But that hasn’t stopped Christian lawmakers and school officials like Diane Douglas. Douglas narrowly defeated her Democratic opponent David Garcia by one percentage point in 2014. She says evolution is, “very theoretical, and if we’re going to educate our children instead of just indoctrinate them to one way of thinking, we have to be able to allow them to explore all types of areas,” including Christian theories. Douglas has a Bachelor of Arts in business and marketing from Rutgers University.