The seemingly unending battle over the nation's science curriculum reached a new forum this week, when someone submitted a petition to the White House calling for President Barack Obama to enact a federal ban on the teaching of creationism and intelligent design.
"Since Darwin's groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection, scientists all around the world have found monumental amounts of evidence in favor of the theory, now treated as scientific fact by 99.9% of all scientists," the document's author, A.J. of Vienna, Va., wrote. "However, even after 150 years after the establishment of evolution, some schools across the U.S. are "teaching the controversy," including creationism and intelligent design. Both of these so-called "theories" have no basis in scientific fact, and have absolutely zero evidence pointing towards these conjectures. These types of loopholes in our education are partially to blame for our dangerously low student performances in math and science."
The solution, A.J. concluded, is for Obama to seek a federal ban on teachings that contradict evolution.
The Christian Post interviewed Ken Ham, founder and president of the creationist organization Answers in Genesis, about the matter. Ham noted that executive action on such an issue would be unusual, considering school curriculums are typically determined at the local level by elected board members.
The Supreme Court already ruled in 1987 that the teaching of creationism was unconstitutional in public schools, as it violated the separation of church and state. The White House petition doesn't differentiate between public and private school curriculums, however, meaning that perhaps the poster would like to see such teachings removed from private schools as well.
And while religious teachings have no place in public school science classrooms according to current federal statutes, not all states are following that line intently. A school district in Ohio attracted controversy last month when it considered a proposal that would allow its schools to discuss controversial topics, including creationism, in its classrooms.
In Louisiana, state lawmakers have repeatedly refused to close the door on creationism by keeping a law on the books that allows certain "supplemental" materials to be used in the classroom. Critics say the law essentially allows teachers to teach religious alternatives to evolution without oversight.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has been more direct in his support for religious teachings, going so far as to say earlier this year that he was fine with public schools providing students with learning materials about creationism or intelligent design and letting children make up their own minds about whether those theories trumped evolution.
The petition had more than 7,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning. It will need to meet a threshold of 100,000 signatures in order to warrant a response from the White House.