When sitcom king Norman Lear spoke to the American Academy of Religion in 1989, he described wanting to promote faith, which he later attempted through Sunday Dinner, an ill-fated and humorless TV series. The religion Lear wanted to promote was irenic but fuzzy: butterflies gave him a sense of the sacred, he said, and he wondered why we couldn't all share that kind of religion. The creator of All in the Family was out of his depth then. People for the American Way (PFAW), the organization he founded, is out of its depth now on the topic of evolution and creationism in public education.PFAW commissioned a survey on evolution and creationism from DYG, the respected polling firm headed by Daniel Yankelovich, and announced the results in March. The questions presumed that creationism and evolution are the only curriculum options before us. Given that choice, most Americans (83%) supported teaching evolution in science classes. Within their ranks, however, are those who say religious explanations should be discussed, but in a nonscience class (17%); people who think creationism should be discussed in science classes, but as a "belief" and not as "scientific theory" (29%); and people who think evolution and creationism should be taught as "scientific theories" in a science class (16%). Only 20 percent want to ban any mention of creationism at all, while 16 percent indicated that creationism should be taught without any mention of evolution.The slant of the organization's report was unbelievable. All who allowed for some teaching of evolution (including those who wanted to teach evolution and creationism on an equal footing) were lumped together so that the news release could trumpet an 83 percent support for evolution. But what ...1
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