Evolution Debate In High Gear

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The state requires that broad concepts about evolution begin in Kindergarten and continue throughout your child's education in the public school system.
The Washoe County School District provides the science curriculum, approved by the state, but does not allow room for debate on the subject.

Julie Ellsworth, a Truckee Meadows Community College biology instructor, says challenging this concept only degrades the integrity of science.
"The idea of intelligence design is so complex that someone or something must have designed it. This someone or something is basically a supernatural entity. So, it's not science because science only deals with natural explanations."

Classrooms across the country are dealing with this debate and the consequences of teaching evolution, even when it is designated by a school district curriculum.
Local educators say our students are already behind.

Nathan Grover, a 9th grader at Reed High School, says he would support any discussion about evolution or intelligent design.
"Charles Darwin thought of it and Darwinism is like a religion, sort of. God said He made everything and evolution proves that wrong."

Josh Moore, another 9th grader at Reed, says the most he's learned about evolution or intelligent design has been at church.
He says he thinks it more biased at school.
"I think they should teach us that technically it's a theory. Then, teach us it's a theory, not that it's a fact."

Ellsworth says the concepts are so misconstrued in schools, the students have to start learning in college.
"So, they're coming into freshman level biology classes and we're often having to start from scratch because they have not been exposed to these crucial ideas in science. It is the back-bone of all life science. Nothing in biology makes sense without evolution and that's a really famous, well-supported idea."

The supporters of intelligent design say they are not pushing religion, instead offering alternatives viewpoints.
This week, Senator Maurice Washington, of Sparks, says he might sponsor a bill that would allow intelligent design be taught as an elective.
Ellsworth is the director of a new program that specializes in helping low-income and minority high school students get on-track for a higher education in a science field.
The program begins this summer, and students actually get paid 12-hundred dollars to attend the five-week workshop.
For more information about the Nevada Biomedical Student Pipeline Program, you can go to it's website at www.nevada.edu/spo/pipeline.html.