Religion

MN public school board chairwoman: Evolution is outdated because ‘it was discovered in the 1800s’

Brainerd Public Schools chairwoman Sue Kern (Brainerd Public Schools

BRAINERD, MINNESOTA — During a board meeting that included a presentation on the biology curriculum to be taught at a local high school, the chairwoman of the Brainerd school board questioned the validity of teaching evolution, suggesting that it’s an outdated theory that’s incompatible with Christian beliefs.

According to the Star Tribune, Sue Kern spoke up during the meeting, saying she had a “question about evolution.”

“You know, Darwin’s theory was done in the mid-1800s and it’s never been proven,” she said. “So I’m wondering why we’re still teaching it.”

When district staff who gave the presentation pointed out to Kern that Darwin’s theory of evolution has only gotten stronger as time has gone on, she wondered about those whose religious beliefs reject evolution. “How do you tell them?” Kern asked.

“This is science, and science doesn’t deal with a belief system,” Brainerd science teacher Craig Rezac shot back. “We deal with facts.”

“It doesn’t have to be a dilemma or a concern with someone to choose between evolution or Christianity,” he added. “You can actually embrace both.”

After the exchange made local news, Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson issued a statement saying that Kern’s comments “reflect her personal views and do not reflect the views of the Board of Education as a whole or the Brainerd Public School District.”

“The District’s approved science curriculum aligns with the MN State Standards,” the statement read, adding that “the Board of Education unanimously approved the Science and Biology curriculum at Monday’s meeting.”

From the Star Tribune:

Minnesota courts have upheld the teaching of evolution. In 2001, the state Court of Appeals upheld the removal of a Faribault biology teacher, Rod LeVake, who argued that teaching evolution violated his Christian beliefs. He was reassigned to teach science in a lower grade, where evolution wasn’t part of the curriculum.

Speaking to the Tribune, University of Minnesota biology professor Randy Moore says that disputes about evolution have been going on in schools “for 100 years,” adding that some teachers either downplay evolution or don’t teach it at all because they’re afraid for “religious or local political reasons.”

Featured image via Brainerd Public Schools 

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