Joined: Nov. 2005
|A Ventura County Board of Education member sparks the debate over evolution and creationism|
~ By MATTHEW SINGER ~
A vote on whether to introduce a science textbook to Ventura County seventh graders has been postponed over one board of education member’s objections to its framing of evolution as a proven fact.
Ron Matthews, a self-described born-again Christian, complained at a public board meeting Feb. 26 that the language of Focus on California Life Science takes evolution “out of the realm of theory” and presents it as scientific law. He also protested the book’s lack of discussion about creationism as another idea on how life began.
“Evolution is a theory proliferated all over the world,” Matthews said later in a phone interview. “Students have to have an understanding of what’s being perpetrated on an unsuspecting, unknowing world, but [schools] also have to present the truth — the truth being Biblical creation.”
Focus on California Life Science would be used by seventh graders attending Gateway School in Camarillo and at its satellite campus in Ventura. While it refers to evolution as a theory, it also implies that certain aspects of evolution are accepted facts, Matthews said.
But for Matthews, whose father served on the Oxnard Union High School District Board of Trustees for 19 years, the larger issue here is the decline of Christian values in America overall. Because their parents went through “the Godless public school system,” children today are not attending church like they used to, he said. Consequently, kids are not learning about creationism away from school and are instead “being taught they are nothing but animals with animal instincts and are not accountable to a possible creator that created them for a purpose,” Matthews said.
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