‘There Are Not Two Sides’: Atheist Group Seeks to Stop Teacher from Presenting Alternative to Evolution
ICC Note: After presenting a summary of creation beliefs as an alternative to evolution, California high school teacher Brandon Pettenger has become the receiving end of great backlash. The two major atheist groups, Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) sent the school district a letter of complaint. Though Pettenger was teaching both sides of the debate, the groups requested that he face disciple if he is found “promoting religion or attacking evolution in the public school,” again.
By Heather Clark
04/25/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – Two prominent atheist organizations are urging an investigation into a Christian science teacher for teaching “both sides of the argument” surrounding evolution, as they believe that he should not be permitted to do so.
The Madison,Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Washington, D.C.-based Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) recently sent a letter to the Lucia Mar Unified School District to complain about the methods of Arroyo Grande High School teacher Brandon Pettenger.
The organizations state that they were contacted by a family who takes issue that Pettenger presents both evolution and creation, they believe that only one side should be taught to students and that religion should be left out of the classroom. The letter outlines that Pettenger showed his students the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate and had students provide summaries of creation beliefs from websites that disagree with evolutionary theory.
The family had contacted Pettenger to protest creation being taught in addition to evolution, but Pettenger responded that students should have the ability to make up their own minds about what they believe.
“I understand that you might be worried I am teaching religion in a public school science class, which is not the case,” he wrote. “There is debate within the scientific community about how to answer the question where did life come from. I feel it would be a disservice to my students not to present both sides of the argument.”
“We are investigating the main theories that are presented in this debate and the evidence used to support those claims,” Pettenger continued. “It is up to each student to decide for themselves which side they believe based on the evidence.”