GEORGIA -- According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, many Christian schools in Georgia are teaching the theory of evolution while much debate is going on among Georgia educators, parents, and politicians on how evolution should be taught in public school. School officials say it is necessary to educate the students of what the mainstream of science accepts to help them be successful in science and let them decide on whether to believe in creationism or evolution.
"It would be our failure if we did not teach evolution," said Rick Burslem, the principal of The Fairburn school, “When they get out they'll get eaten up if they say, 'I just believe in creationism,' "
Michael Drake, head of the Georgia Independent School Association, said evolution is not a big issue among association members, because the theory's importance in the study of biology is universally recognized despite rising conflicts with some religious families.
The Westminster Schools, a Christian academy, teaches the theory of natural selection as the mechanism for evolution. Andrea Allio, chairwoman of the science department said, "Members of the science department understand the theory and accept it as the explanation for the diversity and unity of life."
Marist School, an independent Catholic school in Dunwoody, also doesn’t focus on creationism. Tricia Glidewell, the science department chairwoman and an AP Biology teacher said, "We teach from a traditional mainstream textbook. Evolution is one of those main themes that runs through [biology]. You can't teach biology a day without referring to it."
On the other hand, there are some schools that teach both theories. John Cobis, principal of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School in Fairburn, an Atlanta Archdiocese school, says the school teaches evolution but also teaches that "God is the designer."
"I can be a good Catholic and be an evolutionary biologist," Cobis said. "The integration of faith into science — they're not polar opposites."
Landmark Christian School students feel it was beneficial for them to receive instruction in the theory of evolution whether or not they accept it.
Danielle Taussig, a freshman biology major at the University of Georgia, doesn’t believe evolution is true. She said evolution contradicts her own beliefs but that hasn’t stopped her from learning it but rather strengthened her belief in creationism. "I can regurgitate the info, even though I don't absorb it," she said.
Jenny Cone, a Landmark graduate who is a freshman at Vanderbilt University, said learning about evolution is "imperative" in high school. "Teaching evolution allowed you to understand your opponent's side," said Cone.