Sunday, July 21, 2013

Evolution... or devolution? Of the teaching of evolution and the abandonment of space

Adapted from this post on The Blog of Days.

Image of the final landing of Shuttle Atlantis obtained from NASA.
There are many who would call today Monkey Day because it was on July 21, 1925 that the Scopes trial ended -- with a finding that high school teacher John Scopes had violated Tennessee law by teaching the theory of evolution to his students. Fortunately, we've progressed quite a bit (evolved, you might say) since then: I don't think even Texas has again made it actually illegal to teach evolution in the schools. Of course, there are more than a few states where the teaching of evolution appears to be frowned upon. A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that 46% of Americans believe that God created mankind in our present form -- and somewhere in the last 10,000 years to boot. Maybe we've not evolved as much as some of us would like to think.

And yesterday, July 20, was Moon Day, commemorating mankind's first tentative steps on another world (our own Moon). As mentioned in Friday's post, we gave up on the Moon in 1972 -- haven't been back since. The American Space Shuttle program, which ferried astronauts to and from Low Earth Orbit, was itself abandoned two years ago today, on July 21, 2011, when the Shuttle Atlantis touched down in Florida at the end of STS-135.

Come to think of it, maybe we should reconsider this evolution thing. We seem to be going backwards....

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