Now, after my high school days, I didn’t take any more biology classes after high school, but I did attend a debate between Duane Gish of the Creation Research Institute and a University of Oregon biology professor. I remember thinking that Dr. Gish sure got the better of his debating partner. Of course that poor old biology professor, he knew his stuff, he just wasn’t used to debating a guy who debates for a living. When you decide to debate a Creationist, whether it’s Dr. Dino, Duane Gish, or William Dembski, its probably a no win situation.
So, when did I learn about evolution? Well I probably learned most of what I know from watching the Discovery Channel or visiting museums. You know, I never remember reacting to those displays -- so somehow I must have compartmentalized things.
But, with all the polls saying that 50% or more of Americans reject evolution and choose creationism or Intelligent Design instead, then obviously we've not learned much -- despite what we see on TV or see in museums. I simply don't believe the reason why we believe this is that as a theory evolution is in trouble or full of holes. Scientists might be reluctant to change at times, but they're not stupid. And as for we religious teachers, we've not done a very good job of helping our congregations learn how to read the Bible critically as well as reverently.
Reading Edward Humes' Monkey Girl and Not in our Classrooms help explain why it is we as a nation know so little about the theory of evolution -- we simply haven't been taught the theory!
As Edward Humes points out there's a myth that evolution won the day at the first Scopes trial in 1925. Yes, William Jennings Bryan was humiliated but the court upheld the Butler Act, and after that references to Darwin were essentially removed from text books and they didn't reappear until the 1960s.
"The reappearance of evolution in America's textbooks led to the resurgence of the long-dormant anti-evolution crusade, and the conflict soon ended in the courts again." (Monkey Girl, p. 54).
And we've been fighting ever since!