EVOLUTION AND BOOK CENSORSHIP,
One sign of the current Resurgence .of religious conservatism is the drive to require that “creation science” be taught wherever evolution is taught in public schools. This issue, too, has symbolic meaning in the struggle of religious conservatism against secularism and religious liberalism. “Creation science” supporters, while not entirely agreed upon a single version of creation, are agreed that human beings and other forms ‘ f life were created instantaneously by God without any intervening evolutionary stages. Opponents have two main objections: (1) that the content of school courses of study should be selected, by scientists and teachers not by legislators and (2) that “creation science” is not science, just religion misnamed as science. “Creation . science” followers reject the compromise of . “theistic evolution,” which holds that God began and directed the evolution process. Thus, the student must choose between science and religion. One wonders which choice most students will make. One state law requiring the teaching of “creation science” has been held unconstitutional [Siegal, 1981), but the issue is far from settled. Schools also face an intensified effort to remove certain books from school libraries and reading lists [Warner, 1981}. Most often the books are claimed to be “dirty,” although, sometimes, the charge is that they are sexist or racist. The books attacked include both what is considered “trash” and some of the most famous and esteemed works of literature. Here, again, should students’ reading material be selected. by scientists and educators or by parents and self-appointed censors?