81 years ago, lawyers, reporters, and a veritable circus of onlookers descended upon a small town in rural Tennessee for a trial that put to the test a Bible Belt ban on the teaching of evolution, or anything that refuted the biblical idea of divine creation, in Tennessee schools. "The infidel" John T. Scopes had been caught teaching evolution, and thus a trial was born.
Darwin's theory of evolution continues to be a hot topic today, with some people going so far as to suggest teaching in addition something called "intelligent design", which maintains that the universe and all living things are the result of an intelligent cause, such as God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
While the biggest battles have been fought on American soil, Greeks are now getting their round in the evolution debate. 250 university academics have appealed to the Greek government to improve the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution in Greek schools, which is apparently disorganized and in some schools sorely lacking. While it is legal to teach evolution in Greek schools, it is apparently missing from senior high textbooks, and may or may not be included in materials taught in junior high.
“Whether students learn about Darwin or not is up to the goodwill of some teachers,” said the head of the Greek Union of Bioscientists, Manos Papadakis.
Now, I could go out on a limb here and suggest that one reason for this is the strong Orthodox culture of Greece, but that would perhaps be unfair. Still, many scientists of the faith here believe that creationism and evolution can go hand in hand, and would never suggest devaluing Darwin's theory as a viable scientific concept.
“We can criticize the USA for the fact that 150 years later the evolution of the species is still a divisive issue but in reality we are further behind,” said Papadakis. “The meaning of evolution has diffused into all areas of life but is systematically being excluded from education.”
Survival of the fittest also applies to scientific theories, it seems.