March 13, 2008

Science Classes and Genesis

My hashkafa regarding Genesis is pretty simple. It's to be read as is. It's not allegorical nor does a day mean a million years. You understand it as the first readers understood it. There was evolution and no global flood. My dilemma (maybe not dilemma, but something I feel strongly about) is what is the best way for a school to tackle this thorny issue. I have spoken to two differnet science teachers in two different schools and each handle it in different ways.

1) One way is to not even get into the topic of evolution at dating of the earth at all. Basically to stay away from the controversy. The school has no problem with dinosaurs and does not care what you believe happened during the six days. The science teacher just skips the whole thing and instead, as he told me, tries to instill tools in the kids a sense of how to think rationally and understand evidence.

2) The other science teacher teaches what radiocative dating is and touches just a bit on evolution. He discusses the how scientists reach conclusions and shows them evidence of how radiocarbon dating works. The kids then go to their Torah teacher and he gives them a different answer. The science teacher agreed conflicts do arise and the kids often come back to him with more questions regarding what the rav said. Allegorizing Genesis is not off the table from what I understood from the science teacher.

So I don't know. Knowing what my hashkafot are, what is the preferred method?