Evolution at a Religious School

TAMPA -

The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on whether to place the words 'scientific theory of' in front of the term 'evolution' in proposed science standards. Some opponents believe the theory conflicts with the Bible. WUSF talks with a science teacher at a Catholic high school on how science fact balances with religious beliefs.

Paul Sloshberg teaches biology, anatomy and marine science at the Academy of Holy Names in Tampa. After two decades as a science teacher in mostly Catholic schools, he's heard most of the arguments against evolution.

He says the Catholic Church endorsed the teaching of evolution and that the Bible should be used as allegory for understanding the world. He teaches it in his classroom.

'The students will ask me do you believe in evolution,' says Sloshberg. 'And, I say it is not a belief system it is a scientific theory.'

The veteran biology teacher believes the debate over evolution rages on simply because many people don't understand evolution and that a key misunderstanding is over the term 'survival of the fittest.' He says many mistakenly believe it means 'the strongest will survive.'

But, the word 'fit' the way Darwin used it meant that you literally fit into an environment Sloshberg says.

The Florida science standards will not affect Sloshberg's classroom at the Academy of Holy Names. But, as a scientist who has studied religion and philosophy, he strongly supports including evolution in the state standards.

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