Friday, March 23, 2007

Russia defends evolution

Transcript of today's show:

A district court in Russia has thrown out a lawsuit brought last year by a teenage student who claimed her rights were violated by her school’s mandatory teaching of evolution. The lawsuit took a heavy toll on Maria Shraiber, whose grades plummeted due to pressure from anonymous death threats and clashes with teachers. Earlier this year, she fled Russia for the Dominican Republic and is not likely to return before resolution of the suit, which her father promises to appeal. [source:]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
I’m personally embarrassed that a former dictatorial state is more clear-headed about evolution than we here in the US. So solid and respected are scientific truths in Russia, that as I read this story, I found myself rooting for Maria as a voice of dissent, something that is becoming increasingly difficult in the Putin era.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
Contrary to ideas we may have had, post-Soviet Union Russia has not offered religious freedom to its people. This story is a grim reminder that the old apparatchiks still control religious expression and will not tolerate dissenting points of view. The Russian Orthodox Church is one the oldest and most established Christian Orthodoxies in the world, yet they are powerless against the secularists who hold judicial power and the courts themselves. This summary dismissal is shameful. Young Miss Shraiber was denied the justice every human being deserves, and the cold, callous injustice system of Russia has left her life in shambles.