The biology room was thick with the smell of formaldehyde and teenage bodies. Mr. Davis, a balding and slightly rotund man in his mid-forties, walked slowly around the room, passing back graded test papers. Tami feared the results of that test. Had she been brave or foolish to answer the questions the way that she had? Tami’s stomach was in a knot by the time that Mr. Davis stood beside her desk. The puzzled look on her teachers face added to her anxiety.
“Please stay after class.” The teacher placed the test face down on the desk.
With trembling fingers, Tami pulled the test to her chest, and peeked at the results. “27% F”, it screamed in bold red ink. Tears pricked her eyes. Typically an “A” student, Tami had never received such a low mark. Was it worth it?
The bell rang a few minutes later, releasing the students for the day. When the room was clear, Tami walked to Mr. Davis’ desk in the back of the room.
“I don’t understand, Tami.” The teacher said, reaching for the test. “I’m very surprised at your results. Is there something going on at home that would keep you from studying?”
“No, Mr. Davis. I studied more for this test than any of the others I’ve taken this year.”
“Then what happened? These answers don’t match what we talked about in class, or what your book said.”
“I know.” Tami shuffled her books to the other arm. “I don’t believe what the book says. I studied out my own answers and learned them.”
“You really believe what you wrote?”
“Yes, sir. I’m a young earth creationist. I believe that the recorded events in Genesis are accurate.” There, the truth was out. Tami braced herself for the coming reprocussions.
Mr. Davis looked at her as if she was some odd specimen in an experiment gone terribly wrong. “How can you, when there is so much research that disproves that archaic theory?”
“With all due respect, sir, there is no evidence that actually disproves the Genesis account. Our textbook, and the research sited therein, comes from an extremely prejudicial point of view. It is presupposed that evolution is fact, and the research results are all given through that presumptive lense.”
“But evolution best explains the findings.”
“How can we know that, if we aren’t willing to look at both sides with an open mind?” Now was the moment. “Mr. Davis, you are an excellent teacher. You have inspired me in many ways. I want to keep an open mind about things. I want to learn how to think through a problem, instead of just accepting what a book says about it. Please help us all learn how to think. Help the class learn to use logic and the cognitive process to sort through opposing views.”
“I can’t teach creationism, if that’s what you’re suggesting.” Mr. Davis interrupted.
“Because, there is the separation of church and state to consider. Besides, I don’t believe in that old fairy tale.”
“Have you ever read the account?” Tami challenged.
“Well, no, but no real thinking person believes in that anymore.”
“Any real thinking person would want to know both sides of an argument, and place themselves on the side with the most supporting evidence. Sometimes the right side, is not the most popular side.”
Mr. Davis cleared his throat, and loosened his tie. “Listen, Tami. I appreciate your passion, but you’re thinking is backward. I’ll let you retake this test, and supply the answers from our lectures and textbook, and we can forget all about your 27%. Is that a deal?”
“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t do that. I promised myself, and my God, that I would have a conscience void of offence. I can’t lie on a test, just to get a good mark.” Tami took the paper from off of the teacher’s desk and walked to the door with her head held high.
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