A band at Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Missouri had the cute idea of wearing tee shirts showing a sequence of human evolution that culminated in a trumpet player. We’re all familiar with these ape-to-human diagrams; Steve Gould even wrote an article about them. They’re somewhat misleading, implying as they do that evolution is progressive and (sometimes) that we evolved from modern apes. But they don’t really do any harm, and they do promote the fact that humans evolved.
But that’s the rub. As reported in the Sedalia Democrat, some irate parents forced the band to abandon its shirts,
[Assistant Superintendant] Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.
“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.
Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”
Fig. 1. TIGER SHAME! The offensive and now defunct tee shirt (photo courtesy of the Sedalia Democrat).
I can see a trend coming here: evolution is said to be a “faith,” same as religion, and thus can’t be presented in the public schools. Thanks, Michael Ruse!
Thanks to ERV for bringing this to my attention via her post.
NOTE: erv (see comment below) notes that there is now an online poll about the appropriateness of the tee-shirt. Go here to vote (right-hand column below the ads).