(The wording of the question did not rule out a long period of animal evolution before the appearance of man, however.) Another 40 percent agreed with the following statement: "Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation." Only 9 percent of the sample said that they accepted the naturalistic view of evolution, which in Gallup's wording was that man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, with God having no part in this process.
Against that background of public opinion, we can see why the voice from the audience was asking exactly the right question, and also why we might expect a science teacher at a Christian institution to take a deep breath before answering in a quavering voice.
There is no mystery about why atheists and agnostics welcome this kind of education.
What is mysterious, however, is the relative lack of opposition to the establishment of naturalism from Christian intellectuals.
If so, how could she or her superiors possibly reconcile this teaching with their official commitment to Christian theism?
Now, through an educational system insistent upon uncritical acceptance by students at all levels of the claim that purposeless material mechanisms were responsible for the creation of all forms of life, scientific naturalism is becoming the officially established religion of America.
What the situation requires is a critique of evolutionary naturalism that puts aside the biblical issues for the time being and concentrates on the scientific and philosophical weaknesses in the established Darwinist orthodoxy.
Unfortunately many of the most influential Christian intellectuals have themselves been so strongly influenced by naturalistic philosophy that they have tried to baptize it.
Their position, which I call theistic naturalism, starts from the premise that God refrains from interference with those parts of reality that natural science has staked out as its own territory.
Theistic naturalists concede to Darwinism the role of telling the true history of the development of life, and limit the Creator to activity in a metaphysical realm outside the reach of science.