Creationism Canard: The Last Thing Fundamentalists Want Is Open Inquiry In The Classroom
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:33:54 AM EST

Many things drive me crazy about creationists but a major one is how they pretend to be great advocates of scientific inquiry and learning when in reality, those are the farthest things from their minds.

Consider Sen. Dennis Kruse of the Indiana legislature, who last year proposed a bill that would have mandated the teaching of "creation science" alongside evolution in public schools. Kruse's bill passed the state Senate but faltered in the House of Representatives after some lawmakers, in a rare bout with lucidity, pointed out that it was blatantly unconstitutional and would get the state sued back into the Stone Age. (That probably didn't bother creationists, since they don't believe there was a Stone Age.)

Kruse is back with a new proposal, a bill that he says will promote critical inquiry in the classroom. The Indianapolis Star reported that Kruse described the bill like this: "If a student thinks something isn't true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true."

At first glance, that sounds harmless. After all, we want to encourage youngsters to be inquisitive in the classroom. But Micah Clark, executive director of American Family Association of Indiana, blew the lid off what's really going on here, telling the Star that he interprets the bill as a form of protection for teachers who want to discuss creationism and intelligent design.

Bills like this have popped up in other states recently. They are designed to give legal protection to public school science teachers - and unfortunately there are some of them out there - who want to elevate biblical fundamentalism over science in the classroom. Additionally, these measures are a vehicle for students to disrupt classroom instruction about evolution and instill doubt about the validity of that concept.

A quick-witted science teacher would know how to handle a challenge like this in the classroom. (Handing a dissenting student a copy of On The Origin of Species would be a good start.) But Kruse's law doesn't seek to help good teachers. It is designed to create the impression that evolution is somehow controversial or in doubt, and thus special laws are needed so that it can be challenged. The idea is to encourage teachers to water down such instruction or not offer it at all.

Unfortunately, the creationists have been pretty successful with these gambits. Their attempts to mandate instruction in creationism alongside evolution have failed, but they have managed to create a climate of intimidation and fear in many classrooms. In a country where public education is decentralized and often subject to local control, it can be difficult to get an accurate national snapshot, but we know from experience that some public schools do a lousy job teaching evolution.

Gerry Wheeler, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, put it well: "It's fine for a child to have religion; it's fine for a child to believe whatever he or she wants to believe," he said. "But within the science classroom, if we're going to produce the strong workforce we need for this country, we have to stick to science and we have to stick to the evidence behind science."

Wheeler is exactly right. Kruse's proposal is a distraction from real education. It deserves to be rejected.

Thankfully, the bill may face tough sledding in the Indiana legislature. Rep. Bob Behning, (R-Indianapolis) chairs the House Education Committee and says he's not inclined to bring it up.

 "I don't want to do something that's going to burden schools to the point where they're going to spend their lives trying to validate what is assumed to be true," Behning said.

That's good to know. But it's also possible that the situation may change, so Americans United intends to remain on the alert. We have to watch the creationists constantly. Their strategies are, ironically, always evolving.

P.S. Americans United's Legislative Department is expecting a raft of dangerous legislation in the states next year, touching on issues like religion in public schools, private school vouchers, government endorsement of religious symbols and others. Stay alert and keep informed.  




Display:
I know.

Have the teacher teach the failures of creationism in the class.  It's a legitimate inquiry, and based on science.  We can scientifically disprove creationism.

We did that in our "Fantastic Archaeology" class (one of the choices of an exit course for the university), and while it sets the fundies off in rages, they're powerless and helpless (and they almost always embarrass themselves).  Whenever religion makes scientific claims (such  as the creationists do), they set themselves up for scientific examination and criticism.

That way they REALLY don't want open inquiry in the class.  Unlike their attempts to force their form of "Christianity" (I think it's the inverse of Christianity), this would be true inquiry and based on the scientific method.

If done right, it also sometimes opens their eyes.  Disproving creationism is not supporting (or "proving") atheism.  It's neutral towards religion, as science should be.  One thing that has been emphasized is that just because creation didn't happen the way the Bible said, does not "disprove" Christianity, and that one can be Christian and accept evolution as reality.

Every semester I helped teach the class, I had many students come to me to thank me for explaining that.  They'd been taught that it was binary - either they were Christian, or they had to be atheist.  That's bad logic and false.  (For one thing, it leaves all other religions out of the picture!)

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 10:54:09 AM EST


Here they are, our religious-right conservatives, digging deeper and deeper as they attempt to bury our educational system in a pit of ignorance.

by coralsea on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:17:20 PM EST

I see nothing wrong with Kruse's proposal.  It simply expects teachers to support their statements with evidence.  This is in line with Gerry Wheeler's comment that "....we have to stick to the evidence behind science."  Why shouldn't we demand teachers validate their teachings with evidence?  

The truth is simple, evolutionists don't want their model to be exposed to critical analysis.  They want it to simply be accepted by faith.  They have no intention of showing how bears evolved into whales, or how non-living material gave birth to the first living organism.   Their position has nothing to do with science....it's all about preserving their faith in a naturalistic worldview.  

Observed science doesn't contradict creation.  However, the interpretations of unobserved events of the past do.  But, those interpretations are not testable, repeatable, nor observable.  

I recommend teaching both models requiring teachers to provide evidence for and agaisnt each one.  Otherwise, don't teach it either one.

by Free market place of ideas on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:57:34 AM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control
Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It's a......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
William Barber Takes Us to Church at Netroots Nation
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina gave a rousing, perhaps historic keynote speech at Netroots......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"
As I introduce my new Center Against Religious Extremism report Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"), In 2010......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
Lessons in Taking the Long View in the Long Form
Historian Leo P. Ribuffo recently published a wise and erudite essay at History News Network. In it he discusses trends among historians regarding how......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Missing Pieces of the Story of Sun Myung Moon
The recent coverage of the life and death of Richard Mellon Scaife, a transformational figure in recent American history, was pretty underwhelming. (Fortunately, our......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
When I Won One Over My Old (Former) Friend Jerry Falwell
July 13th was the anniversary of our friend Jerry Sloan's confrontation on live television with Moral Majority founder, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. This......
By JerrySloan (1 comment)
Vatican Defrocks A Bishop Over Sexual Abuse - But Not Finn.
Pope Francis recently indicated he is serious about ending child sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic prelates by defrocking a former apostolic nuncio (a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Bob Jones University and the Real Roots of the Religious Right
Historian Randall Balmer notes writing in Christian Ethics Today, that the real beginnings of the Religious Right lies not in 1973 Roe v. Wade,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Becket Or Wreck It?: Little-Known Religious Right Group At Heart Of Hobby Lobby Case
The Supreme Court's recent (and horrendous) ruling in the Hobby Lobby case dealing with workers' access to contraceptives has turned the spotlight on the......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Bishop DiMarzio's Stilted Hobby Lobby Analogy
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the overseer of the Diocese of Brooklyn-Queens New York, recently weighed in on the recent US Supreme Court decision in Burwell......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Creeping Risk of Theocratic Violence
Imagine if you will, that some of those who once thought America could be restored to the bright, shining Christian Nation they believe had......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Matt Staver Warns Pastors, Silence is Not an Option
Liberty Universities' Matt Staver, apparent new spokesman for Jerry Falwell's University, mailed out a DVD to encourage "pastors & patriots."  Matt is head of......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Child Evangelism Fellowship Targets Children Across U.S. for Summer Salvation; Portland Fights Back
In past summers, Child Evangelism Fellowship has targeted children in Boston, Denver, Chicago, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, and the Twin Cities for conversion......
By Valerie Tarico (1 comment)
Why "Fetal Personhood" is a Dangerous Theological Word Game
What does it mean to be a person? For the anti-abortion group, Personhood USA, a "person" is present from the moment a sperm penetrates......
By Valerie Tarico (0 comments)
A Refresher on Samuel Rodriguez
We have written a great deal at Talk to Action about Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.  For a......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)

Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (1 comment)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.