Friday, December 01, 2006

Lousiana District Opens Door to Creationism

It looks like a district in Lousiana has decided to adopt a new policy regarding science.

The policy states
Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.
If the actual wording of this is upheld, then I think it would be rather innoculous. I fully support the teaching of the "full range of scientific views". But the key word there is scientific.

Unfortunately, I suspect that my definition of science (you know... involving the scientific method and all) is quite different from there's (uses lots of big words we don't know but tells us what we want to hear).

My other beef with this is that what it proposes to do in those circumstances really has no place int he science classroom anyway. "Why such topics generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society" are both things that science doesn't address and are better served in a philosophy or sociology class.

The end result of this is that teachers will be wasting precious class time to teach things that have nothing to do with science.

Another bit I found rather disingenuous was Superintendent Bob Webber saying "They (the teachers) want our support and that's why we're here to give it to them."

I really wonder if this is truly the case. Are teachers really that eager to teach creationism? Teachers in Dover sure as hell didn't. My aunt (very ardant Christian and Bush supporter) who teaches 12 year olds science in rural Missouri says teachers at her school sure don't. In fact, I've yet to hear of a single teacher who has asked for support.

Thus, I suspect this is really the school board putting their wishes into the mouths of the teachers. So I wonder if Webber has any clue as to what he's talking about. Especially when the article says things like, "Webber referred to the policy as allowing teachers to teach Darwin's theory of evolution as a theory."

Were teachers really teaching it as fact? Or is Webber just confused as most creationists about what "theory" means in science?

The article makes it pretty clear that the School Board itself is equally as clueless. Member Red Sims said, "his early recollections of the Darwin theory were that people came from monkeys." Gee, how many times have we seen that strawman?

But dispite his confusion, he voted in support of the measure, noting, "I don't know what I'm voting on."

My, I'm terribly confident in the intelligence of this school district...

6 comments:

Stephen said...

My astronomy club has two lectures a month. Recently, we had one entitled "Intelligent Design - Is It Science?", given by a supporter of ID. While there was some great science (some great video visuals, though nothing about astronomy) it also had the usual nonsense. (This guy has given several excellent talks on how to do CCD astrophotography.)

The previous talk was by a guy who is into history, entitled "The Herschel Family". This had some great history of astronomy, but very little science or astronomy.

The ID talk generated requests for a refutation talk. The Herschel talk did not.

Anonymous said...

Drugs and violence in many of the schools in our big cities, half of all graduates unable to really read at a high school level, and you act like being sure your view of science is the be all and end all of education is the solution?

Your gospel of salvation by evolution is a farce.

Get the kids reading, writing, and doing math, and then we can worry about your agenda.

Mark UK said...

It's not about evolution bein gthe solution to everything. It's about teaching children science and critical thinking. teaching the difference between rational thinking and religion. Rational thought and critical thinking are crucial in education. Just as math and language skills.

If caring about the quality of education is an agenda... Fine, sounds like a good one to me.

Anonymous said...

Drat those state rights!

If we had more federal control this crap wouldn't keep popping up.

These things would be handled much more efficiently if we just had STRONG atheist leadership...hehehe, if you know what I mean.

Jon Voisey said...

"Atheist leadership" has nothing to do with it. It's about maintaining the integrity of science, which is not something that is in any way exclusive to atheists.

Mark UK said...

It's not about evolution bein gthe solution to everything. It's about teaching children science and critical thinking. teaching the difference between rational thinking and religion. Rational thought and critical thinking are crucial in education. Just as math and language skills.

If caring about the quality of education is an agenda... Fine, sounds like a good one to me.