Sunday, March 09, 2008

Oh my, OK

It looks like Oklahoma is up to some stupid new tricks. A new anti-science bill (HB 2211) is about to pass the House and go on to the Senate. What does it do?
The bill requires public schools to guarantee students the right to express their religious viewpoints in a public forum, in class, in homework and in other ways without being penalized. If a student’s religious beliefs were in conflict with scientific theory, and the student chose to express those beliefs rather than explain the theory in response to an exam question, the student’s incorrect response would be deemed satisfactory, according to this bill.
I'm not going to point out the obvious abuses of this law if it passes.

But in reality, I'm not sure that it's impossible to get around. It just teachers need to be a bit smarter about asking the questions. Instead of asking, "What is the age of the universe?" they should change the question to, "According to all available scientific evidence that is not based in logical fallacies (ie, Creationism) and recognized by the scientific community, what is the age of the universe?"

Unless a student's religious beliefs tell them that lying is appropriate, they can't change what the scientific community has actually said, even if they disagree with it.

Of course, that's a mouthful to stick before every question, so it would be better to just stick that foreword as a disclaimer at the beginning of each test, or even to the class in general. Then students have no excuse not to at the very least learn and understand what's being taught.

5 comments:

Wanderin' Weeta said...

"But in reality, I'm not sure that it's impossible to get around. It just teachers need to be a bit smarter about asking the questions."

Back when I was a little kid and a fundie, I had the reverse problem; the teachers would ask questions, expecting the "wrong" answers, such as that the world was over 6000 years old.

I learned to answer, "Scientists (or the textbook, etc.) say that ..." and then the answer required. That way, I never let on that I believed that stuff, just that I knew it. I'm sure any intelligent teacher should be able to work the same dodge.

TV's Mr. Neil said...

This the problem with living in a society where people think that having firm beliefs is somehow grounds for immunity from having your feelings hurt or your convictions crushed.

An easy way to show the absurdity of this bill would be to put on a math test, "According to my faith, the value of pi is 3." ...and then answer all the questions accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Sweet. Now I get to answer all my tests with Pastafarianism.

Anonymous said...

Sweet. Now I get to answer all my tests with Pastafarianism.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

"But in reality, I'm not sure that it's impossible to get around. It just teachers need to be a bit smarter about asking the questions."

Back when I was a little kid and a fundie, I had the reverse problem; the teachers would ask questions, expecting the "wrong" answers, such as that the world was over 6000 years old.

I learned to answer, "Scientists (or the textbook, etc.) say that ..." and then the answer required. That way, I never let on that I believed that stuff, just that I knew it. I'm sure any intelligent teacher should be able to work the same dodge.