Source: Slate

Category: Politics, Really, really bad calls, Science, UnScience

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

25 Responses to “Creationism in Public Schools Mapped”

  1. chartist says:

    I live in ground zero of the school voucher system: Cincinnati, Ohio. The folks in the burbs hate the voucher system unless their alma mater can lure a great athlete out of the inner city. There’s a lot of deserving kids caught in a bad public school system who benefit. Cincinnati is an interesting place, there’s plenty of highly educated people and the parochial school system is very strong. Joe Kernan of CNBC graduated from St. Xavier. Some of the top high schools are Catholic affiliated. It’s a very competitive high school sports area as well so vouchers are serving a purpose, depending on present company.

  2. Iamthe50percent says:

    The usual suspects. The stupid belt. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

  3. RW says:

    Robust enforcement of the constitutional separation of church and state has had its ebbs and flows: we are at a low point now but that will change.

    • RW says:

      My comment probably comes across as a bit too sanguine: I do believe the US will tip back into rationality or a reasonable semblance thereto but it is always possible to tip into darkness even for a nation born in the enlightenment; e.g., Unprecedented Attack On Evolution ‘Indoctrination’ Mounted In Missouri.

      And of course there are also those who profit and gain power from a more ignorant and angry America are always among us and ; e.g., The Long Con and Greetings from Idiot America.

      From Greetings:

      The rise of Idiot America is essentially a war on expertise. It’s not so much antimodernism or the distrust of intellectual elites that Richard Hofstadter deftly teased out of the national DNA forty years ago. Both of those things are part of it. However, the rise of Idiot America today represents — for profit mainly, but also, and more cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power — the breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good.

      It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we should trust the least are the people who best know what they’re talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a preacher, or a scientist, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.

      This is how Idiot America engages the great issues of the day. It decides, en masse, with a thousand keystrokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong. And the poor learned biologist’s words carry no more weight than the thunderations of some turkey-neck preacher out of the Church of Christ’s Own Parking Facility in DeLand, Florida. Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an “expert” and, therefore, an “elitist.”

  4. theexpertisin says:

    Those of us with public school back rounds and all of us with university training have had quite a few left wing zealots and the occasional right winger spew their doctrine as fact. As we mature, we sort it out. Creation teaching in some areas of the country is nothing to get up tight about. Neither is my grand daughter’s high school in Alabama where her civics teacher daily rants about the Koch brothers and slavery reparations to the exclusion of practically everything else that is supposed to be covered in the syllabus. Ho hum.

    I agree with “chartist” above that strong parochial schools and effective charter schools are practically the only way out of educational oblivion for a large swath of inner city youth. I am familiar with the Cincinnati area schools and parents likely Thank God (pun intended) they have schools such as Moeller, Roger Bacon, McAuley, Purcell Marian and St. Xavier in Cincinnati that teach academics and character, not babysit.

    • DMR says:

      “large swaths of inner city youth” – you do realize that the cities have been the only bright spot and source of dynamism and vibrancy so far in the 21st century? Who uses coded terms like ‘inner city’ anyway? If a good STEM curriculum, diverse populations, cultural and economic vibrancy coupled with efficient mass transit are the signs of oblivion, I say bring it on.

    • momus says:

      back round (sic) what Kingsley Amis would have called an illiteracy.

  5. AUGradStudent says:

    I’m from Alabama and I can remember our science textbooks having a disclaimer about evolution being unproven. I honestly figured Alabama would be as green as Tennessee and Louisiana. Our education system may be terrible, but at least we’re not teaching creationism.

  6. JRamage says:

    For sake of clarification, this would be more accurately titled “Young Earth Creationism in Schools” so as to distinguish it from Creationism in general, defined simply as belief in a Creator. Creationism is accepted by billions of people who are seeking an answer to the “why” of our being here without necessarily taking a position on the “how” of our existence. Of course, this lacks the controversy that draws clicks and eyeballs to bring in the ad revenue, so you won’t see Slate write about it.

    • willid3 says:

      i always thought that religion and science answer different questions. one is who. and one is why or how. not sure really that they have any thing really in common.

    • DeDude says:

      Schools are supposed to teach facts not “beliefs”. When they begin to mix beliefs in with 2×2=4 they risk confusing the kids about what is what. I have no problem with adults or kids finding an explanation for all the things that cannot yet be explained in a scientific factual context by inventing an all mighty deity. If that makes them sleep better at night then Gods speed. But the teachings of those things belong in a separate entity from the schools where we should stick to etching those things that are supported by objectively observable facts.

  7. macritchie says:

    Kudos to JRamage for pointing out what is most essential in all these arguments/debates that is rarely ever covered…DEFINING TERMS. You have to define what is meant by ‘creationism.’ Full disclosure I happen to be a Christian but I don’t believe ‘Young Earth’ or ’6 day literal creation’ to be science, and furthermore don’t believe it period. It is religion, and it should be taught, but not in science classes, because it requires a commitment to belief that is independent of the scientific method which means it belongs in a different classroom. In contrast Intelligent Design is a scientific view which is widely held by many respected scientists that don’t just belong to one narrow view of one specific religion, and many aren’t ‘religious’ in the classical sense at all yet still hold that there is good physical and scientific evidence for ID. The ‘design’ view should be taught, as should the ‘naturalist’ view and compared and contrasted. Questions about which God, which sacred text says/teaches what and so forth are great debates, but for religion/philosophy classrooms, not science.

    • willid3 says:

      not sure that design is that much different than creationism. just how do we test for design? we can test for evolution and in fact its used by many farmers even if they dont know it. to be a scientific theory, you have to be able to test for it, and change the theory if the results show that the theory is wrong. and if is there is a grand designer, who is it? and how do we know it? and yes I am a christian, i just think that evolution is how god did the work of creating us. after all, time isnt relevant to him, since he was there ate the beginning and will be long after the end. whats a few hundred trillion years or so to him?

    • RW says:

      This is correct as far as it goes: Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is unambiguously grounded in a particular view of fundamentalist Christianity and should be barred as a matter of law from the science curriculum of any school receiving public funds.

      The question of Intelligent Design (ID) however is not so clear cut. Even if we could confirm that many scientists accept it as a reasonable hypothesis — I am not aware of any survey data on this but am willing to accept it temporarily for the purpose of argument — this would not necessarily make it “scientific.” Scientists have opinions just like everyone else including those held outside their discipline.

      Stated another way, if a scientist actually had the means to confirm/falsify ID or showed that ID was required to explain an accepted fact in their discipline then I suspect that would have been a cover in Scientific American by now.

      Still I agree that ID is a worthy topic because it actually does limn quite strongly some of the logical dilemmas that science faces.

      • Biffah Bacon says:

        I strongly disagree. ID is young earth creationism dressed up in science-y clothes, what has been called “scientism” in philosophy of science. There are no logical dilemmas in scientific practice that would not be better served by more scientific study than by throwing up one’s hands and saying “YHWH did it, so we’re done here.”

        Proving ID scientifically, were it possible, would be a violation of faith, wouldn’t it? If you could prove that Jesus was the actual son of a human mom and a sky deity you wouldn’t need faith anymore. Pretend the shroud from Turin is real and you could pull Jesus’ DNA out of it and run it through the PCR machine, what would half of his genetic heritage be? would there be 13 chromosomes and 13 angels? One strand of DNA and one strand of angel hair? Even if your error bars weren’t at the 95% confidence interval, that would pretty much destroy the concept of faith in favor of empiricism.

        ID is only a worthy topic for understanding cognitive dissonance.

  8. willid3 says:

    and just a thought. instead of teaching religion is public schools, why not out source it to churches? allow kids to sign up for the classes, get a grade, and credit for the classes. transportation would have to be supplied by the churches (or a group of them) to transport the kids, but you would have no separation of church and state problem, and maybe it could be arranged so its the last class of the day, and kids go home from the church? course the state would have to not punish the schools for allowing this to happen

    • DeDude says:

      Or even better, let the kids who’s parents desire it, go to a special school on sundays and learn about religion – we could call it sunday school.

  9. meadow says:

    Intelligent design is not science.. The scientific method gathers data, observation and physical evidence from the physical world to draw conclusions. A so-called ‘designer’ from outside the physical world who cannot be tested or observed is by definition outside the realm of science and should not be in the science classroom. Intelligent design offers some explanation for some phenomenon but not a better explanation than natural selection driven evolution which fits better with what we see broadly speaking. How silly is to suppose that a designer would make the windpipe for air and the tube down which food must go one and the very same- a “design” flaw that would never get by OSHA and which results in the deaths of 2500 people every year and who knows how many other animals. Not intelligent at all.

    • DeDude says:

      The idea that if you cannot explain and prove everything in details then they are to be explained by some deity and it’s almighty power is the anthesis of the scientific approach. In science the unexplained is the target of your studies – not something you just pull out an explanations for without any evidence. And there cannot be any scientific evidence for a deity because it is not a physical entity.

      • lucas says:

        ” In science the unexplained is the target of your studies – not something you just pull out an explanations for without any evidence.” Right—and science says the permissible evidence must be gathered with the five senses only. No other evidence allowed. Fields other than science may be free to consider evidence from outside the five senses.

      • evidence from outside the five senses would be . . . ?

  10. captain_red says:

    What’s so dangerous about teaching kids both sides of the story? Like why not let kids decide if the earth is flat or spherical, or whether diseases are cause by germs or demons. No matter how dumb the controversy is, I say teach both sides! ;)

    • lucas says:

      When I clicked on your link, I realized your were being sarcastic about teaching “both sides.”

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