Creationism in the classroom...

Sara - posted on 03/24/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )

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9 Bills That Would Put Creationism in the Classroom
From Texas to Kentucky, state lawmakers are trying to turn the Bible into a textbook.
By Josh Harkinson | Wed Mar. 23, 2011 3:00 AM PDT


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State governments are grappling with massive budget deficits, overburdened social programs, and mountains of deferred spending. But never mind all that. For some conservative lawmakers, it's the perfect time to legislate the promotion of creationism in the classroom. In the first three months of 2011, nine creationism-related bills have been introduced in seven states—that's more than in any year in recent memory:



1. Texas

Legislation: HB 2454 would ban discrimination against creationists [1], for instance, biology professors who believe in intelligent design. Defending his bill, Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler told Mother Jones [2], "When was the last time we’ve seen someone go into a windstorm or a tornado or any other kind of natural disaster, and say, 'Guess what? That windstorm just created a watch'?"

Status: Referred to Higher Education Committee.



2. Kentucky

Legislation: The Kentucky Science Education and Intellectual Freedom Act (HB 169) would have allowed teachers to use "other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner." Kentucky already authorizes [3] public schools to teach "the theory of creation as presented in the Bible" and to "read such passages in the Bible as are deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of creation." The state is home to the world-renowned Creation Museum [4] and it may soon build the Ark Encounter [5], the world's first creationist theme park.

Status: Died in committee.



3. Florida

Legislation: SB 1854 would amend Florida law [6] to require a "thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution." In 2009, Florida state Sen. Stephen Wise, the bill's sponsor, rhetorically asked a Tampa radio host: [7] "Why do we still have apes if we came from them?"

Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Education Pre-K-12, which Wise chairs.


4. Tennessee

Legislation: HB 368 [8] and SB 893 [9] would require educators to "assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies." The bills list four "controversies" ripe for pedagogical tinkering: biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. Modeled on Louisiana's Science Education Act (which became law [10] in 2008), the bills are believed to have a good shot at passing. Steven Newton of the National Center for Science Education [11], which promotes teaching evolution in public schools, worries that the legislation "will allow teachers to bring this culture war into the classroom in a way that is going to leave students very confused about what science is and isn't."

Status: HB 368 was passed by the House General Subcommittee on Education on March 16.



5. Oklahoma

Legislation: The Sooner State kicked off its creationism legislation season early with the January 19 pre-filing of SB 554, a bill that would have ensured that teachers could present "relevant scientific information" about "controversial topics in the sciences" including "biological origins of life and biological evolution." It also would have required Oklahoma to adopt science standards echoing those passed by in 2009 by the Texas state board of education. "Using your tax dollars to teach the unknown, without disclosing the entire scientific findings is incomplete and unacceptable," wrote the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Josh Brecheen, in the Durant Daily Democrat [12]. A second bill introduced in February, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act [13], resembled Louisiana's Science Education Act.

Status: Both bills died in committee.



6. New Mexico

Legislation: HB 302 [14], another bill modeled on Louisiana's Science Education Act. Sponsor Kent Cravens, a state senator from Albuquerque, told the Santa Fe New Mexican [15] that the bill wasn't anti-Darwinian, but rather was "intended to give the teacher the ability to disclose that there may be another way to think about this, whatever subject they are talking about."

Status: Died in committee.



7. Missouri

Legislation: HB 195 [16] would permit teachers "to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution." Missouri is the site of the newly opened Creation Museum of the Ozarks. [17]

Status: Not yet referred to a committee.


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Source URL: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

ME - posted on 03/25/2011

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It has come to my attention through teaching Philosophy at the college level the last few years, that most people do NOT understand the difference between a theory/paradigm, and a hypothesis...I believe that this is the biggest problem in this debate. The people who want creationism taught in science (I can't even type that without laughing or gaging), don't know the difference between these two either...

Sara - posted on 03/25/2011

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Evolution is not a theory in a sense that it has not been proven. Evolution is a "theory" in the scientific sense of the term "theory"; it is an established scientific model of a portion of the universe that generates propositions with observational consequences. Such a model both helps generate new research and helps us understand observed phenomena. It has been proven. Creationism has not been proven, it's not supported by facts or physical evidence that can be recreated through scientific experiments, nor do I see how it ever could. I guess you can chose to ignore scientifically proven facts, but they shouldn't be doing that in a scientific classroom, and teaching creationism alongside of evolution does just that. It's misleading and wrong to hold creation science to the same standards as evolution.

Johnny - posted on 03/24/2011

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I'm confused...

Anyway. Anything to do with religion either belongs in a church school or a comparative religions class. Religious theology has absolutely zero to do with science. Creationism is a story, a myth, just like all the others that different religions have come up with. Evolution is a theory that is constantly being tested, redefined, supported and altered as evidence grows and expands. One is science. The other is faith. If people want their kids to be ignorant of science, either send them to a religious school or homeschool them. The entire population should not be forced into ignorance based on the beliefs of a few. Most Christians I know do not even believe that biblical creationism should be taught as science.

Esther - posted on 03/24/2011

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So you can believe in God and I can believe in Harry Potter. Neither can be proven to exist (or not exist, since you can't prove a negative). Should we start teaching any "theory" that anyone believes in regardless of whether or not that theory can be empirically proven/tested, or should we just stick with facts and science in the classroom and leave faith in the home and in church. I vote the latter.

Sneaky - posted on 03/24/2011

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The basis of every branch of science is that it is based on a paradigm (concept) that can be tested experimentally, to prove theories and develop knowledge about the subject.

Creationism is NOT science. If I want my kids to learn theology, I will send them to Sunday school.

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ME - posted on 03/25/2011

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Saw a poll on the news yesterday that 70% of Illinoisans believe creationism should be taught in public schools. This is one of the "bluest" states in the country! I almost fell over. There is a science teacher in the north suburbs of Chicago teaching it to his high school science classes...this is what led to the poll...I will have to be even more careful now about which public schools I allow my children to attend; I am simply shocked that ANY parent could be SO foolish as to want religion and science taught in the same classroom. As if kids weren't confused enough in our science classes!

Jenny - posted on 03/24/2011

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I'm not the one making extraordinary claims, the onus of proof lies soley on the believer of said claim.

Jenny - posted on 03/24/2011

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Sarah, marking my post as funny is juvenile. Why don't you put on your big girl panties and put out some facts?

Jenny - posted on 03/24/2011

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How on earth do you debate belief with facts?

Sure, debate is welcome in science. But your side must be provided with true facts and figures. Religion doesn't provide that and has no place in science. If you disagree, please share your facts with me because as far as I know they have never been found.

Bondlets - posted on 03/24/2011

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Sarah - No, this isn't a Christian nation (I'm a Christian myself so it grieves me to say that). It is a nation with Christians, a nation that had some Christian leaders and leaders who were not Christian at all. Christians would like to claim this was a nation founded on Christianity but the truth is, it wasn't. It was founded on religious freedom but not necessarily the Christian religion.

I'm sure others will chime in so I'll leave it at that.

Bondlets - posted on 03/24/2011

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I'd like to see all theories (including evolution) presented or no theories presented. Balance, basically. Not that it will ever happen, which is why we homeschool. ;)



More than anything I'd like to see students come out of high school with a solid understanding of all sides of this. They should know the theory, the support and the doubts/questions. Turning out students who are familiar with only one side of it is not a balanced education.

Kylie - posted on 03/24/2011

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Whoa scary! They have got to be crazy to think it's OK to teach creationism as truth. I went to a baptist school and did TEE human biology and when we got to the chapter on evolution the teacher basically made fun of the diagrams of early humans and then taught creationism. I was so pissed off my mum ended up paying for tutoring so i could learn what was going to be in the exams - exams were not written or marked by my fucktard teacher.
At uni I'm doing a unit in theology, which is very full on but i do like the tut's as they are basically an hour debate on our interpretations of the readings and bible. I found this article http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45416.ht... which i thought was interesting and i understand our society as we know it is based on christian principals, so i do feel it is ok to teach some stories from the bible as a part of history or social sciences perhaps. But to teach it as truth in a science class is bullshit. Even my Theology lecturers agree the story of creationism is a myth, not a myth as we know the word today but a very ancient story. Story being the operative word.

Jenny - posted on 03/24/2011

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If they are going to teach bullshit what is the point of sending them to school in the first place? It blows my mind that parents actually have to step in and force their school to teach facts. It just completely pisses me off, they are doing the students no favours here.

Esther - posted on 03/24/2011

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Sickening and scary. I would be switching schools for sure if Lucas was ever taught anything other than evolution. Hell, I'd consider home schooling.

Krista - posted on 03/24/2011

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In 2009, Florida state Sen. Stephen Wise, the bill's sponsor, rhetorically asked a Tampa radio host: [7] "Why do we still have apes if we came from them?"

That much stupid has REALLY got to hurt.

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