Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You'll Teach Me What I TELL You To Teach Me

This just in:

In the "first nationally representative survey of teachers concerning the teaching of evolution," the authors show that one in eight high school biology teachers present creationism as a scientifically valid alternative to Darwinian evolution. While this number does not reflect public demand--38% of Americans would prefer that creationism to be taught instead of evolution--it does represent a disconnect between legal rulings, scientific consensus, and classroom education.

Quiz Question
Which quote best represents the mindset that leads to such data?
A) "I don't care what you tell me to teach; I teach what I personally believe to be true."
B) "I don't care what you tell me to teach; I teach what my kids' parents want their kids to hear."
C) "As a teacher, I believe it's my responsibility to present all sides. That's why I'm encouraging my friends in the history department to teach Holocaust Denial."
D) "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to speak to the press without permission from my union rep."

You know what? I don't care if 38% of Americans would prefer to have creationism taught in school. All that means is that 38% of Americans are nitwits--or, at best, that they don't understand the difference between public education and religious school (here's a hint: religious school is the thing your kids go to on Sunday. And it's usually held at a church). It's not an educator's job to cater to the whims, prejudices, or nitwittitude of some parents. It's an educator's job to teach That Which Is Fact. I'm all for presenting multiple points of view where Fact is in dispute. But evolution is not in dispute. Sorry. It's not. Certain details of it may be, certainly. We can save that discussion for college, or probably grad school. But as a general theory, held up against Genesis...no. Sorry. Just no.

I wonder if people have trouble with the concept of change over time because they don't really get how enormously vast those oceans of time really were.

Or is it just Biblical Literalism? I mean, I think the stories in Genesis are incredibly important and valuable, and I'm even willing to accept, if you want to argue it, that they are divinely inspired. As poetry, there is much wisdom and truth to be gleaned there--much wisdom and truth about who we are, and how we behave, and what we strive for, and what gets in our way. But literal, word-for-word, journalistic truth?

Anyway, if you send your kids to religious school, they are getting multiple points of view--and better than any biology teacher can present it. Let the science teachers teach the science, and the religious teachers teach the religion. Why does the public school building have to contain everything of value and importance in a community? What is it, the mall? If a particular shop isn't there under the same roof, an easy walk from the food court, it doesn't exist?

And even if it is the mall, you know what? If you hate the mall, you don't go there. If you hate what's being taught in the public schools, don't send your kids there. You've got options aplenty, these days. Where is it written that the angry, stupid minority gets to dictate policy to the majority? Take your damn ball and go play somewhere else, if you don't like the way we're playing. Raise your kids to have no understanding of the way the world actually works. Cripple them, if that's what you think is best. Go ahead--I won't even call Child Protective Services on you. Just keep your kids away from mine.

Honestly...is there anything going on in our nation today that wouldn't make Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson puke?

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