Friday, August 29, 2008

Creationism and evolution back on the national stage

Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information....Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.
Sara Palin, Republican Vice Presidential nominee

A few things bother me.
  1. Does Ms. Palin think we should teach Creationism in science class? (The "both" part bothers me--a lot. If you open up science class to empirically unfounded beliefs, then "both" is the wrong word. I'd start with the Sumerians (Gilgamesh) and work my way up to the Hebrew Bible version.)
  2. Science and creationism are not "both sides" of an argument--and challenging each other's beliefs is like arguing over favorite colors.
  3. We need more critical thinking, and less "information" in science class.
I am dangerously close to a rant. Ms. Palin may be a few months away from assuming the Vice Presidency of the United States, the same United States with a constitution worth the paper it's scribbled on.

The first ten words of the Bill of Rights are clear:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...."

I'd be glad to discuss in class why Creationism is not science; I hope Ms. Palin's father, a science teacher, explains this next time he takes his daughter out moose hunting.


Clay Burell said...

If I weren't already heavy on the humanist posts this week, I'd nip this to start a rant on my own blog.

I've got a clip from a Dawkins discussion in queue for just this "teach them both - teach the controversy" topic.

Were things always so dark?

doyle said...

Well, in Alaska, things do get pretty dark for a few months every year. Not sure when she actually said what she said.

I need to see the Dawkins clip. I love reading his stuff, but his public crankiness doesn't help.

If I am ever required to teach the controversy, might not be such a bad thing to hone the differences between science and fantasy.

The real danger is in the "both sides" part. It's not evolution vs. intelligent design, it's science vs. magical thinking. As long as I can point out that ID belongs in the Disney part of our culture, along with an interminable parade of other unscientific ideas, I can make something out of it in class.

(Not to discount magical thinking--our day-to-day lives thrive on it, truly. Genesis is a wonderful story that is not bound by empiricism. And someday I am going to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.)