Thinking Texas Teachers Threatened

No, Texas’s science teachers are not being physically threatened, but their ability to properly teach science is in serious danger this week. From January 21st to 23rd, the Texas Board of Education is holding public hearings and then voting on whether or not creationism (in the guise of “Intelligent Design”) should be taught in their schools.

If you live in Texas or know anyone who does, please contact your representative and if possible attend the remaining meetings in support of sane education policies, because it sounds like the vote is going to be close. If the creationists win here and the decision is not overturned at the BoE’s meeting in March, the policy will be in place for 10 years, or until a court is forced to step in.

Texans can find information on how to get involved at the Teach Them Science site, and through the Texas Freedom Network. Others who just want to learn more about what’s going on, check out the post on Bad Astronomy. There is a pretty good discussion in the comments section, but here’s my contribution to the thread in case you don’t go there:

Randy T Says:
January 19th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I understand the need for you to raise alarm and to ridicule; you have nothing to back up you position. Here’s a thought, what if God did create the universe…of strongly influenced the creation of it? Is that remotely possible? Your position is based on the initial premise that you are certain this is not true.

How could you know such a thing with absolute certainty? I suppose you also think believers arrogant?

Kazz Says:
January 19th, 2009 at 9:39 pm

We have nothing to back up *our* position? Claiming that it is “remotely possible” that your god created the universe isn’t much backing.

Evolution has 150 years of testing and hard evidence in many different scientific fields. Creationism has…the Bible. There is a reason that movies like Expelled just attack evolution and scientists without presenting any real case for creationism, and that is because the only things that creationists have to back up their claims are easily disproven nonsense from such great minds as Kent Hovind and Ken Ham.

Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research do not do good science. The vast majority of their claims have already been torn to shreds by people who actually know what they’re talking about, but they continue to spew out the same nonsense that they must already know is wrong.

Even worse are people like Ray Comfort with his “atheist’s nightmare” banana. We already know that bananas as we see them today have been very heavily influenced by artificial human selection. Bananas, like many of the plants we use for food, are very different from their wild ancestors, and the aspects of these plants which we find desirable are generally magnified by human intervention. In the unlikely event that there are creator gods out there, they did not make bananas the way they are today.

We could go on all day about these subjects. What exactly do you have to back up creationism? I have yet to see a shred of real evidence for any god, let alone anything to make me believe in a literal interpretation of the creation of the world as laid out in the Bible.

When you have as much evidence for creation as we have for evolution, then I will consider this a real debate. Until then, “creation scientists” had better get to work on coming up with their first piece of evidence.

We don’t need to have “absolute certainty” that something is wrong before teaching it to children. We don’t know with absolute certainty that there are not Martians living under the ground of the red planet just waiting and building an army to conquer the Earth, but we have no evidence to suggest that this is happening, so we do not teach it in science classes.

Please, Texas, don’t use the board of education to beat your children. We are already falling woefully behind the rest of the world in education, particularly in science, and pretending that believing in the Biblical creation story and twisting or ignoring science in an attempt to justify your beliefs is just as good as accepting the facts is only going to hurt us more.

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About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

6 thoughts on “Thinking Texas Teachers Threatened

  1. One thing to remember is that Texas is one of the biggest producers of US textbooks. The ramification might be that this policy affects the rest of the nation! So this issue is relevant to everyone interested in science education.

  2. The problem with the whole debate is whether or not creationism should be taught in school, but rather what class. Creationism shouldn’t be taught in a science class because it isn’t a scientific theory (like the big bang or macro-evolution). It should, however be taught in English or History (depending on which subject covers historical religion and writing).

  3. I wouldn’t have a problem with the myths of any religion being taught in high schools and maybe earlier, except that I am not convinced it would be done properly. Given the current situation where certain religious groups and individuals are pushing to get creationism taught in schools, prayer put back in schools and more, I do not believe that it would be handled well in many schools.

    Before high school, the situation is even worse. There are two main reasons that I worry about younger children being taught these kinds of things. The first is that some of the stories in the Bible are really horrible, and many more are too difficult for the average adult to easily grasp, let alone a young child.

    The second reason is that I do not trust all of the teachers to keep their religious beliefs out of the equation, and given the fact that the majority of US citizens call themselves Christians, the children would likely have a hard time viewing it as something other than fact.

    Trying to explain something like the Biblical creation story to young children would be nearly impossible to do without turning it into a religious indoctrination class specifically for the interpretation of the teacher or the denomination the teacher belongs to.

    I don’t believe that many grade school teachers would be able to set aside their religious beliefs in order to dispassionately cover these subjects.

    Teaching the Bible or any other book with such great historical significance as literature, to students who can appreciate it in that way, doesn’t bother me at all. If I see the widespread maturity and knowledge required to do this properly, and a willingness to control or replace teachers who bring their own religious views into the classroom, then I will almost certainly support it.

    For now though, after hearing of instances of miserably failed attempts at these kinds of classes (failed in the sense that they did in fact become exactly what I feared they would), I am hesitant to support bringing the Bible into public schools.

  4. If I was concerned that a large number of teachers might be unable to keep their beliefs in the truth of Egyptian, Roman or Greek mythology out of their classes, and if a large percentage of their students were likely to believe what they said about it as the way the world actually works, then I would be very concerned.

    The Biblical creation story may be slightly more believable than the idea that a dung beetle rolls the sun across the sky, but believing it as literal truth is no less harmful.

  5. How can you say that the sacred scarab is not real? All you have to do is open your eyes! There’s evidence!!!!
    Sacred dung beetle rolling the sun across the sky

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