Monday, April 14, 2008

Creationism and academic freedom

See--I told you this would be a random collection of random thoughts . . .

Seems there is a bill before the State legislature about teacher's academic freedom. Specifically, the freedom to apparently discuss things like creationism in the classroom, although the bill also mentions human cloning and global warming. The "skeptical-scientist" side is bemoaning the idea that this bill will open the door to the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in the classroom. The bill sponsors feel that this will somehow protect a teacher's freedom and ability to cover controversial subjects in the classroom.

Hmmmm. I read the bill online (just Google it--it was easy to find in pdf and html), and it's hard for a non-legislator like myself to sort through all of the legalese and bureaucratese to suss out what it really says. The bill's critics claim that it is modeled after a similar, controversial piece of legislation passed by a local school board--carefully worded, and sneaky in how it allows the creationists to get it the schoolroom.

I'm not sure about this bill; it really is well crafted (there is a clause about it not it not being construed to promote any specific religious view). I definitely believe that creationism/ID does NOT belong in the science classroom. The scientific evidence (not a "theory" at all) of our origins is overwhelming, and well-proven. I believe that creationism is a religious theory, and has no scientific basis; I think of ID the same way. If you decide to teach Chrisitian creationism in the science class, why wouldn't you also teach the Hindu version of creation, or a Buddhist theory? They may all be elegant and beautiful, but they have nothing to do with science. And a science teacher does not have the freedom to teach unscientific ideas, although they may certainly have those ideas, and express them in a context separate from the teaching of science.

Just some thoughts . . .

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