Creationism in public education
|The divine comedy|
“”I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.
|— Arthur C. Clarke|
In the United States, the teaching of creationism in science classes in public schools has long been anathema. However, some schools, as seen in the Kitzmiller case, continue to attempt to "sneak in" creationism into school curricula, under the guise of intelligent design. Attempts continue into 2008, as well. As school officials nationwide continue to debate the inclusion of intelligent design or creationism in high school biology curricula, to give it "equal time" with evolution, even school officials are becoming casualties of the conflict.
In the United States, 13% of biology teachers are openly sympathetic to teaching creationism, and 60% feel uncertain about teaching evolution. This leaves a relatively small segment of American teachers who are actively pursuing educating their students about the origin of biological diversity.
Texas School System
In October 2007, Chris Comer, a director of science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency, was terminated for mentioning in personal e-mail an event featuring an anti-intelligent design speaker, Barbara Forrest, author of the book "Creationism's Trojan Horse: the Wedge of Intelligent Design." This followed discussions during her employ that indicated Governor Rick Perry's support of intelligent design, impressed upon employees at meetings that were attended by the entire board of the Discovery Institute. However, there is still some hope; it looks like the Texas Board of Education is still solidly against intelligent design in the classroom.
Comer's termination may be in violation of federal law, as an infringement upon her rights to take a position contrary to the government in her private life, though as she did occupy something of a policy-making position, it may not.
Florida School System
In 2008, Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law the Louisiana Academic Freedom Act, a very thinly veiled attempt to introduce creationism into the classroom. In 2015, activist Zack Kopplin posted documents that show that Louisiana public school science teachers have organized to teach creationism in classrooms.
Like any cancer, creationism/intelligent design can metastasize....
There has been a growing tendency for creationists to push for it to be taught in schools. In 2007, the Council of Europe published a report with the summary:
The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.
Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.
The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline.
The document as a whole makes interesting reading.
A subsequent document has the paragraphs as resolutions:
19. The Parliamentary Assembly therefore urges the member states, and especially their education authorities to:
19.1. defend and promote scientific knowledge;
19.2. strengthen the teaching of the foundations of science, its history, its epistemology and its methods alongside the teaching of objective scientific knowledge;
19.3. make science more comprehensible, more attractive and closer to the realities of the contemporary world;
19.4. firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution and in general the presentation of creationist ideas in any discipline other than religion;
19.5. promote the teaching of evolution as a fundamental scientific theory in the school curriculums.
Of particular interest is the paragraph:
18. Investigation of the creationists’ growing influence shows that the arguments between creationism and evolution go well beyond intellectual debate. If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council of Europe’s parliamentarians to react before it is too late.
Which should be of interest to concerned Americans.
“”An essential element in the teaching of science is the encouragement of students and teachers to critically appraise the evidence for notions being taught as science. The Society states unequivocally that the dogmatic teaching of notions such as Creationism within a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of objective public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations.
|—Geological Society of Australia|
After a creationist campaign, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology seems to have caved in. At least some publishers are preparing evolution-free versions of things that still purport to be biology textbooks and will be used in Korean high schools.
- Intelligent design and academic freedom discusses the argument that "academic freedom" is infringed upon by suppression of intelligent design
- Expelled: Leader's Guide
- Result of a search for Creationism in the Council of Europe Assembly website.
- Wedge strategy
- Teach the controversy
- Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987).
- Why many U.S. biology teachers are ‘wishy-washy’ Science Magazine.
- Comer v. Scott and Texas Education Agency; 1 April 2009
- Forrest, Barbara, & Paul R. Gross. Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print
- Interview with Chris Comer on Ira Flatow's "Science Friday",";7 December 2007
- TX Board Of Education Chair Vows That Only Evolution Will Be Taught In Science Classes; CBS News, local Houston affiliate
- Pickering v. Board of Ed. (391 U.S. 563).
- WIRED;Evolution Wins as Creationists (Accidentally) Switch Sides in Florida ;20080220; Brandon Kiem
- The Ledger article
- Panda's Thumb archive
- Some La. Schools Are Teaching Creationism, Activist Asserts In Report Americans United: Church and State (June 2015).
- Evidence of Creationism in Louisiana
- Doc. 11297; 8 June 2007; The dangers of creationism in education; Committee on Culture, Science and Education; Rapporteur: Mr Guy LENGAGNE, France,; Socialist Group; (fair use - no copyright info found on site here
- Doc. 11375;17 September 2007; The dangers of creationism in education; Committee on Culture, Science and Education;Rapporteur: Mrs Anne BRASSEUR, Luxembourg, ALDE
- Geological Society of Australia Intelligent Design Policy (PDF)
- Australian curriculum, biology unit 3