1. Pretending to teach kids “critical thinking” skills: A spate of bills appeared in states this year that purported to help guide public school teachers in helping students apply “critical thinking” to select “controversies.” Not surprisingly, the controversies singled out always included evolution.
2. Lumping it in with other controversies: Arizona lawmakers this year deliberated a bill that identified a series of “controversial” subjects and signaled them out for special classroom treatment. These included “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
Louisiana already has a law on the books permitting public school teachers to use “supplemental” material when discussing certain controversial issues, evolution among them. No one knows for sure what these supplemental materials are, but given that state’s constant efforts to undermine evolution, it’s safe bet On the Origin of Species is not on the list.
A school board in Springboro, Ohio, is considering a similar ruse, only its list is even longer. Once again, the idea here is to attempt to seize some type of moral high ground as proponents claim they are only trying to teach “both sides.”
The multiple theories in science are presented every day, but only if there is a discrepancy in determining what the evidence proves, NOT because there is a conflict with a scientist's religious faith.
3. Calling it academic freedom: Academic freedom is an important concept at colleges and universities. It has not been extended to public secondary schools because those institutions teach impressionable youngsters. Thus, school officials and democratically elected boards have the power to rein in teachers who start acting like preachers or who stray too far from the accepted curriculum.
A common creationist ruse is to assert that teachers have the right, under academic freedom, to introduce material that undercuts evolution. They do not. Over the years, several public school teachers have made this argument in court. All have failed.
4. Urging teachers to “go rogue”: Even though there is no academic freedom right to teach creationism, some public school teachers behave as if there is. They simply don’t teach evolution or teach it in such a way as to instill doubts in students’ minds.
A recent survey of public school high school science teachers in Pennsylvania found 19 percent backing some variant of creationism. One biology teacher in Altoona said he believes Earth is 10,000 years old and that the methods used to date it at 5 billion years are faulty.
“Sometimes students honestly look me in the eye and ask what do I think?” wrote this teacher in response to a newspaper survey. “I tell them that I personally hold the Bible as the source of truth. I tell them that I don’t think [radiocarbon dating] is as valid as the textbook says it is, noting other scientific problems with the dating method. Kids ask all kinds of personal questions and that’s one I don’t shy away from. It doesn’t in any way disrupt the educational process. I’m entitled to my beliefs as much as the evolutionist is.”
Yes, he is entitled to his belifs. But he is not entitled to teach them as if they are facts.
And the inability to understand that makes him unfit to be a teacher of science.
5. Calling creationism something else. Back in the 1980s, “creation science” was all the rage among fundamentalists. They seemed to believe that all you had to do was tack the word “science” onto something and presto, it was science. (“Flat Earth Science,” anyone?)
That stunt failed when the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law mandating “balanced treatment” between evolution and creation science in 1987. The term “creationism” became more popular, even though it was the same old thing. When courts failed to fall for it, some advocates began using the term “the theory of abrupt appearance.”
Still others glommed on to “evidence against evolution.” Again, these name changes failed to fool anyone. It was the same old creationism in a new dress.
Most recently, “intelligent design” has become all the rage. Sometimes known by the acronym ID, intelligent design tries to cover up some of the more outlandish claims of standard creationism (6,000-year-old Earth, dinosaurs and humans living at the same time, Noah’s Ark was real, etc.) and instead posits that humans and other life forms are so complex that they must have been designed by some intelligent force. If this force just happens to be the Christian god, then so be it.
Long ago certain religious leaders realized that the more educated their flock became the less likely they were to see them show up on Sunday mornings.
To combat that they have created this weird dichotomy between religion and science and have worked to put them on a level playing field, by suggesting that they both rely on a form of faith.
By doing that they literally dragged science down to a level where they felt they could wrestle it into submission. Of course that only works if they have already created a framework whihc brings into doubt the validity of scientific research and its findings. (Of course this only centers around the sciences which fall into question the teaching of the Bible, such as evolution, geology, and paleontology, anthropology, cosmology, well you get the idea.) Nobody cares to challenge the findings of aeronautic science, or medical science, or botany.
And if these fundamentalists cannot force their will onto the public school system, they will push for charter schools (Often with a religious bias), or, better yet, home school where the reams of their "scientific" literature are competitively priced and aggressively advertised.
Make no mistake, we ARE in a war. A war for the future of our country, and for our children's minds.