Right Wing Watch:
A Kansas-based group that “promotes the religious rights of parents, children, and taxpayers” is challenging the state’s science standards because they include the teaching of evolution, which the group claims is a religion and therefore should be excluded from science class.
As the AP reports, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) claims that public schools “promote a ‘non-theistic religious worldview’ by allowing only ‘materialistic’ or ‘atheistic’ explanations to scientific questions.” The group argues that by teaching evolution “the state would be ‘indoctrinating’ impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment.”
COPE’s challenge [PDF] states that the teaching of evolution “amounts to an excessive government entanglement with religion” and violates the rights of Christian parents.
Indeed, COPE’s stated mission is to create “religious[ly] neutral” schools that do not promote “pantheistic and materialistic religions, including Atheism and Religious (‘Secular’) Humanism” - a category under which it includes “Darwinian evolution.”
I am not even sure where to begin.
Well first let me say that I sort of saw this coming decades ago when I first heard the argument proffered that "evolution was just a theory, which scientists believed to be true." I knew then that it was a blatant attempt to bring the teaching of evolution into the same realm shared by religion, as simply a matter of faith, because essentially it was the ONLY way that religion could challenge it.
Over the years I have watched Creationist polish their argument and even some of these debates between scientists like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss with young earth Creationists like Kent Hovind and William Lane Graig, which can be found all over YouTube, are attempts to position themselves in the same rarefied air that only scientists should really occupy.
Personally I am all for this Kansas case actually going to trial, during which those who want to teach Intelligent Design (The camouflaged version of Creationism.) in public schools can explain exactly WHAT they want to teach and what evidence they will use to teach it, and the scientific community can do the same.
I am also interested in how this group defines "religion" and how they would make the case that the teaching of science fits within it. And does that definition apply to ALL science taught in schools, including botany and astronomy, or does it only apply to those scientific disciplines which might negatively impact their ability to explain the world to children using fairy tales?