Thursday, August 12, 2010

2theadvocate Opines on Livingston Parrish

In an unsigned editorial (why?) in 2theadvocate, the writer expresses dismay at the goings on in Livingston Parrish over the proposal to teach creationism next year. They write:

Members of Livingston’s School Board expressed interest in including “creationism” in science classes in the public schools. The system’s curriculum director, Jan Benton, said that under a new state law “critical thinking and creationism” materials can be introduced into science classes.

“Critical thinking” is the code for questioning evolution because of a fundamentalist belief in the literal story of the Creation in Genesis. While most faiths would not say Genesis is incompatible with evolution, there are those who differ — and they are politically engaged and ready to impose their beliefs on others.

Professional educators who promote this idea are not lining themselves up as profiles in courage.

Critical thinking and creationism, huh? Actually, the law did not say anything about creationism. It allowed for "supplementary materials" to be included in the classroom if they promoted critical thinking regarding a topic. "Critical thinking" and "creationism" don't normally find themselves in the same sentence, and the local folk who are promoting this have little to no understanding of the various scientific disciplines involved. Judging from the rumblings on the net about this story, the consensus is that people expect these proposals to die in committee or get blown out of the water by means of a trial a la Dover.

I am of two minds about this. I hate to see people of a town get dragged through the mud because of the unfortunate actions of a few school board induhviduals. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind seeing another exposé of creationism. In the Dover case, the school board did things under the cover of night, trucking in copies of that dreadful book Of Pandas and People when nobody was looking. Five years later, with elections coming up, people are much more attuned to this controversy. It is harder to hide.


  1. I get peeved over comments like this:

    "...and they are politically engaged and ready to impose their beliefs on others."

    Are not both sides in this debate trying to "impose their beliefs on others"? If it were not so, there would be no debate!

    Why is it that people are constantly framing the argument to make themselves appear completely neutral? There are no neutral parties in a debate like this - both sides have their beliefs, and both sides want to impose those beliefs on the other side.

    Of course, which side you are on depends on which beliefs you think are true, and which are false. But loudly declaiming that "those people" are "trying to impose their beliefs on others," is disingenuous at best.