Friday, May 17, 2013

"Junk Science" From Kentucky

From the land that gave us the Creation Museum, we now have a bold, public attempt to teach creationism in the public schools of Louisville.  Joe Sonka of LEO Weekly writes:
A new group of Christian educators in Louisville conducted a unique training session for Jefferson County Public Schools teachers last Thursday inside the auditorium of The Gheens Academy for Curricular Excellence and Instructional Leadership. The group’s ultimate goal: spreading their faith to public school students.
This is probably controversial from a church/state point of view but that is not what got my interest. He continues:
While the event wasn’t sanctioned by JCPS — LACES rented out the space — speakers included Kirk Lattimore, assistant superintendent for academic achievement, and Bryce Hibbard, Southern High School principal.

Hibbard and other speakers told the teachers present that it was perfectly acceptable under Kentucky law to teach biblical creationism in addition to evolution in science classes, and he suggested future meetings with biology teachers to craft curriculum.

“I taught biology for 20 years in this state and didn’t know that if evolution is part of the curriculum, that I could have been teaching creation,” Hibbard said. “I thought I was sneaky if I had the kids … present it. So it was presented in my classroom by the kids, but I could have been doing it and didn’t know that.”
This remark is followed by a stunning display of lack of scientific knowledge:
Principal Hibbard told LEO that while he would not order his science teachers to promote or discuss biblical creationism, he would not discourage it and has let them understand they are allowed to do so under Kentucky law. When asked if such biblical lessons in science class — taking time away from learning actual science — would stunt the academic growth of students, Hibbard replied that it would not, as creationism is “just another theory.”

“Certainly, that’s what (creationism) is,” Hibbard said. “A theory is a scientific understanding of what we know today. So evolution is a theory. Creation is a theory. Intelligent design is a theory. The theory of relativity is a theory. Yeah.”
So, instead of teaching modern science, we are going to teach modern gnosticism.  We have heard this before. It began with Ronald Reagan's pronouncement that evolution was "only a theory." modern-day creationists pounce on the misunderstanding of theory and run as far with it as they can.  To equate a testable framework such as evolutionary theory with young earth creationism is laughable.  The fact that the only aspects of the YEC model that do lend themselves to testability get blown out of the water every time doesn't seem to matter.  People like Hibbard won't take the time (despite the fact that the qualifications of their job demand it) to learn this.

This is probably the only instance in which I think that a top-down approach must be taken.  A basic science test must be in force to weed out the people the run for school boards or education committees that obviously can't even define basic scientific concepts like "theory." 

1 comment:

  1. I find it interesting how the article describes the law (KRS 158.177) as allowing the instruction of "the theory of creation as presented in the Bible" when teaching about origins which JCPS officials promptly contradict by saying that "this statute does not allow such material to be taught in the school district" (as Joe Sonka reports, at least). On the contrary, the law does precisely that.