Friday, August 09, 2013

The Carlisle Sentinel Responds to Stephen Bloom

The Carlisle Sentinel has devoted an editorial to the Stephen Bloom push to have a bill passed allowing "academic freedom" for debating the merits of scientific theories in high school.  They write:
Bloom told abc27 News that he’s surprised his proposal has generated a firestorm of criticism that calls the bill “anti-science.” His defense is that he wants “to encourage the kind of thinking that leads to good science.” We’re surprised Bloom is surprised. How could a memo like this not generate controversy? Critics are painting Bloom’s proposal as a backdoor method for getting religious teachings back into school, and that’s because that’s exactly what this looks like.

Even if we take Bloom at his word that this is an innocent call for more debate in school, this is still an absurd proposal.

Let’s extend his logic away from science and into math class. Say an educator is teaching long division to a classroom filled with students, some of whom believe long division is a bad approach. Bloom’s bill apparently would enable those students to derail their math class and insist their teacher open the room to a debate about long division. Bloom might argue that long division is fact and science is theory. Others might argue that long division is theory and science is fact. Still others might argue both are fact or both are theory.
Color me skeptical but I don't believe that his proposal is innocent. If it were, he would not have focused on "evolution and global warming." Furthermore, I think that "global warming" is just included to throw people off when what he really wants gone is evolution.  If he wanted to be all inclusive, he would have mentioned other disciplines, such as medicine or physics. That he did not betrays a hidden agenda.

His use of the term "academic freedom" is also suspect. This is another bill in a string of them that have, at their base, a model derived from the Discovery Institute that uses the phrase "academic freedom."   Further, as I have noted previously, he has no idea what "good science" is.  Once again: when politicians get involved in education policy, no good comes of it. 

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