Monday, August 25, 2014

Opposition to Common Core: A New Trojan Horse?

Despite my general dislike for Common Core and the persistent overreach by the federal government, it seems clear that some groups are using their opposition to the initiative to get ID and creationism in the back door.  Witness the clarification to a proposed bill that would repeal the Common Core in Ohio.  Patrick O'Donnell of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes this:
State Rep. Andy Thompson, a Marietta Republican, told The Plain Dealer today that language requiring 80 percent of literature in English classes to be from American or British authors published before 1970 will be removed from HB 597.

Thompson also clarified some unclear language in the bill about science standards that would "prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another." Thompson said that clause prevents teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate -- global warming, for example -- without also presenting the other side.
And he said the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best. That allows "intelligent design" and creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as well as varying views on the age of the earth and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.
Might as well paint a target on your chest.  Opposition to the Common Core has valid concerns and it would be a shame to see the movement hijacked by the the young earth/ID crowd. That would strip it of its credibility as far as the scientific community is concerned and make it just another political cause. This is the "teach the controversy" strategy that was identified by Barbara Forest seven years ago:
In an effort to arouse skepticism regarding evolution as the natural process that has shaped Earth’s life forms, ID proponents falsely claim that there is a controversy within mainstream science regarding the status of evolutionary theory, which they claim is “in crisis,” a “dying theory” (Miller, 2001). Ostensibly intended to stimulate critical thinking by informing students of a raging disagreement among mainstream scientists, this ID slogan violates the most basic requirement of critical thinking: truthfulness. Productive debate about evolution would require, first, that there be a genuine controversy, and second, that all parties to the debate approach the discussion in good faith. ID proponents fail on both counts: (1) There is no controversy in the mainstream scientific community about either the fact of evolution or the major aspects of evolutionary theory. ID is simply perpetuating the cultural controversy surrounding evolution that dates back to the early 20th century. (2) ID proponents enter the debate with a religious agenda that they deny to mainstream audiences but discuss freely with their friendly religious audiences, knowing that their supporters—unlike unknowing potential opponents—will understand their code terms.
This is still, obviously, true today.

More on the story here.

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