Thursday, April 08, 2010

Local Man Wants Biology Book Banned

Hitting close to home, a parent from Farragut, a town adjacent to Knoxville, wants a biology book banned because of its denigrating reference to Christianity. The story notes:
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre is recommending that the Knox County school board hear Kurt Zimmermann’s request. But he’s also asking that the board uphold the review committee’s finding...Zimmermann in December requested that school officials immediately remove the book “Asking About Life” from use in his son’s class as well as from all students’ use because it contains “a clear bias” by the authors against Christianity, according to documentation he submitted to school officials.

On page 319 of the text, the authors describe creationism as “the biblical myth that the universe was created by the Judeo-Christian God in 7 days.” Zimmermann said the use of the word “myth” could “mislead, belittle and discourage students in believing in creationism and pointedly calls the Bible a myth.”
The passage in question does not seem to represent a clear bias against Christianity, unless you believe that the only valid definition of Christianity is one that includes a seven-day creation. It does present a bias against young earth creationism, however. Whether or not it should be called a myth is not clear. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines myth in the following way:
a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon
We often think of the word "myth" as describing something untrue. Using the correct definition, however, its use in the textbook was entirely accurate. The Genesis account that details the creation of the universe in seven days is a traditional story that has been handed down since the time of Moses and represents the oral tradition between God and the children of Israel. What any of this has to do with biology is anybody's guess. If Mr. Zimmerman believes in creationism, then he is going to have trouble with the entire book, and likely any other book that is chosen.

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