Friday, May 18, 2012

Credit for Creationism Class Bill

Glenn Branch of the NCSE has shown light on a bill in the Alabama legislature that has, mercifully, died. This bill would have allowed local school districts to allow students to take a class in creationism and receive credit for it. According to the NCSE:
House Bill 133, if enacted, would have authorized "local boards of education to include released time religious instruction as an elective course for high school students." Its sponsor, Blaine Galliher (R-District 30), explained his purpose in introducing the bill to WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama (February 5, 2012): "They teach evolution in the textbooks, but they don't teach a creation theory ... Creation has just as much right to be taught in the school system as evolution does and I think this is simply providing the vehicle to do that."
I guess my take on this is that you should always allow students to take courses that involve religious instruction since it is such an integral part of the framework of American life. Such a course would, ideally, fulfill a credit in the social sciences and might be a benefit to the individual students, especially as a discussion forum.

But that is not what is going on here. It is evident from the words of representative Galliher that he envisions such a class to count as a science credit. Such a position is absolutely indefensible. There is no validity to the young earth creationist position and to teach it in public schools as legitimate science would be tantamount to miseducation. Young earth creationism should only be taught as an object lesson in science as a theory that has been discarded in favor of new knowledge. To suggest a course swap like this is simply ignorant. The students of Alabama dodged a bullet this time.

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