Posted by Brian at 12:30 AM
This is why we have to win School Board elections
Because otherwise we're fighting idiotic craplike this:
As Broward County schools shop for a new science textbook this year, one of the options is a biology book that could plunge the district into a roiling national debate over the origin of man.
The high school text, Biology: The Dynamics of Life, says on Page 388: "Many of the world's major religions teach that life was created on Earth by a supreme being. The followers of these religions believe that life could only have arisen through the direct action of a divine force.
"Some people believe that the complex structures and processes of life could not have formed without some guiding intelligence."
That passage describes what is known as intelligent design, a concept that includes creationism -- an issue that has vexed educators for decades.
Below is my Letter to the Editor in reply. I hope it gets published.
As a parent of a Broward county high-school student, I’m very concerned that Broward county may be heading down the anti-science path toward the inclusion of the so-called theory of Intelligent Design in the science curriculum for one very practical reason—it could harm my child’s chances of getting into an elite university.
The California university system already refuses to certify courses on creationism and Intelligent Design—and they are the same thing—as meeting its entry requirements for admission, and other elite schools, including those in the Ivy League, are considering similar action. Kansas University, in response to that state’s recent decision to redefine science so as to fit Intelligent Design into the curriculum, announced that it will be teaching a course in ID, under the course title “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies.” Why? Because the science faculty there, as well as at every reputable university in this nation recognizes that Intelligent Design is nothing more than warmed-over creationism. It is not science, and should not be taught in a science classroom.
Should the Broward County School Board decide that they’d like to include ID in with other creation stories—Biblical, Hindu, Jewish, and Native American among others—in an elective humanities course, I’d be more than supportive. But in a world that’s becoming more competitive every day, we can’t afford to handicap our children by teaching less science instead of more. Keep ID out of the science classroom.
The article itself is crap, and it pissed me off. Lots of time was given to ID supporters, and only cursory mention to the downsides of teaching ID (like, the fact that it's not science).
But here's the reason for the title of this post:
In Broward County, science curriculum supervisor J.P. Keener doesn't see anything wrong with acknowledging religious beliefs in class.
"Some teachers are so reluctant to talk about it. I don't know why," Keener said.
"It's OK for them to talk to students and discuss philosophies and say what's the difference between a philosophy and science and religion," Keener said. "That's a great discussion. And it's worthwhile."
This is the science curriculum supervisor talking here. He's half right--there's nothing wrong with acknowledging religious beliefs in class, if it's a religion or a literature or a humanities class. But there's a hell of a lot wrong with acknowledging religious beliefs in a science class, because science and religion deal with two different worlds. Science deals with the observable, religion with matters of faith--and never the twain shall meet. And if Mr. Keener doesn't recognize that, then he needs to find himself another job, one that won't impact the scientific education of our students here in Broward County.