…but not your own facts.
I had the pleasure of seeing anthropologist Eugenie C. Scott speak at NECSS about the continuing threat of legislation that would allow creationism to be taught in science classes, only now proponents of creationism are using much more subversive methods.
The talk started with a history of creationist legislature from the famous Scopes Monkey Trial through to the recent Dover Trials while simultaneously tracking the changes in creationist language and tactics. What I mean is creationism giving way to intelligent design, which is now “creation science.” She did so using a great image of a phylogenetic tree showing how the various bills “evolved.” (which I will try to post here soon)
It just seems so fitting.
Now the proponents of ID and creationism are using weasel names like the Louisiana Science Education Act, with what seems to be success. As you can see with the aforementioned act (AKA The Louisiana Academic Freedom Act), the current strategy is hiding behind the banner of “balance” and the pretense that they are supporting teacher and student freedom.
Whenever you see the word “balance” in the same sentence as evolution, it’s a creationist talking.
The height of the backwards creationist logic came in the form of an image on an academic freedom website. It featured a young girl, armful of books, saying,
“Let me think! Why can’t I be allowed to decide for myself what the truth is?” to which Dr. Scott replied, “Because you’re in 7th grade, honey.”
This intellectual flimsiness can be summed up in the new age hippy dippy mantra,
“Maybe it’s not a wrong answer, maybe it’s just a different answer,”
and the naive assertion that the truth is somehow a matter of personal experience. But all humor aside, it’s recognizing fuzzy logic like this that will inevitably prevent back-door creationism from getting into science classes.
Dr. Scott’s take away was that people need to be made aware of these backhanded tactics creationists use to gain a foothold in US schools. Education is what will win the day because in the end, it’s up to us to call our state school boards and say, “I don’t support the teaching of non-evidence based theology in science classes.” I mean it’s either that or we retaliate and get Bill Nye to do megachurch shows with Richard Dawkins parachuting in for an impromptu lecture.
So lets make a deal, religion. I’ll keep my facts out of church, and you keep your church out of my schools. Is that a fair deal? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve been holding up my end of the bargain for years now. The amount of times I have interrupted a mass to talk about how there is no archaeological evidence for the existence of Jesus can be counted on zero fingers.
This post was brought to you by Nobelium (No).
Originally posted at Sci-ənce.