Columnist: We Must Save Our Schools from Creationism

Syndicated columnist Tina Dupuy was raised as a Creationist but eventually discovered science. In a recent column she talked about why it’s so important that we not let Christian myth make its way into our public schools and she does it with the sort of rhetoric you rarely see from people who don’t have a personal stake in the matter:

First off: you don’t “teach” creationism, you deny science, evidence and reason with a story. Second: Going to the doctor instead of praying is already putting faith in science over religion. That debate is over (unless you’re a Christian Scientist). “Teaching the controversy” is teaching two myths: creationism and that there’s a lack of scientific consensus on evolution. There’s a lack of political consensus on creationism, but that’s it.

The creation myth doesn’t harm children; creationism harms schools. Universal public education is there for the public good (a phrase Republicans replaced with the word “takers”). If they’re not teaching basic science then they’re not doing what we need them to do. The integrity of our public schools is what’s at risk.

I love the column, but I would take issue with the idea that Creationism doesn’t harm children. Unlike teaching kids about Santa, which Dupuy compares it to, when you tell your children the Bible is literally true, you’re making them choose between their parents/pastors and their teachers. Those sides should be a natural partnership but Creationists turn science educators into enemies. (Dupuy even asked her mother why she had to go to school if they were teaching her lies and her mother said, “because that was the law.”)

It’s even worse if you’re homeschooled, since those parents are basically telling children it’s their beliefs against the world and everybody else is the problem.

The column, because it’s syndicated, has racked up all sorts of crazy letters-to-the-editors in several papers:

I believe it is preferable, and truly wise, to, by faith, believe that “In the beginning, God” and then go forward with that premise. [Link]

From the article it sounds like she has some real issues with her mother. It may be good therapy for her to vent in the column, however she submits NO scientific evidence of the evolution theory. The only item she mentioned was when she wrote, “There’s plenty of self-evident evidence (see: the flu virus). …”. A virus is not even a living organism. [Link]

Try to loosen up a little, Tina. The “lesser minds” such as Sir Issac Newton for example, or the thousands of contemporary learned peer reviewed scientists and physicians along with the majority of the inhabitants of Planet Earth who espouse spirituality of one type or another and agree that there might just be forces at work in this world that even “great minds” such as yours & your companions cannot explain, empathize with your repeated childhood traumas — particularly those ones revolving around Santa Claus. Never the less try to realize that despite the conflicting theories and differences of opinion and faiths that abound, you of all people ought to be grateful for that “freedom of choice” that liberally allows certainly for each us to pursue belief systems unencumbered and unmolested. [Link]

It seems apparent that Ms. Dupuy believes the theory on evolution and only wants this to be taught in our schools. We, who believe in the creation truth, from God’s Word, would also like that only creation be taught in our schools.

I feel we all need to take a real close look at our eternity and each person needs to decide for themselves what they will believe. The importance of an eternal punishment is too much to not investigate. To just believe what others tell you is foolish.

Knowing that the evolution theory was brought to light by one man, a person just like us, named Darwin, justifies further investigation on our parts. He could only guess with little to no real facts about what a prudent and informed person cannot believe.

I say, “Let us give our children the oppertunity to see the truth of our origin, existence and future.” We need creation taught in our schools. [Link]

(Thanks to Richard for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Conspirator

    It’s strange that she would say that teaching creationism harms schools but it doesn’t harm children. Isn’t that almost one and the same? If something happens to or at a school that does no harm to the students, its hardly harmed the school since the school’s main purpose is to enrich the students’ lives.

    That last letter Hemant quoted just shows how so many creationists argue from sheer ignorance, or at least with the hope of finding a completely ignorant audience to subvert. According to them Darwin is the only person responsible for the whole of Evolutionary Theory. Wow. Frankly I think that is a sign of willful ignorance. No one who has read anything on the subject could believe that.

  • Rain

    I believe it is preferable, and truly wise, to, by faith, believe that “In the beginning, God” and then go forward with that premise.

    He forgot to tack on “Ergo Jesus” at the end since he was being Mister Fancy-Pants with the “premise” shtick. By the way “Ergo Jesus” is a new comedy show where everyone sits around and does nothing for a half hour, and then everyone jumps up and says “”Ergo Jesus!”, and then the audience breaks out into hysterical laughter.

  • Alan Eckert

    “Knowing that the evolution theory was brought to light by one man, a person just like us, named Darwin, justifies further investigation on our parts.”

    It sure is a good thing that many thousands of scientists have done such a thing. That letter was ALMOST there, but just missed the mark.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    And Evolution was already theorized before Darwin. He just discovered how it worked. Jesus but they’re ignorant.

  • JET

    This is my pet peeve. The idea that some would have our children force-fed mythology rather than be taught modern scientific principles is beyond wrong. It is agreeing to deliberately lie to our children, to deliberately midlead them, and to deliberately withhold information that might lead them to create a better life for themselves and others. Even students who have no intention of going into a scientific field suffer from not learning basic scientific principles such as critical thinking, logic and the difference between fact and conjecture. When some say “teach the controversy” I am apalled. There is no controversy and pretending there is does our students nothing but harm. Even in schools that teach “real” science, it is often diluted to the point of being ineffective because we don’t want to offend delicate beliefs. The author of this article was very lucky that she was able to throw aside her beliefs and discover science. But how many great young minds are withering because of these morons and their irrational fear of the scientific community disproving their beliefs? Creationism and its pseudo-scientific euphemisms harm our schools, our students, our lives and our future. The responses to her article just show what kind of stupidity we are allowing these schools to produce.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    I, for one, refuse to do any investigation “on [their] parts”.

    Don’t they get enough surveillance of their parts by religionists that they want scientists to monitor what happens in their bedrooms as well?

  • Valancy Jane

    It’s astounding how most of the creationist “argument” (scare quotes because yanno) boils down to “we don’t understand this so JESUS” or straw men that no reputable scientist ever would agree with. Well, by pinning their religion’s veracity on this tripe, all they’re doing is hastening the inevitable end as one at a time their children figure out it was all lies and deceptions. For every Christian who ends up on his deathbed convinced that the world is just a few thousand years old, there are probably half a dozen others who learn better and end up getting shaken to their core and end up wondering what else was untrue if their churches got this basic thing so drastically wrong.

    I’m thankful that scientists are becoming more aware of the need to engage young people and get this information out to the public–a couple decades ago, before creationism became a real danger to children’s minds, everybody just trusted scientists were right. Now that Christians have successfully made ignorant believers so distrustful of science and reality, there’s much more of a need to do the PR work that, unfortunately, many scientists just aren’t socially equipped to do. But we’re getting there.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    And even then, it was only after Darwin that DNA was determined to be the hereditary mechanism. He just knew there had to be something behind his descent with modification observations.

  • WallofSleep

    “To just believe what others tell you is foolish.”

    Best laugh I’ve had all day. Thank you, random, blinkered creationist.

  • Fractal Heretic

    “…each person needs to decide for themselves what they will believe. The importance of an eternal punishment is too much to not investigate.”

    Wow, that’s a good point. I guess the schools should be teaching Islamic myths too, plus a few others. How many religions are there that threaten us with eternal punishment? But no, I guess we’re only worried about the one that happens to be popular in this geographic area.

  • Denis Freeland

    If you want to teach your kids creationism or any other hobby or interest, fine go ahead, but do it in your OWN time, DONT try to replace science with faith.

    It REALLY is that simple.

  • Denis Freeland

    The key scientific issue is the evidence, NOT the person who formulated it. Newtownian mechanics and General Relativity are no less valid because “one person” brought them to light.

  • mikmik

    Jerry Smiley:
    “To just believe what others tell you is foolish.”
    It’s just too funny. Christians say the cutest things. You TELL em.

  • rustygh

    I am strongly apposed to her statement that creationism taught in schools doesn’t hurt children! I am an angry atheist for this very reason. I was feed this fiction while trying to advance my brain at a very susceptible age and told repeatedly by many people in my life that creationism was fact. In my mind it does hurt the child and sets his/her learning back by years. That said, I know we need to be understanding to people like the ones responding. Many people were surrounded their whole lives by those that preach and live in a creationism world where there religion is considered fact. I’m happy that we have the internet so the children of today can at least find both sides and try to weigh the opposing ideas at an earlier age. I myself will always vote to keep creationism out of our schools.

  • Mario Strada

    “Knowing that the evolution theory was brought to light by one man, a person just like us, named Darwin, justifies further investigation on our parts.”
    So much stupid in the world. So much stupid.
    I am on the verge of giving up, move to Canada or back to Italy and forget all about these stupid morons.
    There was a time when the US was a beacon of education, science, technology, freedom. But it has been quite a few years now that some of the concepts this country was based on have been hijacked by the stupid brigade, to the point I no longer call myself a “patriot” any longer. Once I was proud to be one. Because unlike many that were born American, I had chosen it for myself as an adult. But no more.

    Now a “patriot” is an idiot carrying a gun to go shopping at Walmart while eating a 2000 calorie burger and using an electric cart because he/she is too fat to actually walk.

  • travis bauer

    I think I just fell in love with her.

  • Isilzha

    Again, Xians only want THEIR version of creation story taught in schools. I mean, there are thousands of different stores so I don’t understand why they don’t want to ‘teach the controversy’! Seriously, we should present students with ALL the sides and evidence, right??

  • Snuggeybug

    I hope that you don’t mind if I use your patriot paragraphs, that is so profound. Great job surmising the new American Patriot.

  • JET

    It does hurt the children as well as the state, country and world we’ll be turning over to them. I’m with you on the internet. It’s impossible for all but the most mentally isolated teenagers to avoid it. If and when they go off to a real university, it must be quite a shock to their systems. I’m hopeful though. Many in the younger generations are giving up religion at an amazing rate. But, no, we don’t need to be understanding. If you’ve had the opportunity to learn and just refuse to do so, I have no sympathy. Stupid is stupid.

  • David Kopp

    I think this is the part where Creationists and sane people talk past each other. We understand that we’re guided by facts. They presume that we’re some cult following Darwin as our saint, much as they follow their saints unquestioningly. It’s a matter of perspective.

  • Matto the Hun

    I agree Conspirator. Not only does it harm children, is harms future children. The poor kids who get brainwashed with this garbage and this uncritical “uhhhh duhhh gawd did it!” way of thinking tend grow up to be morons like their parents who make the same dumb ass arguments, who never bother to learn, who want to make their pathetically dip shit idiot fantasy on equal terms (at best) with science.
    Sadly I think Tina is in the minority among children brought up with this crap.

  • David Kopp

    It comes down to a view of the world. Creationists are often Dominionists, along with the whole authority structure thing that goes with it, and can’t even conceive of someone agreeing with evidence, so figure that “evolutionists” follow Darwin like they follow their preachers.

    The other type of Creationist are the pseudo-scientists, those that either know enough to be dangerous, or are willfully ignorant of things because the implications of there not being a Deity in direct control scares the pants off of them. So they’re apologists, the ones that other Creationists look to for “facts” like the banana and the crocoduck.

  • Cary whitman

    She says the creation MYTH doesn’t harm children. I think the point is that if it is taught as a myth, then it is harmless, it’s more like Santa Claus then. A traditional story that can teach us something about how to live our lives. The problems occur when these kinds of stories are taught as literal truths. Same goes for Santa, convincing children that Santa is real leads to heartbreak and lack of trust when the kids find out the truth. But letting them know its a myth, it’s pretend, and there’s a little Santa in everyone makes it valuable, enriching story for kids to learn. I think creationism can be viewed the same way. If it’s taught as a myth, in church or as comparative religion class, then it’s not harmful, and can help kids understand the world around them.

  • jenbo

    It drives me nearly INSANE that the writer could have replaced “Darwin” with “Jesus” and had a completely logical comment – how is it possible they didn’t see that glaring parallel? Its also telling that they honestly believe Darwin was the first and only investigator of evolutionary theory. There were groups of Greek philosophers long before Jesus who were astonishingly close to articulating the modern evolutionary theory…not to mention all those who have investigated the theory since….

  • jenbo

    At that comment, I died a little inside. They’re such lost causes.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s all well and good that all these people have beliefs, but beliefs are for church. Facts are for school. And Creationism isn’t fact, as these people right here admit to.

    But, hey. They wouldn’t be Christians if they actually cared about fact.

  • cipher

    To just believe what others tell you is foolish.

    I say it all the time: fundamentalists have no sense of irony.

  • Cynthia Almy Savage

    Good observation. People need to realize that there are inherent differences between conservatives and libs when it comes to decision making. They are hierarchical and they assume we are, too. We are open to new experiences and like to form opinions based on personal experience. We cannot assume conservatives are, too. They are not.

  • Jon Mummaw

    I think that Dupuy is making a distinction between creation myth and creationism. Mythology and story telling can be important guides to how we live in the world if children are taught both what a metaphor is and how we make a distinction between myth and reality.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Knowing that the evolution theory was brought to light by one
    man, a person just like us, named Darwin, justifies further
    investigation on our parts. He could only guess with little to no real
    facts about what a prudent and informed person cannot believe.

    You’ve had 150 years to investigate further. Why haven’t you? Meanwhile, a great many scientists have investigated further, and they have produced a great deal of evidence in favour of the evolutionary explanation, and reached a clear consensus about it long ago. Get your head out of your apse and get up to date on science.

  • Sue Blue

    Exactly. They can’t conceive of information that is not received from authority. Their information about the world is received from God and their pastor. It does not come from observation, evidence, and scientific consensus. Therefore, they think that Darwin is our prophet and evolutionary biologists his priests.


    Creationists simply do not grasp their own words. Perhaps without realizing it, they are stating that virtually everything we think we know about the life sciences, paleontology, geology, and astrophysics is wrong and, some bronze age goat herders, who thought they lived on a flat earth at the center of the universe…… it completely right.

  • Georgina Smyth

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if all those “its only a theory” people would climb onto a roof, pray, and then “prove” that the theory of gravity is “only a theory”?

    A theory explains the why and how of our physical universe. Theory can be wrong – but the facts it explains are not.

  • Joshua Allen

    The real problem is when a child goes off to college and leaves their parents, or in my case the church’s, protective nest. When you discover that all that you were taught was wrong, it can have a domino effect on your views of religion leading possibly to unbelief or worse, outright hostility to anything religious. Fortunately I had 4 years of undergraduate religion and philosophy studies to sort out what I believe and don’t believe about religion. But to many others that are not willing to invest the time, creationism is completely counter-intuitive to what the creationists wish to achieve, that is belief in their deity.

  • Joshua Allen

    I think you make an excellent distinction that the creationists miss. This is not about keeping religion out of schools. It’s a matter of proper education in the proper context. I think that we need to be taught religion in schools. BUT it needs to be taught in light of it’s history and it’s proper place, not put on the same level or domain as scientific principles. For instance, when discussing the creation story, it needs to be put in light of other creation myths that were circulated around at the same time and told that this is a “myth” i.e. the way a group of people understood the world in their time.

  • MasterD

    I’ve got no problem with creationism taught in schools – so long as it’s in a comparative mythology class.

  • midnight rambler

    The real problem is when a child goes off to college and leaves their
    parents, or in my case the church’s, protective nest. When you discover
    that all that you were taught was wrong, it can have a domino effect on
    your views of religion leading possibly to unbelief or worse, outright
    hostility to anything religious.

    Why is that a problem? You say that like it’s a bad thing.