Why is This Public High School Biology Teacher Showing His Classes a Video of Kent Hovind Teaching Creationism?

What would you do if your son came home from his public school and asked you, “Dad, do you know who Kent Hovind is?”

Besides telling him, “A guy who’s in jail because of tax evasion,” you might bring up that he’s a shameless promoter of Young Earth Creationism. And what caused your son to ask you that question, anyway?

It turns out his Biology teacher was showing them clips from Hovind’s pro-Creationism video “Lies in the Textbooks” (full sermon below):

Actual screenshot from ‘Lies in the Textbooks’

That’s what happened to one of this site’s readers — let’s call him “Bob” for the sake of anonymity — and he spoke with the Concord High School teacher the following day (Darwin Day, ironically enough) to figure out his motivations and intentions.

In their conversation, teacher Ryan Culp admitted to being a Young Earth Creationist, adding that:

… the law does allow for you to bring in [Creationism], but it can’t be over like half of what the information is and obviously you can’t teach really either [evolution or Creationism] as truth.

In Culp’s mind, the law says you can teach Creationism in science class, as long as it’s no more than 49% of the material. That’s pure fiction, of course, akin to saying you can show “The Flintstones” as a documentary as long as it’s only half the class period.

We’re lucky that Bob knew how to handle the situation. He informed the Freedom From Religion Foundation along with other church/state separation groups and FFRF sent a letter to the Concord Community Schools (in Indiana) days later:

Not only can evolution absolutely be taught as reality in a science class, the law could not be more clear that creationism cannot be taught, no matter the amount of time that is dedicated to it. If Mr. Culp did use Kent Hovind’s video series to introduce creationism to his biology students, that act amounts to a serious constitutional violation.

If Mr. Culp is unable to appreciate the difference between a legitimate scientific theory and a theory based solely on the bible, then he is not fit to be a science teacher. If he does appreciate the difference between the relative scientific merit of evolution and creationism, yet still insists on injecting his personal religious beliefs into the District-approved curriculum, then he is not fit to be a teacher at all.

FFRF is asking the district to look into his teaching of Creationism, correct him if there’s a misunderstanding, and take disciplinary action if appropriate.

Kudos to the father here for handling this situation just beautifully. He spoke with the teacher privately first before alerting watchdog groups. Meanwhile, his anonymity — and, more importantly, his son’s — is shielded from the public’s eye, at least for now.

I’ll let you know when there are further updates to this story.

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.


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