Funding child abuse: US taxpayers will give nearly $1 billion this year to subsidize private Christian schools that teach creationism instead of science to our nation’s children.
Politico reports taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition vouchers for private religious schools teaching that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.
Even more alarming, a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the public investment in educational programs hostile to science, and the secular values upon which this nation was founded.
According to the report, “many of these faith-based schools go beyond teaching the biblical story of the six days of creation as literal fact… Their course materials nurture disdain of the secular world, distrust of momentous discoveries and hostility toward mainstream scientists…
They often distort basic facts about the scientific method — teaching, for instance, that theories such as evolution are by definition highly speculative because they haven’t been elevated to the status of ‘scientific law…”
Many reasonable individuals understand that teaching children creationism as a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is a form of child abuse, including Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, bestselling author and advocate for science education.
Krauss, a professor of physics and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, claims that teaching children creationism or Intelligent Design is a “mild” form of child abuse. While it is clear that teaching creationism to children is not on the same level of abuse as sexual or physical assault, it should still be considered abusive because it puts children at a disadvantage.
“If you’re introducing it (creationism or Intelligent Design) as reality, if you’re telling your kids the world is 6,000 years old, and they shouldn’t believe scientists because there is no way humans are related to other animals, and don’t believe any of that stuff you learned in school, or take you kids of out of school because they are learning something, then it is like the Taliban at some level, which is an extreme form of child abuse.”
Voucher programs represent a cynical and dangerous attempt to use taxpayer money to promote Christian fundamentalism. Using taxpayer money to promote religious superstition and dogma is wrong. Teaching creationism as science is wrong. Such an education ultimately harms children by painting a false and misleading picture of reality.
“Science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe in science, then you’re holding everybody back. And it’s fine if you as an adult want to run around pretending or claiming that you don’t believe in evolution, but if we educate a generation of people who don’t believe in science, that’s a recipe for disaster. We talk about the Internet. That comes from science. Weather forecasting. That comes from science. The main idea in all of biology is evolution. To not teach it to our young people is wrong.”
― Bill Nye