March 25, 2014

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.

According to Krauss:

“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.”

Krauss is right. Religious myth and superstition have no place in the science classroom.  Voucher programs use taxpayer money to fund the abuse of innocent children by allowing religious superstition and dogma to pass for science education.

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

Teaching creationism is child abuse
March 17, 2016

Deception for Jesus: Alabama promotes Biblical creationism by instructing public school students to question evolution.

Last week, in a disappointing assault on scientific truth, the Alabama State Board of Education unanimously voted to continue the deplorable practice of installing a one-page disclaimer in public school biology textbooks encouraging students to doubt the validity of evolution.

The disclaimer informs students that the theory of evolution is “controversial.” However, the claim that the theory evolution is controversial is simply false. The theory of evolution is not controversial, instead, the theory is the foundation of modern biology.

The disclaimer reads in part:

 

The theory of evolution by natural selection is a controversial theory that is included in this textbook. It is controversial because it states that natural selection provides the basis for the modern scientific explanation for the diversity of living things. Since natural selection has been observed to play a role in influencing small changes in a population, it is assumed that it produces large changes, even though this has not been directly observed. Because of its importance and implications, students should understand the nature of evolutionary theories. They should learn to make distinctions between the multiple meanings of evolution, to distinguish between observations and assumptions used to draw conclusions, and to wrestle with the unanswered questions and unresolved problems still faced by evolutionary theory.

To be clear: The theory of evolution by natural selection is not a controversial theory.

The insert is a clear attempt to promote creationist dogma while also making the unwarranted suggestion that there is some question concerning the validity of evolution.

Previously the Associated Press reported that the disclaimer was advocated for by conservative Christians, which should come as no surprise, since it is only religious extremists who object to the teaching of evolution.

The evolution disclaimer that is required to be inserted into every public school biology textbook in Alabama is wrong and unethical. The disclaimer is a despicable attempt to promote religious superstition, and has no place in science education, and no place in a public school.

Bottom line: Claiming that evolution is a “controversial theory” is dishonest, and amounts to educational malpractice, and a subtle form of intellectual child abuse.

(Image via Facebook)
(Image via Facebook)
September 21, 2015

Despite new science standards, Alabama biology textbooks continue to promote the false idea that evolution is a “controversial theory” in an underhanded attempt to promote Biblical creationism.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that Alabama had finally updated its science standards to require that students understand and learn about evolution, which is good news.

However, buried in that good news was also an acknowledgement of a “sticker” that the state requires to be placed on all its biology textbooks, a sticker telling students that evolution is a “controversial theory,” not a fact.

The sticker, which has appeared in Alabama textbooks since 2001, is a one-page insert placed in the front or back cover of every biology textbook a child reads in public schools in the state of Alabama.

The evolution disclaimer reminds students that “no one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life’s origins should be considered as theory, not fact.” Claims clearly meant to confuse and bamboozle children, in a desperate attempt to make plausible the ridiculous claims of biblical creationists.

The disclaimer also suggests students “keep an open mind,” and remember that “[t]here are many unanswered questions about the origin of life not mentioned in your textbook,” again  suggesting that there is some doubt about evolution, when there is none.

Read a copy of the disclaimer:

Alabama Textbooks Include This Evolution Insert “Sticker” by Newsweek

The insert is a clear attempt to promote creationist dogma while also making the unwarranted suggestion that there is some question concerning the validity of evolution.

Claiming that evolution is a “controversial theory” is dishonest, and amounts to educational malpractice, and a subtle form of intellectual child abuse.

The Associated Press reports the disclaimer was advocated for by conservative Christians, which should come as no surprise, since it is only religious extremists who object to teaching evolution.

The evolution disclaimer that is required to be inserted into every Alabama biology textbook is wrong and unethical. The disclaimer is a despicable attempt to leave the door open for religious superstition, and has no place in science education, and no place in a public school.

A committee that will review science texts could consider whether to remove or alter the stickers, officials said. A public hearing is set for Nov. 9 in Montgomery. Let’s hope they do the right thing, and get rid of the dishonest and deceptive stickers.

(H/T Newsweek)

Jesus rides a dinosaur (Image via Facebook)
Jesus rides a dinosaur (Image via Facebook)
August 22, 2014

Ohio Republicans are pushing a bill through the state legislature that would allow intelligent design (creationism) to be taught alongside evolution in public school science classrooms.

Ohio’s HB 597 was quietly introduced in the House of Representatives last month under the guise of repealing Common Core educational standards. However, the bill is an anti-science trojan horse that poses a threat to students and science education in Ohio.

If enacted, HB 597 would allow local school districts to teach creationism alongside evolution, and global warming denial alongside climate science.

The bill would require that state’s science standards “prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.”

Republican State Rep. Andy Thompson told The Plain Dealer that the clause prohibiting “political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another” prevents teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate.

Thompson said the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best, allowing “intelligent design” and creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as well as varying views on the age of the earth and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.

Whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time?

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is working to stop the Ohio anti-science bill, and encouraging Ohioans to reach out to their legislators and ask that the anti-science provisions be blocked or removed.

The assumption that creationism, or intelligent design, constitutes a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is simply false. Religious myth and superstition have no place in the science classroom. Teaching children creationism as a legitimate scientific alternative to the theory of evolution is a form of child abuse and should not be tolerated.

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