A reasonable teacher should refuse to teach myths in science classes.
In 2005, the science teachers in a Dover-area (Pennsylvania) high school did refuse.
While a federal court was hearing the case, the voters elected a pro-evolution school board.
The teachers won in court.
The unintelligent folk who wanted the public schools to teach their myth left town determined to evolve their Creationist myth further and try again.
Visit FFRF (Freedom from Religion Foundation) to follow the story.
I have several books by Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennet, and others, and I had read in one or two of them about the Dover case. Victor Stenger said in, Has Science Found God, I believe it was, that if the Creationists had a good laywer they could probably get Creationism into the school system science classes. And like I said in another post, Creationism is already being taught in schools all across the nation in many states, on our tax dollars !
The creationists need a better lawyer, or another Republican appointee on SCOTUS.
Actually, a course in "intelligent design" would be very short. All a teacher would have to say is that "God did it," and then go on to teach evolution.
The whole "teach the controversy" business is a load of horse manure. The level of controversy about evolution as the mechanism which gave rise to the diversity of life on this planet is about as controversial as that between astronomy vs. astrology or chemistry vs. alchemy.
If some creation scientist could make so much as ONE PREDICTION based on their limp-dick hypothesis, it would be one thing ... but what kind of prediction can you make from "goddidit"?!?
Thanks for the new term to use when arguing with religious nutters Loren. I like "limp-dick hypothesis".
IF the law finally is amended in America to say that science classes have to "teach the controversy," then we should allow it totally in the only way possible to allow it. This is how it would go. Take the popular "holy books" of the world and you teach ALL of the creation myths contained in them. That's right. All of the creation myths. Teach these (even if briefly) along side of evolution.
Watch the christian cry and complain and say that this "is not fair." But why would that christian deserve any special treatment here? All of creationism could be mentioned briefly and then go on into evolution. This is fair because school is not a place for your holy book just like it is not a place for prayer. Teach the creationism of one and all, or teach none.
If it is decided that this is too much to do, then cite the above as the reason why you cannot "teach the controvery" and be done with this idiotic idea once and for all!
First class legal thinking, Michael.
The government entities (school boards, etc) that would require the teaching of all creation myths would be able to tell the judge(s), "We didn't want to violate the content-neutrality rule."
It's never too early to begin teaching children the skills of critical thinking -- they will, in fact, try to learn it on their own as they strive to figure out how the world works. If we ground them early in how better to determine what is true, and not merely preach to them what we think is true, they will naturally develop their own little bullshit meters. And so equipped, children would not be endangered by teaching about creationism or turtle island or voodoo in classes on mythology or social studies or many other venues where they may be relevant. But it is as important to avoid epistemological relativism -- that any idea is as good as any other. That requires categorization -- this is science and here's how it works, and this is myth and here is it's history, etc.
I often, and disconcertingly, hear from parents and teachers something like, "Childhood is a time for 'magic', and we shouldn't strip from children their innocent sense of wonder. That will happen soon enough as they mature, and forcing it too early could quash their creativity and rob them of that brief moment." I find such argument specious; it presumes that wonder and reason are mutually exclusive, which is just not the case. Prof. Richard Dawkins addresses this in his wonderful children's book "The Magic of Reality", in which he presents the fun and poetry of old myths and relates them to what we now know from science. The implication is that trying honestly to understand what is true vastly expands the scope of our innate sense of awe and wonder. Far from stifling creativity, reason and science loosen the bonds that limit it.
School has been called the "church of reason" (Pirsig), but this needn't mean that mythology is an illegitimate subject. It's not legitimate science, and shouldn't be equated with it, but it is a large part of the human condition, and a useful frame in which to measure our progress (or regress) in what we take to be true.
The problem with allowing this particular mythology into schools is that the there are so many evangelicals in influential positions from PTA to governor who want it taught as The Truth, or at least the equivalent of any other epistemology. This is where we who value reality must speak out if we intend to keep our kids undeluded -- down in the trenches as individual parents, PTA members, school board members, local officials ... We have to ensure that IF godthink is in schools it is taught as mythology, not legitimate epistemology -- certainly not as alternative science.
As I implied above, I think that outright banning of religious thought from schools is counterproductive. Pretending that it doesn't exist does kids no favors when they live in a society suffused with religion, and it's probably not good to set it up as some seductive 'forbidden fruit', given the admirable propensity of kids to rebel. It just needs to be put firmly in its place, and that place is ancient mythology -- the epistemology of ancient tribes that may or may not have benefitted them, but has since failed as a means to approach reality.
Unfortunately, it usually comes down to a perceived zero-sum political game where a 'win' for 'them' is a 'loss' for 'us'. And so as the fundamentalists push for Biblical 'Truth' to be included, we push back with the big stick of the constitution. All sides are pissed off, and the kids lose an opportunity for perspective. Sometimes I think that nobody over 15 should be allowed to serve on a school board.