I’ve certainly ranted enough already about why teaching Intelligent Design in science class is, well… stupid. Science would be the only class where students would find that as an alternative to learning and exploring really complicated things they could just attribute it all to magic. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Of course it’s no surprise that our science-challenged President supports teaching ID. (But hey, he thinks tax cuts are an economic policy.) However, just in time for the 2008 elections, Republicans are doing some interesting flip-flopping. First Frist flips (say that 10 times fast) on stem cell research. And now Santorum flops on teaching ID. The good news is that these guys are obviously thinking that they can’t be elected by only the religious conservatives. They need to appeal to a broader audience. The bad news is they are not only morons, they’re spineless morons.
In other news, just when you thought it was safe to go to Texas, out comes this little gem. (Sorry, I think you have to register for this site). Texas has evaded the whole ID in science debate by creating an elective public school course on bible study. It’s supposed to be taught from a secular point of view, but that clearly is not how it’s manifesting. The curriculum says,
“The central approach of the class is simply to study the Bible as a foundation document of society, and that approach is altogether appropriate in a comprehensive program of secular education.”
Yet in one unit the course cites supposed NASA findings to suggest that the earth stopped twice in its orbit, in support of the literal truth of the biblical text that the sun stood still in Joshua and II Kings. In another unit, the course asserts that the bible was the blueprint for the American Constitution. I bet Thomas Jefferson and the boys would get a good chuckle out of that one.
It may surprise you to learn that I completely support teaching religions in school. But they (yes, there are many of them) should be taught from a cultural perspective, not a theological one. Understanding the similarities and differences of belief systems, and the influence religions have on culture is a virtual necessity to live in this world. And I think schools are remiss for not teaching it. My fear is that the reality of allowing such courses in schools always seems to turn out more like the Texas debacle. It’s a little like communism. It’s a great theory, it just doesn’t work in practicality.