I wouldn’t have thought it possible. In the South, maybe, but not in supposedly enlightened Chicagoland. But creationism is extending its tentacles into our area, trying, like Putin, to rear its ugly head in the public schools:
First, as the Daily Herald reports, two candidates for the Fremont School board (about an hour north of here) are in favor of teaching creationism in public school science classes. One is the current board president:
“I think from a scientific standpoint it can be given as a viewpoint,” board President Sandra Bickley said in the interview. “(It’s) another theory to consider.”
Fellow candidate Kim Hansen had a similar take on the controversial topic.
“It should be presented in a very broad type of curriculum or structure,” said Hansen, a first-time candidate.
And get this:
Bickley and Hansen were asked about creationism’s potential role in the school district’s curriculum toward the end of Monday’s candidate interviews.
Bickley called creationism “one set of theory” and thought it should be taught in science classes as part of a unit, although not necessarily promoted.
“It’s something out there,” she said. “I don’t think it’s something that should be ignored.”
Hansen also thought creationism belonged on public-school curriculums.
“There is no right or wrong” when it comes to people’s beliefs, she said.
Note the common trope that creationism is, like evolution, just a competing “theory.” And note as well the view that evolution is a “belief” and that such beliefs are neither “right nor wrong.” It’s this kind of populist postmodernism that throws me into despair. I don’t think it can be fixed with any amount of education in evolution: those views come straight from religion.
And if that’s not depressing enough, all four candidates for school board in nearby Lake Zurich favor instruction in creationism in public school science classes. That, too, is reported in The Daily Herald, and there’s so much fail here:
[Incumbent member Tony] Pietro believes creationism should be taught in science class to give students “as much information as possible” about the origins of life.
“I think we can say this is a theory,” he said Thursday. “None of us were here when man was created.”
When man was created? Sorry, there was no creation: we have the fossils showing our gradual evolution from apelike ancestors. The fail: misunderstanding of theory and acceptance of the common notion that evidence is only meaningful if we can see things happening before our eyes. (Does Pietro accept the existence of Napoleon?)
When the court rulings on the issue were mentioned, Pietro didn’t waver.
“When we teach (it), we need to say this is a theory,” he said.
Wallace took an even stronger stance on the issue.
“Creationism to me is factual,” he said. “Darwinism is a theory.”
As for court rulings against teaching creationism in science classes, Wallace said people must work within the law or change it.
The fail: misunderstanding of the word “theory” as it’s used scientifically, complete ignorance of the massive evidence for evolution, and the belief that the Bible is factual. Religion again, of course.
[Doug] Goldberg also emphatically supported adding creationism to the science curriculum.
“I’m a good, God-fearing American and the answer is ‘Yes,’” he said. “Clearly, religion in general is a big part of our daily lives as Americans. I believe that allowing a student to be exposed to the theory of creationism is a relevant and reasonable thing to do.”
Goldberg said he “hadn’t studied the legal ramifications” of the issue.
The fail: ignorance of the First Amendment and of the many court cases that explicit prohibit what Goldberg wants. Note, too, the adjective “God-fearing”. It’s never “God-loving,” is it? Teach creationism or you’ll boil for eternity in molten sulfur.
But the worst is the intellectual cowardice of another incumbent, who accepts evolution but wants creationism taught to the kids—even though it’s wrong:
[Jim] Burke also said “yes,” but not as enthusiastically as the other candidates. He acknowledged scientific evidence supports evolution.
“It’s not a belief, it’s proven fact,” Burke said. “I would hate to see the line between those two things blurred.”
If teaching creationism in science classes is unconstitutional, officials shouldn’t try to get around the law, he added.
The only thing that stands between the school children and their inculcation with the ideas of Gish, Comfort, and Dumbski is the courts. And the issue will never go away in America until religion does.