Anti-Science is Dangerous....

Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse is launching another attack on reality after losing his battle last year to have Indiana science teachers teach creationism as science.  His new attempt coming from the creationist institute ironically known as the Discovery Institute is the equally ironically titled Truth in Education Law.  It would require a teacher to provide “proof” to a student who questions the teacher because the knowledge violates what the student believes.  Kruse must think that students are not asking questions in the classroom.  What this new proposal will mandate is that the teacher could be forced to jump through the ridiculous hoops of a student who denies the evidence that so clearly exists for the so-called controversial topics of evolution or global warming.

In Kitzmiller vs Dover School District the court rules that Intelligent Design, a modern repackaging of Creationism is not science.  In fact the main proponent of the idea of Irreducible Complexity,  Michael Behe, said there is no theory of Intelligent Design, no peer reviewed articles on the topic and no mechanism for how it works.  Behe, a biochemist and a darling of the creationist crowd, basically destroyed the argument that there is any science in the ideas he promotes. 

But what is worse is that this is an attack on the very profession of education.  Leave aside the fact that science education is important and that the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection and the theories surrounding the fact that the planet is warming are highly studied and that all but a handful of scientists agree in the major questions involved.  In fact there are few true scientists that have done research that refute the major tenets of either of these scientific areas and the only ones who do it seem to be for religious reasons in the case of evolution and financial ones in the case of global warming or climate change in general.  When politicians want to force teachers to respond the emotional dreck that oozes from the mouths of radio talk show hosts and other cranks we have destroyed education.

This is not about questioning.  Right now in every classroom everywhere that good education is taking place students can ask questions and in many cases truly challenge the teacher on facts.  But that only goes so far.  A student who brings up mythology as a response to science or a political talking point as a way of challenging a fact should not be given the power to force the teacher to have to bring more to the class to refute it.  This law would allow the a student to force a teacher to prove the moon is not hollow, an idea promoted by UFO enthusiasts and ancient alien so-called theorist.  Imagine a discussion of tides and a student not believing the moon causes tides (remember one crank de tuti cranky Bill O'reilly once said he didn't know what causes tides) in part because it couldn't do what we see it does if it were hallow.  Can you prove to me that the moon is not hallow.  I can link to a dozen websites that says even NASA thinks it is hallow.

Putting one's religion or politics above education is a tragedy if it is allowed in the public schools.  I have friends who see the Bible as the unerring word of God, and in that must believe that we were created in the form we are today and evolution doesn't work for them.  Many of them are clear in their conviction and I can't fully fault them.  I wish they would see God as I do and not have to rely on the Bible as a science and history book when it was written as Divine Poetry.  Even an 11th century commentator, centuries before Darwin lived, indicated that the story of creation is a story of unfolding and that all potential was created on the first day and the on-going creation is God's vision of a universe that continues to develop, change and uncover wonder.  But my friends don't lie to me in such discussions of what the Bible means and what the facts of evolution are or are not.

Too often the voices of places like the Discovery Institute will lie about the facts of evolution, cloaking it in the words of science, say things that are blatantly and knowingly false.  They will try to discredit evolution by trying to link it to horrors of humankind like the Shoah or other dictatorial genocides.  They will focus on the ignorance of the many when it comes to scientific practice and say things like Evolution or Climate Change are "just theories".  With Evolution they will say there are other theories out there.  No there are not.  There is the Theory of Evolution and then nothing else rises to the level of theory on the subject.  There is fantasy, mythology, conjecture and lies, but no theories.  The entity of biological science in the modern world is based on the very facts the Theory of Evolution explains.

There are many reasons to allow educators to educate.  We gain more from an educated population than one forced to follow the grinding silliness of a politician with an agenda.  In the case of Kruse and his stupid truth in education law we can see Indiana education run backwards, just remember there was a time when science was seen as evil and even witchcraft.  There is too much wrong with the world to allow that to happen to appease a religio-political agenda.  Besides, Hogwarts is not really and there are no wizards Dennis.


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