Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Truth of Science is Not Determined by Public Opinion

In a sleepless bout of late night web surfing, I ran across this:

Let’s get the easy criticisms out of the way first. Yes, she does believe evolution is a myth. No, she did not answer the question (but that’s normal for politicians). A national education standard is not a violation of the constitution. And letting local school systems decide what should be taught is a terrible idea.

For those schooled in logic, yes I am about to invoke the slippery slope argument. I don’t think it’s out of place though, because the slippery slope is their agenda. While it may be bad logic to say “because A happens then B will happen”, It’s not necessarily bad logic to say “They want A to happen because it enables B to happen.”  The slippery slope does sometimes happen.

Only a creationist would argue this. It’s the same rehashed party line nonsense that’s been coming from the right (google “State’s Rights”), but this is a frightening turn for it. The problem is that some parts of the country are more fundamentalist than others, and this policy, if it came to pass, would enable those parts of the country to begin teaching religion (read “creationism”) in schools. Creationism is religion. There is no scientific basis for stating that a higher power created the earth and mankind. That science cannot explain everything is a poor excuse to interject religion into federally funded schools. People, Kansas would jump on this in a heartbeat, and I have to live here.

Allowing local schools to determine their own standards could lead to all kinds of nonsense. Would this policy still make sense if a local school system in rural Kansas decided Algebra was too hard, and it was no longer necessary? That’s what she’s arguing for, the right to do that. A national standard for education is not a bad thing.

Once again, there are not two sides to this argument. There is science, and what people believe with no evidence (e.g. not science). In science class, you teach science, not not science. If we can prove there was a big bang, but we cannot say what caused it, then the schools teach that there was a big bang, and that we cannot definitively say what caused it. You don’t say “God” because we don’t know!

The answer is simple here. Teach science in science class, teach religion in Sunday school. If we don’t know what caused life to begin, teach what we do know in science class. Teach them that “God did it” on Sunday morning.

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