Saturday, June 13, 2009

Loon star state


The creationists in Texas and elsewhere continue their efforts to dumb down science education standards in the U. S. so as to allow the teaching of religion-based pseudoscience. (The graph above shows acceptance of evolution by the citizens of 34 developed nations. Click to enlarge.) The new strategy is to "teach all sides of the issue" so as to develop "critical thinking" among the students. I mean, who could object to that?

Well, no one really, except that it will allow an opening for poorly informed and religiously-motivated teachers to use the science classroom to indoctrinate students who themselves do not have the training or the knowledge to evaluate evidence.

Who has the superior ability to evaluate evidence? Eighth grade students, or the international professional scientific community?

Before we start changing the curriculm and textbooks, school committee members should be required to do this simple exercise. Take a year's worth of Science and Nature, say, the two most respected and comprehensive international journals of science. Count every article or research report that invokes evolution. Then count every article or research report that invokes creationism or intelligent design.

When the first glimmer of creationism or intelligent design appears in the peer-reviewed, professional scientific literature, that will be the time to teach all sides of the issue.