On Fri, 27 Aug 1999 10:52:47 -0400 (EDT) G*rd*n <gcf at panix.com> writes:
>Max B. Sawicky:
>> Otherwise you are quite right. A concession on this issue could
>> be amply rewarded by something much more important in return.
>> After all, what's in question is not a national mandate to teach
>> creationism, but merely a ratification of what has always been
>> the case, more-or-less -- public education is locally controlled.
>> In this issue, it comes down to how much trust one puts in
>> popular democracy. Follow-up news reports have indicated
>> that Kansas teachers are going to go right on doing whatever
>> they were doing prior to this flap. ...
>I have read the news stories about this set of events only
>sporadically, but it is my impression that no one in Kansas
>is commanded not to teach evolution, but only that questions
>about evolution are to be removed from statewide tests,
>thus making the teaching of evolution optional rather than
>required, thus allowing those students who wish to believe
>in creationism or some other history of the world to
>continue in their belief. It is "the other side" who are
>scandalized that belief in evolution is not to be required
>by the State. It seems, then, that the theocratic shoe is
>actually on the other foot in this case.
I think that Gordon is quite wrong about this. Given the fact that teachers are under strong pressure to teach to the statewide tests anyway, the fact that references to evolution will be removed from such tests will make it much easier for fundamentalists at the local level to pressure their school boards to ensure that evolution will no longer be taught in the public schools.
In any case I know of no one who is arguing that "belief" in evolution or in any other scientific theory be required by the State. The reason for teaching evolution is biology classes is that at the current time it is the best supported (in terms of available empirical evidence) explanation for the diversity of living organisms.
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