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Religion In Schools

August 1, 2010

During my school years, I took several biology courses but was never taught evolution.  It was a real pity, a tragedy really.  When I learned about evolution and Darwin on my own, I was angry.  I should have been taught the origin of species, the age of the Earth, the origin of the solar system, and the basics of Big Bang cosmology during my high school years, but was I?  No.  Instead, I left school believing there was nothing wrong with the creation myths I’d learned as a young boy in Sunday school.

In Texas, creationists have succeeded in getting the Bible into schools.

WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) – The school year is almost here, and if literature of the Bible is not already offered in your child’s school, it will be this fall.

“By the end of the year, what they begin to realize is that it is pervasive. You can’t get away from it. The kids came back and were like ‘It’s everywhere,'” said John Keeling, the social studies chair at Whitehouse High School. Whitehouse already offers a Bible elective. “The purpose of a course like this isn’t even really to get kids to believe it, per se, it is just to appreciate the profound impact that it has had on our history and on our government.”

The law actually passed in 2007, but this will be the first school year it is enforced because the bill says, “The provisions of this act pertaining to a school district do not take effect until the 2009-2010 school year.”

“I think it is a good thing because a lot of kids don’t have that experience, and they already want to take prayer out of school as it is, and you see where our kids are ending up!” said Tyler resident Laura Tucker.

Tyler resident, Havis Tatum, disagrees with Tucker.

“I don’t want anybody teaching their religious beliefs to my child unless they want to send their child to my house and let me teach them my religious views,” said Tatum. “There is no difference.”

I’m worried where this is headed.  School is supposed to teach us established science and facts.  It’s not about people’s arbitrary beliefs which aren’t empirically verifiable.  School is supposed to filter out everything but provable scientific truths.  It’s not about presenting “all sides”.  This is ludicrous.  Why not offer a course telling kids that we were created by little green aliens?  We have to present every belief system after all.

The main problem is there are no “sides”.  We’re just as sure of evolution as we are that the Earth goes around the Sun.  It’s a fact, not a theory, and needs to be taught as such.  If you were to line up all biologists, anthropologists, and experts in genetics in the same room and ask them, “If you believe in evolution by natural selection come to this side of the room.  If you have another belief system, stay where you are”, all but maybe a handful would join you at the other side of the room.  Nobody who has seriously considered the evidence can believe otherwise.

I don’t want children to end up wasting years of their lives believing in nonsense.  I believed a lot of that junk for a large portion of my life, and that’s sad. I’ve experienced far too much tension from my own family regarding religion.  These things are dividing us and they shouldn’t be.

I hope our schools don’t end up like they’re becoming in Australia.  Just listen to how ridiculous things get when religion finds its way into our classrooms:

PRIMARY school students are being taught that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together and that there is fossil evidence to prove it.

Fundamentalist Christians are hijacking Religious Instruction (RI) classes in Queensland despite education experts saying Creationism and attempts to convert children to Christianity have no place in state schools.

Students have been told Noah collected dinosaur eggs to bring on the Ark, and Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell. [ …. ]

Set Free Christian Church’s Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data.

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said teachers were sometimes compelled to supervise the instructors “because of all the fire and brimstone stuff”.  [….]

Buddhist Council of Queensland president Jim Ferguson said he was so disturbed that Creationism was being aired in state school classrooms that he would bring it up at the next meeting of the Religious Education Advisory Committee, part of Education Queensland.

He said RI was supposed to be a forum for multi-faith discussion.  [….]

A parent of a Year 5 student on the Sunshine Coast said his daughter was ostracised to the library after arguing with her scripture teacher about DNA.

“The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve,” he said.

“My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that ‘wouldn’t they all be inbred’?

“But the teacher replied that DNA wasn’t invented then.”

After the parent complained, the girl spent the rest of the year’s classes in the library.

This is terrible.  Here we have a bright girl who has studied DNA and the fossil record and she’s being kicked out of the classroom.  She doesn’t believe in protective spells and questions how mankind could exist without DNA.  How did Adam and Eve have a child without DNA?  That’s impossible.  And how could you possibly teach kids all the cellular processes which go on in our bodies, and then tell them that Adam and Eve didn’t have DNA?

This poor girl is forced to spend each day in the library alone, alienated from all her peers.  As for the rest of them, they’re all being told they’ll burn in hell if they don’t acknowledge Jesus as the creator of the world.

We have to fight against this.  The world has way too much superstition as it is.

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