Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#1  Postby DoctorE » Nov 21, 2014 10:15 am



MOVES to ban the study of creationism in Scottish schools have been criticised as "dangerous" by headteachers.

The attack came after the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament calling for new government guidance on the issue.

The society believes schools should not be allowed to present the belief that the universe originates from acts of divine creation as a viable alternative to established science.

However, Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland (SLS), which represents secondary headteachers, said schools were fully aware of the need to protect pupils from "extremist" views.

In a letter to Holyrood's public petitions committee he said banning the teaching of a particular topic would set a dangerous precedent.

"We do not feel this is a serious issue for schools, despite the inflammatory rhetoric frequently used by the petitioners," the letter states.

"Speaking on behalf of secondary schools, we feel there are enough checks and balances already within the system to prevent extremist views being perpetrated.

"It is, we feel, always dangerous to identify particular views, whatever they be, and take the approach that is being suggested here."

The intervention was welcomed by Rev David Robertson, the next Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.

He said: "This demonstrates the SSS are simply trying to scaremonger and we hope our MSPs have the sense not to give in."

However, Spencer Fildes, chairman of the SSS, said creationist organisations were already attempting "with some success" to penetrate schools.

Continues: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/educ ... s.25925821
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#2  Postby hackenslash » Nov 21, 2014 10:16 am

I don't think Ken Ham is particularly cunning...
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#3  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 21, 2014 3:44 pm

Creationism should be dealt with in Religious Education - it is a long and well-documented part of our history and it represents the belief of a significant number of people on the planet today.

If the SSS say that Creationism should be excluded from a Religious Education curriculum, I disagree strongly. I also question their objectives - if they hope to see a more secular society, then children learning that people all over the world have different, conflicting beliefs that they conceive of as true is essential towards at least appreciating that society should provide an equal platform for everyone, and even more likely having them question their own religious traditions via comparison.

Personally, I think studying R.E. more likely leads to secular principles than the pure presentation of science could ever achieve.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#4  Postby Willie71 » Nov 21, 2014 5:27 pm

I have no problem with creationism being taught in science class, but not as creationists want it taught. It should be taught with the expectation of the application of the scientific process, and let the students should evaluate how poorly it meets the criterion for science. This would be a great lesson.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#5  Postby Griz_ » Nov 21, 2014 5:42 pm

DoctorE wrote:
"Speaking on behalf of secondary schools, we feel there are enough checks and balances already within the system to prevent extremist views being perpetrated.



I would classify teaching Creationism as fact to be an "extremist view".

To me it's all about the context in which it is taught. I am in agreement with Spearthrower, I don't object to Creationism being taught in a Religious Education class any more than I would object to teaching about Egyptian gods in a History class and while I long for the day that Yahweh is relegated to History class, we aren't there yet.

I also think that Religious Education is very important. It exposes students to the fact that not everyone believes in the same god and that some don't believe it at all. Education about people you disagree with is a very good thing.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#6  Postby Shrunk » Nov 21, 2014 5:54 pm

I have mixed feelings on that. Of course, I agree that creationism has no place in science class, just as flat earth theory has no place in geography and David Icke's ideas no place in history class. That's because those ideas are wrong, and school's shouldn't be teaching students stuff that is wrong. But I remain uncomfortable with giving government the power to determine which scientific ideas should be considered valid.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#7  Postby Evolving » Nov 21, 2014 6:43 pm

Somebody has to determine it (unless you are going to leave it to the market), and isn't it better if it's someone who is elected and accountable?
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#8  Postby Willie71 » Nov 21, 2014 8:11 pm

Griz_ wrote:
DoctorE wrote:
"Speaking on behalf of secondary schools, we feel there are enough checks and balances already within the system to prevent extremist views being perpetrated.



I would classify teaching Creationism as fact to be an "extremist view".

To me it's all about the context in which it is taught. I am in agreement with Spearthrower, I don't object to Creationism being taught in a Religious Education class any more than I would object to teaching about Egyptian gods in a History class and while I long for the day that Yahweh is relegated to History class, we aren't there yet.

I also think that Religious Education is very important. It exposes students to the fact that not everyone believes in the same god and that some don't believe it at all. Education about people you disagree with is a very good thing.



Griz, don't you know its only the other people's religious views that are "extremist." Christians are peaceful, loving people. :lol: :roll: :crazy:
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#9  Postby Shrunk » Nov 21, 2014 9:32 pm

Evolving wrote:Somebody has to determine it (unless you are going to leave it to the market), and isn't it better if it's someone who is elected and accountable?


No. It's better if it's someone who's informed.

ideally, the gov't should leave it to an expert panel, and then rubber stamp whatever decision the panel makes. And, sure, that means the gov't gets to decide who the "experts" are. But, remember, it's not always obvious to everyone that expert opinon should be acknowledged.

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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#10  Postby Wimsey » Nov 21, 2014 9:47 pm

The problem is not the specific matter being banned, but the fact of government banning any subject matter.

However, government can - and certainly should! - make sure that public school departments and boards are staffed with competent people. Let the science teachers decide what they'll teach in science class, history teachers decide on the history curriculum, geography teachers decide what to present in geography lessons.
If the people want religious ideas introduced into schools, then teach "mythology", "philosophy" or "culture" as a separate subject and let the teachers choose appropriate material for that class.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#11  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 21, 2014 9:52 pm

Wimsey wrote:The problem is not the specific matter being banned, but the fact of government banning any subject matter.


I'd say a state run education has to have good reasons for including topics in a curriculum - it's not like kids study every single idea in every field; there just isn't the time.


Wimsey wrote:However, government can - and certainly should! - make sure that public school departments and boards are staffed with competent people. Let the science teachers decide what they'll teach in science class, history teachers decide on the history curriculum, geography teachers decide what to present in geography lessons.


That doesn't seem remotely plausible to me - there has to be some standard education, not just the idiosyncrasies and pet topics of particular teachers... and that's coming from a teacher with over 10 years experience. I could happily digress onto topics of my choosing, but would I be serving the students? Teachers need to be good at teaching, not devising curriculum standards.


Wimsey wrote:If the people want religious ideas introduced into schools, then teach "mythology", "philosophy" or "culture" as a separate subject and let the teachers choose appropriate material for that class.


Again, I think this is a terrible idea. For example, a Christian teacher wants to teach all the other religions as mythology but doesn't include their own.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#12  Postby Griz_ » Nov 21, 2014 10:10 pm

Again, I'll bring up context. I was taught about the burning of witches but the belief in witches was not given credibility or taught that it was in any way factual. Likewise with the beliefs in the Mayan or Greek gods. The context was very clearly that these were things than people believed and that those beliefs impacted society history and culture. All of that belongs in History. When teaching about beliefs that are currently being practiced by large numbers of people and which effect the world we live in, that belongs in the realm of Religious Education. Science ought to be reserved for what we actually know or what science tells us is extremely likely or probable based upon the scientific method and this is a dynamic field. The lines can be blurry and this is really the topic at hand. A few hundred years ago they would have taught about witches in Science class.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#13  Postby Wimsey » Nov 21, 2014 10:23 pm


Wimsey - The problem is not the specific matter being banned, but the fact of government banning any subject matter.

Spearthrower -
I'd say a state run education has to have good reasons for including topics in a curriculum - it's not like kids study every single idea in every field; there just isn't the time.

State-run education isn't the same as a particular government, and banning isn't the same as inclusion.

Nor can you have a curriculum made of the pet topics of politicians - who bend with every poll. Their job is to pass legislation demanded by their constituents, no matter how well- or ill- informed those constituents may be.
The politicians can pass a law prohibiting teachers from hitting their students with pointers, or forcing doctors to report STD cases. But they're as clueless about the current state of any high-school subject as they are about the treatment of gonorrhea - they're not remotely qualified to make any decisions about the content of each year's material in each subject.
But they are uniquely qualified to do enormous damage, on a political wind.

That's why I said competent staff in both schools and on boards of education. What's taught in public schools isn't usually made up by individual teachers. Standards and unit goals are set, examinations composed, training and hiring of teachers conducted, textbooks and teaching aids selected, curriculum compiled, by committees of highly trained educators. I was using "teachers" as a collective terms for professional educators.
Spearthrower -
That doesn't seem remotely plausible to me - there has to be some standard education, not just the idiosyncrasies and pet topics of particular teachers... and that's coming from a teacher with over 10 years experience.

Then you are familiar with the organization already in place in most countries. Would you really like to have an MP come in dictate the content of your lectures?

Make the appropriate laws; create effective departments, and leave them to do their job.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#14  Postby minininja » Nov 21, 2014 10:42 pm

Here's an example of the 'science' taught by Accelerated Christian Education schools:

Scientists have known for years that snowflakes are shaped in six-sided, or hexagonal, patterns. But why is this? Some scientists have theorised that the electrons within a water molecule follow three orbital paths that are positioned at 60° angles to one another. Since a circle contains 360°, this electronic relationship causes the water molecule to have six ‘spokes’ radiating from a hub (the nucleus). When water vapour freezes in the air, many water molecules link up to form the distinctive six-sided snowflakes and the hexagonal pattern is quite evident.

Snowflakes also contain small air pockets between their spokes. These air pockets have a higher oxygen content than does normal air. Magnetism has a stronger attraction for oxygen than for other gases. Consequently, some scientists have concluded that a relationship exists between a snowflake’s attraction to oxygen and magnetism’s attraction to oxygen.

Job 38:22, 23 states, ‘Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?’ Considering this scripture, some scientists believe that a tremendous power resides untapped within the water molecules from which snowflakes and hailstones are made.

How can this scripture, along with these observations about snowflakes, show us a physical truth? Scientists at Virginia Tech have produced electricity more efficiently from permanent magnets, which have their lines of force related to each other at sixty-degree angles, than from previous methods of extracting electricity from magnetism. Other research along this line may reveal a way to tap electric current directly from snow, eliminating the need for costly, heavy, and complex equipment now needed to generate electricity.


Stronger regulation of curriculums is vital.
[Disclaimer - if this is comes across like I think I know what I'm talking about, I want to make it clear that I don't. I'm just trying to get my thoughts down]
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#15  Postby Calilasseia » Nov 21, 2014 10:54 pm

I'm not aware that the Scottish Secular Society want to keep creationism out of schools full stop, merely that it wants creationism kept out of science classes, because it clearly doesn't belong there. It belongs in classes on comparative mythology.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#16  Postby laklak » Nov 22, 2014 1:01 am

Pouring water into aqueous HCL is dangerous. Climbing a 500MV power transmission tower is dangerous. Playing Russian Roulette is dangerous. Not teaching creationism is not only NOT dangerous, it's eminently sensible. Let the kiddy-fiddlers teach it in Sunday School if they must, but don't waste taxpayer money teaching it in publicly supported schools.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#17  Postby Wimsey » Nov 23, 2014 4:17 pm

laklak wrote:Pouring water into aqueous HCL is dangerous. Climbing a 500MV power transmission tower is dangerous. Playing Russian Roulette is dangerous. Not teaching creationism is not only NOT dangerous, it's eminently sensible. Let the kiddy-fiddlers teach it in Sunday School if they must, but don't waste taxpayer money teaching it in publicly supported schools.

Not teaching creationism is sensible.

Letting government dictate the content of school instruction is dangerous. If they're allowed to meddle, they won't restrict their meddling to the subject and topic you approve of.

The Americans just elected the kind of government that will ban the teaching of evolution, anything to do with birth control, the wrong sort of history, anything that smacks of socialism.... anything. What guarantees Scotland immunity from the global rightward shift?
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#18  Postby hackenslash » Nov 23, 2014 4:46 pm

Global rightward shift? When the fuck did that happen?

Sounds like you extracted that directly from your arse.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#19  Postby Varangian » Nov 24, 2014 8:43 am

Shrunk wrote:But I remain uncomfortable with giving government the power to determine which scientific ideas should be considered valid.


Creationism isn't a scientific idea.
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Re: Banning creationism lessons is dangerous, warn headteachers

#20  Postby Zadocfish2 » Nov 24, 2014 8:55 am

Griz, don't you know its only the other people's religious views that are "extremist." Christians are peaceful, loving people.


Those who don't appear on the news with any regularity often are.
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