Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Teaching Intelligent Design

Hot off the presses, the L.A. Times is reporting that a small school in Lebec, CA has begun teaching Intelligent Design in the guise of a Philosophy class. They're getting sued by a small group of parents, represented by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. This is kind of a murky first reaction is that Intelligent Design belongs in Church, not in school. Then I read that it's not a Biology class, or any kind of Science's a Philosophy class. That makes it murky. If you can't talk about this kind of thing in PHILOSOPHY CLASS, where CAN you discuss it? But wait, there's more. Turns out the course is completely one sided, not a real discussion at all.
An initial course description, which was distributed to students and their families last month, said "the class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid. The class will discuss intelligent design as an alternative response to evolution. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions."

With one exception, the suit asserts, "the course relies exclusively on videos that advocate religious perspectives and present religious theories as scientific ones — and because the teacher has no scientific training, students are not provided with any critical analysis of the presentation."
The kicker is that the teacher of the class is a Special Ed/Social Studies teacher, not a Philosophy or Science teacher, as well as the wife of the minister for the local Assembly of God Church, a Christian fundamentalist church.

So, my opinion? This COULD be a good would be interesting if schools started teaching REAL Philosophy classes that really discuss both sides of the issue, with teachers who know how to cut through all of the emotion on both sides of the subject, and could get all of the kids really thinking. I think it would be a shame if it were outlawed based on this one cock-eyed case. Of course, plenty of schools around the country would teach an equally biased course, and who wants to get in the business of monitoring them to make sure they are 'fair and balanced'?

But boy, it would be nice to have these kids really thinking this issue through, away from the pressures of their parents and church...What am I saying. It's High School. They'll be sleeping.


Autumn's Mom said...

There are so many other worthy causes to fight for our schools, this is just one more issue taking attention away from teachers low wages, illiterate students and dedaying school buildings.

J said...

I couldn't have said it're right, we truly do need to choose our battles.