School board considers censoring books, handing out Bibles

Fang-Face writes; "How can school officials be such idiots they think the can get away with this stuff? First Amendment Center has a story about the Charles County (MD) Board of Education showing their ignorance, and recommending removing everything "that provides a neutral or positive view of immorality or foul language." That would mean everything; including the Bible they would like to pass out."

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Re:evolution?

Evolution is the best theory we have to explain our origins. It's a theory, so it isn't set in stone - we will always refine and improve our understanding of it, and we'll probably never arrive at an absolute truth.

So it's certainly legitimate to teach about the debates within theories of evolution. But to suggest that schools should be teaching creationism, something that no serious scientist believes in, is absurd.

Diversity of thought? Why not teach that the South won the Civil War? It makes as much sense as teaching creationism.

on the other foot...

"Basically these people are telling you how you should be and, if you're not, you're a bad person," said Leslie Schroeck, a guidance counselor at La Plata High School, who has two young daughters. "If this is what they're going to do, I'll pull my kids out of school and teach them myself."

A lot of parents have already taken their kids out of schools because they felt they were being taught to be nihilistic and amoral.

There's no getting around teaching some type of moral code in schools its just a question whether the code is in excess, completely lacking, or somewhere in between.

censorship abounds

I'm with you, Fang Face, I think they'd definitely have to "white out" plenty of The Bible - there's all sorts of humanity that's quite exposed in that book!

Ugh, it is scary isn't it? For those of us who do not live in parts of the country where this sort of thing raises its ugly head, it kind of reminds me of "Inherit the Wind" - and of just how big and broad a country the USA is and that we all certainly do not share the same "values".

Re:censorship abounds

Bookworm -- hate and fear exist even in Westchester county NY. It was there (Peekskill) that people rioted against a performance scheduled by singer (and Communist) Paul Robeson, and hanged him in effigy. Well, hopefully things have changed since then, but some people in every corner of the US will continue to hold on to beliefs they want everyone to share.

Society Free for All

Schools funded by taxpayer money should not be promoting one kind of approach to morality. It always amazes me that curricula and the instructors seem to go out of their way to assign controversial literature. What is chool trying to achieve? Is it to teach the children or to mold the children or both. We live in a society where morality is redefined almost daily. Look what society accepts. Unwed mothers, protected unlimited sex, vulgar language. All these things are accepted as ok or rights of passage. The Bible distributing people may be trying to impose a standard but a curriculum that exposes children at an early age to principles and actions that can only chosen by someone with maturity to evaluate them and decide if they want to do them is equally controlling. Politics and agenda have crept into the educational system. That is one reason parents have removed their children from school that condone borderline behaviors. Wasn't public education intended to be an education for all with consideration of morality? Why can't a curriculum be developed that will yield good citizens with basic moral ideals. You don't want a child who doesn't use profanity to get the message that one can use such words and be cultured and educated. Instead of agenda there should be cooperation and sensitivity. The liberal viewpoint always call for sensitivity and yet they don't have sensitivity to those who think differently. Our country is based on arriving at consensus. Our children and our future are at stake.

evolution?

I do not see what is wrong with teaching something else besides evolution. Afterall, some places teaches it as absolute truth, which may confuse students as to what evolution really is. Evolution as the theory as presented in schools is not written in stone. It would be nice to have some diversity of thought.

Re:Society Free for All

Oh, Eli, you had to go an ruin it all for me when you wrote

The liberal viewpoint always call for sensitivity and yet they don't have sensitivity to those who think differently.
although I completely disagree with that statement, I respect your right to type it.

Re:censorship abounds

Too, true. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know about the Paul Robeson situation. Is Peekskill really part of Westchester County? Just kidding!!

Of course, birdie, you're correct there are some people in every corner of our country who're persuaded that their beliefs are the only valid ones. The same can be said for those who plaster labels on individuals and groups, alike, and paint them both with the same broad strokes of prejudice.

Re:evolution?

What would you have them teach? There is just as much truth to the premise that God created the earth in 7 day as there is that Atum rose from Nu and gave birth to Tefnut and Shu, thus creating earth and the heavens out of chaos.
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but creationism really is theologically based, right? It's different then saying "stealing is wrong', or "tell the truth".

Re:evolution?

How about teaching different evolutionary models? Like the difference between proven evolution, like inter-species evolution that is fact (like dogs, for instance) instead of preaching that the theory of general evolution is an absolute fact, that any other sort of way is "theology."
Afterall, look at how many people are blissfully ignorant about the concept of God, feeling that He is merely a religious concept.

Re:evolution?

What scientists mean by the word "theory" is not what the average lay person means by the word "theory."Evolution is a fact, well-supported not only in the fossil record but also by what "creation science" advocates claim can't exist, experimental demonstration. The "theory of evolution" is what attempts to explain to observed scientific fact of evolution--just like the theory of gravity attempts to explain gravity.Evolution, and the theory of evolution, are a part of science, subject to experimental test. If we've gotten something wrong, eventually we'll find the approach that falsifies what we've done so far--just as Newton's laws of motion were potentially falsifiable, and eventually falsified, by Einstein's mathematics."Creation science" is not science, and does not belong in the science classroom, because it is _by_ _definition_ not falsifiable and not subject to scientific test. God created everything in a single day. Why do the oldest animal teeth we have show the wear of daily use, when presumably at least some of those animals came into existence as fully formed adults, with never-used teeth? Why, because the teeth wouldn't have been properly useful without that wear! And so on. Once you grant creationism as an explanation for anything, it explains _everything_, it provides a deus ex machina for any potential weaknesses. It's simply not science. It provides nothing to work with, no method for gaining greater knowledge of the physical world.And, as a religious believer, I find this bizarre and unacceptable. God gave us marvelous brains; I have to conclude that he He intended us to use them. "Creation science" is a barrier, not an avenue, to the use of the brain. I believe God created the universe; I don't believe He planted fake physical evidence to lie to us and pointlessly test our faith. We might have some things about evolution wrong, but "creation science" is blasphemous.Teaching religion has no place in the _public_ schools, if for no other reason than that we don't all hold the same religious beliefs that we want taught to our children. Religious instruction belongs in the home, and in the religious schools and places of worship that families choose for themselves.

Re:evolution?

"And, as a religious believer, I find this bizarre and unacceptable. God gave us marvelous brains; I have to conclude that he He intended us to use them. "Creation science" is a barrier, not an avenue, to the use of the brain. I believe God created the universe; I don't believe He planted fake physical evidence to lie to us and pointlessly test our faith. We might have some things about evolution wrong, but "creation science" is blasphemous."

Creation science, depending on who you talk to, does not say the world was created in 7 days, its does say there was divine intervention, a guiding hand if you will. Judging by your own comments I'd have to say you agree with that.If, however, you chose to try and make that arguement you would be shouted down just as quickly by the 'seperation of church and state' group as those who think the world was created in 7 days.

For myself, I have a brain and I use it, but I also have a soul that defies all explanations given for it by the brain.

Re:evolution?

But I'm not going to be making that argument in the context of science instruction, because it's true but it's _not_ _science_. Science instruction should be about _science_, not about other ways of knowing other kinds of truth. Not about your religious beliefs, not about my religious beliefs, not about Native American religious beliefs, not about Christian fundamentalists' religious beliefs. _Science_.And yes, all versions of "creation science" that are pushing for teaching "creation science" in the public schools DO insist on a version that rejects, at a minimum, human evolution from non-human predecessors. Religious believers who accept evolution and believe that "in His own image" relates to the soul, not the physical form, aren't pushing for teaching religion in science class. They are, in fact, on the other side of the argument, _because_ "creation science" is not, in fact, another scientific theory, and not a doctrinally-neutral acknowledgment of God (what would that look like, anyway), but a rival religious doctrine, propounded by people who regard Catholics and mainstream Protestants as "not Christians".Thinking that all religious belief is the same religious belief is a mistake fraught with peril.

Re:evolution?

"Thinking that all religious belief is the same religious belief is a mistake fraught with peril."

I can say the same about science. Its one thing to say that animals can 'evolve' in that they adapt to their environment its quite another to say that all life in all its forms evolved from a single cell. To be that assumption is bad science is as provable as Adam & Eve.

"But I'm not going to be making that argument in the context of science instruction, because it's true but it's _not_ _science_. "

So science doesn't or shouldn't deal in truth?

Re:evolution?

Saying that The Lord of the Rings is an immensely popular work of fiction by an Oxford don is a true statement, but it's not theology, and has no place in CCD class.Science deals in facts, which, no, is not quite the same thing as truth. Science is about the physical world--what and how and when. Religion and philosophy are about why, and ought to, and should.Religion can't answer questions about the physical world, and science can't tell us what we should _do_ about those physical facts.As for life evolving from a single cell being "as provable as Adam & Eve"--change from one species to another species has been demonstrated, and not just in microbes but in plants. DNA studies show relationships between species that do match what evolutionary theory predicts but don't make any sense if you insist on creationism. Throw out evolution, and you're not just throwing out most of biology, but also most of how we do science--which does seem rather extreme and hard to defend, given the fact that the methodology of modern science quite demonstrably works.

Re:evolution?

science, in this case all empirical science, stems from principals that can only be defended, but not proven.

how can cross-species evolution be proven? empirical science demands that observation or experimentation in the lab is the way a thing is proven true, but for this sort of evolution, it can only remain a theory. just because a thing has a like thing to another thing is not enough to make it a fact. unless somebody was there or recorded these changes throughout millions of years, then it can never move into fact from theory.

Re:evolution?

I was unaware such evidence existed of inter-species mutations through DNA. My wife, who happens to be a molecular biologist and makes a living working with transgenic crops, was unaware of this evidence as well. Theories are one thing, "demonstrating" these theories is another.

If interested, she tells me Dr John Mattick , who recently spoke at Genome Sequence Analysis (GSAC) conference in DC, says that the historical significance of entrons have been overlooked and that they do have an important function in DNA sequencing, and evolutionary reseach. A revelation evolutionists must now find a way to fit into their theory. In other words, DNA homology as a tool for evolutionary theory, must now be reconsidered.

Perhaps "demonstrated" was just a poor choice of words?

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