Sunday, January 27, 2008
Advance Placement Theology Class
Here is a troubling story from my home (supposedly "blue") state of New York. Maria Salva, a senior at Susquehanna Valley High School, in Conklin, New York, just outside Binghamton, tells of project taken on by her AP Biology class:
In November, we produced a collaborative project on the origin of life: a large bulletin board in the science hallway illustrating some of the major theories. As time passed, some suggested including intelligent design, the new and still fully unscientific face for creationism, as a scientific "theory." After a few days, it seemed imminent that about half of the board would be dedicated to creationism, rather than additional science. Throughout this process, I was the only active opponent to the addition of intelligent design or creationism. It seems that if not for time limits, creationism probably would have been included as its own "theory," made to appear equally valid as the findings from the scientific method.After briefly recounting the history of ID and the motivations for it revealed in the Wedge Document, she continues:
My experience working on the collaborative "origin of life" presentation has led me to suspect that the Wedge strategy has exerted some influence. Active opposition was minimal to creating a publicly visible presentation that, among the rest of the students in the school, would grant false intellectual validity to a propagandistic pseudoscience. It's quite troubling, but the AP group seemed to consider intelligent design an acceptable theory.Unfortunately, she does not give the reaction of her teacher or the administration to this, though her being "the only active opponent" may be suggestive.
There is hope, of course. Ms. Salva's maturity is heartening. Her recognition that the willingness to substitute dogma and wishful thinking for science and logic can lead to such disasters as the war in Iraq and our national failure to face up to global warming, and her willingness to stand up against "the crowd," demonstrate that we haven't completely failed the next generation.