Saturday, February 04, 2012


Out of Touch?

I already mentioned the dufus Superintendent of the Mount Vernon (Indiana) Community School district, William Riggs, who apparently thinks its hunky dory to teach creationism alongside evolution in public school biology classes.

It may be that he is just a dufus who doesn't know what is going on in his school.

According to Bruce Kendall, who chaired the science department at Mount Vernon High School for 35 years before stepping down last summer:

We do not have creationism in our curriculum. But students bring it up whenever you talk about natural selection, and you have to be prepared to respond to them. How can a science teacher go into the classroom and talk about the origins of life and the origins of the universe and not be ready to deal with their questions? ...

[W]hen they hear about natural selection, some of them wonder, 'Does that mean my entire religion is wrong?' That's a tough situation to be in for a high school student. ...

You never try to impose your beliefs on a kid. And you never want to attack their faith. I tell my teachers, 'Please don't kill God just to make your point.'
Broadly, that is a correct approach for a public school teacher. They should teach the science, no matter what effect the students may think that has on their religious beliefs, but neither should they attack those beliefs.

The devil, of course, is in the details.

Kendall calls himself "a Jesus man" and perhaps he's trying to cover for Riggs. But one can at least hope the teachers in Mount Vernon are better than their superintendent.

"Does that mean my religion is wrong?"

If the class has students who believe in several religions, perhaps the teacher could make that observation and follow up by saying, "Now which of those religions is the right one?"
Not in a public school, Mark. And especially not in a science class.

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