The Poll

More creationism nonsense in the news. This time, yet another poll:

In a finding that is likely to intensify the debate over what to teach students about the origins of life, a poll released Tuesday found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools.

The poll found that 42 percent of respondents hold strict creationist views, agreeing that “living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

In contrast, 48 percent said they believed that humans had evolved over time; but of those, 18 percent said that evolution was “guided by a supreme being,” and 26 percent said that evolution occurred through natural selection. In all, 64 percent said they were open to the idea of teaching creationism in addition to evolution, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution with creationism.

The poll was conducted July 7-17 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The questions about evolution were asked of 2,000 people, and the margin of error is 2.5 percentage points. (Source)

Creationists will never get through their head that creationism is, at best, a philosophical theory, not a scientific one.

In the end, though, I have no problem with teachers mentioning the idea of ID and asking students what they think of it, as long as it’s not called science. What will it be called then? I don’t know. I don’t care, as long as it doesn’t take too much time from the already overburdened curriculum.

What was most striking about the poll was the data dealing with a simple question: Who should decide what’s taught?

The poll showed 41 percent of Americans want parents to have the primary say over how evolution is taught, compared with 28 percent who say teachers and scientists should decide and 21 percent who say school boards should. Asked whether they believed creationism should be taught instead of evolution, 38 percent were in favor, and 49 percent were opposed.

Parents decide? In the end, I guess they do – they’re going to elect the officials who will force this nonsense down the public’s throat. But should they have an active hand in deciding what’s taught?

What would a nice response be for a science teacher? Mine would be along these lines:

Great! Saves me some time. You’re going to do this pro bono, right? And while you’re at it, since I didn’t study any of this in college and am completely unqualified to teach it, why don’t you make out my lesson plans for me? And write and grade the tests? Shoot, just come in and teach, and I’ll simply serve as a pedagogical consultant. You do the work, I get the pay. Sounds great.

Maybe parents want to come in and decide the entire curriculum and teach it as well? Teachers will just wander about the internet…

3 thoughts on “The Poll

  1. I think the best word for ID is “theology.” And as theology, I think it’s a natural and perfectly acceptable way for those of spiritual inclination to roll evidence from the work of science into a religious world-view. Assuming, of course, we’re talking about the kind of ID that also rejects short-history “the world is 5000 years old” creationism.

    And it should be taught in schools. Preferably in a social studies class, in the “religion” unit, in a bit about modern religious reactions to science.

  2. “Parents decide?”

    Of course, they do. It’s the same way the parents choose your religion – if you are from “good, catholic family” which goes to the church every Sunday you are more than likely to keep stick to this faith at the age of 40.

    If you are from a family that is full of atheist, you will either be one, or pick your religion, because you really believe, not because you got used to going to the church and praying.

  3. A good idea, Thud, but what do we toss out to teach it? We can’t teach everything.

    R, I wasn’t suggesting that parent’s don’t ultimately decide. I was merely suggesting that it was a bad idea for anybody—parents or not—to judge how a given subject should be taught if they’re not trained in that discipline.

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