I, like many people, have chuckled at Creationism in the High School classroom. I’ve always figured these students were in for a rude awakening when they took their first Biology course in College.
But now I realize that High School is only the beginning. Creationists have a larger target. Creationists are now suing the University of California system for “discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other conservative Christian viewpoints.”
What’s worse is that Creationists are framing this as a SECULAR threat against ALL religions. The Association of Christian Schools International said through their attorney that the University of California is violating of the rights of students and religious schools. “A threat to one religion is a threat to all.”
Perhaps I could believe that – but in an amazingly brazen bit of double-talk, the suit goes on to claim religious discrimination because the UC system approves, “…courses taught through the viewpoints of other religions, such as Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.”
Okay, which is it? Is UC threatening all religions, or just Christianity? Is there a REASON why viewpoints of other religions are accepted, and not Christianity?
Take a look at the facts. The UC system teaches that Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations. The UC system does NOT say that it believes in Buddhist, Islamic or Judaic evolution. What turns out to be true is that Judaic and Buddhist traditions do NOT contradict UC’s statement.
As for Islam – I sort of think this is a Christian crack at a religion that in the past was much more scientifically advanced than Christianity. Sure, Islam believes God started the world, but that isn’t Evolution – that’s Abiogenesis. Creationists love to mix up the terms Evolution and Abiogenesis. Still, I’m surprised – Islam believes that Man started with Adam. You would think that Creationists would be courting Islam into their battle.
So UC isn’t discriminating for or against one religion or another. If you state a simple fact, it isn’t discrimination. It just works out that Buddhism and Judaism are more accepting of facts than Christianity is.
And even Christians are divided. Catholics for instance accept that God could have used Evolution as his tool. (The Catholic Church, unlike Christian Fundamentalists, understands the distinction between Evolution and Abiogenesis.) So the assertion by the Association of Christian Schools International that the UC only approves viewpoints of other (non-Christian) religions is obviously false.
Anyone reading the Creationist “Wedge Strategy” (Link 1) (Link 2) can see that part of the Creationist agenda is to intentionally confuse Abiogenesis with Evolution. If Evolution (which says little about religion) is linked to Abiogenesis (which has a yes / no choice about religious origins) Creationists can then say that Evolution is ‘Godless’ and therefore part of an Atheistic (i.e. ‘immoral’) world-view.
I believe that even if Creationists don’t win using their “Wedge”, the state of American schools will still be crippled by this battle. I believe they will degenerate to the point where we become a third-world country in terms of science. It’s already happening – 30 years ago America had the majority of the best scientific colleges and universities. That’s no longer true. And it’s worse in American High Schools.
I fear it’s only a matter of time before we degenerate into Soviet Russia-like Lysenkoism. Perhaps we’ll start teaching some sort of weird Christian Fundamentalist version of Lamarckism.
Do you want fries with that?