So our dear friend Devon is here for the week, meaning Miss Pink and I get to spend a little bit of vacation time … traveling a little, seeing the sights of Portland that we normally pass by as we run errands, and do the rounds of all the cool restaurants.
It also means I have even less time to write every night. I know. First World problems.
The latest episode in America’s war against scientific ignorance comes to you from the great state of Kentucky, where religious groups are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the implementation of new scholastic standards that emphasize the teaching of evolution and anthropogenic climate change, calling them “atheistic” and “fascist”.
Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister, is one of the opponents who spoke to the board about why the standards should not be adopted, according to The Courier-Journal. “Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky Constitution says is the right to worship almighty God,” Singleton said. “Instead, this fascist method teaches that our children are the property of the state.”
Statements like this from Pastor Singleton perfectly showcase the reason why we are in desperate need of strong, comprehensive primary and secondary school-level education in the physical sciences. For a grown man to go on record saying that evolution is a “religion” means that something has gone horribly wrong with our educational system.
For him to suggest that requiring students to learn and understand what the entire scientific community has established as fact constitutes an infringement on his religion should tell everyone exactly the kind of psychological damage religious dogma can inflict on the human mind. Any religion that so vehemently denies basic scientific fact whenever it makes its followers uncomfortable does not deserve followers in the first place, especially in the 21st century.
Another opponent, Dena Stewart-Gore, suggested that the standards will make religious students feel ostracized. “The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them,” she said, per the The Courier-Journal.
Here, we have the classic line that the teaching of evolution leads to social Darwinism, communism, socialism, atheism, and all of the other “-isms” that we’re supposed to be afraid of. Clearly the new standards wouldn’t “discard” anyone, but appropriately educate them in subjects that had previously been considered controversial purely on the basis that the church – and their wealth of scientific knowledge and expertise – didn’t agree with them.
“We are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.”
… aaaaand we’re off the road and into the weeds. Thanks, Dena. I know a lot of people don’t have the same level of passion and outrageous ignorance this lady has, but it’s because of attitudes like this that we’re forced into having these discussions in the first place. Science is a tool, and it is devoid of any value system other than demanding honesty and integrity from its practitioners in acquiring and reporting findings. It is true that it’s based on a belief system – one that says that the gathering of objective empirical data enables us to create models that can help us understand and predict natural phenomena. But this system has a proven track record over the course of centuries. Our entire way of life is testament to its success, and I think it deserves a little more respect from people who apparently can’t be bothered to understand it in the first place.
That said, it looks like the new standards are one step away from being adopted:
The Kentucky Board of Education adopted the standards in June and held hearings to get public feedback on the standards last week before they were presented to the state legislature for official approval.
So, with any luck, there won’t be enough of a public backlash on the part of the scientifically illiterate to stop its progression to the state legislature.