Proposed science education standards in Kentucky bring out the Know Nothings

Jay Oyster's picture

Kentucky StatehouseSo . . . Kentucky is attempting to adopt an evidence-based broadly accepted educational standard for teaching science in public schools, and during public comments, religious groups oppose it as oppressive and promoting socialism.   The quote from a Baptist minister is, perhaps, typical, but still appalling, "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."

The quote comes from a Huffington Post article about the controversy, but there is much more detail about the nuances of the debate over at The Spectrum. (I gather that the latter is an AP story.)

It's all projection with these people, isn't it? (Along with an inability to sense irony.)

OK, so I see two of the standard tropes here . . . 'science is just another religion' and 'by not letting us enforce our version of Christianity everywhere we want to, you are oppressing us.'   Science is not a religion. It's a methodology based on evidence. If evidence is placed before scientific leaders, they do and would change their minds about something. And the teaching of science in public schools in no way infringes on anyone's rights to follow a religion. You're permitted to tell your children that all of this science stuff is against your religion. But your religions don't have the right to tell the rest of us what the facts are. Science, through a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated professionals, has generated a huge set of facts that we now know about how the universe works. The fact that you don't agree with all of the findings doesn't change the fact that the evidence is there.

Sometimes I think we ought to attempt to inoculate ourselves against these kinds of debates by creating a nationwide standard to teach comparative religion in all public schools. We could even offer to ensure that the same number of days are spent in school teaching the tenets of Evangelical christianity as we spend on evolution or climate change. But we will then also insist that we spend just as much time on buddhism, atheism, judaism, islam, shintoism, zoroastrianism, pastafarianism, nihilism, and my personal favorite, the Church of the Drunken Ironist.

But of course, suggesting such would be even more controversial than the science standard. They don't really want religious freedom or "Religion in School", they want Christian Freedom and Christianity in School. And the fact that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state religion is just so inconvenient for them.