Public High School Teacher Teaching Creationism

I’m going to start this in MPSIMS and see how it goes - I don’t think there is a debate here…

The upshot of this is that a high school biology teacher in Indiana is a young earth creationist and spent two hours of classtime showing his students a Kent Hovind video.

When challenged:

So, I have issues - as I’m sure many of you do. Starting with … but, SCIENCE TEACHER! Should have a basic understanding of…you know…Science. As well as the whole “Freedom FROM religion” thing. (This guy is lucky my daughter wasn’t in his class).

But I also have another issue - his excuse is a great example of “evil or incompetent” - either we believe that a Science teacher is so uninformed about what is and is not legal to teach in his classroom regarding evolution that his is obviously professionally incompetent (avoiding the whole “a Science teacher who believes in YEC is incompetent” and just going on a teacher who breaks the law in his classroom and hasn’t done due diligence is incompetent), or he knew and put the school at risk for a lawsuit to further his own agenda - removing necessary resources from the school district and risking the communities tax dollars for a point that was decided long ago and hasn’t budged. Either should get him fired. And I don’t know of a way to think about this that isn’t on that binary scale.

Ahh…the old “equal time” thing; or “teach the controversy.” Didn’t work in Dover, PA.

Would we accept that justification if he taught molecular bonding was due to “fairy glue” or that proteins are folded into their final shape by a pixie called Cyril?

The man is an arse and should be fired on the spot.

Shouldn’t the title of this thread be “Public High School Teacher Teaching Creationism”?

“…he is not permitted to teach either creationism or evolution as the truth.”


Evolution passed from “theory” to “proven” LONG ago!

That it should – I’ve changed the word “Evolution” to “Creationism”.

Hal Briston - MPSIMS Moderator

Actually, GrizzRich, evolution being called a “theory” doesn’t mean what you apparently think it means.

In a scientific context, “theory” means “theoretical framework”. It’s not a guess, but a complex framework of rules and principles which one can use to make predictions. In turn, guesses are called not “theories”, but “hypotheses”; a guess one sets out to prove or disprove in an experiment or series of them is the “working hypothesis”.

We should make some sort of macro’d dictionary of “nails that keep popping up no matter how many times we bang on them”: theory, immaculate conception, papal infalibility…

I have no issue with Creationism being taught in public schools in a Comparative Religion class. Or in a Mythology class. NOT in a Science class.

I’m sure you meant it this way anyway, but the obvious (and very important) difference is that it ought to be taught as a story that some people take on faith, rather than a real scientific hypothesis.

And that it’s dead wrong. That part can’t be overemphasized.

He’s an idiot. Fire him. He was hired to teach science not religion.

No, that’s wrong, the pixie is spells his name Kyriel.

And, of course, quarks are glued on to one another to form hardons, and many scientist feel that at a deeper level, reality is really held together by string.


Let me endorse the board’s ritual excoriation of creationists. Much good it will do.

I wish the article had reported what his qualifications are. Surely he doesn’t have a degree in biology?

Danke, Hal.

I feel the same way … but also, not just that he is teaching religion, not Science, but that his put the school district at risk. THAT probably pisses me off as much as the teaching YEC…our schools don’t have enough money to waste any on lawsuits so that the students and their parents are ensured of their constitutional rights.

Well, it might make it a little bit easier for anti-creationists to ‘win’ some arguments against creationists (in their own minds, at least), if people, including scientists, actually consistently used the words the this way. Actually, however, except in very formal contexts, or when they do have arguments with creationists at the forefront of their minds, even scientists, let alone regular people, do often use “theory” to mean little more than “guess”. Even in quite formal scientific contexts, it often denotes something a lot more loose and vague than “a complex framework of rules and principles”.

But anyway, it is useless arguing with creationists. As the cliché goes, you can’t use reason to get them out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. The only people who are even remotely likely to be swayed by arguments about the semantics of the word “theory” are those who do not care very much about the evolution/creation issue very much in the first place. (And you will have a much better chance of swaying them by persuading them of the truth that it is no part of traditional Christianity, or of the official doctrine of most current Christian denominations, that every part of the Bible has to understood literally.)

If you really want to try to change the minds of committed creationists (who are relatively few in number), you would do much better to pay attention not to the logical and terminological flawas in their arguments, but to what motivates them to believe as tehy do, and to so resolutely close their minds to reason: try to understand what they are so scared of, and angry about, that they have closed their minds so firmly (hint: it isn’t really evolution, or even atheism). If you figured out what that was, and then actually tried to do something to show them the their fears are groundless, you might start to get somewhere. (Mind you, I am not saying it would be easy, or even worthwhile.)

Does it really matter ? For all the ‘Think of the Children !’ frenzy, just remember that all the 18th and 19th century scientists who brought us to present knowledge of science and evolution were taught creationism.
People come to make their own judgements later on, one just needs faith in ordinary people’s perception.

Scientists, by and large, are quite good at understanding the sense of another scientist when they use the word “theory”. It’s not really a problem for us. I agree that the terminology is confusing for lay people, but unfortunately, I think that boat has sailed, and we’re all stuck with the consequences. The solution, as with so many things, is good solid ubiquitous education, education, education.

All right, Tony.

Nice auto correct :slight_smile: