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The Latest Attack on Darwin

I have written in the past on what I think that creationism offers the educational experience; namely, nothing. In my blog post, I noted that “the Supreme Court’s holding in Edwards v. Aguillard tells us that teaching creationism as a way of explaining the actual origins of the Earth is contrary to the First Amendment.” In order to circumvent this problem, certain legislators in Missouri don’t seek to offer an alternative theory for the development of life on Earth, in attacking evolution. Rather, via legislation, they authorize parents to pull their kids out of classes on evolution. The alleged justification for this activity is that Darwin’s theories are “just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion.”

This, of course, is a curious stance. We do not have legislators in Missouri putting forth legislation that allows parents to pull their students out of classes concerning religion. To be sure, public schools are not allowed to put forth religious beliefs because they may violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as I mentioned in my first paragraph above. But English classes can discuss the Bible without violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment if they discuss the Bible as a work of literature, so one would think that legislators might want to allow parents to remove their kids from classes revolving in some way around religion, classes that might involve “just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion.” We also don’t have legislators in Missouri putting forth legislation that allows parents to pull their students out of classes concerning political theory, which may well involve “just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion,” especially given the fact that some political theories are clearly based much more on faith than they are on rationality and reason. Only Darwin is targeted for attack by Missouri legislators. Only Darwin is considered a worthy subject for legislation.

So, to paraphrase Orwell, according to certain Missouri legislators, all faiths are equal, but some faiths are more equal than others. And evolution–which isn’t faith-based to begin with–is nonetheless reduced to a faith with no evidence or justification whatsoever for the reduction, and then is placed as a lower order faith in relation to others. Presumably, this avoids having the approach labeled unconstitutional. But it can certainly be labeled unenlightened.

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