I’m not sure what the pathology is here – paranoia, delusion, some combination, or maybe something entirely different – but it’s not healthy to become fixated on an imaginary fear. Especially when it can be exploited for political purposes to stifle open societies.
Once again, the opponents of free inquiry and critical thinking are trying to make Louisiana look stupid, spearheaded by state Sen. Karen Peterson’s SB 374 as another attempt that would repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act. This law mandates that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education “shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
Yet Peterson and her supporters seem to be against supporting this idea of encouraging critical thinking, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories because, they claim, this opens the door to teaching “creationism,” the view that some kind of deity formed Earth and the life upon it. This leads one to wonder just how good are the reading comprehension skills of her and her ilk.
For the law plainly reads that it “shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.” Meaning, while you can demonstrate the flaws and unanswered questions regarding evolution, you can’t teach creationism as it has a religious basis. That what it says and means, period, end of story.
Not that any of this is new; the law’s been on the books for about four years and BESE has promulgated standards in science teaching that full comport to the law. Still, there is this persistent, willful ignorance about the law among its most strident opponents, and if we can’t chalk that up to problems in reading comprehension, or psychological difficulty in accepting facts contrary to ideological predisposition, what remains as an explanation for this behavior is much more worrisome.
In a free society such as America’s, and especially as the ideas of the open society continues to gain slowly but surely across the globe, it’s easy to disregard the totalitarian impulse that lurks in mankind, and stays at a low boil on the political left. This tendency’s greatest enemy is the ability to think for oneself, the entire purpose of this law. Even if its repeal would have little more than symbolic value, its presence is a statement of principles on which this country was founded and thereby is valuable as a sign of commitment to intellectual freedom, which leads to promulgation and protection of individual liberties.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 09:05