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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Allowing students to opt out of evolution

A news article about a legislative bill in Alberta says,

A controversial Alberta bill will enshrine into law the rights of parents to pull their children out of classes discussing the topics of evolution and homosexuality.

The new rules, which would require schools to notify parents in advance of "subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation," is buried in a bill that extends human rights to homosexuals.

IMO the idea of an opt-out policy for dogmatically-taught evolution education is good. The religious implications of evolution are now stronger than ever, with Darwinist cafeteria Christians bragging that they believe the gospel story but not the bible's creation story, even though both stories are supernatural. William Jennings Bryan said,

If those who teach Darwinism and evolution, as applied to man, insist that they are neither agnostics nor atheists, but are merely interpreting the Bible differently from orthodox Christians, what right have they to ask that their interpretation be taught at public expense?

Moreover, what right have they to insist that their interpretation be dogmatically taught to all students in the public schools?

The courts have not even allowed evolution-disclaimer statements. Such statements were struck down in three fairly recent cases -- Kitzmiller v. Dover, Selman v. Cobb County, and Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish.

If I were a student, I would opt out just to protest the dogmatic teaching of evolution. Also, IMO whether to opt out should be the student's decision, not the parents'. And students should have a right to object on scientific as well as religious grounds to the dogmatic teaching of evolution.

An evolution opt-out policy would require that evolution be concentrated and confined in just a few lectures at most and one small part of the textbook. Unfortunately, evolution is often sprinkled throughout some textbooks and some teachers' lectures. For example, Dover school board member Bill Buckingham complained that Miller & Levine's textbook "Biology" was "laced with Darwinism" [link] --

In looking at the biology book the teachers wanted, I noticed that it was laced with Darwinism. I think I listed somewhere between 12 and 15 instances where it talked about Darwin's theory of evolution. It wasn't on every page of the book, but, like, every couple of chapters, there was Darwin, in your face again. And it was to the exclusion of any other theory.

Of course, under any reasonable opt-out policy, students who opt out would not be tested on evolution.

If the schools and the courts won't make reasonable accommodations for some students' sensibilities regarding evolution, then let those students opt out. And which is worse -- allowing evolution opt-outs or teaching both the scientific strengths and the scientific criticisms of evolution theory?
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6 Comments:

Anonymous Røst I Ødemarken said...

"If I were a student, I would opt out ..."You obviously did opt out (it did not rub off on you).

If you were to literally opt out and not attend the classes, you would not be any more ignorant than you are anyway.

What's wrong with just daydreaming or woolgathering?

Thursday, May 07, 2009 3:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

William Jennings Bryan was especially concerned by the influence of Darwinism in helping to spawn eugenics, militarism, fascism, and other harmful influences upon society and upon history: an obvious influence which has been verified by many historians and even by some of the more honest Darwinist evolutionary biologists, such as Michael R. Rose and Sir Arthur Keith. Even Abraham Foxman, who takes a strict pro-Darwinist line, has written about that influence. Yet many Darwinists plunge their heads desperately into deep denial and try to claim that no such influence has existed!

Thursday, May 07, 2009 5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Jim Sherwood said,
>>>>>> Even Abraham Foxman, who takes a strict pro-Darwinist line, has written about that influence. <<<<<<

Yes, but remember that Foxman also attacked the Darwin-to-Hitler ideas of Ben Stein's movie "Expelled" and the "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" TV show, saying that Hitler didn't "need" Darwin.

Thursday, May 07, 2009 6:04:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Also, I found this article by the National Center for Science Education --

Abstract: Opt-out policies are typically invoked to excuse students from activities to which they or their parents may have religious objections, such as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, dissecting animals in a laboratory, or attending sex education classes. Occasionally, however, a school or school district allows students to opt out of academic topics, including, sometimes, evolution. Opt-out policies specifically including evolution are a big mistake—for the students who opt out, for their classmates whose studies are disrupted, and especially for their teachers, who cannot fulfill their duty to instruct their charges about biology without emphasizing evolution.
Of course, the statement "cannot fulfill their duty to instruct their charges about biology without emphasizing evolution" is a lot of crap -- a lot of people have studied biology without evolution and learned the rest of biology just fine. Fourier's law of heat conduction -- the three-dimensional transient version -- is the fundamental concept underlying all of the analysis of heat conduction. The same is not true of evolution and biology. BTW, "OOPSIE" apparently means, "opt-out policy specifically including evolution." NCSE is determined to force-feed dogmatic Darwinism down students' throats.

There is also this article by Brandon Haught(y) on the Florida Citizens for Science blog -- he has no business authoritatively giving unsubstantiated legal advice ("Teachers cannot exempt a student from instruction on what may be tested on the Science FCAT" and "to provide alternative assignments would put the teacher in a position of explicitly shirking their written work assignment as defined by the state science standards, and thus at risk of dismissal").

I think that opt-out policies are a great idea -- if enough students opt out, then more people may reconsider their opposition to evolution-disclaimer statements and the teaching of criticisms of evolution.

Thursday, May 07, 2009 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Røst I Ødemarken barfed,
>>>>> "If I were a student, I would opt out ..."You obviously did opt out (it did not rub off on you). <<<<<<

You lousy dunghill, I don't even remember evolution being taught in my high-school biology courses in the early 1960's.

>>>>>> What's wrong with just daydreaming or woolgathering? <<<<<<

Students who opt out should not be tested on evolution.

Thursday, May 07, 2009 6:51:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

These Darwinists would have been happier if they had been born in the old Soviet Union, since they take the view that everyone should uncritically swallow whatever they happen to be taught in school.

They would have been taught orthodox Western style Darwinism there, in the last quarter century of the Soviet Empire. And philosophical materialism, and Marxism: and doubtless have credulously believed that all of them were verifiable "science," just as their teachers said. Parroting whatever you were taught was the route to success, in the Soviet Union.

In my case, I was a science-buff kid, who at 13 converted from Christianity to atheism, after studying "evolution" and reading Bertrand Russell.

When I was 14, my High School biology teacher, who had a reputation for making passes at the young boys in his class, wanted me to list "three ways God guides evolution." As an atheist, I left that one blank.

My most memorable moment in his class came when I scrutinized my own, very wiggly, spermatozoa under a microscope. I was assigned to examine something else, but had cunningly obtained an appropriate sample by masturbating in the restroom.

My falling away from the Darwinist and atheist faiths came much later. But I'm still not a Christian, or actually, even a theist or deist. My views on "religion" are quite amorphous.

It seems I always was much inclined to doubt, and to thinking for myself. Unlike today's Darwinism-believers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 3:58:00 PM  

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