Saturday, November 22, 2008

Let's teach all controversies

I was reading a little bit about the current hearings going on in Texas somewhere, about getting creationism of one form or another into the classroom in the state's schools. It's nothing worth posting, so I won't give a link.

I wonder if they would be as open to alternative ideas in their churches as they are to those in schools. Would they accept reading of Hindu holy books in their churches? How about the teachings of Islam? Would they teach that people can be reincarnated as animals? The Aboriginal Australian creation story? You get the point.

The creationist movement seems to rally behind the attitude of 'teach the controversy'. I'll make the standard disclaimer that there isn't a controversy for people who research the issue and know what they're talking about, unless 1% opposition or less counts as a controversy. I wonder what other controversies they would be willing to teach in schools. There are lots of 'controversies' (term used loosely) in modern society. Let's list a few; the World Trade Center attacks were an inside job, the moon missions were faked, Earth is flat, George W. Bush is a chimp in a suit, fluoride is put in drinking water to control people, HIV was created by scientists, Phobos (a moon of Mars) is a space station left from a previous civilisation, a perpetual motion machine was created by some rednecks in the back of their pickup truck, wearing a tin hat prevents the government from beaming signals into your brain, aliens like to kidnap drunken country folk and stick things in their asses, there is no beef in McDonald's burgers, and so on, and so on, and so on.

So I have some questions for creationists:

Are you willing to pay the extra taxes and send your kids to school for more hours a day so that they can learn about all of these alternative views? What percentage of experts in the field must agree on something before it is no longer a controversy in your mind? Which alternative views are so stupid that it isn't worth wasting time and effort teaching them to children in the classroom? How do you decide which are too stupid to be taught? What do those other theories lack that your creationism doesn't (try to cite something more substantial than 'popularity')?

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