2nd July 2008

“Creationism, Intelligent Design and other religious doctrines may be taught in the public schools, but only in comparative religion classes along with all the other religious origin theories like the Chinese egg. It should not be taught in science classes and that distinction has to be made.”

Ellen Johnson

4 Responses to “2nd July 2008”

  1. Terence Meaden Says:

    Comparative religion classes are very well in principle but they can be completely biased depending on the beliefs of the schoolteachers.
    I would say that the only teachers capable of providing properly unbiased classes in religion are atheists.
    If that is not possible in a particular school, then it is better that government school policy should exact that the school has no religious classes at all.

  2. John Sutton Says:

    The culture and habits common to other countries should be taught as they are an inevitable part of our global environment. However, the silly notions of minorities such as creationists are a waste of our children’s valuable time. Children need to understand some aspects of the people they could come into contact with in later life.

    The problem we face is that if we are too tolerant of fanciful religious claptrap it will leave an opening for religious indoctrination, superstition, repression and the humiliating act of prayer. This is what we need to stop.

  3. Chris Says:

    I agree with the quote but I would add that timing is important. I would not want to see this sort of thing being taught in elementary or even in high school. There are other more pressing subjects. Let a survey of world religion be a required lower division general education course in college. I think all students ought to have an appreciation of the high and low points of the subject but that it should be reserved for a time when they are less impressionable.

    That is after all why the mythically inclined are so all fired up about prayer and religious education in schools – if they get ’em young, by and large, they’ve got ’em for life. This is far and away the most important battle ground for we secularists. Let us take a cue from Churchill and make it our war cry against the encroachment of mythical unreason in our halls of learning:

    “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s (natures) good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
    -Winston Churchill

    OK, I had to edit one bit.

  4. Hypatia Says:

    timing is important.

    Chris, I couldn’t agree more – what kind of person would want to introduce primary kids to things they couldn’t possibly understand? Scary things involving eternal damnation for example!

    And how come there’s an RE lesson every week, for every year of school? You can learn all you need to know about most religions in one lesson (so one term should be enough:-). Just how much does an average child need to know about Sikhism for example (< 1% of the world’s population are Sikhs) Are they ever going to meet one?

    The over expenditure of teaching time on RE is such a waste.