Friday, August 1, 2008

Another review of "Devil in Dover"

Here is an excellent review of Lauri Lebo's book "The Devil in Dover: An Insider's Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America." I'm sure you will like it. Much more detailed than mine. The comment at the beginning of the review is one that I wholeheartedly agree with " Battling creationists will not fix science education. Teaching science will." I never saw this battle as a way to fix science education, but I have seen it as a way to prevent our science education from eroding further.

We are already well behind in so many sciences compared to other countries, something I commented on last year (here). I realize that our science education has serious problems, and teaching Creationism -- even under the guise of Academic Freedom -- is not going to help the situation. What it will do is further erode an existing problem. We need to challenge our children with subjects to fire their imagination. We need teachers who are interested in their students, who believe their jobs have meaning. We have to properly fund our school infrastructure. There are so many problems that resources better used to fix the problems are being used on this political debate.

At the beginning of each School year, in a mall in Montgomery AL, they park a school bus and ask that people purchase and fill the school bus with school supplies. This should be outrageous, but it has become an annual tradition. My sister is studying to become a school teacher and the lack of resources is something she will be facing very soon. It shouldn't be this way!

Look at Dover PA and the little minor issue of having to pay out $1,000,000 because their elected school board took them down an indefensible path. How many school boards can afford to spend that kind of money? It was a waste because it should have never come up. I expect some school district in Louisiana will be next on the block and wind up in an expensive lawsuit. Currently the school district in Mount Vernon (Freshwater incident) is being sued because not only did they not take a teacher to task for violating school policy when he taught Creationism in science class(for at least the last 11 years), but he burned a cross into students' arms. It wasn't until one family complained and sued that the school board finally fired Mr. Freshwater. He is appealing, but I find it hard to believe anyone will condone physically harming a student. Plus he also LIED about his teaching Creationism when an investigation finally occurred.

Like I said I know this fight won't fix science education in the US, but until Creationists, and I lump Intelligent Design proponents, in the same group -- much to their howls of protest -- need to re-learn what Pope Benedict just recently said "Pope Benedict XVI said the debate raging in some countries — particularly the United States and his native Germany — between creationism and evolution was an “absurdity,” saying that evolution can coexist with faith." and we can use our resources to actually improve science education, rather than hurt it further.

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