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Symbiartic


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Speaking of Tax Dollars… Do You Like Yours Spent on Teaching Creationism?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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After the State of the Union address last night, everyone is talking about how best to spend tax dollars. So it seems appropriate to bring this into the conversation. Slate published a critical interactive map this week showing schools that allow the teaching of creationism in their science classrooms while receiving public funding. It’s a wake up call for how our tax money is potentially being spent to undermine our best efforts at creating competitive students and a well-educated, science-literate public. Check it out (click on the map to go to the graphic on Slate):

Schools that can teach creationism with public funds

Schools that can teach creationism with public funds. Click the image for the full article and interactive graphic from Slate (Image courtesy of Slate)

From:
Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism” by Chris Kirk for Slate

Kalliopi Monoyios About the Author: Kalliopi Monoyios is an independent science illustrator. She has illustrated several popular science books including Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Find her at www.kalliopimonoyios.com. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. retiredbiker 3:40 pm 01/29/2014

    Virtually all of these states are GOP-controlled. There would be a high correlation between this map and maps showing those states that are attempting to curtail voting (especially by minorities), limit a woman’s right to choose, have high crime rates and impose the death penalty, and have lower educational and health levels.

    Link to this
  2. 2. rkipling 4:22 pm 01/29/2014

    retiredbiker,

    While there may be a correlation with your above list and the states shown to allow teaching of creationism, the correlation with high crime rates is a negative one.

    Not everyone who would have preferred Romney to Obama believes Earth is 6,000 years old. Frequently we are faced with a choice of the lesser of two weasels. Many of us vote based on economic policy issues. Please let’s not wander into Choice issues. That will bring out the zealots from all sides.

    Studies may exist to show what fraction of the population believes in creationism over time. My guess is that the percentage adhering to such ignorance is shrinking. And yes, I suspect there is a high positive correlation with low intelligence and education.

    Link to this
  3. 3. ewilson63 5:04 pm 01/29/2014

    My tax dollars should not be spent teaching anything. I am not adverse to giving Creationism equal time though, the plurality of viewpoints allows each person to establish their own thought. Schools should not be about indoctrination, rather they should be about education.

    Link to this
  4. 4. Owl905 5:48 pm 01/29/2014

    retired biker wrote: “Virtually all of these states are GOP-controlled”.
    Yup. It’s not a co-incidence; the Republican Party marches to tune of loons. They’ve taken Anti-Science Syndrome and Anti-Intelligence Disorder to levels that are dangerous and toxic. They’ve already melted down the global economic system in the name of ‘the free market’.
    It’s a disgusting stain and scar on the conscience of decent conservatives everywhere. It’s a pathetic time when radical reactionaries have used fear, uncertainty, doubt, and lies, to bury reality. It’s frightening when people fawn over it, accept it, and applaud it.
    The Creationist pushers are the same ones defending anti-gay statements as ‘freedom of speech’ (yea, that’s U Pallin and Cruz). That’s not a co-incidence either … one book fits all. That’s what they’re sellin’ ya.

    Link to this
  5. 5. Snicker-Snack 7:12 pm 01/29/2014

    A recent study I saw revealed that among those calling themselves Republicans, the percentage believing in creationism has risen a few percentage points since, I think, 2008.

    Superstition has no place in the science classroom. Those who don’t object to the teaching of creationism in public schools should explain why they would object to the teaching of Santeria in biology classes.

    Link to this
  6. 6. GordDavison 9:17 pm 01/29/2014

    Only knowledge supported by scientific, verifiable data should be taught. There is no supported scientific evidence that can be independently verified that supports creationism nor is there any evidence that supports the god hypothesis. Values can be taught without the use of superstition.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Cramer 9:41 pm 01/29/2014

    “correlation with high crime rates is a negative one.” That does not appear to be true.

    Tennessee had the highest violent crime rate in the US for 2012 (yes, ranked #1). Louisiana was ranked #7. This is according to the FBI.

    This is not much different than the 2006 US Census ranking (Tennessee #2, Louisiana #5, Florida #4).

    [I attempted a similar comment (6:10 pm 01/29/2014) with links but it has not yet been posted. Maybe Kalliopi Monoyios will post it if it is still in the moderation queue.]

    Link to this
  8. 8. rkipling 1:10 am 01/30/2014

    Cramer,

    Thanks for correcting me. I mistakenly thought cities with the highest murder rates would correlate with the states where those cities were located. Here are the cities with the highest murder rates for 2012. There was a tie for 7th place.

    1: Flint, Michigan
    2: Detroit, Michigan
    3: New Orleans, Louisiana
    4: St. Louis, Missouri
    5: Baltimore, Maryland
    6: Birmingham, Alabama
    7: Newark, New Jersey
    7: Oakland, California
    8: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    9: Cleveland, Ohio
    10: Memphis, Tennessee

    Perhaps there is a positive correlation with violent crime and teaching creationism. I see no basis for believing in creationism, but I doubt such teaching increases violent crime. I see a correlation to something else in the high murder rate cities.

    Link to this
  9. 9. curiouswavefunction 10:01 am 01/30/2014

    I am actually surprised to see zero dots in Missouri and Kansas. Kansas! Perhaps there’s some hope after all.

    Link to this
  10. 10. rkipling 11:30 am 01/30/2014

    curiouswavefunction,

    Not all of us who live in the flyover states are uneducated troglodytes.

    Absurd mystical beliefs are not limited to a certain portion of the U.S. population. You may not need to ponder the question long to think of other examples around the world.

    I agree it is heartening to see so many states with no dots. At least only two states allow teaching creationism in public schools. There may well be private schools, not shown, in many more states where creationism is taught by religious zealots.

    Link to this
  11. 11. rkipling 11:42 am 01/30/2014

    Kansas indeed. Dose that touch on bigotry? I didn’t expect that from you.

    Link to this
  12. 12. Dr_Zinj 3:40 pm 01/30/2014

    I have no objection to teaching Creationism, as long as they only do it in a Philosophy class, and not as Science; because as we all know, Creationism doesn’t follow the scientific method.

    Link to this
  13. 13. Cramer 4:26 pm 01/30/2014

    “I see a correlation to something else in the high murder rate cities.”

    What is something else? High population density? Collapse of industry (e.g. auto industry in Detroit)? Poverty?

    Link to this
  14. 14. Bill_Crofut 10:55 am 01/31/2014

    Re: It’s a wake up call for how our tax money is potentially being spent to undermine our best efforts at creating competitive students and a well-educated, science-literate public.

    As a retiree who has not had the “privilege” of paying taxes for several years, my interest in this foray is taxing in another way.

    Though there is nothing specific in the brief text on this web page regarding science literacy, the implication seems to be teaching evolutionism is the way to achieve that literacy.

    As an unlettered Traditional Roman Catholic, militant young-Earth Biblical creationist and geocentrist, my chosen status obviously posits me in a tiny minority of the population. My personal position regarding the issue is: Evolution, as a “process,” is delusionary mythology. Evolutionism, the only reality, is a false, atheistic religious belief system. Yet, my position would seem to have been at least inadvertantly substantiated (certainly not sanctioned) by two evolutionary biologists:

    “Our theory of evolution has become, as [philosopher of science, Karl R.] Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus ‘outside of empirical science’ but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training. The cure seems to us not to be a discarding of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory, but more skepticism about many of its tenets.”

    [Profs. L. C. Birch and Paul Ehrlich. 1967. Evolutionary History and Population Biology. NATURE, vol. 214, p. 352]

    The phrase, “not necessarily false” does not seem to be one expressing a particularly high level of confidence. When did the terms “dogma” and “tenets” become part of scientific discourse? What has been published in the field of evolutionary biology since 1967 refuting that published quote?

    Link to this
  15. 15. rkipling 2:08 pm 01/31/2014

    Bill_Crofut,

    First I would ask you not to take offense at some of the replies you may get. Some people take strong positions on these topics. SciAm online seems to be making an effort to encourage more civil comments, but try not to take any shrill replies personally.

    You say you are a geocentrist? By that do you mean that you believe Earth is the center of the universe and does not move? Before I make any further response to that, perhaps you could clarify what you think a geocentrist believes?

    How old is the Earth in your estimation?

    You shouldn’t worry that we came from apes. We are apes. Mostly hairless apes, but apes none the less.

    Link to this
  16. 16. Bill_Crofut 11:28 am 02/1/2014

    rkipling,

    Re: “First I would ask you not to take offense at some of the replies you may get.”

    If it were not for the pejoratives hurled at me in these venues, life would be boring.

    Re: “You say you are a geocentrist? By that do you mean that you believe Earth is the center of the universe and does not move?”

    Yes.

    Re: “How old is the Earth in your estimation?”

    Perhaps as old as 10,000 years.

    Re: “You shouldn’t worry that we came from apes.”

    It seems to me the professional evolutionists have long since discarded that notion. The prevailing “wisdom” seems to be centered on common ancestry.

    Link to this
  17. 17. rkipling 1:39 pm 02/1/2014

    Bill_Crofut,

    I think it is very rude of people to insult you. If you are not putting me on about your beliefs, this is pretty cool. It’s like an internet connection to someone before Galileo Galilei. I’m not going to bother listing Galileo’s observations that showed reality is incompatible with geocentrism.

    Interesting. I’ve never encountered a geocentrist before. With all the evidence to the contrary, I see no point in attempting to change your mind. I would like to understand your thinking a bit more if you are willing.

    In your view:

    Do the other planets orbit the Sun?

    If the other planets and the Sun orbit Earth, how exactly does that work?

    How do you explain dinosaur skeletons? Were they put there by Satan to confound the righteous?

    Link to this
  18. 18. Bill_Crofut 3:43 pm 02/2/2014

    Re: “I think it is very rude of people to insult you.”

    Thank you for the concern; it goes with the territory. It wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for shooting off my electronic mouth and exposing my position.

    Re: “I’m not going to bother listing Galileo’s observations that showed reality is incompatible with geocentrism.”

    ” Galileo sparked the birth of modern astronomy with his observations of the Moon, phases of Venus, moons around Jupiter, sunspots, and the news that seemingly countless individual stars make up the Milky Way Galaxy.”

    http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/scitech/display.cfm?ST_ID=2259

    His observations were unquestionably interesting, but what has any of them to do with allegedly debunking the geocentric model?

    Re: “I would like to understand your thinking a bit more if you are willing.”

    Willing indeed…

    Re: “Do the other planets orbit the Sun?”

    Yes.

    Re: “If the other planets and the Sun orbit Earth, how exactly does that work?”

    If you’re asking me for an explanation of celestial mechanics, it’s beyond my ken. However, the Earth, as the center of the universe, must be stationary. It follows, at least in my peanut brain, that everything else that revolves must do so around the center.

    Re: “How do you explain dinosaur skeletons? Were they put there by Satan to confound the righteous?”

    On the contrary, the dinosaur skeletons were “put” there by God as a result of the Genesis Flood.

    Link to this
  19. 19. rkipling 12:03 am 02/3/2014

    You understand the other planets orbit the Sun but think Earth does not? Interesting.

    What you suggest logically follows actually does not follow at all. If you don’t understand how your quote about the phases of Venus is in contradiction to geocentrism, then there is insufficient common understanding for a conversation.

    Link to this

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