Friday, August 05, 2005

Salt Lake Tribune on Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design: Why limit equal time to biology class?

Salt Lake Tribune

President Bush has thrown in with those who think that an idea called "intelligent design" should be taught alongside evolution in the nation’s schools.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," the president told some visiting newspaper reporters from his native Texas.

Evolution, the unifying explanation of all life processes on Earth, is the approach taken by serious scientists as they examine how everything works. But it is not a flawless explanation of absolutely everything, and it is clearly troubling to some who are bothered by the apparent meaninglessness of it all.

Thus the growing movement to have intelligent design - the idea that it all had to have had some mindfulness behind it - included, as the president says, as a different school of thought.

OK. But why stop there?

While the science teacher is at it, he might make the study of astronomy more poetic by including the theory that the sun is not a frighteningly impersonal thermonuclear furnace but actually the flaming chariot of Phoebus Apollo streaking across the sky.

Or he might calm the students’ fears of being adrift in a soulless universe by casting aside all this Copernican nonsense and admitting that, as any fool can see just by looking up, the Earth stands still and the sun, moon and stars revolve around us, er, it.

And in civics class, why limit students to an understanding of representative democracy, checks and balances and the rule of law? What about equal time for fascism? It’s clearly a less complicated, more efficient system of government, one that dispenses with such bothersome notions as elections, free speech and minority rights.

Or whatever happened to good old monarchy? It provides better costumes, pageantry and music, and helps everyone remember to keep their place.

History? Make sure all those open-minded students hear that we never landed on the moon, President Kennedy was killed by the CIA and the Nazis couldn’t possibly have killed 6 million Jews.

Seriously, are all those alternative ideas to be banned from the public consciousness? Of course not. They might even be discussed in school, if there's time.

But given the limited time and resources of our schools, and the sometimes minuscule attention span of our students, we need to make sure we don't lose our focus.

In science class, focus on established science.


Post a Comment

<< Home