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Sep 28 2013

The First Amendment right not to be taught science

So Judge John Jones might as well not have bothered writing that opinion in the Kitzmiller case? I ask because some eternally hopeful types in Kansas have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that science is religion and must be kept out of the public schools.

TOPEKA, Kan. — An anti-evolution group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block Kansas from using new, multistate science standards in its public schools, arguing the guidelines promote atheism and violate students’ and parents’ religious freedom.

So is it promoting atheism and violating students’ and parents’ religious freedom to teach about gravity without any balancing teaching that actually it’s God pushing everything down?

The nonprofit organization based in the small community of Peck, south of Wichita, was joined in its lawsuit by 15 parents from across the state with a total of 18 children — most of them in public schools — and two taxpayers from the Kansas City-area community of Lake Quivira. The parents say they’re Christians who want to instill a belief in their children that “life is a creation made for a purpose.”

“The state’s job is simply to say to students, ‘How life arises continues to be a scientific mystery and there are competing ideas about it,’” said John Calvert, a Lake Quivira attorney involved in the lawsuit.

Is it? Is that also the schools’ job? If so is it the state’s job and the schools’ job to say that to students about everything? Are public schools supposed to throw up their hands and say “there are competing ideas about it” on the Civil War, the table of elements, the structure of the atom, the Holocaust, the solar system, the location of Brazil, math, writing, reading?

Calvert was a key figure in past Kansas evolution debates as a founder of the Intelligent Design Network, contending that life is too complex to have developed through unguided evolution. Joshua Rosenau, programs and policy director for the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education, said Calvert has been making such an argument for years and “no one in the legal community has put much stock in it.”

“They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion,” Rosenau said, dismissing the argument as “silly.”

Way to go, Josh.
        The lawsuit argues that the new standards will cause Kansas public schools to promote a “non-theistic religious worldview” by allowing only “materialistic” or “atheistic” explanations to scientific questions, particularly about the origins of life and the universe. The suit further argues that state would be “indoctrinating” impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s protections for religious freedom.
Desperate measures, eh. Once they admit indoctrination is a bad thing, they’re doomed.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    shouldbeworking

    You have the right to an education. If you choose not to exercise that right, everything you do or say can and will be used against you for the rest of your life at your expense.

  2. 2
    atheist

    I wish that skeptics, and especially progressive skeptics, would let themselves realize that in the context of a culture war, there is literally nothing that cannot be politicized. There is no facet of biology, constitutional law, manners, or sex that cannot be turned into a skirmish by tea-baggers who hate modernity. You don’t have to think about this all the time — if you did it would drive you nuts — but I feel like skeptics should at least understand “culture war” is a real thing.

  3. 3
    atheist

    Maybe I’m coming off too ragey. I guess I just am less surprised.

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    Wait’ll they get a load of the home-ec classes, which promote a non-theistic religious worldview of how to cook meals, feed your kids, and manage your money. Then there’s all those police academies, which promote a non-theistic religious worldview of how to solve and fight crime. I’m tellin’ ya, these people are on to something BIG!

  5. 5
    screechymonkey

    And those home-ec classes better mention that views differ on whether the FSM prefers marinara or alfredo sauce.

  6. 6
    rnilsson

    Oh Beezys, man, I wish someone could get their s*ough together and make this rapture thing actually work already. So many false starts, and here we are still stuck with the same Old Orbital Offers.

    1
    shouldbeworking

    September 28, 2013 at 11:10 am (UTC -7)

    You have the right to an education. If you choose not to exercise that right, everything you do or say can and will be used against you for the rest of your life at your expense.

    And ever and ever, ad infinitum, amen. Over the very burning sulphuric coals that you tend to invoke so freely.

  7. 7
    Alverant

    I read about this on RawStory. One of the lawsuit supports doesn’t want teachers saying his child’s faith is wrong. But he has no problems having teachers telling children of other religions that THEIR faith is wrong. Yet another example of privilege.

  8. 8
    Omar Puhleez

    Of course, in the equation describing Newton’s law of gravitation, F = G.m1.m2/d^2, the G can be thought of as actually standing for you know who: by the theist crowd, at least on Sundays.

    Whoever else may choose to think of it as the Universal Gravitational Constant.

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