What I’ve seen over and over again is that there’s nothing creative about creationism — they repeat the same old arguments, and they’re all (except for the weird twist of Intelligent Design creationism) derived from American publications in the 1960s. And even ID is an American confabulation! So I tend to give my own country a share of the blame when I see an Australian like Ken Ham, or a Turk like Adnan Oktar.
I may have been too quick to accept guilt, though. I’m going to have to blame Australia more.
The recent revelation that creationism-teaching schools in at least nine states were receiving over $11 million of taxpayers’ money per year might have startled Americans. But that is tiny compared to the taxpayer funds pushing creationism in Australia.
Since the 1970s, Australia has ratcheted up public funding to private schools, such that, in 2013, more than 34 percent of all school students attend them. More than 90 percent of these private schools are Christian. These include a large Catholic sector, and some old, establishment schools, which parents choose more for lavish facilities and old-school-tie networks than any religious content.
Nonetheless, the fastest growth is in more strictly religious schools such as the 91 affiliated with Australian Association of Christian Schools, whose members must assent to a Statement of Faith declaring “the supreme authority of the Bible,” meaning that “the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are God’s infallible and inerrant revelation to man” and “the supreme standard by which all things are to be judged.” The Statement also affirms that, “in pursuit of their task, Christian schools only employ Christian teachers and Christian non-teaching staff who are able to subscribe to this Statement.”
To proponents of “inerrant revelation,” the Genesis six days of creation are a touchstone.
In 2010 (the most recent figures available), AACS schools received over $357 million from state and federal governments.
Whoa. So Australia is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into propping up creationism? I’m not buying beer for any Australians ever again, until you stop.