Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin, evolution

Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education
market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And
for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth’s
creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show
83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children
“religious or moral instruction.”

Hold on there, AP reporter Dylan Lovan.  (The link will expire eventually, so that’s just a Google search that is at least likely to turn up excerpts.)

On the rare occasions when I let my home-schooled kids out of their prayer closets, I usually have a few minutes to spare, before they start crying that the bibles I’ve chained around their necks are chafing them through their penitential sackcloths, so I take the opportunity to teach them the critical thinking skills that would prevent them from making the huge leap necessary to connect the dots from “want to give their children ‘religious or moral instruction'” to “Bible-based version of the Earth’s creation.”  (The school system that educated me did not make me smart enough to see the connections Lovan appears to see.)

It’s probably a bigger story that 17 percent of home-school parents apparently offer no “religious or moral instruction” at all.  Without the proper ideology, how will today’s kids learn the new Rs — respect, relationships, and recycling?  Can the flying spaghetti monster protect us from the shame? Scandal!

The article continues:

“The majority of home-schoolers
self-identify as evangelical Christians,” said Ian Slatter, a spokesman
for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Most home-schoolers
will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their
home-school program.”

Those who don’t, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.

The article is trying to focus on the home-school families that don’t
fit the stereotype, so the intention is commendable.  But the first paragraph I quoted is very sloppy, showing the
kind of writing (and thinking) that makes stereotypes
so hard to

I don’t teach the Bible as a replacement for scientific knowledge.

A character in the TV show Babylon 5 once said (and I’m paraphrasing from memory): “Faith and reason are the shoes on our feet. You can get a lot father with both than with just one or the other.” 

(Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski identifies himself as an athiest, but some of his best storylines involved a respectful treatment of  religion in both human and alien societies.)

3 thoughts on “Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin, evolution

  1. That humanist faith is found in a lot of science fiction — notably Star Wars, now that Lucas retconned a (lame) scientific explanation for The Force.
    But more than The Force, I mean Luke shutting off his targeting computer and trusting his feelings, and Spock learning the value of human emotions, and Data longing to be human, and Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5 highlighting the next phase of human evolution, and to some extent Carl Sagan’s occasional references to “If the human race does not destroy itself, space travel will be like thus and such.”
    It’s very compatible with a religion that sees the physical universe and human society as a good thing, rather than, say, a collection of temptations that exist to be shunned.

  2. As an atheist, I have faith, just not in spaghetti monsters or the various notions of God. Maybe those twin pillars, or shoes, need to be religion and reason (plus, then there’s alliteration). My faith, though often sorely tested, is in the ability of mankind to get its act together, someday. Or that if I can help my students think a little better, that the world will get a little better.

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