Tuesday, September 06, 2011

teach Darwin--go to jail


Should a teacher be sued for describing creationism as "superstitious nonsense"?

This question involves a lawsuit against California history teacher James Corbett. In 2007, a former student sued Corbett for a pattern of hostility "toward religion and favoring irreligion over religion." The student produced secret recordings of Corbett as evidence.

In 2009, a judge considered Corbett's statements and found only one -- that creationism is "superstitious nonsense" -- to be an "improper disapproval of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause," and therefore an infringement of the student's rights. To the amazement of educators and scientists across the country, the court ruled against Corbett and found this one statement in class to have been unconstitutional.

One issue raised by this case is how far educators should modify class content to anticipate potential offense to the faith of their students. In a public school classroom filled with students from a variety of religions and backgrounds, there is a good chance of offending someone in some way. If teachers are at risk of being sued every time they make a factual statement, it may have a chilling effect: "Teachers can avoid [risk] by not talking about these issues at all," according to UC Irvine law professor Rachel Moran.

Is this the kind of education we want?......

Alright lil Sarah, put down the cell phone..Moises did walk, hand in hand, with Pterosaurs. Now, back to Osmosis


One Brow said...

To my knowledge, teachers are still free to teach that creationism goes against all the evidence we have, and is completely uverified. It should never be necessary to add a judgement like "superstitious nonesense" anyhow.

I'm not saying I agree with the ruling or like it, but it should not stop teachers from teaching biology.

J said...

Hey OB. Yes, now that the original ruling was reversed they can. The "superstitious nonsense" may have been inappropriate--yet, some of us have dealt with fundamentalists (christian-WASP, muslim and jewish--many of whom really object to the dogma of the Old Testament being ....jacked) and might understand the teacher's frustration and his incautious comments.

The Darwinists/evolutionists are still the minority--even in supposedly progressive California. The biblethumpers , torahthumpers, and koranthumpers are thick in the school districts. Personally I'd allow bio-teachers to have a discussion of "Intelligent Design" or the old Watchmaker analogy, religious issues like at the end of the semester. That's not what the fundies want: they want to eradicate the teaching of evolution, if not biology and chemistry itself.

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