An Atheist Agrees with Discovery on Public Education


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #1

https://evolutionnews.org/2018/08/using-religion-to-push-evolution-in-public-school-biology-class-what-could-go-wrong/


#2

“A much better approach would be no religion in biology class, and more science.”

Lots could go wrong.

I have the same problem with our government using taxpayer money to build new mosques and churches in developing countries. We should stay out of it to avoid propagating the idea that we support one idea over another and getting hopelessly entangled with local prejudices. My personal opinion.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

This is an important and complex issue, where I might end up agreeing with ID. We shouldn’t use public school classrooms to push for preferred theological integrations of faith and science (not even a good version of Theistic Evolution). This is complex too, because I think the intentions are good for those trying to alleviate conflict in students minds on these questions. However, I’m not sure its the place of public schools to instruct children this way.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #4

I agree with DI on this post in August 2018. Maybe they have come to realize as an Institution that the “wedge plan” of Dover was an error in judgement. But I get the feeling that DI is trying to say that ID is not religion again. Well that is not going to work.

One of the major problems I am seeing in science education today (and in society in general) is that children (and their parents) are coming in skeptical of science before they understand the science. It is one thing to have honest skepticism of why math works or why some aspect of science is true or not. But it is very detrimental to children to have them come into elementary science classes with beliefs from the middle ages filled with myths and superstitions like anti-vaccinations, homeopathic medicine, faith healing, etc.


(Guy Coe) #5

How do you live with a Constution that grounds its citizens’ human rights in the fact that they are all “created equal by God?” Should it be illegal to read the Constitution in grade school classrooms?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #6

Sorry the US Constitution makes no mention of God. The “all men are created equal by their creator” is from the Declaration of independence written to rid America of the tyrannical King of England in order to have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.


(Guy Coe) #7

Good correction. So then, ought the Declaration be kept out of the public schools?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #8

No, both document should be studied and displayed. In history classrooms not in science labs.


(Guy Coe) #9

From a Patheos blog: “The U.S. Constitution does reference the Lord and clearly, this is the Lord God for there is no doubt even with the way they dated their document as we read in the close of the Constitution in Article VII that this was “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America” showing both the Lord’s name and also in specifying the year in which our Lord was born into human flesh and by which we date our years.” So, the Constitution is even more specific in this undergirding assumption.


(Guy Coe) #10

You would ask students to forget the lessons of history as they enter a science lab?


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #11

(Guy Coe) #12

Undergirding assumptions are not religious relics, though one may wish them so.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #13

Some one needs to notify the press. FFRF and DI agree. Common ground really does exist.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #14

My assertion of a Godless US Constitution where “We the People” decide is correct given that the “Year of Our Lord” is in the affirmation section and not part of the US Constitution.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #15

We agree with this single piece but keep both eyes open for any hints of another Dover.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #16

I’m with you on that. I do not want another Dover, Scopes or Kansas Board either.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #17

No, I would remind the students that the freedoms guaranteed in the US constitution studied in history class is the reason that they have the rights to go into science lab and do unhindered science investigation with a clear and open mind, without presuppositions on the results nor the interpretation of those results.


(Guy Coe) #18

Including atheistic ones.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #19

Atheism should never enter the school. Atheism is an opinion that God doesn’t exist. That opinion isn’t allowed to be discussed in US public schools. Science on the other hand is neutral on matters of theism or atheism. And is taught as such. Ideally it shouldn’t matter whether the teacher is a theist or an atheist teaching any class in the US public school system. The Government (the public school and all its employees) are to be neutral regarding theism or nontheism. Is this really that hard to understand or to accept as the law in the US?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

Well, to be fair, kids can discuss it amongst themselves as they feel the need. Teachers can discuss it as part of lessons. Teachers can also answer student initiated questions about what their personal beliefs might be. It is just that Teachers cannot in their official capacities promote atheism (or any religious belief) as preferred above others.