Asking for bread and getting a stone

PZ says many good things on the subject, for instance on what the textbook that inspired De Dora’s educational advice actually said.

…that was a small part of a two page section of the text that summarizes the legal history of efforts to keep creationism out of the public schools. It is not a book that condemns Christianity, carries on a crusade to abolish religion, or calls believers delusional; it is moderate, entirely polite in tone (praise Jesus! It meets the most important criterion of the faitheists!), and plainly describes an entirely relevant legal and social issue for biologists in non-judgmental terms. It does use the accurate, factual term “myth” for what creationists are peddling, and that’s as harsh as it gets. It is exactly what the less rude proponents of evolution teaching should want.

In other words, if textbooks and teachers can’t even do that, they really are well and truly stifled and censored, and education is reserved for people who can afford private school.

[W]hat kind of support does a reasonable and polite statement in a textbook get from the intellectual cowards — a phrase I use in complete awareness of the meaning of each word, thank you very much — who want to run away from any conflict? De Dora whines, ‘well, he has a point’. Pigliucci makes a worthless complaint about knowing our epistemological boundaries, implying that the statement of fact in Tobin and Dusheck is a violation of the separation of church and state…If a science teacher can’t even flatly state that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, not 6000, because philosophers will complain about epistomological boundaries, we’re doomed. If the effect of biology on society can’t even be mentioned in a textbook, then the relevance of the science is being sacrificed on the altar of religious submission. Getting enmired in these pointless philosophical “subtleties” when the facts are staring you in the face is a recipe for the further gutting of science education in this country.

Exactly. And gutting science education is not a good thing to do.

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