From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News and Views:
The first question asked:
Rate your level of agreement or disagreement with the following statement: Teachers and students should have the academic freedom to objectively discuss both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution.
Fully 94 percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed. Democrats and Republicans were very close at 93 percent and 95 percent agreement respectively. Admittedly, Republicans were a little more passionate, with 65 percent strongly agreeing compared to 54 percent among Democrats. Still, that’s clear bipartisan support.
Theists and atheists were also in agreement, at 96 percent and 86 percent. Theists were the somewhat more enthusiastic, with 62 percent strongly agreeing compared to 51 percent of atheists. Again, though, restricting academic freedom was unpopular among all groups. Of all demographic categories, atheists were the most inclined to a restrictive attitude. But still only a minority, 14 percent, disagreed with the statement.More.
The atheist view is encouraging, given that Darwinism is the creation story of atheism.
It’s nice to learn that at least half of atheists are as open-minded as they claim. They are not asking for their creation story to be taught in school as a rule, along with multiplying by fractions, irregular verbs and so forth.
One problem I do have with the controversy—a problem that began a century ago—is that there is very little freedom in public education anyway.
The parent must send the kid (6 to 16 generally) and the kid must go. Ratepayers must support the system financially, no matter how appalling it is.
Yes, there are school trustees but good luck knowing who they even are. Systems are really run by the teachers’ unions, whose main responsibility is to protect bad teachers (or so it seems). The most common argument I hear against vouchers and charter schools is that if we gave alert parents a choice to get their kids out, the others would be left to rot in the system.
The only reason it’s not quite as bad in Canada as in the States is that our federal government is not involved in public education. In the States, the feds can throw down a fresh layer of hell any time they want.
The only reason this dying monster from the 19th century isn’t as big problem as we might think is that most kids in a society like ours will in fact learn basic competencies on their own. Unfortunately, that usually means that young Smiddle doesn’t know the Pythagorean theorem or why it matters but he can sure download and maybe even help write some super apps.
Whatever system replaces the (eventually) sputtered-out public education monster will need freedom of enquiry. For one thing, anyone with access to an internet connection can easily find out the facts about evolution. The main thing kids need is critical thinking skills, to sift what they are hearing.
See also: Americans support dissent re evolution. Some of us wonder at times about the use of the term “dissent,” as if it were something special. Dissent is, in general, evidence of thinking. There is little dissent among a herd of cows about anything that pertains to being a cow.
Follow UD News at Twitter!