Our old friend PZ Myers holds school boards in utter contempt. In a recent blog post at his widely followed Pharyngula blog site, he takes contemptuous pot shots at the Springboro, OH School Board for having the audacity to even consider a “critical thinking” policy in the curriculum.
The Springboro Community City School District is considering a so-called “critical thinking” policy that would require teachers to explore “all sides” of controversial issues. The proposed policy change would direct teachers to discuss creation science or intelligent design when teaching about the theory of evolution. <a href=”http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201…..-proposal/ Full story here.
PZ can’t restrain his contempt:
Please. There is no controversy here. Evolution happened, teach it.
The best argument that one student provided is that “I don’t feel like the people here are educated or prepared enough to deal with it.” Yeah, that describes most school boards.
Well, lets run PZ’s reporting on this story through the UD Fact-o-meter, shall we.
Fact 1 – The actual proposed policy doesn’t mention or single out science classes. But don’t take my word for that. Here’s the actual proposal. (Note: its 1 page) PZ’s comments make it appear as if the entire policy is aimed at science classes and evolution when in fact the purpose of the policy is to encourage students to, well, think critically.
The role of the teacher in the presentation of assigned issues is vitally important. All sides of the issue should be given to the students in a dispassionate manner. The goal is for the students to be taught to think clearly on all matters of importance, and to make decisions in the light of all the material that has been presented or can be researched on the issues.
I guess PZ thinks it would be just awful for students to learn how to think logically and critically about anything.
Fact 2 – Note that the policy says “The goal is for the students to be taught to think clearly on all matters of importance [emphasis mine]. I guess PZ doesn’t think that a question like “Where did we come from?” or “How did living things including me come to be?” to be matters of importance. Or, at least he doesn’t think that students should be allowed to even consider that there may be any alternative to the particles to people story of evolution. And bear in mind, the policy doesn’t specify in which class this discussion or debate should be presented. As far as the policy is concerned, the discussion could come up in a Social Studies class or perhaps a Communications class, depending. It doesn’t have to come up in a Science class at all.
Fact 3 – None of the above keeps PZ from frothing at the mouth that: “There is no controversy!” Evolution happened…get over it. Really, PZ, “no controversy”? Guess PZ’s been too busy ranting and raving about ID and “Creationism” to keep up with what is actually happening in his own field of biology. Let’s see, can anyone name one aspect of evolution and its supposed mechanisms that isn’t hotly debated and controversial even among evolutionary biologists? Pick one – common descent, natural selection, gene transfer, phylogentics, gene duplication, genetic drift, mutation, etc etc – not one single supposed driving engine of evolution is uncontroversial within evolutionary biology itself. It continually amazes me that every single aspect of Darwinian evolution is hotly debated and controversial, yet the Darwinian faithful, like PZ pound their fists on their desks yelling “evolution is a fact, Fact, FACT!” What is telling, is how rabidly PZ and others of his ilk want to keep students in public schools from ever knowing about or even hearing about such controversies.
Fact 4 – PZ sniffs “The best argument that one student provided is that “I don’t feel like the people here are educated or prepared enough to deal with it.” Yeah, that describes most school boards.”” So let’s see, we’re right back to
“To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant—inexcusably ignorant, in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write.”
? Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
PZ is a living example of “if you can’t beat ‘em…try to marginalize them” and “why use argument when a good ad hominem will do!”
Other than all that, PZ’s post was magnificent!