Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creationism: You cost America a healthy economy

While I try to be a tolerant and respectful atheist, it's difficult not to cringe when I see headlines about creationism being passed off as science in public schools or other buildings. Today's news from Kentucky caused such a reaction. It's unimaginable to spend $37.5 M public funds on a creationist theme park and I shudder to think that families might visit when it open in 2014 seeking an educational experience.

Beyond the utter insanity and obstinate ignorance that it requires to assert the Earth was created in six days, just 6,000 years ago, and that at one time, man and velociraptor co-existed peacefully, creationism perpetuates a departure from investigation, curiosity and experimentation that is crippling our nation's scientific development.

Is it fair to make the leap from bad science in our schools to failed businesses across our country? Yes. Schools that ask students to take things on faith, that do not teach the scientific method, that deny decades of evidence, teach students to accept what they are told by authority. How can we expect these same students to develop the technology and theories that will break the cycle of fossil fuel dependence, reduce federal debt and revitalize our economy? How can we expect these students to question their political leaders and their banks to plan for a stable future not driven by greed or based on short-term economics? Perhaps if we pray on it...

It's been estimated that nearly 20 % of high school science teachers teach and believe in creationism. An additional 15% present evolution and creationism as equal "theories" of life. This misuse of public money must stop. The US public school system was initially built to train model factory employees at the turn of the 20th century. Today our school system has a larger burden - namely training the future scientists, business leaders and innovators for our culture.

3 comments:

The Arthurian said...

Hi, Cara.
I like your second paragraph best. Plus the opening line there. :)

But let me ask you: Why is it always the federal debt? You write --
"How can we expect these same students to ...reduce federal debt and revitalize our economy?"

Perhaps you saw the graph a while back, showing total debt at 350% of GDP? Well, 50 of that 350 is government debt. 300 is private-sector debt. And much of the 50 was created to prop up the private sector... Why is it always the federal debt that concerns people?
Pray tell me...

Art

Cara said...

Art -

Thanks for your comment. My focus on federal debt here was mainly because government funds are being used to build the park in Kentucky and pay teachers' wages. The problem of private sector debt that you outline is of course also a issue that you could credit to our lowered standards of teaching science.

Why does everyone focus on the federal debt? I can't speak for everyone but I can't help suggesting it's because federal money has that appealing combination of being both national and personal. So it's a convenient way to say an issue is misusing my money but also impacting an entire nation. Private sector debt, while staggering, is attached to "some business owner or property owner" in the public mind instead of "all of us."

The Arthurian said...

Hello again, C. Thanks for taking my question seriously and giving me an answer to chew on.

You refer to "our lower standards of teaching science." I'm tempted to think you are saying economics is science. Wow!