Creationist Materials Found Where?!

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What’s wrong with this picture?

According to the Dallas Observer, this PowerPoint slide was found on the central curriculum website (accessible only by teachers) for the Dallas Independent School District, the 12th-largest public school system in the country.

The slide was apparently part of a presentation titled “The Cell Theory.” The Observer notes most of the presentation was based on sound science. Until, of course, you got to the kicker in this slide.

The slide has since been yanked — after the Observer reporter started asking questions.

How did such blatantly unconstitutional creationism wind up  in the curricular materials for one of the country’s biggest school districts? We don’t know. Honest mistake or not, it goes to show that keeping creationist materials out of public school classrooms requires constant vigilance. Kudos to the Dallas Observer.

9 Responses to “Creationist Materials Found Where?!”

  1. David Bigwood Says:

    I’m not so sure about pulling it. It depends on the nature of the site. If everything on the site is approved for classroom use, then it has no busniess there.

    However, this is the kind of thing that can come up in a class. If it is there so a teacher can consider a response and be prepared to answer such assertations, that is useful. It should go in the directory with flat Earth, urine therapy, 2012 end of the world stuff and all the other crazy myths that could be brought up.

    It should never be used in a classroom.

  2. Gordon Fowkes Says:

    The Constitution bans the repression of both religion and speech, as if there was any difference. As such, no speech can be un-Constitutional per se. The concept creeping in from both flanks of the silly circle has now established that there is such a thing as “protected” and “unprotected” speech and that the Town Council of South Bilgewater can decide which is what.

    We have devolved from the “clear and present danger” standard of yelling fire in a building for producing panic to a standard that telling bomb jokes in an airport can get you hard time. Now, “threatening” speech based on the inner child of the threatened now supercedes “intent” as an element of proof.

    We now have a standard delivered by the Supreme Court some years ago that defines objectionable speech as what the judge thinks it is. Besides the point that if nothing objectionable was said, it wasn’t likely worth hearing.

    Pulling down a screwy slide or pulling out a Ten Commandments memorial is not much different that burning crosses, or throwing red paint on a biker at a biker convention shouting drivel about too much leather.

    That didn’t turn out as well as PETA thought.

  3. der Brat Says:

    Gordon’s points illustrate the problem of deciding where the dividing line should be for what speech is legally permitted. Should PC be the standard by which speech is judged to be protected or not? There does not seem to be a consensus. It has been decided in courts that the government should not promote or attack religion. So, does a government-sponsored presentation that includes a religious notion be allowed or not. So far, the answer is usually ‘no.’ One exception seems to be requiring that students utter a religious statement regarding a piece of cloth – but they may be excused from this, if it violates their principles. Perhaps burning a cross is the same in Gordon’s mind as other offenses, but I would suggest that the burning cross could reasonably be considered as a physical threat – particularly in light of past occurrences in which they were followed by a lynching.

  4. JC Dufresne Says:

    Gordon is missing the point that in the case of religion in schools it isn’t about speech offending, it is about government endorsing religion which is quite clearly prohibited in the First Amendment. Claiming proof of god in a science class is entirely different than telling someone you don’t like the color their shoes.

  5. Edd Doerr Says:

    Der Brat is right; Fowkes is wrong. The PowerPoint slide in question is just a sneaky attempt to bootleg a sectarian message into public schools. Und dat, sagt Der Brat, ist verboten.

  6. Gene Garman Says:

    Fundamentalist/creationist religionists continue to attempt to impose “religion” upon the United States of America through establishment by law. They did so in 1954 when Congress passed a public law which established “under God” into the national pledge of allegiance. When I entered the first grade in 1941, graduated from high school in 1954, and sailed for Korea with the U.S. Marines in 1954, the words “under God” were not in the United States of America’s pledge of allegiance.

    In 1954 the Republicans, under President Eisenhower and the theocrats in our nation violated the Constitution, passed a public law, and, in violation of the First Amendment established religion in our national pledge of allegiance. It is way past time for separationists to publicly promote removal of the establishment of religion (God) in our national pledge.

  7. Tru B. Liefer Says:

    “Honest mistake or not…” I’m going with “not.” What are they suggesting…someone was sleep-preaching?

  8. Tru B. Liefer Says:

    JC has it right. Speech is covered in the First, but that is not the part of the Amendment with which we are concerned. The First is a busy Amendment and we are only looking at the first sentence, which deals with the establishment of religion. There is nothing unconstitutional with teachers saying that science is evil and children should be obedient soldiers of Allah. However, if you make a law that says taxpayers must pay that teacher and children have to go listen to that teacher, you have stepped over the line. Allowing a public school teacher to advocate a “Creator God” also steps over the line into the “establishment of religion.” If Creationists want that to be ok, they need to admit that they don’t agree with our founding American values and should try to get the constitution changed.

  9. Gordon Fowkes Says:

    The “line” drawn on the chalk board (between a religion and not) that says tax money is not indelible. The Constitution does not draw a line between free speech and religion, it says you can’t repress either nor establish religion. That’s a rathe fuzzy line, in fact it is more like a blur.

    The concept of what is a religion is also rather fuzzy, some don’t have Gods. Some who say they have only one, insist that one of the one is out to get the other one. The Jesus -Satan domestic squabble. Some are more about behavior than beliefs. So, drawing a line around a scudding cloud is more likely of success.

    The issue at hand isn’t about religion in any fuzzy way, it is about the intrusion of a rather amorphous cloud of Protestant, some apocolyptic, some over commercialised, some devout hard working ordinary folks that have strong beliefs. They had successfully kept the Catholics out, something the Catholics were smart enough to run their own system. Now there is the challenge from another bunch of pagans (OBTW Catholics are closeted pagans).

    Before WW2 and the Depression, school systems for a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, and religious groups. It was possible to have two or three generations of native Americans who couldn’t speak English not good much. That was the period when FDR banned the speaking of French in schools in Acadia in Cajun Louisiana.
    Technically, Eleanor should have told FDR that such constituted genocide according to UN charter that she and Harry cut a deal over.

    So the real issue from the Right Side is a matter of restoring the defacto establishment that prevailed before JFK was sainted by an Italian carbine. It used to be standard political parlance that Catholics can’t be loyal Americans because of the allegiance to the Pope. And that argument has been dug out of the dust bin and repainted with the same pitch for Muslims; to the effect that Muslims can’t be loyal Americans because the Koran isn’t the same as the Bible, although one could argue that the New Testament is an upgrade to the Old Testament, and the Koran is an upgrade to the New Testament considering that Jesus is the sixth of seven prophets of Islam.

    Rightwing angst is further bound on “taking America back” to a period before that unfortunate incident at Appomattox Court House, the the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments (Reconstruction Amendments) that the Confederate states had to sign to get back into the Union they were attacked for leaving. Parton’s library of “original documents” only go as far as those accursed Amendments.

    The Progressives have been asleep at the Commune resting on their laurels of the halcyon days of dropping out, and turning on. Wakey, wakey, the Rebels are upon us!

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