January 31, 2004

Good compromise

Faced with a contentious issue, Georgia makes a sensible compromise:

Superintendent Kathy Cox said the concept of evolution would still be taught under the proposal, but the word would not be used.

You see, it turns out that evolution is just a "buzzword". Sure, this new proposal is not making everyone happy:
"Here we are, saying we have to improve standards and improve education, and we're just throwing a bone to the conservatives with total disregard to what scientists say," said state Rep. Bob Holmes, a Democrat.


"If you're teaching the concept without the word, what's the point?" said Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican. "It's stupid. It's like teaching gravity without using the word gravity."

But in furthering the main goal of public schools, i.e. not offending anyone, it's clearly a step in the right direction....

Posted by richard at January 31, 2004 01:05 PM

This came up almost on cue. I think Julia's posting sent shock waves through the South.

The underlying theory here is, of course, that the parents who would make a stink don't actually know what evolution is, they just don't like it. So when the schools go ahead and teach it, they can do it under the radar by using some approved noncontroversial term. It's don't ask-don't tell, applied to public education.

Creationists need to get with the program. This medieval worldview is so 1982. If you want to live in a pre-Enlightenment state of squalor, fear, superstition, intolerance, and intellectual stagnation, then that's your prerogative. But the state gets to intercede and give your kid a choice on the matter. Otherwise you can pay to educate him — or do it yourself. Like it or lump it, people. Find some nice accredited Christian school that teaches literal interpretations of selected portions of Scripture. Because it's not our insatiable desire for self-improvement through knowledge and innovation that has made America great. It's the good old fashioned values that God may or may not have dictated thousand of years ago to some unknown stenographer, many of which were overly concerned about food preparation.

Evolution. Evolution. Evolution. What's so frightening about it? Oh, yeah: it refers to a process of refinement and betterment — physiological, in this context, but wrapped up inside the package is that idea that a society can evolve as well. People can step out of superstition and ignorance into the light. Kathy Cox thinks that's not so bad an idea, but apparently it's not good enough to call by name, because it scares people.

At some point, a good government says, "Whoa there. You have a right to believe what you do, but we're pretty sure you're wrong. And we're going to tell you about it, and we're going to tell your children about it. We could patty-cake around your sensibilities forever and ever, but we'd rather do what's right."

Posted by: Brad A. at January 31, 2004 03:55 PM