Eugenie Scott's Strategy: To Convert Baptist Kids into Episcopalians in Science Class?
It is difficult to say what is the most offensive, inappropriate and unconstitutional aspect of Eugenie Scott's strategy guide for trying to convert public school kids from the conservative Christian theology they grew up with into some other theological perspective that is more compatible with her version of macroevolutionary theory. (Scott is the Executive Director of the NCSE, and Lobbyist #1 for the Darwin Only people.) Here is her account of what an unnamed public school teacher did, and her encouragement to other teachers to go and do likewise:
[O]ne teacher presented students with a short quiz wherein they were asked, "Which statement was made by the Pope?" or "which statement was made by an Episcopal Bishop?" and given an "a, b, c" multiple choice selection. All the statements from theologians, of course, stressed the compatibility of theology with the science of evolution. This generated discussion about what evolution was versus what students thought it was. By making the students aware of the diversity of opinion towards evolution extant in Christian theology, the teacher helped them understand that they didn't have to make a choice between evolution and religious faith.
The none too subtle message to kids is unavoidable: here are the theological positions that are approved by the teacher, and by extension, the school. If you want to be a smart kid and good scientist, and you have a different theological perspective, you had better think about changing it. In fact, your grade may depend on it. Just try to imagine how the classroom discussion might play out if a teacher in the mold of Professor P.Z. Myers is teaching the class.
Scott is adamant about one thing- only the theology of Grade A Darwin Certified theologians is allowed: "All the statements from theologians, of course, stressed the compatibility of theology with the science of evolution." Her reference to "diversity" is a joke; only Darwin-friendly perspectives are permitted. And note that true diversity- like telling kids about scientists who doubt Darwinian theory and presenting the scientific evidence that causes those doubts- is also to be avoided. There is no mention of teaching kids critical thinking skills about the science involved. There is also no mention of informing kids about the a priori philosophical commitments and worldviews of both sides (see also here).
Her final sentence makes it all too clear: Johnny, you don't have to "make a choice between evolution and religious faith." Just switch to a different religious faith! You can even stay a Christian- just switch denominations! Remember what the "Episcopal Bishop" said? It is so easy these days to be a good Episcopalian and buy into Darwinism hook, line and sinker. Hey, I might even write you a good recommendation if you do.
Where can you find Eugenie Scott's strategy guide? Why on a web site funded in part by the US Government, of course. If you go to this link, you find the following footer:
This site was created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology with support provided by the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Follow the link Dealing with Roadblocks & Misconceptions, and then the link Dealing with Antievolutionism. Et voila! The juicy stuff is on page 2. Establishment of religion in three easy steps, brought to you by the National Science Foundation. Or should it be called the National Foundation for Science and Government Approved Theology?
In reference to the title of this post, I do not mean to suggest that Eugenie Scott necessarily intends to convert children to a specific faith or denomination. She states that "it would be inappropriate for a teacher to encourage students towards or against any religious view." However, her actual recommendations for promoting macroevolutionary theory in science class could easily have the side effect of kids feeling pressured to change their theology and reconsider their denominations and churches. And she seems to disregard, or be oblivious to, this likely consequence.
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I have no objection to teaching evolution in public schools. On the contrary, we should be teaching more. Just teach it fairly and accurately, and give the kids all the relevant information, evidence and arguments. And don't push any particular theology.