Spencer Iowa School Board Update (28 Aug ‘09)

OUR last report on this situation was here: Spencer Iowa School Board Update (18 Jul ‘09). The school board, led by two local worthies — one a preacher, the other a pharmacist — were working on what they imagined was a brilliant plan for their public schools to teach the bible and to criticize evolution.

They were obviously getting in way over their heads. Now we have some news to report. The Des Moines Register informs us: Spencer schools drop new Bible class. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Spencer school officials will throw out a Bible class and discard a critique of evolutionary theory to avoid being sued over the district’s proposed “religious liberties” policy.

The elective classes and other parts of the plan drew fire last month from civil rights activists who said they promoted Christian beliefs.

School board members have gone back to the drawing board.

Quite a turn-around. Let’s read on:

A second crack at the policy will be scrutinized by attorneys, teachers and other groups before it’s made public in September, Superintendent Greg Ebeling said. “I think the wisdom is to slow down and make sure we cover our bases,” he said. “In the end, it’ll probably be a much more palatable policy.”

Ah, the creationists aren’t giving up. They never do. We continue:

Although the policy “wasn’t said clearly or explicitly, it was pretty clear it came from a fairly conservative Christian angle,” said Bob Ready, president of the Iowa Secularists, a group that does not identify with a religion. “That’s clearly going to come up for legal challenge.”

[Superintendent] Ebeling said court battles aren’t worth the fight. “Certainly we do not want to create a legal challenge that the district loses or has to spend a lot of money on and win,” he said.

Somebody must have told the school district about Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District and a long string of earlier cases. Creationists aren’t impressed by science, but sometimes the realistic possibility of long and expensive litigation they’re almost certain to lose will get through to them.

So this little controversy may be fading away. Or maybe not. Creationist activists really don’t like to give up.

The next episode of this Spencer, Iowa drama will be in September.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Spencer Iowa School Board Update (28 Aug ‘09)

  1. Curmudgeon wrote: “So this little controversy may be fading away. Or maybe not. Creationist activists really don’t like to give up.”

    If they’re smart (in a devious sense) they’d try the “what is science?” angle that made some noise before the “academic freedom” scam. That avoids not only the easily-refuted “evidence” of the mutually-contradictory “literal Genesis” accounts, but als0 the not-so-easily-refuted (to students at least) “evidence against evolution.”

    Remember, all they need to do is promote unreasonable doubt of evolution. In this anti-science age they have nothing to lose by (unreasonably) calling all science into question. Students with Biblical literalist parents will assume all of their mutually contradictory accounts are validated, while those with more “postmodern” parents will parrot lines like “the jury’s still out.”

  2. If they don’t want a legal battle, then maybe they should stick to teaching the Curriculum as outlined by the State of Iowa…

    Nah, that would make too much sense.

  3. Gadfly wrote: “Nah, that would make too much sense.”

    For some crazy reason I’m the only one I know of who points this out, but a quick estimate shows that the typical student spends ~0.1% of his waking hours during high school years learning evolution. For the remaining ~99.9% (100% for non-public-school students) the scam artists are free to peddle any propaganda they want.

    Most of the scam artists hate public education anyway (I’m not a fan either) so their only reason for putting so much effort into that ~0.1% is to undermine public education and get cheap publicity in the process.

    One fact you will hear about from many others is that the scam artists have no problem leaving their rubes with big legal bills.

  4. comradebillyboy

    Frank J wrote:’…the typical student spends ~0.1% of his waking hours during high school years learning evolution. For the remaining ~99.9% (100% for non-public-school students) the scam artists are free to peddle any propaganda they want.’

    The clear implication being that the only worthwhile bit of a person’s education is evolution and the rest is propaganda delivered by scam artists. Looks like data and analysis from the Kent Hovind school of statistics.

  5. comradebillyboy

    Frank J

    Please excuse me, I was in a bad mood when I responded to your comment.

  6. comradebillyboy wrote: “Please excuse me, I was in a bad mood when I responded to your comment.”

    I’m very used to my sentences interpreted differently than intended. By “scam artists” I mean specifically the anti-evolution activists, not teachers of other subjects, if that’s what you mean. And they have more outlets than ever. In 1987, when “scientific” creationism was banned, a student would have to go to the library or pick up a newspaper to find anti-evolution propaganda, but nowadays all he has to do is go online.