Creationism in Israel: Expel the Ignoramus!

THIS is a follow-up to what we posted two days ago: Creationism in Israel — Oy!, and then yesterday: Reactions to Creationism in Israel.

In Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, there’s an editorial titled Sa’ar and the monkey trial. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar says that fostering scientific excellence among Israeli students is at the top of his priorities. When he took office, he undertook to improve the performance of Israeli schools in international comparative examinations in math and science, after years of declining achievements. He appointed professionals to key posts in his ministry, for which he won high praise.

That’s what Gideon promised. Now what has he done? Let’s read on:

But despite his solemn commitment to excellence and professionalism, Sa’ar made the mistake of naming Dr. Gavriel Avital the ministry’s chief scientist. Instead of appointing, as his predecessor did, a prominent scholar in the field of education, he chose a Likud activist who ran on the party’s slate in the last Knesset election.

Avital is not an expert in education or in teaching the main subjects in the school curriculum, but an engineer who taught aeronautics at the Technion. But the main reason he is unsuitable for the post is not his lack of experience, but his opinions.

We’ve discussed Avital’s opinions before, but the editorial reminds us:

Avital was exposed as an obscurantist Orthodox zealot who casts doubt on the validity of scientific research and rejects both evolution and global warming. He dismisses Darwin’s theory because it leaves God out, and he has called environmental organizations “a fanatical religion with a great deal of evil.” Avital promised to “scrutinize textbooks” to make sure that students are not exposed exclusively to “the opinion that man evolved from the ape.”

Avital would be right at home on the Texas Board of Education. The editorial continues:

Avital wants to push the education system hundreds of years into the past and undermine science’s achievements in order to impart religious ideologies to Israeli students. His opinions flagrantly contradict the requirements of the chief scientist post and the state school system’s striving for scientific excellence.

This next excerpt is where the editorial’s title comes from:

His proposals that curricula undergo religious censorship to cast doubt on evolution are reminiscent of the notorious “monkey trial” that saw a teacher in Tennessee put on trial in the 1920s for teaching evolution.

We don’t read the Israeli press, so maybe this isn’t a particularly harsh editorial. But we suspect that it is. According to the Wikipedia article on Haaretz, it’s “considered Israel’s most influential daily newspaper. Its readership includes Israel’s intelligentsia and its political and economic elites.” This newspaper isn’t a supermarket throwaway. Here’s the editorial’s final paragraph:

The position of the Education Ministry’s chief scientist should be filled by a top-notch scholar in the field, and not serve the minister as a way to pay off cronies and party hacks. Sa’ar should immediately get rid of Avital, whose appointment has made a mockery of the minister’s lofty promises, and replace him with a true scientist.

Jeepers — they’re calling for Avital to be Expelled! Where’s Ben Stein when he’s so desperately needed?

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Creationism in Israel: Expel the Ignoramus!

  1. Wow. Avital’s an engineer. Who would have suspected…

  2. Albanaeon says: “Wow. Avital’s an engineer. Who would have suspected…”

    It would have been better if he were a dentist.

  3. The Discoveroids don’t seem to have picked this story up … yet!

  4. Great Claw says: “The Discoveroids don’t seem to have picked this story up … yet!”

    This one was made for Klinghoffer. I’m waiting …

  5. “Expelignoramus!” should be a Harry Potter spell.

  6. I only wish we had such ministers in this country (Italy), where the prime minister seeks advice from the head of a foreign country — namely Pope B16. Or in my native country (Romania), for that matter, where not long ago the education minister initiated an amendment to the education laws to eliminate subjects like logic and psychology/sociology from the high-school curricula, and gave religion hours a quasi-compulsory status. Pff!!

    As a sidenote: I looked up “Discovery Institute” on Google to see if they made any comment on the subject of this article. Turns out they didn’t… yet. But what baffled me was the “description” that appeared (the “description” meta-header of the site):

    Discovery Institute is a nonpartisan public policy think tank conducting research on technology, science and culture, economics and foreign affairs.

    Now… something’s deeply wrong with that “description”. I can’t help but wonder: do they really, really think it to be accurate?

  7. Armand K. asks: “I can’t help but wonder: do they really, really think it to be accurate?”

    The Discovery Institute does some work besides creationism, but I think creationism is easily most of what they do.

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    The Discovery Institute does some work besides creationism, but I think creationism is easily most of what they do.

    They also work on traffic congestion in the Pacific Northwest (Cascadia Center), bioethics, Russian democracy, and promoting the works of C. S. Lewis.

    Intelligent design and “teach the controversy” are what they are best known for.

  9. Gabriel Hanna

    Oh, and I am very, VERY disappointed to see Slade Gorton on the board of the Discovery Institute.

  10. I wonder on which planet many of you live! I study the climate hysterie for many years now. Who really believes this has to do with science, go back to school, please!!
    Earth warmed a mere net 0.5°C in the whole 20th century. Cause? Many, but impossible to tell which is the most important. This is not science, this is the RELIGION of Gaia, costing us billions of dollars and pressed upon us by not democratically controlled UN organs.
    Someone who believes this crap, is no scientist in my eyes. Avital, press on!!

  11. Rinus Kiel says: “Avital, press on!!”

    Okay, Rinus. Now please find another website.