Creationism in Lynchburg Virginia’s City Council Race

IN the Lynchburg News & Advance of Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Liberty University which was founded by Jerry Falwell, we read Council hopefuls tackle education issues in forum.

On the surface, this is merely about a municipal election, the sort of thing that’s boring even in the town where we live; but in this case it appears that the city council appoints the local school board. Such things become interesting when they involve The Controversy between evolution and creationism — and in Lynchburg, the presence of that issue is all but inevitable. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Education was a reoccurring topic at the latest City Council candidates’ forum held Thursday, with questions touching on school board appointments, budget issues and whether or not intelligent design should be part of the science curriculum.

Aha — the game’s afoot! Let’s read on:

The Republican candidates emphasized the need for school board members with a strong business background who would demand accountability from the central office.

Who cares? Let’s get to the creationism:

A question about whether intelligent design should be taught in science class was ducked by most candidates, with many saying it was up to the schools and educators to determine what was in the curriculum.

That means they’re creationists — or if not, they’re afraid to anger creationist voters. Neither quality is desirable. Here’s more:

Brent Robertson alone tackled the issue head-on. “I’m going to get really controversial,” he said. “I see no scientific proof that evolution should reign supreme in classrooms.”

Robertson’s statement drew disapproving murmurs from the audience. He said he realized his position would “not be too popular in this room,” but added he felt it was more popular among the general community. He reiterated his feeling that school board should be elected, rather than appointed, so that these decisions can be made by people who are directly accountable to the public.

Robertson may not be the only creationist in the race, but at least he’s honest about it. The audience reaction to him is encouraging. This forum was organized by the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and it was held at Lynchburg College — a church-related private school. We continue with the article:

Asked the same question, interim Councilman Randy Nelson said he would leave curriculum decisions to the schools, but added that he felt things taught in science class should have the support of the general educational community and not be “something that’s foreign to science.”

That’s not too bad, but then he waffles some more:

On the matter of school board appointments, Nelson, who will have his first opportunity to take part in that process when three board seats come up for appointment next month, said he would look for people who are analytical and intelligent but still have the flexibility to listen and take new information into consideration.

Whatever that means. The article discusses other matters, but that’s all there is specifically on the issue of creationism.

We haven’t given a lot of thought to this, but in comparing this to what’s been going on in Texas, where the school board is elected and candidates can run specifically on a creationist platform, the Lynchburg system seems preferable. Municipal elections usually involve a variety of issues, and a creationist faction can’t easily dominate the whole city government.

But then, this particular election is in Lynchburg, so who knows?

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

10 responses to “Creationism in Lynchburg Virginia’s City Council Race

  1. ZarathustraMike

    Welcome to “Dark Ages” America.

  2. “Robertson’s statement drew disapproving murmurs from the audience. He said he realized his position would “not be too popular in this room,” but added he felt it was more popular among the general community.”

    Who was sponsoring this forum that it wasn’t open to “the general community”?

  3. the school board is elected and candidates can run specifically on a creationist platform

    Keeping on to this model and spreading it is the best way to get the scientific (and general) literacy curve to approach zero asymptotically.

  4. Brer Scientist

    Remember, this is the state where we just elected a Governor who doesn’t think slavery was an important reason for the civil war, and an Attorney General who tried to ban state universities from banning discrimination against gays. It looks like Virginia school children are doomed to ignorance.

  5. Curmudgeon: “Whatever that means.”

    It means that he at least suspects, if not knows, that, however “weak” he thinks evolution might be, that other “explanations” are at least far weaker. But I’m sure that he thinks that students have a right to learn falsified or unfalsifiable “explanations” in science class, even though they can already learn them on their own time and possibly in non-science classes.

  6. Lil' Hornet

    It was held at Lynchburg College, which is a private liberal-arts college. The marjority of those in attendance were from the college.

    As an LC student who is a Christian, it is not wrong to say that if you’re a Cristian college student in Lynchburg, you go to Liberty University. If you are not a Christian, then you go somewhere else.

    That is why so many dissaproving murmurs were echoed in the room -so many people there were not creationists.

    I agree with Robertson that school board members should be elected and I thought it VERY brave of him to be the last one to answer the question and actually ANSWER the question regarding science curriculum.

    Hope this helped and I am very impressed that Robertson, a Liberty University student, was so convincing and innovative.

  7. Lil' Hornet

    Brier Science… you need to realize that the Civil War was not about slavery until two years AFTER it started.

    Please stop making ignorant gests at people.

  8. Brer Scientist

    Lil’ Hornet,

    This is from the “Mississippi Declaration of Secession”, according to http://www.civil-war.net/pages/mississippi_declaration.asp
    and was issued on January 9, 1861, four months before Fort Sumter.

    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. ”

    Three other states (Virginia, Alabama, and Texas) also mention some version of “Southern slave-holding States”.

    I think that its clear that slavery was a cause (not the only one) of the Civil War.

  9. Gentlemen, let’s not have too much of a debate about the War. The South hasn’t been fairly treated by history, but let’s leave it for some other forum where it’s relevant.

  10. Lil’ Hornet says:

    As an LC student who is a Christian, it is not wrong to say that if you’re a Cristian college student in Lynchburg, you go to Liberty University. If you are not a Christian, then you go somewhere else.

    Huh? After describing yourself, did you mean to say “creationist” instead of Christian?