For days, despite input from several operatives, we’ve neglected writing about a well-reported story in Chicago. It concerns a science teacher, Beau Schaefer, accused of teaching creationism at Libertyville High School.
Why did we neglect the story? Because it’s just one teacher at one school, and we didn’t regard it as a big deal. We usually wait until such things erupt into litigation. But today the papers are all screaming the story, so we can no longer resist. Besides, we don’t like the way events are unfolding.
In the Chicago Tribune we read Science teacher who taught creationism won’t be expelled from Libertyville HS. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A north suburban school district will not fire a teacher who taught creationist beliefs about the origin of life in science classes, the superintendent said at a public meeting Tuesday night.
But people on both sides of the argument spoke passionately against and for its instruction at public schools at the Community High School District 128 board meeting in Vernon Hills High School.
Let’s step back for a second to see if we understand the situation. There are three facts that we’ve extracted: (1) the school district has a science teacher named Beau Schaefer; (2) the district knows that Beau taught creationism in science class; and (3) they’re not going to fire the guy.
What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty, and now you know why we decided to write about this one-teacher in one-school story. Let’s read on:
The father of a 15-year-old student of [Beau] Schaefer’s said he attended the meeting with his daughter because, as a Christian, he supports Schaefer’s [creationist] teachings. “I feel like evolution is more or less the dominant religion in education these days,” said Greg Krause, 40, of Grayslake. “It was very general what he said in class. We could just as easily be offended by my daughter only being taught evolution.”
The problem, dear reader, is that a big city like Chicago isn’t immune from the madness of creationism. There’s nowhere to hide. One last excerpt:
Superintendent Prentiss Lea said the school board is not going to take action on the teacher’s employment, because the issue has been resolved. “Regardless of our professional or personal opinions, in this area, there is no gray area,” Lea said. “The teacher in question is a longstanding D128 instructor. We will not be recommending his termination as this is remediable behavior.“
We disagree with the superintendent. The teacher’s behavior is definitely not “remediable.” In your Curmudgeon’s humble opinion, adult creationism is almost always incurable. The disorder isn’t totally hopeless, however. There are adult creationists who have been known to abandon creationism after being exposed to scientific information — but such instances are rare. Adult cures require two things: (a) the creationist must be a rational individual, who (b) has somehow grown to adulthood without ever encountering the sane side of the evolution controversy. Given those conditions, people can change their minds.
In this Chicago case, however, we’re dealing with someone who doesn’t meet either of those requirements. Beau is a science teacher. That means he already has the information that supports evolution, yet he persists in being a creationist. It’s clear — at least to us — that there is no remedy here. Beau is not going to change.
Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.