Creationism in Raleigh, North Carolina

We have a depressing little tidbit for you this morning. It’s particularly depressing because Raleigh is located in what is supposed to be the intellectually and academically sophisticated part of North Carolina. But as we shall soon see, beneath the thin veneer lies madness.

In the News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina we read Wake County science teacher told to stop teaching about creationism. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The Wake County school system has told a middle school science teacher to stop giving assignments about creationism as part of the study of the theory of evolution. School officials say the assignment, in which the teacher gave his students the option of doing an extra-credit project on evolution or creationism, was inappropriate because the state curriculum doesn’t include creationism.

Extra credit for creationism? How grand! Here’s more:

At Wakefield, eighth-grade science teacher Adam Dembrow gave students an extra-credit opportunity last month to do a poster and paper either on “your interpretation of a religions (sic) Creation” or on “any evidence on the theory of evolution, which can be used to support the theory of evolution.”.

Please note, dear reader, that a less-disciplined blogger than your Curmudgeon would leap at the opportunity to make jokes about Mr. Dembrow’s name. Indeed, the situation cries out for it. But we are way above such things. Even when writing about someone like Mr. Dembrow — whom others might call dim-witted and Neanderthal-browed — we are able to resist such temptations.

But we’re curious. Did Mr. Dembrow give the kiddies any guidance about where to seek creationist information? Ah, indeed he did:

Dembrow suggested three websites that students could go to: Answers in Genesis, the Creation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research.

Aaaargh!! Let’s read on:

The assignment drew at least one parental complaint, causing the Wake County school system to investigate.

Well, what happened to Dembrow? Did the outraged community string him up? The newspaper tells us:

The school system said Dembrow did not receive any disciplinary action. Repeated efforts to reach Dembrow were unsuccessful.

No discipline! That means he’s still free to spew nonsense to the kiddies. Here’s more:

Former state Rep. Russell Capps defended Dembrow’s right to give the assignment. In 1997, the North Raleigh Republican legislator introduced a bill calling for evolution to be taught as a theory and not as fact.

“Evolution is certainly something that students can be taught,” said Capps, who is running for a state House seat this year. “But it’s not the only theory. Students should also have the right to learn about creationism. Where’s their academic freedom?

There’s a brief entry on Russell Capps in Wikipedia. He represented Raleigh before in the state legislature, and how he’s coming back for another go at it. The people will get what they deserve.

Had enough, dear reader? Okay, let us take our leave of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Creationism in Raleigh, North Carolina

  1. I saw that too.

    It struck me as a perfect example of what teaching “critical thinking” now means in Louisiana and Tennessee.

  2. And this coming out the day our gorgeous new Nature Research Center opens at the NC Museum of Natural Science, ugh.

    I’m back in school getting my master’s in teaching science. I am a bit disappointed that the teaching of evolution hasn’t been specifically addressed in my teaching classes. I know of several creationists in the department–one wants to teach chemistry. There are probably others. I have done several lessons on human evolution in a science methods of teaching class. The response was generally good, but there were many silent stares in the class.

    During a conversation in an science class I learned that East Carolina University’s teacher program has special classes for those that have trouble with evolution–they have to take some kind of class on science and religion. I haven’t been able to find out more about that, but it would certainly be wise to ID these prospective teachers.

  3. But we’re curious. Did Mr. Dembrow give the kiddies any guidance about where to seek creationist information? Ah, indeed he did:

    Dembrow suggested three websites that students could go to: Answers in Genesis, the Creation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research.

    OK, everyone stop right there. Don’t take the bait, but read the following very carefully. Disregard for the moment what’s Constitutional for public school or appropriate for any science class. If you want all creationist information, with none of it censored, this is the one reference that has it all.

    Now please demand that Mr, D and his supporters state exactly that reference was not selected, and why references that would not meet the approval of those who came up with the “academic freedom” strategy (The DI) were selected instead.

    And please don’t give me the “why bother” stuff. The alternative is to let the scam artists set the terms of the “debate.” How’s that been working out in the post-Dover era?

  4. Lynn Wilhelm says: “it would certainly be wise to ID these prospective teachers.”

    That’s good!

  5. D’Oh! Messed up formatting again!

  6. Frank J says:

    And please don’t give me the “why bother” stuff.

    But really, why bother? The typical creationist doesn’t know better and doesn’t care. The professional scammers will just slime away from the question. That’s why I treat ’em all the same.

  7. I’m reading through the comments for the article. I’m glad to see lots of good science replies.

    I’m surprised my mother didn’t let me know about this article yesterday. I don’t get the paper so she usually alerts me to stuff like this.

    Actually, she might have tried to last night, but I was at a very noisy museum opening and couldn’t talk when she called. By the way here’s the info on the museum’s 24 hour opening: http://naturalsciences.org/. It’s still on till 5 pm tonight, in case any readers here are close by.

  8. By the way, my mother just read me two letters to the editor in today’s paper. I cannot get them online, maybe they get put up later. One was from a retired (I think) science teacher who thinks Dembrow presented his students a chance for a “critical thinking” activity. I explained to my mother that middle school students wouldn’t have enough knowledge about evolution to compare it critically against creationism’s crap.
    I do hope that guy is retired.

    The other was from a reader who thinks the new museum wing should have some explicit exhibits on human evolution. I saw a lot on evolution, but didn’t notice anything specifically about human evolution.

  9. But really, why bother? The typical creationist doesn’t know better and doesn’t care. The professional scammers will just slime away from the question. That’s why I treat ‘em all the same.

    I hate to complain just after you corrected my formatting, and thanks again for that, but:

    Not sure why I keep having to say this – everywhere, not just here – but of course the scam artists and their trained parrots don’t know or care. But they care enough to evade efforts to be reached for comment, like Dembrow did. Why would anyone do that unless they know they’re guilty – of at least demanding something that they haven’t earned? We need to be talking not to them, but “at them” and to the general public, which is mostly not “creationists” as you define them, but are nevertheless mostly sympathetic to at least parts of the evolution movement, and unaware of how it is a scam. Allowing the scam artitsts to keeping the “debate” about “weaknesses” of evolution instead ot the real, fatal, weaknesses in their mutually-contradictory “theories” ain’t the way to reach the ones we need to reach. Why does no one ever give a “why bother” to the bait-taking that gives the scam artists just what they want. Or to the even more counterproductive whining about “lying for Jesus?”

  10. retiredsciguy

    @FrankJ: “…but are nevertheless mostly sympathetic to at least parts of the evolution movement, and unaware of how it is a scam.”

    Anti-evolution movement, right, Frank?

  11. Introduction to the Evolution literature
    by Gert Korthof

    http://home.wxs.nl/~gkorthof/korthof.htm

  12. retiredsciguy

    On the bright side, this is the action of just one teacher, and the school board (or admin.) told him not to do it — which is a plus for Raleigh, not a minus. I wouldn’t expect a school system to discipline a teacher for this unless he persisted.

    It seems to be the opposite of the situation at Dover.

  13. retiredsciguy: “Anti-evolution movement, right, Frank?”

    Looks like another “D’Oh!”

    @TomS:

    Korthof’s site is another one that anti-evolution activists like to pretend does not exist. While it’s probably inappropriate for science class, it nevertheless has everything the activists want and more. But as with “index to creationist claims” it’s the more that they desperately want to censor.