We found an informative article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — an old Pennsylvania newspaper. According to the Wikipedia article about them: “As one of its first major articles, the Post Gazette published the newly adopted Constitution of the United States.”
Today’s article is about about problems with teaching evolution: Is evolution missing link in some Pennsylvania high schools? It discusses the results of the newspaper’s questionnaire which was distributed this spring to school teachers statewide. They describe the survey like this:
The Post-Gazette questionnaire this spring drew 106 responses from science teachers. It asked them to choose one or more answers to a question of what they believe in: evolution, creationism, intelligent design or not sure/other. Ninety percent chose evolution; 19 percent said they believe in creationism, not defined in the questionnaire; 13 percent said they believe in intelligent design; and another 5 percent answered “not sure/other.” Teachers were allowed to list more than one option, so the numbers don’t total 100 percent.
M’god — that was a poll of science teachers! Some had no problem with the survey, but one “accused the Post-Gazette of conducting a witch hunt to identify and punish teachers who believe in creationism.” Jeepers!
The article is far too long for us to do much more than pluck out a few interesting excerpts, and even that’s a chore because their website has one of those annoying anti right-click features. It adds all kinds of stupid code and gunk when we try to copy anything — even their title. It’s obnoxious. We’re not ripping them off; we’re not competing with them; and we’re not making money off their precious content. All we’re doing is telling you they’ve got a good article. But their website is hostile.
Anyway, here are a few excerpts, with bold font added by us. It begins with an anecdote about a college student who realized how badly she was taught biology in high school, which illustrates:
… the ill-kept secret about public school biology classrooms nationwide — that evolution often isn’t taught robustly, if at all. Faith-based belief in creationism and intelligent design continues to be discussed and even openly taught in public school classrooms, despite state curriculum standards.
They also talk about another survey by Berkman and Plutzer, who wrote a book about their “national survey of more than 900 science teachers, which found 13 percent advocating that Earth was 10,000 years old or younger, as opposed to Earth’s scientifically determined age of 4.54 billion years.”
“How do you become a science teacher when you are a young-Earth creationist?” Mr. Berkman said.
Good question. Then the article discusses Rev. Donn S. Chapman — “an impassioned speaker, with a knack for blending humor with fire and brimstone” — who teaches hard-core creationism in his “Origins Series” at Cornerstone Ministries in Murrysville. He says:
“We totally lost our influence in the public schools, which have lost the calling,” he said. “I want to take our schools back and build a base of knowledge, because we have a battle ahead. We are not going to get mad. We are going to get busy.”
He wants to win one for the Celestial Gipper. Here’s what else the rev says:
The first step, he announced, was passage of an academic freedom bill similar to what Tennessee passed last year and Louisiana passed in 2009. The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank that advocates for intelligent design, is circulating a model bill nationwide with similar bills having been introduced in Arizona, Montana, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Colorado. Those bills remain on hold or have died in committee.
Isn’t it interesting that a fire-and-brimstone preacher would advocate the Discoveroids’ statute? This is also interesting:
State Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth, attended the final Origins class to announce his support for such a bill. Afterward, he said legislators are being recruited to sponsor the bill. “All the evidence doesn’t get into the textbooks. This is for people to present evidence from all sides of the argument, not just what’s limited to one side.”
It’s always useful to identify the idiots in the legislature. Well, most of them are idiots, but Rick Saccone is also a creationist.
There’s a lot more in the article, and if you care about such things you’re going to click over there to read it all, so we won’t struggle with that newspaper’s anti right-click code any more. Good article, nasty website.
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