Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"...How to Deal with Kansas"

My Philosophy over at dKos has posted a fine entry on what the Dover school board change can mean for dealing with states like Kansas. It's not an argument you've never heard me make, but s/he presents it well and it therefore, bears repeating.

Imagine you are a young red-stater. You go to church every week, have grown up believing in your god and your parents religion. Other ideas are not intrusive on your daily life or routine. You are never exposed to any other points of view. These days, unless you go to an increasingly unaffordable college and take a philosophy course or a comparative religion course, you can go your whole life in Red State America without ever getting out of your philosophical comfort zone. Then, suddenly, in high school, you have access to a course where you can learn about Intelligent Design. But, you are learning it in the context of questions like "Does God Exist?" And you are learning about your religion in the context of other world religions whose beliefs are given equal time and weight (and as an added bonus, upcoming generations of Americans will have a much broader, firmer understanding of Islam than we do today...).

Can you even begin to fathom what this new philosophical diversity in our schools will do to fundamentalistic worldviews? Their ideas will be undermined simply by the fact that other religions are given equal weight and credence. Ideas about Intelligent Design taught along with debate on philosophical questions like "Does God Exist?" will undermine what fundies have been indoctrinated in their whole lives: an unquestioning belief in the existence of their particular deity and the truth of their particular creed. Knowledge of other religions promotes tolerance for other viewpoints and undermines the fundamentalists belief that their faith is the one and only true faith. Thus, by proposing Intelligent Design, fundies will in essence be sowing the seeds of their own world-view's destruction.

Hear hear!


Geo_Chick said...

Can anyone really believe that ANY other views will be given any time?!? Really they will present it like a church would, not questioning God & Faith, but sharing their knowledge of it. Many of the teachers there agree with this and actually just reinforce doubts about evolution and the scientific method. We all know that the fossil record was just put there as a test of our faith, right? Currently, the churches there instruct that when evolution is discussed in the class the students are to put their heads down on their desks and put their arms over their heads to cover their ears. And they do. Kids that don't are loners and outcasts. I think those who haven't seen it can't imagine a world where that is considered the right way to be, and to question creationism is morally, ethically, and popularly wrong.

I truly wish that the writers view held water, but unfortunately that isn't the case.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

But that's pretty much the whole point: Their opposition to "equal time" will make it obvious to even the most clueless that "ID" theories really ARE just creationism in drag.

As for the more "purple" states, using this ID crap as a trigger point for integrating Comp Religion 101 into the (presumably elective) curriculum would actually benefit all of us. It may be the only means by which fundie kids get exposure to something outside of their parents' indoctrination.

And beyond the de-programming benfits, such a course would be invaluable to kids as they try, in later classes, to get their heads around geopolitics. Teaching the "what" of other governmental systems, foreign cultures and religious wars is of limited use without the "why" behind it all.