When the proponents of creationism ask that their nonsense be taught in school, there is an implicit expectation that the scientists will put away their implements of destruction and suspend the savagery while their delicate little flower of unsupportable fluff is discussed reverentially. That is not going to happen. If it did, it wouldn't be a science class.
A lesson plan that includes creationism should plainly show that experiment and observation have irrefutably demonstrated that it is now a splintered pile of cack-minded gobshite, wrecked by a century and a half of discovery, and that its supporters now are reduced to pathetically feeble rationalizations that rely almost entirely on people's emotional dependence on the legitimacy of their religious beliefs. A science class isn't the place to rip into airy-fairy religiosity — we have other venues for that — but it should uncompromisingly demolish everyattempt to link natural, material events to pious metaphysics. If a student comes out of such a class believing that maybe there is still something to the Genesis explanation of the origins of life, then the instructor has not done her job. Her job was to explain with science how the world works, and if anyone wants to smuggle in the seven days and the magic fruit tree and the talking snake, it should be so the teacher can show the students that that is not how it works.
I'm willing to grant creationism an hour or two in the classroom, as long as its role is to be an easy victim, to demonstrate how science can be used to eviscerate bad ideas (I also know from experience that most students find that extremely entertaining, as well as informative). From what I've seen of most of the creationist curricula advanced by these quacks, that isn't what they want. To which we have to say, then it isn't science.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
A View From the Pulpit - PZ Myers - How to teach creationism