There are few things that push my buttons as fast or hard as a Religious dogma taught as fact with public money. Faith and religion are important and comforting to many of us. So is an education that will prepare a child for the realities of a Twenty-first century economy.
I graduated from Whitehall-yearling High School. Whitehall was always a blue collar suburb. I received a good education there in spite of myself. Now, this was the Sixties. America was infatuated with science and progress. We were aiming for the moon, pushing the envelope of our technology to get there. The Space Program required and depended on constant breakthroughs in numerous disciplines. General Electric’s slogan was “Progress is our most important product”.
There was progress in all of the hard sciences. Much of it was driven by public and private R & D. Bell labs came up with the transistor and LASER. 3M developed new cutting edge adhesives. ALCOA and others extended the frontiers of metallurgy. We were learning about the cosmos. Medicine was moving ahead by leaps and bounds.
How was it we lead the world in innovation and discovery? Well, science and other academic fields were not based on weather lay people agreed or not. You see, facts don’t care if you believe in them. Like John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things.”
Math was taught. Science basics were taught even as new discoveries were changing the landscape. History was taught to give context and understanding as to who we were and how we got here. The idea was if we know the mistakes we won’t keep making them over and over. Then, as now, the theory of evolution was a cornerstone and foundation to biology.
In the search for knowledge, many disciplines contributed to the refinement of evolutionary understanding. Paleontology. Geology. Astro- physics. Astronomy. Physics. These fields of study created the tableau on which our understanding of evolution is written.
We know approximately how old the Universe, Solar System and Earth are. Through the fossil record and understanding of how to date the layers we know when something was happening. We can even postulate environment. Most of the fossil record lacks any hominids. Physics tells us how old the farthest stars are. It tells us how fast isotopes decay. With the tools available the age of this planet is well established. It’s around 4.5 billion years old. The Universe comes in at about 15 billion.
For the last few decades there has been a push to create a controversy where there isn’t one. This is done to present Creationism or Intelligent Design as a viable alternative to evolution. The young Earth idea is pushed to contradict solid geologic knowledge. These ideas are pushed by Evangelical Christians.
These Genesis based points of view are presented as fact. It is another example of the Conservative Christians wanting to force their beliefs on everyone, believer or not.
To bolster their argument they leap upon any quirk in established science as proof evolution is wrong. Any scientist that disagrees is hailed as a genius. It never matters if those scientist who reject evolution and an old Earth are usually not degreed in biology or geology. Many are on the fringe with a hypothesis that cannot be proven using the scientific method. It is a matter of faith to them and others they are right.
Now, here in Ohio with the current voucher system and charter schools that are a religious school will teach creationism or Intelligent Design with taxpayer money. This money comes from already cash strapped public school systems.
Now, when you reject evolution you also reject most of modern science. With evolution being rejected, the other disciplines that have helped prove it are also wrong. So, nothing in our tech should work as predicted. To support this constants like the speed of light are questioned. The basic scientific underpinnings of our entire society and economy are rejected and replaced with faith.
So as technology and science are becoming more and more important to our survival as a nation and species our children are being taught in such a way they will never be able to compete or contribute in a meaningful manner. The fact Ohio supports this with taxpayer money is tantamount to child abuse.
As always it is conservative Christianity that people want taught as science in public schools. You never see the Unitarian point of view held up as a model. I wonder what would happen if an Islamic school received voucher students?
These schools cannot possibly prepare our children for a risky future. It is simply letting a segment of our educational system teach knowledge as a la carte pick and choose from column A and column B.
So, do we continue to support schools teaching ideology as science and history? Do we surrender these kids to be sacrificed on the altar of theocracy?
We need the best and brightest to revive Ohio. This State was once ground zero for innovation. Firestone. The Wright brothers. Kettering and so many others.
We need to ask our legislature why we are paying to cloak our future in ignorance. If they don’t want to propel Ohio forward into the new era of technological advancement, tech firms will locate elsewhere or flee to States where education isn’t up for grabs. We aren’t Texas, right? But we’re on our way.