Monday, March 8, 2010

What is the real question here?

An MSNBC poll asks, Is it OK for home-school textbooks to dismiss the theory of evolution?

Is it asking: Is it OK to not teach homeschool children about evolution?  Is there an even more fundamental implication than the right to homeschool within this question? 

While I wince at the thought of the generations of children being indoctrinated in this Christian version of “science,” given the religious philosophy in which these children are being raised, isn't it highly doubtful that they would properly value the importance of evolution even without the existence of these textbooks or being homeschooled for that matter? I'm not certain, but I don't think a case could be made that anyone's rights are being violated by this educational gap. 

What I do know is that rights would be violated if the government intervenes determining that the publishing, sale, and purchasing of Christian books is not okay (i.e. is illegal). This would be an egregious violation of the First Amendment.

For this reason, I could not respond "yes or no" to the newsvine MSNBC poll.

Now, if it were to ask, “Is it OK to teach Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming in public school,” I would have had no problem with my response. 

Given the similar ideological drivers of environmentalism and creationism coupled with the coercive collective that is government school, the answer is easy: No, it is most decidedly NOT okay to teach CAGW as science in public schools. 

And yet, there it is.

The government's only proper function is to protect individual rights. As much as it must be separated from religion, the state should also be separated from education, the economy, and health care, to name a few areas. Government's only asset is the legitimate use of force. Therefore, its appearance in these areas, apart from the protection of individual rights, not only wrongly presupposes a greater "collective knowledge" about these subjects, but more importantly, that the individual must subjugate himself and his sovereignty to that collective.  

(via Homeschool Atheists)


Steve D said...

"Is it OK for home-school textbooks to dismiss the theory of evolution?"

Is it morally ok, No.
Should it be legally permitted, Yes.

You might be able to make a case that this is a form of child abuse but assuming he is taught a proper scientific epistemology he should be able to correct the error later in his life.

The poll doesn't seem to distinguish between these two questions. The people who made the poll may not even know the difference. That's one reason why pool results are basically meaningless - the questions are ambiguous.

Lynne said...

I get stuck on the religion/child abuse issue every time. If teaching your children about your religion, in this case by teaching creationism at the expense of the truth, becomes a instance of child abuse, wouldn't that be a case of making a law respecting an establishment of religion? There is no physical abuse.

Certainly, morally it is wrong to do so, but it never occurs to me that the MSM is referring to the morality of an issue; when it mentions morality, it equates morality with altruism.