Religious Schools In Ontario Could Teach Creationism, Get Public Funds

| 14 Comments

The aptly named Progressive Conservative leader John Tory, in his push to fund religious schools in Ontario, says it would be just fine with him if Christian schools teach creationism as a legitimate alternative to evolution.

Read more at Recursivity.

14 Comments

Oh, crap.

Serves us right for the BSE border leak, I guess.

According to an interview with Tory I heard on the CBC this afternoon, “They teach evolution in the Ontario curriculum, but they also could teach the facts to the children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Christian beliefs.”

Hmm… I could actually see under some circumstances supporting government funding of religious schools in a context where some religious schools were already receiving funding but not others. But Tory puts forward a very powerful argument against such a plan here. Wait, isn’t Tory supposed to be the one promoting the plan??? I wonder if Canadian voters would tend to see this feature of the plan as a plus, as Tory does, or a minus, as the readers here would…

I’m sure the same person would heartily agree with the statement

They teach evolution in the Ontario curriculum, but they also could teach the facts to the children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Hindu beliefs

right?

children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Hindu beliefs

Hey! All Right. Why stop at Xian? It is way past time for Odin, Thor, and Freya to ride again. If Ragnarok occurred and no one believed it, did it happen?

Plus, Scientology, Aztec, Mayan, Moslem, Cthulhu, Buddhist etc..

The story of Xenu the Galactic overlord and his billions of Thetan ghosts dumped on earth would fit right in with a social studies class.

IIRC (big if), the conservatives are the Canadian party in power. At least some Canadians I know aren’t too impressed with their tenure.

Re “They teach evolution in the Ontario curriculum, but they also could teach the facts to the children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Christian beliefs.”

It’s turtles all the way down!

Henry

Tory did not say this, and in fact later he clarified that he meant they can only teach creationism in religion classes, not in science.

This is just as with Catholic schools.

The Ontario curiculum requires teaching evolution so any schools getting funding would have to do so.

This seems like a pretty good way to pressure these schools, which now teach whatever they want, to teach a more mainstream program.

So if we want to try to get more schools teaching evolution, Tory’s plan seems like a good way to do it.

Mickey:

Tory said exactly what I said he said. The part in quotes was an exact quote, taken from a news report I heard on the CBC.

As for his “clarification”, I think it is clear from the context of his original remark that the word “backpedaling” is more appropriate.

Perhaps John has fallen into something I call “The Stockwell Trap”. He’s catering to what he believes is his social conservative ‘base’.

Back in the day a fundy preacher/school administrator entered politics and eventually became leader of the Canadian Alliance party. On a campaign stop he revealed his YEC sympathies and it was all downhill from there.

His party was not elected to form a government, support in the polls withered and he stepped aside to recontest the leadership and lost to Stephen Harper.

That fundy preacher/school admin was Stockwell Day.

Actually Bing, that would be “Doris Day”. I signed a petition!

Mickey Wrote:

Tory did not say this, and in fact later he clarified that he meant they can only teach creationism in religion classes, not in science.

Ah, but did he demand that the “strengths and weaknesses” of creationism be taught? The mutual contratictions of YEC and OEC alone are enough to bring both down in flames.

I like the idea of it being taught in a religion class. But then should religion classes be mandatory?

Since when is education suppose to limit students thinking and provide them with a biased one way of thinking. Evolution after all is a theory and a theory is not a fact. Yet we talk about evolution as if it is a fact. Textbooks present evolution in such an authoratative matter-of-fact way that students are made to feel stupid and ridiculous for even considering a creator. Teachers should present the belief systems in a fair and unbiased manner and allow students to make the choice between evolution and creationism.

Claire, I’ll believe you are serious when you say that we should teach the flat-earth theory and that babies are brought by storks. Teachers should present both sides, right?

There is simply not enough time in a science class to present every crackpot idea that has been advanced.

Evolution is both a fact and a theory. The fact is that evolution occurred. The theory provides the mechanisms: mutation, selection, recombination, genetic drift, etc. All of these have been observed and there is abundant evidence for them. Creation, on the other hand, has never been observed. Why should we present religious dogma as science in a science class?

Claire,

Evolution after all is a theory and a theory is not a fact.

It’s a theory firmly supported by a huge amount of evidence that could easily have contradicted the theory were it wrong.

Since when is education suppose to limit students thinking and provide them with a biased one way of thinking.

Science is supposed to “bias” students toward basing conclusions on evidence rather than ignoring it.

way that students are made to feel stupid and ridiculous for even considering a creator.

There is no logical contradiction between evolution and the notion that a higher power is ultimately responsible for the result. Evolution says that the details* were determined by a combination of contingencies and accidents, but there’s no reason to presume that those details would be critical to whatever it is that the presumed higher power wanted to do.

*The details would include things like how many fingers per hand, which hemoglobin molecules we happen to use, which amino acids are produced by which DNA codes, how long it took after the big bang, or where in the universe we arose (i.e., for an ultimate power, any location in the universe would presumably be as reachable as any other).

Teachers should present the belief systems in a fair and unbiased manner and allow students to make the choice between evolution and creationism.

Students don’t have the background for making that sort of choice. Indeed, framing it that way only creates the false impression that the students have to eventually choose between believing in an ultimate power of some sort on one hand, or acknowledging the explanations of scientists for the observed relationships among species.

The conflict is caused by the insistence of some people that theism requires believing in a non-evolutionary origin of species. Drop that insistence, and the conflict would go away. There is simply no logical reason to presuppose that theism requires separate origin events for different species.

Henry

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This page contains a single entry by Jeffrey Shallit published on September 5, 2007 3:56 PM.

Intelligently designed confusion was the previous entry in this blog.

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