Wednesday, March 28, 2007

McCook Community College to Offer Creation Science

I see that instructor Jim Garretson of McCook Community College in Nebraska will be introducing "Physics 2990: Creation Science" to the college's science curriculum this fall. Here are a few of the topics instructor Garretson will be introducing to students during the course:

The class we will explore many topics relating to many different areas of science including:
· The age of the earth, the earth’s beginning, and where the earth is heading
· The Garden of Eden and life on earth before the flood and the major changes which have taken place since that time
· Dinosaurs in the past as well as in the present
· The flood, ice ages, mountain formation, coal and oil formation, and the Grand Canyon
· History of evolution through the ages and the effect it has had on the world as well as many very influential people
· What is taught in school textbooks, without factual supportive evidence?

Of his motive for proposing the course, Garretson says the following:

“I’m not going to attack Evolutionists and I’m not going to try and convert people to the Creationist view, I just want offer a different viewpoint,” Garretson said. “Presenting opposing viewpoints is just part of being an educator.”

Most of us who teach are all in favor of teaching alternative viewpoints to students. The question of course, lies in determining the level of intellectual and educational responsibility necessary for making a distinction between legitimate alternatives related to the topic and flights of fancy. Like creationism, I can think of many "alternatives" that could (at some minimal intellectual level) be considered for teaching alongside more mainstream ideas:

- in History class we could teach the alternative viewpoint that the Holocaust was a fantasy created by Jews and has no historical validity;

- in Biology class we could teach the alternative viewpoint that AIDS is an intelligently designed flaw in the immune system of some groups of (gay) people and doctors have no business attempting to cure the disease as it would be an affront to the purposes of the designer;

- in Astronomy class we could teach geocentrism as an alternative to heliocentrism;

- in History class we could avoid the entire problem of whether the Egyptians or the Israelites built the pyramids and teach the alternative that they were actually constructed by beings from another planet;

- in Sociology class we could teach the alternative view that 18th century Negro slaves actually preferred a life of slavery over that of freedom and the whole Civil War thing was misguided.

Clearly, there are many, many "alternatives" to a host of topics kids learn in class these days. Of course we don't teach these alternatives because we know that to do so means lying about the currently prevalent ideas to make them look weak and ineffectual, fabricating data to make it fit our "alternative", and not mentioning any data in support of the prevalent idea. The students in instructor Garretson's class are going to be lied to about the nature of evolutionary theory; they are going to be presented with fabricated data in support of creationism; and they will not learn anything that legitimate science has had to say on the issue. It is not a matter of differeing perspective. It is a matter of being intellectually honest about the nature of the data.

I certainly hope that universities take a hard look at transcripts from McCook Community College and refuse to credit Physics 2990 as a science class.

5 comments:

Floyd said...

That was very eloquent and well-reasoned. Thank you! You'd think they would learn after Dover, PA, Cobb County, GA, the Kansas nonsense and all the other times they've tried and failed that preaching creationism in a public school classroom is not legal. [sigh] Oh well, here we go again.

-Floyd Aranyosi
Adj. Faculty of Anthropology
Olympic College,
Bremerton, WA

Anonymous said...

I'm currently taking an Astronomy class with this instructor, he's mentioned his creation theory class and has initiated a couple discussions asking students to discuss their opinions on evoution versus creation. However, the information he provides us with is in definate opposition to evolution with very watered down explanations to back up his anti-evolution sentiments. It's not the fact that he's bringing this subject up which is conscerning me, it's that fact that he doesn't seem to provide much information to back up his statements and the discussions do not seem to encourage critical thinking or in depth, open minded discussion. They simply instil doubt about the very subject we are learning about. If he wants to teach creation theory, I do not have a problem with that, but I signed up for an Introduction to Astronomy class, with the understanding that it was from a scientific perspective, and although he tests us on the information from the book he's focused two discussions on creation vs. evolution. And in his latest discussion he has contradicted the text by stating simply that stars do not evolve, he's made his personal opinions clear, but that is not what I'm there to learn.

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