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.