some homeschoolers just say no to evolution

Many religious zealots homeschool their kids to stop them from learning about evolution. And thanks to some homeschooling textbook publishers, they have a helping hand in denying their kids a scientific education.
teach the controversy flat earth
Illustration by Amorphia Apparel

With the state of education in many schools today leaving something to be desired, a number of parents have been taking their kids’ studies in their own hands and turning to homeschooling. Trouble is that a number of these parents have decided to do it not because they found the curriculums lagging, but because they wanted to keep their children away from those evil secularists and their corrupt ways. God forbid they have to suffer in science class and listen about evolution! Why just think, next they’ll be forced to give blood oaths to Satan and having ritual orgies, you know like those malevolent Darwinists do on a regular basis. This is why those who use their right to homeschool as a tool of indoctrination turn to books which lie about the theory of evolution and specifically target religious fundamentalists who need help in dismissing the science they’re told to fear.

From an empirical standpoint, there’s evidence that students exposed to creationist viewpoints do seem to be swayed by them and those who author textbooks for religious homeschooling say that we’ll just have to accept that creationism is just as valid as modern evolutionary theories. But this is argument is a disingenuous one. Sure you could sway someone without the proper scientific education to trust what you’re talking about as long as you position yourself as an authority figure and your audience doesn’t have the skills to critically evaluate your claims.

This is exactly what creationist teachers tend to do, as shown on this blog by one educator who couldn’t keep his theology out of his science, failing in both areas in the process. And we should note that after encountering those who could refute his claims, his reply was to declare that I was just ignorant and that all the critique he received simply inspired him to keep proselytizing in class, i.e. the exact opposite of the message someone who’s been trained in science would get.

You can see that same kind of determination in textbooks intended for homeschooling as Jay Wile, who runs an apologetics curriculum, lashed out at Jerry Coyne for pointing out the obvious fact that the books written for religious biology lessons are riddled with errors and intentional misrepresentations of science.

Wile said that Coyne “feels compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution). We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up.”

Really? I suppose it’s not lying in the conventional sense when you sell your ignorance as valid facts but when you say that biologists are covering up facts while you run around furiously declaring that over a century and a half of scientific research never happened and every evolutionist is an evil, godless liar, you’re the absolutely last person who should open his mouth about honesty. Then again, I suppose when you think you’re lying and being a hypocrite because you think you’re defending your faith, this somehow lessens your guilt in the matter.

What’s really happening is that Wile and his Apologia textbook series is trying to tap into the kind of paranoid, hysterical fear of evolution his audience desperately wants to see in a “textbook,” and when exposed to actual experts with fossils, genetic sequences, an extensive set of zoological studies, and hundreds of thousands of high quality, peer reviewed papers, he’s protecting his very lucrative business with Freudian projection. In fact, he barely tries to hide what’s going on…

The textbook carries a religious ultimatum to young readers and parents, warning in its “History of Life” chapter that a “Christian worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.” When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions.

Whew, that’s one hell of an editing error. It would be sort of like this blog accidentally declaring that my goal is to turn all my readers into worshippers of Satan who sacrifice young virgins in their basements, according to some of the very best Satanic Panic pulp Christian fundamentalists have to offer and keeping it as the first paragraph of the bio page. Since day one. Until I’m called on it by a major news agency for a story which was going to be published in almost every major news outlet and say I’ll have it fixed next time the blog gets a big, sweeping update. I’m also kind of curious why this little editing error, which should be brushed off, was aimed at people who decided to send volumes of vicious hate mail to Jerry Coyne over his quotes in the AP article to call him everything from a hairy ape to things that are simply not fit to print.

Really, no one is fooled when an apologetics book publisher tries to play expert and hide his true colors. We all know the game plan because we’ve seen it time and time again, and we know it’s not about the hunt for accuracy or a quest for the truth. It’s about a very long tradition for indoctrination for the sake of personal validation and no false indignation or excuse for obvious Freudian slips is going to somehow justify dragging children into the scientific Dark Ages as anything other than cheap proselytizing in the name of self-affirmation.

# education // apologetics / creationism / creationists / evolution / religion

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