First the ideologues came for evolution, making it uncomfortable for teachers to teach it, even when it is not only legal, but mandated by state education standards. What will they suppress with indirect social pressure next?

How about those bits of history the fascists and the religious find objectionable?

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government-backed study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

As I said in the previous post, this struggle in which we’re engaged is more than a fight against a few specific clowns — it’s for a broader ideal of striving towards a truth, against those who want to twist perception of reality to support short-sighted, selfish, and silly beliefs. It’s not just science, it’s history, politics, culture. If you side with the primacy of faith over reason in science, there is a long list of other virtues you will also be sacrificing on your altar.

Mike’s Weekly Skeptic Rant has a good rant on the subject.


  1. #1 Keanus
    April 12, 2007

    Off topic, but I’m surprised PZ that neither you nor any commenter has posted about the lengthy front-page article in today’s (12 April) Wall Street Journal about the rise of atheism in Europe, militant atheism at that (it even mentions Dawkins briefly). While the WSJ’s editorial page sucks, their news reporting excels, even on topics far afield from business. The Journal is available on line but only with a subscription, so one may have to visit the library to read it, find a friend with access, or decode the code needed for access.

    As for this topic, too often schools and society attempt to sugar coat the past, because they think it’s not nice. Well, much of our history is not nice. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a new hire at a publisher where I worked back in the late 60’s. In meetings or private conversation I was noted for my candor on most any subject including the reliability or skill of my collleagues. In the course of a lunch time conversation about an ex-employee, I offered a critical assessment of that person’s skills. This new hire–the holder of an EdD in audiovisual technology and a former junior high school principal–haughtily advised me that “If I couldn’t say something nice about someone, I should say nothing at all,” and huffily left the table. We seldom spoke after thatk, but when we had to in meeting, I heard he always approached them with fear and trembling.

    While being tactful is important, lying is counterproductive and being honest about events is the only way one can achieve something of value. It’s the basis of scientific discourse and it should be the basis of education. If toes are stepped on in the process, so be it. Most of us can benefit from some bruised toes at times.

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