From the archives - the following article was originally posted on my old blog back in August of 2005. For reasons that will become clear shortly, I've been reposting this series of stories over here. This is the final old post, and I'll have a follow-up post on more current events going up shortly. In that post, I will respond to the comment that someone from the Association for Christian Schools International just left on two of the reposted articles.
As I continued my review of the complaint filed in the California creationist lawsuit, I came to a passage that was completely stunning in it's irony:
Furthermore, the State of California has agreed that in public and private schools, students do not have to accept everything that is taught, and cannot be required to hold a state-prescribed viewpoint:
Nothing in science or in any other field of knowledge shall be taught dogmatically. Dogma is a system of beliefs that is not subject to scientific test and refutation... To be fully informed citizens, students do not have to accept everything that is taught in the natural science curriculum, but they do have to understand the major strands of scientific thought, including its methods, facts, hypotheses, theories, and laws.
California State Board of Education, Science Framework for California Public Schools, "State Board of Education Policy on the Teaching of Natural Sciences" Â¶Â¶ 3-4 (2003).
Plaintiffs support, and do not object to, understanding the major strands of scientific thought, methods, facts, hypotheses, theories, and laws. Their constitutional rights are abridged or discriminated against when they are told that the current interpretation of scientific method must be taught dogmatically, and must be accepted by students, to be eligible for admission to University of California institutions.
That argument is amazing, if not completely unreal. In essence, these folks are arguing that, because UC has a policy against being dogmatic in science, their own massively dogmatic "science" curriculum must be accepted as valid. To put it another way, they are basically trying to say, "if you don't allow me to be dogmatic, then you are being dogmatic".
There's nothing like watching people who are willing to fight for the right to never have their beliefs challenged by the harsh winds of reality.
Someone needs to tell the plaintiffs that there are epistemic positions other than radical relativism and dogmatic authoritarianism. It seems as though it has never crossed their minds that observable evidence might be able to provide an objective basis for claiming that certain ideas or theories are more likely correct than others.
Really, the fact that this hasn't occurred to them tells you everything you need to know about the "science education" in their schools.