Your taxes, hard at work . . .

1 06 2008

. . . funding the teaching of pseudoscience at Sydney’s Pacific Hills Christian School, where, according to Friendly Atheist,

students were being taught the following spectrum of beliefs in regards to evolution:

Somehow, this teacher places Intelligent Design to the right of Theistic Evolutionist. That makes sense…

More at Open Parachute and Maralyn Parker. I’m not opposed in principle to federal funding of private schools: every dollar spent on the education of students is money well spent, as far as I’m concerned. But the emphasis in that previous sentence should be placed on education. I don’t support telling lies to schoolchildren at the taxpayer’s largess ($200,000 in the case of Pacific Hills, as of June 2007), thanks. If you want to lie for Jesus to your kids, do it with your own money.

And while you’re at it, fire that sad excuse for a teacher, whose lesson plan appears to have been inspired by this creationist website.

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One response

1 06 2008

The diagram is misleading in at least five ways.

1) Firstly it has conflated two axis into one (“God” vs “No God” and “Design” versus “Evolution” into “us” versus “them”). The “theistic evolutionist” and “atheistic evolutionist” (for example) should have overlap on one axis, but the continuum doesn’t show that similarity. At the very least this makes the diagram unusable other than for propagandising about out-groups (especially in exaggerating differences while discounting similarities).

2) Secondly, it has redundancies that bias one of the masked axis; Creationism gets three counts including Intelligent Design (which isn’t deism – deists like Paul Davies don’t believe in irreducible complexity). Evolution gets two. Religious positions get four, atheism gets one. This creates the illusion that both evolution and atheism are somehow intellectually marginal, or more towards the fringes than they are.

3) The obvious positioning of intelligent design to close to the godless/design end of the spectrum.

4) The substitution of Neo-Darwinian or Neo-Darwinist with “Evolutionist” is a common propogandistic trope where social Darwinism is conflated with biological Darwinism. So called “Evolutionists” very rarely refer to themselves as such; “evolutionism” is a buzzword thought up by creationist propagandists.

5) Most of all though, there’s the title; “Origins”. Creationism/Intelligent design postulate about the beginning of life (and in the former the Universe), whereas evolution does neither of these.

1,2 and 3 I could put down to the incompetence of the teacher and the meme itself I could say the same about (in accordance with Hanlon’s Razor). 4, I’m 50/50 on for the teacher, but the meme itself is malicious in origin (and an oft repeated act of academic fraud).

5 shows the malice of the teacher. Either in deliberately misleading their students using a very, very well known fallacy about Darwinian evolution (origin fallacy – 1st year/semester biology/ecology undergrads get heavily pinged for it so a graduate has no excuse), or in fraudulently presenting themselves as a qualified biology teacher. If the teacher didn’t know this fallacy, then I can’t see that they couldn’t be aware of their own inability because others would have brought them up on it (which is often how creationists start out – they have a chip on their shoulder about being told they are wrong).

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