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October 04, 2005

Commentaries

Star Parker
Thoughts on public education

The crisis today is not defining religion or science, but education itself. And we have lost perspective how education has suffered as result of it being a government-controlled monopoly.

This has important implications, in general, for the quality of education we provide our kids. Furthermore, it has produced a hopeless situation in inner-city schools.

News from China this week is that state censorship agencies have issued new rules about what kind of news may be published on the Internet. The rules established 11 "forbidden zones" and include a ban on anything that might promote religious beliefs.

Is it a little eerie to think that we run our public schools like the Chinese communists run their marketplace? »»»


Jacob Sullum
An Intelligent Design for Education

In a trial that began this week, a federal judge in Harrisburg has been called upon to decide whether intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory. Once he has settled that controversy, perhaps he can tell us what killed the dinosaurs and whether there are civilizations on other planets.

The courts have to deal with some scientific issues, such as the reliability of DNA evidence and the side effects of arthritis drugs. But the origin of life, a subject that arouses strong emotions and implicates deeply held beliefs, has no obvious relevance to the guilt of murder suspects or the liability of pharmaceutical companies.

It has become a legal issue in Pennsylvania only because the parents of Dover are divided on the question of how public schools should address it. Some say children should be informed about the weaknesses of Darwinian theory, while others object to what they see as religious indoctrination in the guise of science instruction, which they argue amounts to an unconstitutional "establishment of religion."

Meanwhile, Sacramento attorney Michael S. Newdow, who has replaced Madalyn Murray O'Hair as the nation's most reviled atheist, has renewed his challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance. In a straightforward application of 9th Circuit precedent, a federal judge in San Francisco recently ruled that recitation of the pledge in public schools violates the Establishment Clause by imposing "a coercive requirement to affirm God."

Both of these cases are ostensibly about the separation of church and state. But they also highlight the need for the separation of school and state. »»»


Jeff Jacoby
The timeless truth of creation

When John Scopes went on trial in Tennessee in 1925, religious fundamentalists fought to keep evolution out of the classroom because it was at odds with a literal reading of the Biblical creation story. Today, Darwinian fundamentalists fight to keep the evidence of intelligent design in the diversity of life on earth out of the classroom, because that would be at odds with a strictly materialist view of the world. Eighty years ago, the thought controllers wanted no Darwin; today's thought controllers want only Darwin. In both cases, the dominant attitude is authoritarian and closed-minded — the opposite of the liberal spirit of inquiry on which good science depends....

Intelligent design doesn't argue that evidence of design ends all questions or disproves Darwin. It doesn't make a religious claim. It does say that when such evidence appears, researchers should take it into account, and that the weaknesses in Darwinian theory should be acknowledged as forthrightly as the strengths. »»»


John Leo
The Parent Trap

...gay activists tend to blur the line between tolerance, which the vast majority of Americans favor, and approval of homosexuality, which meets significantly greater resistance. This happens often as lessons of approval are smuggled into anti-bias programs. Another problem is an older one: Public school systems often view parents not as allies but as annoying obstacles to be overcome.  »»»

Posted by Danny Carlton at October 4, 2005 07:17 AM

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