Thu
Apr 8 2010
05:22 am

So a father complains that an honors biology text is biased against Christians because it terms creationism a myth. A review committee okayed it, McIntyre said the board should review it but hoped members would follow the committee's recommendation.

So the board debated it last night. The board argued about it for a while, then deferred it for a month. Oh boy. Oh, the school budget got deferred a month too.

Some background here:
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Yesterday's events here:
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Snark here:
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144
like
R. Neal's picture

When I first read this, I

When I first read this, I thought the father had a point.

"Myth" is a loaded word. I understand the dictionary definition applies in a strict sense, but it's inflammatory and a better way to put it might be "widely held belief." Or better yet, leave it out altogether and stick to biology and science and stuff.

So in that respect, maybe they should look for a different textbook and avoid future distractions like this one. But I guess the theocracy requires them all to include all the "theories" these days.

Rachel's picture

I pretty much agree with

I pretty much agree with this.

OTOH, I'm deeply disturbed by the effort to "ban" this book because one sentence in it offends some people. I'm sure I could find something in Knox County textbooks that offends me as well. Should I go running to the school board?

When we start banning all books that offend someone, there will be no books left to read.

WhitesCreek's picture

The textbook authors

The textbook authors mistakenly thought they were writing a science book where word definitions counted. Little did they understand the social science experiment they were conducting.

Fact is...Creationism is a mythology. It is a view not held by a significant number Christians. More worldly authors use the term "religious tradition" for the word "myth" in this situation. The real definition of "myth" is "everybody's religion but mine.

SnM's picture

I haven't read the text, just

I haven't read the text, just the passages referenced in the first MP write-up. But a high school honors biology textbook noting that a nonscientific theory of the origin of life that's being heavily promoted in the U.S. these days is, indeed, a myth - where is the problem?

R. Neal's picture

where is the problem? Go to

where is the problem?

Go to your nearest Baptist or Church of God of the Holy Rollers church Sunday morning and tell the first person you see that their beliefs are a "myth" and I'm guessing they will explain it to you.

Why create controversy when it isn't necessary?

SnM's picture

If using the term "myth" to

If using the term "myth" to describe a creation belief in a biology textbook is creating controversy, then there's probably a continuous stream of controversy emanating from textbooks all over the country.

bill young's picture

Randy

I would respectfully submit that if one went to any church on a Sunday morning & told the first person you see that their beliefs are a myth..I'm guessing they would explain it to you also.

I think myth is a very poor choice of words..& looks to be a chance there is 5 votes to remove the text.

Andy Axel's picture

if one went to any church on

if one went to any church on a Sunday morning & told the first person you see that their beliefs are a myth..I'm guessing they would explain it to you also.

But these textbooks aren't shoved in the back of the pew next to the hymnal.

looks to be a chance there is 5 votes to remove the text.

I guess that'll have to do since heresy isn't a crime anymore.

WhitesCreek's picture

I understand your point. I

I understand your point. I just don't think being respectful of bad information is a good idea.

While I certainly wouldn't barge into a church and call their beliefs a mythology, I also don't want church people barging into a science class and imposing their beliefs on science. Why allow the facts to be shouted into a closet in order to foster ignorance?

In this case we have a parent who placed his child in an advanced biology (science) class and then demanded the text be censored to accommodate his personal (non-scientific) belief. It is this parent who is forcing the confrontation as well as forcing his beliefs on everyone else.

I have to wonder if this was a set up from the beginning. Darwinian theory is the basis for modern biology. Zimmerman had to know that.

R. Neal's picture

I also don't want church

I also don't want church people barging into a science class and imposing their beliefs on science.

Agreed. This controversy just gives them ammunition to say their kids are being "indoctrinated." (No irony intended.)

Em's picture

What really amuses me about this

I'm amused that the offending word is in a section of the book that appears to be an attempt to chronicle just the sort of hoopla it has lead to. I really don't see how it would make more sense to buy new biology books for the county than it would to just read the definition of myth before discussing this section, or at the very least skip the cultural history of evolution in education section entirely. Good grief. How much do new advance bio books cost again? One more teacher or two?

Bbeanster's picture

The word "theory" is probably

The word "theory" is probably just as controversial to this bunch, since they are trying to equate creationism and evolution as competing "theories."

R. Neal's picture

Oh, boy. It made Fox

Oh, boy. It made Fox News...

(By way of JFM)

Hildegard's picture

I'm pretty stunned that the

I'm pretty stunned that the consensus in this thread seems to be, "Eh, let the fundies tell us which books are OK for Honors Biology. If they don't like a word, we should pull it." With reasonable people having an attitude like that, I guess the handwriting is on the wall for the next meeting. But this isn't about a word. I went to the School Board meeting last night, and the issue is with the teaching of evolution and equating creationism as a valid science. That's what this is really about. It's not about "bias." A speaker in support of the appellant made that pretty clear in his remarks to the Board.

Average Guy's picture

inherit the wind between the ears

This is the best case for vouchers I've seen. But it could also be the worst case.

I say let them have their own schools where they can teach their children as they wish.

Although the result would likely be the rest of the would point and snicker, wondering why we're not teaching tsunamis are the result of an angry Poseidon.

Worst case would be if a not to bright evangelical got voted in and filled his White House full Regent University graduates. I wonder how bad that could be?

rocketsquirrel's picture

If you want your child to

If you want your child to have a religious education, there are a number of good parochial schools in Knox County.

Sounds like the dad would rather foist his doctrine on the public schools.

This is not fair to put the school board in the position of having to decide whether books should be banned.

I am sure you could find awkward wording in virtually every textbook in Knox County.

metulj's picture

If, by parochial, you mean

If, by parochial, you mean "Catholic," then they would learn evolution as fact. :)

rocketsquirrel's picture

I just meant religious

I just meant religious schools... eg a school engaged in religious education.

here's the thing. you pick your battles. no school, no curriculum is perfect. The public schools prefer to ignore that over 7000 kids in Knox County are in private or parochial schools. not counting homeschoolers.

But here, I side with the public schools. This one ain't worth fighting when there are clear alternatives. This father trying to get this book banned is just a Fox News grandstander. He just needs to pick the right church school for his kid(s).

As far as Catholics and evolution, I prefer to stay out of denominational battles. As a favorite Methodist pastor of mine enjoys saying, "there are no Methodists in heaven." :)

metulj's picture

Yeah, we are in agreement

Yeah, we are in agreement here. Our kids are in public schools but we are moving them to Catholic schools next year. It's about the religious education in this case (and discipline). I have every confidence that the science education will be great.

As for Methodists in Heaven, as a product of a Methodist college, there are a few tortured souls who should be there after putting up with me.

Hildegard's picture

My nieces and nephew went

My nieces and nephew went (still going, for one) K-12 in Catholic schools and evolution was taught as a matter of fact. The Catholic Church has issues, I know, but when it comes to education, they're on top.

bizgrrl's picture

I think the word myth was a

I think the word myth was a bad choice. Maybe the writers were trying to make a subtle point based on their beliefs. Who knows? There are many religions that have beliefs contradictory to "science". I would guess that if the many different religious beliefs were called myths in a text book there would be lots of complaints not just this one.

rikki's picture

The text does not call

The text does not call Christianity a myth. It calls the story of earth being created in seven days a myth.

Creationists persistently and intentionally insult evolution by misrepresenting and distorting it, trivializing it, associating it with evil, then they get vapors over a single word in a biology book. Meanwhile, they take a book handed down through the ages, translated and retranslated, whose purpose is to teach us about love, forgiveness and the human condition, and insist that the tiny portion of it that is not about humanity trumps everything we have learned from Creation itself.

Kurt Zimmerman is wasting everyone's time with his vaporous snit and insulting pretty much everything, his own God and religion included. A faith as fragile as his can not be protected.

sugarfatpie's picture

Well said

A faith as fragile as his can not be protected.

cway's picture

Mr. Zimmerman has rattled the cage

Sad to say but it is very alarming at the number of parents that have NO IDEA what their children are reading in school. They just look for the passing grades. Mr. Zimmerman has rattled the cage and got the attention of those folks. The vapors, as you say, do not insult everyone. They inform those that have not been paying attention. It starts the conversation at home. Everything is a Miracle or nothing is a Miracle. You get to decide.

rikki's picture

As far as I'm concerned,

As far as I'm concerned, everything is a miracle. Do I win a prize?

cway's picture

Prize

Yes ..... Life!

R. Neal's picture

Speaking for myself only, I

Speaking for myself only, I don't recall suggesting that creation or Genesis or the Bible or anything like that should be taught as science.

SnM's picture

As I said at knoxblab, ...if

As I said at knoxblab,

...if you're going to write a textbook discussing the origins or life from an evolutionary perspective, it only makes sense to reference creationism, the current misleading rival proposal in U.S. education, in the text from time to time.

I'm just not seeing a significant lobbying effort on behalf of, for instance, teaching the Sumerian, Shinto, Norse, or Sikh creation myths as science, you know?

I recommend checking out the discussion on the subject there.

R. Neal's picture

What's wrong with the

What's wrong with the discussion here? Not to your liking?

SnM's picture

I think some interesting

I think some interesting perspectives are offered there, articulating some ideas better than I can. I am not trying to divert discussion from here. my apologies. I will retire.

bizgrrl's picture

Oh, do lesbian cheerleaders

Oh, do lesbian cheerleaders have something to say about science and religion?

metulj's picture

Hold on. Let me log in over

Hold on. Let me log in over there.

Anonymously Nine's picture

.

"Oh, do lesbian cheerleaders have something to say about science and religion?"

Snap

Hildegard's picture

This thread totally helps me

This thread totally helps me understand how we ended up with such a pitiful, useless health care reform bill.

R. Neal's picture

This thread totally helps me

This thread totally helps me understand how we ended up with such a pitiful, useless health care reform bill.

This thread totally explains Stacey Campfield.

goose creek's picture

Hunh?

We have a pitiful health reform bill because a huge # of our elected reps are in the pocket of insurance cos.

I'm not sure what a handful of blog participants in E. TN has to do with it.

bizgrrl's picture

This thread totally helps me

This thread totally helps me understand how we ended up with such a pitiful, useless health care reform bill.

Hunh?
We have a pitiful health reform bill because a huge # of our elected reps are in the pocket of insurance cos.

Exactly, talk about your drama.

From what I've found the book may have been originally published in 1998 and the 2nd Edition was published in 2001. The list price appears to be $200 + new. How long has it been used by Knox County public schools? If they needed 300 at a cost of $200, then Knox County schools spent $60,000 for the books. Maybe they should just black out the word myth and move on.

bill young's picture

Myth

Christianity not a myth?

How about the Resurection? It's a myth?
Right?

Or that Jesus is the Son of God..That's a myth?
Right?

In fact don't you agree the Bible is not the word
of God but a mythical story..written by man..to invent
a religion?

So of course creationism is a myth..the whole damn Bible
is a myth..I mean who on earth would by into such foolishness?

update:4/10/'10;I'm not this negative about religion.I wanted to get folks thinking about what they believed was myth & was not myth concerning what their personal beliefs were.There were some comments about Roman Catholic Schools.I don't know what the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church is on the Resurrection & the birth of Jesus.But since the Roman Catholic Church was mentioned I thought I would see what those commenters had to say abou Roman Catholic doctrine.One person commented that OTHER people's religion was myth...but not their's.I agree.

WhitesCreek's picture

Some of us follow this type of discovery.

This is an important find...

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Now back to the comments American style...

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