A case for banning creationism in schools

Earlier this week I hosted Adam Laats’ engaging argument that, while teaching Creationism in schools might be a bad move, it’s not something it makes sense to ban.

Now Adam has kindly posted my reply on his blog. For those of you that have the patience, there’s already a long debate with a committed creationist in the comments.

I think my argument is plausible, but at the same time, I don’t think that many people agree with me. I welcome your objections. In particular, what would help us to settle the question is a clarification of what is meant by “harm”, and what types of harm to children justify state intervention.

First, we need to get the misleading notion of parents’ rights off the table. Parents are humans, with human rights; children are humans, and they also have human rights. Parental rights are not human rights; they are rights that one human being has to exert control over another. Can you think of another instance where liberal democracies allow a person to act in this way? The only similar examples I know are slavery, imprisonment, and archaic ideas of marriage where ownership of a woman passes from her father to her husband. These do not seem like paradigms to emulate.



About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on July 11, 2013, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Christianity, Creationism, Education, Faith Schools and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think that is a wonderful argument. As a child, I told someone that I had rights. They turned and told me that I had none whatsoever and that I was theirs to control and tell what to do. As a kid I didn’t quite comprehend it all. However, when I was a teen I started to get it. We as children in the Fundamentalist were nothing but robots for the church and we were expected to do what they wanted without question. It is sad really that people would treat anyone that way but they do for some reason.

    • I can’t stand that argument. True, there are some rights a child doesn’t have–I couldn’t buy cigarettes or adult movies as a kid, and I couldn’t drive–but children still have rights! Children are still people!

  2. I don’t think a school that teaches creationism should be allowed call itself a school. School should be a protected title that you have to earn by a commitment to teaching facts.

  3. I think the courts and the first amendment do a fine job of protecting kids in the public schools – as for the private schools I don’t think they should teach creationism, but I don’t think the government should be regulating ideology. So unless you want to ban lying and let the courts decide what is and isn’t a lie in every instance (a daunting task) it’s not an easy sell for me.

  4. Quite frankly, I think it should be the same situation as a lot of Bible “colleges”–schools can teach that bunkum all they want, but they can’t receive accreditation or any kind of federal funding if they do. A lot of people will be turned off of teaching creationism in private schools if said schools aren’t treated by the government as “real” schools.

  5. I don´t think it´s necessary to ban creationism in schools (but it will be great) because each person can believe what he wants while it doesn`t hurts anyone else , but I think schools can teach children some evidence (not taken from the Bible) to show why it can be true and also why it can´t teaching it as a theory and not as an absolute truth and also teach them evolution to give them the option to choose in what they want to believe and tell them to respect what other people believes (because i am in a christian school and in there telling others that you believe in evolution don´t exactly make you the “smartest” one in the class).

    p.s:it´s just my opinion.

  1. Pingback: This Week in Freethought and Religion, pt. 2 | Evangelically Atheist

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: