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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.


Jobs creationists CAN do (Guest post)

David Waldock is one of the most articulate commenters on this blog. His response to Monica Stringer’s defence of ACE was so comprehensive I didn’t bother to reply myself. David is an ex-ACE student, but he preferred not to write about his own experiences. Instead, here’s his analysis of where belief in Creationism will take you…

This was originally intended to be a comment on Jonny’s post “5 jobs a Creationist can’t do“, but after an extended conversation on Facebook, we thought my thoughts might be better presented as a post in its own right, extending the discussion.

First, I understand the position that Jonny is taking; all other things being equal, young earth creationism (YEC) is intellectually incompatible with many disciplines. However, there are doubtless people who identify as young earth creationists who are in those disciplines.

An example which springs to mind is nursing (I know of several nurses who believe in YEC), yet effective nursing requires acknowledging that microbes evolve in response to antibiotics. Does this mean these self-defined creationist nurses aren’t really nurses?

What I think is actually meant is that holding YEC beliefs requires one to perform intellectual gymnastics in some way, or to compromise one’s beliefs in order to function effectively within one’s chosen discipline. I note that Answers in Genesis explicitly give this advice:

“Because of the intense persecution and potential discrimination, some have chosen to keep their biblical views “under wraps” until they receive their degrees.”

What does this look like in reality?

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