Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Creationism and Free Speech A standard creationist ruse in arguing for the inclusion of their views in high school biology classrooms is to invoke free speech. The idea is that excluding creationism is tantamount to censorship. This argument has great rhetorical appeal, since most people know little of the scientific issues involved but will respond sympathetically to claims of fairness.

The latest example of this ruse is described in this article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It relates to the recent decision by the school board in Cobb County, Georgia to exclude theories of creationism or intelligent-design from science classrooms. The Board is now being sued by two angry parents, on the censorship grounds described above.

The claim is spurious, of course. Free speech does not entitle you to teach any crackpot theory people happen to find comforting. Following creationist logic we would have no grounds for excluding flat-Earthism, geocentrism, or more dangerous nonsense like the idea that Black people are genetically inferior. What gets taught in science classrooms should have some connection to what scientists do. Creationism does not fit that description.


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