Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What Is the Academic Freedom Amendment?

One thing social conservatives can't be faulted on his their predictibility. They use the same playbook over and over again. Opponents of teaching evoltion in public schools pushed for a academic freedom amendment. The Orwellian-sounding term was created by professional education hater David Howowitz. Essentially, social conservatives want to erode teachers' abilities to teach things they disagree with. Which makes it all the more hysterical for evolution opponents to call the teaching of science dogmatic.

Howowitz's ignorance on what actually goes on in the classroom is staggering. Howowitz protested George Washington University's women's studies department.

"Women’s studies, as everybody knows…are about unequal power, the oppression of women, so if they don’t have a course on oppression of women in Islam, they should," said Horowitz.

GWU had a class titled "Women In Islam", at the time of Howowitz's silly protest. The man doesn't know what he's talking about. That doesn't stop conservatives from taking him seriously.

Howowitz and the Christian conservative think tank Center for Science and Culture got Rick Santorum to sponsor an amendment for the No Child Left Behind Act. The Santorum Amendment to teach intelligent design in public schools.

Santorum on the floor of the Senate:

This is an amendment that is a sense of the Senate. It is a sense of the Senate that deals with the subject of intellectual freedom with respect to the teaching of science in the classroom, in primary and secondary education. It is a sense of the Senate that does not try to dictate curriculum to anybody; quite the contrary, it says there should be freedom to discuss and air good scientific debate within the classroom. In fact, students will do better and will learn more if there is this intellectual freedom to discuss. I will read this sense of the Senate. It is simply two sentences—frankly, two rather innocuous sentences—that hopefully this Senate will embrace: "It is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and

(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject. It simply says there are disagreements in scientific theories out there that are continually tested.

Evolution is not controversal in the scientific community. The Christian Right attempts to sound reasonable while casting doubt about evolution. They can't come out and say that man was created from dust. They know people will laugh at their ignorance.

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