COMMENTARY | A Louisiana school raised eyebrows by preparing to teach that evolution theory is wrong. That's not news, but the fact teachers will use the Loch Ness Monster to do it is new. But it is merely the latest case of creationists doing an about face on dinosaurs, from rejecting their presence to using them in arguments against Darwin's theory.
The pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier defended her decision to use Nessie to teach the kids science. "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," as quoted by The Sideshow.
But this is hardly the exception in a story that goes beyond tabloids and enters the realms of politics as the school is funded by taxpayer vouchers.
Millions in state subsidies were also used in the Creationist Museum in Kentucky, where children play with dinosaurs in dioramas. An Arkansas museum tells a similar tale. Gift shops at the Grand Canyon National Park now sell books with the Young Earth theory that Noah's flood was responsible for the wide chasm. Creationist scientists are excited about an ancient artwork in Utah showing a dinosaur.
I remember the creationist argument growing up that dinosaurs were instruments of Satan or that fossils were placed on Earth to test our faith in the Genesis story. Now dinosaurs are considered proof the Bible is literal truth.
Darwin's theory has its flaws and shortcomings. Christians and non-Christians can probably agree on that. Nor is belief in Darwin's theory heresy. We're struggling to figure out a lot of Christian meanings as much as scientists struggle with understanding the natural world.
I know this is about coddling a certain constituency that feels it has been picked on too many times by atheists. But at a time when students are struggling to master basic scientific concepts that allow them to learn important lessons and compete with the best of other countries in fields of biotechnology, teaching kids about Nessie seems out of place. Wouldn't alligators and sharks be more practical subjects for teaching the endurance of prehistoric creatures?
Is the next step to reject astronomers and physicists who were excommunicated for challenging church doctrine? Must we reject studying the Greeks because they were non-Christians? Hopefully, we can find a way to teach science, as well as matters that are bigger than sciences, which emphasize our actions and behaviors.
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