Creationists hijack lessons and teach schoolkids man and dinosaurs walked together

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It’s hard to know what is most deplorable about this story, so I’ll leave it to readers to choose what they deplore most. For me, I think the comments from an Education Queensland[1] official supporting the teaching of creationism

fn1. BTW, what’s with the reversal of English word order that has become the norm in bureaucracies these days? Not a good example for an education department (or Department Education I guess) to set.

31 thoughts on “Creationists hijack lessons and teach schoolkids man and dinosaurs walked together

  1. It’s also hard to know what’s most hilarious. Personally, I vote, ‘DNA was not invented then’. The genius of idiots.

  2. Well it’s not a big surprise. The last individual public outing of someone visiting their wanky musuem in Kentucky, I think, was another one of these BBC Oxbridge academics despairing of creationism, a week ago on Compass.

  3. Creationists are not alone. Mbombo of Bakuba mythology apparently vomited out the world upon feeling a stomach ache. Kamui in Ainu mythology built the world on the back of a trout. In Chinese mythology it all started with the chaos of the universe forming a cosmic egg from which Pangu pops out and creates the earth.

  4. Well there you go, your first embedded flash link, and it doesn’t work.

    I’d like to think that this is an ‘only in Quinceland’ thing, but the Exclusive Brethren basically get to set their own curriculum (and receive lots of public funding) in Victoria don’t they?

    I have to decide next year whether or not to tick the box regarding religious instruction. Tough choice in a way – because I want my boy to know all about the stories as a cultural thing – but certainly not to have his head filled with dangerous nonsense. I might check whether the mad person is from a harmless institution or not.

  5. This is one of the reasons I attended the Rising Atheism conference in Melbourne earlier this year. As an atheist – I don’t believe in any gods or supernatural phenomena – I generally try to be nice with others whose views on gods and religions are quite different from mine. Most of the time it is of no consequence in day to day social and professional situations. So why is it that some of the most senior and most powerful politicians in Australia just can’t resist interfering with school-time education, where they feel it contradicts their own personal theistic beliefs? I don’t walk into their churches and demand that they start preaching evolution and geology in sermons instead of genesis. Perhaps I should.

    Unfortunately, a particular subset of the previous Liberal government front bench were not only defending Intelligent Design, but were actively promoting it among schools, the so-called independent schools. No minister of any party should be promoting this evidence-free story telling, at least not without also promoting Aboriginal Dreamtime creation myths which have an equal claim to validity, and they are truly ancient, pre-dating anything asserted in the Bible [no offence intended to indigenous people; I am merely using other creation myths as a counterpoint to the ID promotion in schools].

    Here is the previous Howard government advocating “Intelligent Design” for our Australian schools: ex-Minister Brendan Nelson doing just that in 2005 at the National Press Club. If parents want their children to learn about ID, then do it after school hours at the usual religious venue, not during school. Formal school education should be reserved for subjects that promote rational inquiry and the use of reason and evidence; even woodwork and home economics are way above creationism or ID on that score.

  6. Thankfully Donald I don’t think this will take root. Look at the framing of the article in the first place – it was seen as a bad thing. And teachers have AFAIK resisted all attempts on this matter.

  7. I went to a state school and we received religious instruction. We got taught rubbish along these lines. At some point we figured out it was bullshit. I’m surprised to learn that this stuff is still going on.

  8. That’s right Terje, so did I. asmall subject,once a week. Did no harm, leavened the diet. what I think that’s key is the Donald Oats quote from Nelson that advocates that the gap between religion and science is maintained in the class room, unlike in some of the less sophisticated American states.

  9. BTW, what’s with the reversal of English word order that has become the norm in bureaucracies these days?

    I’ve noticed a definite rise in Yoda Syntax lately.
    Kevin Donnelly in the Punch today: “Ignored is that education is a fundamental human right”. Ignored was his English teacher, obviously. And such a stickler for private education, oh dear.
    I’m finding more and more examples of this bizarre construction.
    [/rant] [/thread derail] [/getoffmylawn]

  10. Sorry, I know it’s no laughing matter!
    They instituted the bible studies when the daughter was in, I think, about grade 3. My thoughts were similar to Wilful’s and the school had the teaching materials on display, so I went along to have a look. The first pages dealt with how God had “made” this and “made” that. So, no. Granted my enthusiasm wasn’t high anyway.
    They do need to have a subject for literature students to get across those stories so they can understand references.

  11. Utterly.
    Ill tell you what Helen, it’s better than what we got back forty years ago, looking at some of the later years subjects at secondary schools in these times. Is it too Arostotelian to also hope for the education of the individual toward his world and society, as a conscious citizen?
    I know Aristotle is said to be suggesting a selective citizens electorate based on some very drastic exclusion, slaves, women, and other “others” capable of contesting a very parochially based economy and electorate., but it stills evidence of what Athens was, good and bad, as a prototype for what has followed.

  12. the year 1997 and my (unnamed) catholic school grade 8 “sex” education text:

    “God placed one testicle slightly below the other so that they would not be crushed together as men walked. What a miracle of God the testicles are!”

  13. Gerard that is amazing. Probably beats my story. I had an RE teacher who informed us that when things were true people remembered them for a long time, but when they were false they were soon forgotten. Christianity, she said, had been around for almost 2000 years and no one had forgotten it so it must be true. Coming from a Jewish background I found this rather unconvincing, but I’m sure a Hindu would have been even less impressed.

  14. @gerard
    I recall attending the “mother and daughter” sex (or rather sexual anatomy) lesson in 6th grade. I found the slides boring (cross sections of the anatomy of females with a pointer stick and the labelling of various components) and found the sudden realisation that a lot of my friends somehow magically had simultenously acquired short white patent ankle boots far more interesting! It was also far more of a challenge to sit politely as far away from one’s mother as possible – like along the side with the swinging patent white ankleboot wearers!

  15. I think Im also the only person I know to be suspended from bible classes at the local C of E church. A nice letter was written when I was 6 to say I wasnt paying attention to bible readings and was disrupting the other junior “bible readers” by scraping my shoes in the sand. (The first of an notable history of being the chief class distraction!)
    I do recall the intense boredom of being passed the book to read something direct that I didnt have a clue as to what it meant and it didnt make any sense at all!

    Scraping my shoes in the sand oustide at least made patterns!

  16. Alice, your reply to Gerard would be hilarious if it wasn’t so grim (stifles bwaa..).
    I’ll always remember the Monty Python skit where the teacher has his wife up on the bench for a prac demo re sex education, up in front of an awestruck class.

  17. I went to a religious school 40 years ago – I was once beaten to the ground by a teacher, suffering significant cuts and bruising. I had asked for my book back but forgot to say please. In the same class a friend was once punched in the face by the maths teacher so hard he went over his desk. He was so frightened of this brute that he had not been able to answer the simplest question. Hence the punch. At another school (catholic, I went to methodist school) a friend was punched in the face by a teacher and had one of his teeth knocked out.

    At the state school primary school I went to one teacher would take little boys (grade 2), squash them into a cupboard and lock them in for hours at a time.

    As far as i can tell that was all normal for Australia in the 60’s.

  18. @paul walter
    Stiflingly boring it was Paul – ahh white patent boots and makeup was so much more interesting and there wasnt a boy in sight …alas.. at the “mother and daughter” education lessons!
    Reminds me of a lovely Joni Mitchell song….called come in from the cold
    “back in 1957
    we had to dance a foot apart
    and they hawk eyed us from the sidelines
    holding their rulers without a heart..


  19. Gregh – it was pretty normal in Australia in the 1960s.

    I recall lots of what today would would be classed as child abuse. I remember being made to stand on the teachers desk in 3rd grade to get the ruler repeatedly round the legs in front of the whole class.
    I recall various specialty models of the cane being kept in the principals cane cabinets. At least they didnt cane girls but they did give girls the ruler. I recall kids being whacked about the head. I recall a teacher swinging a fencing sword in class. I recall a classmate being picked up by the seat of his pants and carried to and thrown out the door.
    I recall a peer being grabbed by the collar and having his head whacked against a wall by a deputy principal and there were endless lines for canings outside the principals office… (3 to 6 of the best!).

    I dont recall anyone ever died of mistreatment (although the fencing sword guy was definitely a maniac and later got kicked out of teaching).
    Now the kids bully the teachers.

  20. In high school we had a music teacher that couldn’t help talking about the bible. We used to bait her endlessly so that we wouldn’t have to study music. She was kicked out of the school in the end because she wouldn’t shut up about God and the Devil. We used to innocently ask her if it was okay to go to hell and other Tom Sawyer style questions that caused endless mirth. I think the Devil made us do it and because of him I never did learn an instrument.

  21. Poor teachers, saddled with kids such as us, no wonder they went troppo from time to time, what with forty kids to classes and all.
    This is why I can’t connect to Glllards idea of education, it maintains the anti teacher trend and makes it just so much easier any kid feeling like to subvert or undermine a whole lesson.
    As Terje reminds us, the permutations are are only limited by the imaginations of the kids and lack of one, with the given teacher…

  22. @paul walter
    “Poor teachers, saddled with kids such as us, no wonder they went troppo from time to time, what with forty kids to classes and all.”

    No excuses for years of sustained child abuse Paul and I’m amazed you think there is. I can’t remember any particularly bad behaviour from kids when I was younger,and certainly none that justified say breaking someone’s ribs with a vicious punch, or blowing out an eardrum by clapping the hands hard and fast either side over the ears.

    Australia has a history of systemic hatred and abuse toward children that allowed for the more extreme instances of institutionalised abuse such as happened with the kids brought in from Britain.

    Generally teachers seem far far better than they were – that is my personal experience with my children – but there are still some absolute monsters out there. Try having a disabled child at school (as we did) who gets locked out of the classroom for being late coz she’s just had yet another operation, or is told she is just putting it on, again after having major surgery. Our child was only teased once by other kids – but every year she had problems with insensitive teachers.

    One reason teachers have trouble getting the public onboard is so many Austraians remember getting taught by them.

  23. “years of sustained child abuse..”
    Wasn’t aware so many kids of this generation were walking around with perforated eardrums and broken ribs.
    Got worse since my time, lots of cane and stuff back then and sometimes whacks from the parent if I was too egregiously out of line- how did I ever survive?
    but they nevver done that to us, wot ‘e says ’bout eardrums an fings.
    I remember full well my teachers were battlers rather than uni lecturers, but I revere some of them the more for their patient efforts with me and others; typical state high school it was where you had adjust a bit, as well as the system to you.
    I think the best thing politicians and (often ignorant or ideologically-challenged) parents could do, apart from ensuring adequate funding for state schools, would be to finally get out of the face of teachers, stop scapegoating them and let them get on with their profession, without all the stormtrooping about the place by righties yearning for the old days.

  24. I went to both state and religious schools Paul, they were much the same. – but what I’d ask of you is to consider why you find it so easy to blame the victim and make jokes when it is children who suffer? Do you blame women for being raped? Make jokes about it, put on silly voices and say it did’nt do them no harm? It seems to me that you have perfectly internalised a system of oppression

  25. Oh Greg, not”self hating jew”, no. twenty two in the manual (reworked).
    Now, which “victims” am I blaming, you silly fellow!?

  26. @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    LOL Terje – now I know where the devil got hold of you – it was in music lessons. That poor woman. How many of us were cruel to the teachers as kids? – fess up. I had a deputy headmaster who’s nickname was bumchin which aptly described the enormous cleft in his enormous chin.

  27. My Dad was president of the P&C at my first primary school and I recall him being very vocally opposed to the cane. He said teachers had no business hitting students and that if we ever got the cane we would get a kick up the bumb from him but the teacher would get an ear full also. I never did get the cane. Looking back I think Dad was a bit heroic because a lot of parents complained that kids were not being disciplined enough. Dad would fire back that if the kids were not disciplined it was the parent that needed examining not the teacher. I think he was spot on.

  28. in fourth grade in the early 90s at a POS tiny catholic primary school in south brisbane one teacher would spend hours every week telling us about how difficult it was to avoid spending eternity in hell – where most people ended up – and try to get us to imagine what an eternity in hell would actually be like. not quite “portrait of the artist as a young man” vivid but enough to give me nightmares where God would tell me that on my current behavior I was on track for an eternity in hell and so was my whole family. Also enough to cure me of religion shortly afterwards (how could God be such a bastard?) which tends to be the main benefit of any catholic education

  29. There was a lovely scene on The Simpsons this week where Homer was watching a meteor shower with Lisa and he says something like “this is so beautiful, I just wish God was still alive to see it”. It cracked me up.

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