Louisiana’s Miseducation of Their Youth

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When I took my 10th grade biology class in Mississippi, we were required to learn evolution because it was mentioned on the state biology test. My teacher, Miss Lott*, would say a sentence about evolution, and then go on for several minutes about why that sentence was untrue. She reiterated that on the test we had to answer the question about evolution, but advised us to remember that it was liberal hippy bullshit designed to push us away from God’s truth.

Louisiana teachers now have the legal right to do the same thing.

In 2008 Louisiana state legislature passed a law called the Louisiana Science Education Act which allows teachers to use materials to critique evolution. Essentially, Louisiana teachers are now allowed to teach creationism as an alternative to evolution.

Christian legislators have allowed educators to teach children scientific inaccuracies straight from the Bible, and, thanks to this, the state will have a new generation of under-educated children who spew the same inaccuracies to their own children.

By doing everything in her power to discount evolution, Miss Lott deprived her students of a proper education and continued feeding the idea that science is designed against God. It completely discounts how the scientific method works and how these conclusions are drawn.  Using the position of educator to mold students into anti-science adults isn’t helpful or Christ-like, it’s cruelty.

In the United States, 42% of people believe in creationism. They reject strenuous scientific investigation in favor of the writings of a book thousands of years old. Beyond that, they lie about it. They claim that a large number of scientist don’t believe in evolution, when that simply isn’t the case. 97% of scientists accept some form of evolution, so why frame it otherwise? Why claim that scientists widely question and disagree with evolution?

It is easier and more acceptable to conform to the beliefs you’ve been raised with than to question them. It feels safer, it feels homey. There’s even a well-established bias called the “Overconfidence effect” where individuals’ confidence that they are correct is substantially greater than their actual accuracy. Daniel Kahneman explains it: “Overconfident professionals sincerely believe they have expertise, act as experts and look like experts. You will have to struggle to remind yourself that they may be in the grip of an illusion.” Despite evidence to the contrary, people are very likely to overestimate the validity of their claims despite evidence to the contrary.

Of course, this isn’t exclusive to the Christian Right and liberals must be aware of their own biases. However, when 97% of scientists support some form of evolution, it isn’t saving a child’s soul to teach them evolution and lie to them about scientific consensus. That isn’t just or helpful to a child’s upbringing. It creates an us vs. them situation and encourages children to step away from the sciences.

This is why people don’t understand evolution. This is why so many students get to college and try to argue with professors who have decades of educational and research experience on them. This is why people cover their ears and go, “NANANANANANANNANANA” instead of learning about science.

If creationism is being taught in school, why not mix it up a little? Let’s teach Shinto creation myths, Vedic creation myths. Let’s teach how Native American traditional religions thought the world was created. If we’re going to be grossly scientifically inaccurate and include religions in science education, let’s be sure to at least be fair when inspiring ignorance in future generations.

If you genuinely believe that evolution must be debunked by religion, you don’t get to pick and choose which religions should debunk it. In public education, no religion may reign supreme. If you want the Bible in classrooms but would have a fit if the Qur’an was in a classroom, you’re a hypocrite. This is why religion shouldn’t be in public schools. This is why we have the establishment clause in the constitution. Unfortunately, since these laws don’t specifically name Christianity as the religion that must be used, they get to slide on through.

If a teacher used the Qur’an, they’d be put on blast. Louisiana has already had trouble with Islamic schools. Louisiana passed a law called the Minimum Foundations Program that students failing at public high schools can use government-paid vouchers to enroll in other schools, many of which are religious schools. The Islamic School of Greater New Orleans applied for funds associated with this voucher program. Law makers reacted angrily, opposing funding an Islamic schools and saying that no one could go home and explain they had supported this.

To Louisiana citizens and lawmakers it is fine to have religion in education, but only if it’s Christianity. Evolution can be debunked with the Bible, religious schools can get extra funding, but God forbid any other religion ask for the same privileges.

Louisiana is doing a disservice to its citizens and promoting group think about Christianity’s uncontested superiority. And they’re proud of it.

 

*Name changed

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One thought on “Louisiana’s Miseducation of Their Youth

  1. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia have so much going against them. Their white population is still suffering psychological trauma resulting from the Civil War. The bravest and best of two generations were thrown away in a hopeless war. Many of those not killed outright or terribly maimed, moved to the industrial north or for land opportunities farther west. The era of reconstruction caused massive mistrust between southern whites and anything northern. It was necessary for those whites remaining in the south to vilify the blacks in order to rationalize their insane war to preserve slavery. For three successive generations, the intelligentsia had to move north and west to receive top rung professional educations. The south became encumbered with an ignorant, angry, and marginalized white population. Of course their were many exceptions. The black population suffered along the same lines. The industrious, the leaders, and those seeking higher goals moved north and west. One third of all the cowboys on the trail drives in Texas were black. Most of those stayed on as small land holders. Peripatetic evangelist travelled throughout the south and preyed on those left behind. The message they sold was endure the suffering here and be guaranteed pie “pie in the sky”. The message was no accident it was planned and paid for by northern and eastern industrialists, bankers, and the carbon cartel. That message is continued today.by the same pupeteers and their schills. This horrendous legislation is proof to those who have made Lousiana their chattel property have succeeded in their plans to blind and rob the pathetic population. It means that Louisiana will continue to let itself be raped by their absentee lords.

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