Legislating Ignorance

The headline says it all: Kentucky lawmakers shocked to find evolution in biology tests.

They’re upset that, after mandating a science curriculum “allowing or requiring nonscientific ideas to be taught alongside a standard biology curriculum”, national standardized tests actually expected kids to know the basic facts of evolution, and gave them lower scores when they didn’t.

While it’s the students of Kentucky who are being short changed when it comes to their education, it’s the people running their school system who are truly ignorant when it comes to science.

The same report quotes Representative Ben Waide, who demonstrated his lack of scientific knowledge by saying, “The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science–Darwin made it up.” Waide went on to say that “Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny.”

As if this guy has any idea what the term “scientific scrutiny” really means.

Anyway, Kentucky is not the only place pushing ignorance into the curriculum, and not only in science. It appears that some fundamentalists also want to rewrite mathematics.

“Unlike the “modern math” theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, A Beka Book teaches that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute….A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, and workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory.” – ABeka.com

The post at Boing Boing offers both a good overview of set theory and why this is a crazy idea.

And finally, to round out this collection of educational malpractice, enjoy 14 Wacky “Facts” Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools, with some historical revisions I’ll bet you didn’t know.