A weird moment this morning when I was reading this post from Josh Marshall about another warped science=politics moment. This one involving a state Rep from Georgia, a theory that evolution is a Jewish conspiracy and one of my old high school teachers (the one who taught the Americanism vs. Communism course, not the creationist biology teacher).
I went back to the Dent archives and dug up this post I wrote in Feb. 2006 about Evolution Sunday and high school weirdness.
Original Post from the now departed Dent blog:
This Sunday, in honor of Charles Darwin’s 187th birthday, the message from pulpits across the country will be that God and science can co-exist. Pope says so, too.
A few people think different as outlined in this great L.A. Times story. This guy sure can work up a crowd of elementary school kids.
I’ve had a few encounters with this kind of stuff myself. The only thing it shook my faith in was the sanity of people who don’t know their dogma from their karma.
(Cue the mysterious music, I feel a story coming on.)
When my family moved to Florida in the mid-1970s and I started high school, I remember a couple of times when the absurdity of it all was thick and, well, just plain weird.
The first was when the teacher in my state-required Comparative Political Systems class (The name of the course had been changed the year before from “Americanism Vs. Communism“, but the textbook was the same.) took some time out to talk about his conversion from socialism to Christ and to hawk his book on God and evolution. Point being that evolution, like communism was a threat.
The guy is now a rather notorius member of the anti-science Christian fringe. His latest crusade: Copernicus was wrong. Weird stuff.
The second was when my 9th grade biology teacher (same school) announced that we would study creation theory for a couple of class periods. Anyone who didn’t want to learn about it was excused to go to the library. The way he put it, though, it didn’t seem like a good idea to leave. Only the kid who spent most of his time sleeping in the corner got up and left.
What followed, in part, was a rather amazing lecture explaining that the firmament mentioned in Genesis was actually a great band of water in space that surrounded the earth and shielded us from cosmic rays. That, my teacher explained, was why folks pre-Noah typically lived for a thousand years and why we don’t.
The great flood, we were told was the heavenly-ordered descent of the firmament (to drown the sinners, of course).
I am not making this up. I learned it in biology class in Lakeland, Florida in the latter half of the 20th Century. So did a few thousand other kids. Go Dreadnaughts!
A few days latter, we went back to cutting up frogs and fetal pigs.
In a way I could not have received a better series of lessons including:
•Check things out on your own;
•Some people are just plain freaky.
Here’s an earlier Dent post on the Dover I.D. ruling—a riveting read. Really.