I wrote a while back about Louisiana passing a voucher program that was likely to push creationism onto students by sending them to Christian private schools. Well the bill passed and has been put into effect this year. Thanks to a friend I got a link to a website which had scanned three pages from a 5th grade text book currently being used in in Louisiana voucher schools and being paid for by tax dollars. Anyway, here is the link.
Here is a couple of gems from the book. A table that explains the big bang as a “sudden explosion” and describes humans as the “highest level of animal” according to evolution.
One thing that struck me was there insistence that the findings of science are nothing more than the results of the biases injected by the people doing the science.
Man makes judgments about the evidence of fossils based up his beliefs. A man who believes God’s record of creation and history will look at fossils in one way. A man who believes in evolution will view fossils in a different way.
They then go on to give the student an activity to read several articles written by “creationists” and “evolutionists” to try to determine what the writers bias is. This is such an absurd and jumbled approach to science it is difficult imagining children getting anything out of it. It is bad enough they are teaching these kids bad biology, but they are teaching them a horrible approach to science in general. It is, of course, obvious that everyone has a bias, but the whole point of the scientific method is to attempt to eliminate those biases. A person can start from any hypothesis they want and no matter how biased it is the predictions it makes will either turn out to be true or false. If the predictions are false then the hypothesis fails.
The main thing they fail to mention is that the reason creationism doesn’t count as science is because it makes no meaningful predictions about the world. Take big bang which they inaccurately describe as a “sudden explosion,” when it was first proposed the calculations predicted certain types of radiation should still be present in the universe as a result. Measurements were taken and the radiation was found, thus there was evidence that it happened. (though not definitive proof)
Now take the creationists view point, “God created the heavens and the earth” by their own description. What predictions can one make from that? To ask the question differently what differences would we expect to see between a universe that God created and one that he didn’t? The fact is we don’t know, we have no idea what differences there would be between those two things if any. So with no predictions there is no way to test, or falsify as Karl Popper would have put it, the hypothesis that “God created the heavens and the earth.” Thus this is not a mere matter of competing beliefs as this text book wants to present it as.
The science in this book is so bad it should be criminal to lie to students this badly. Late elementary school is a great time to cultivate students interest in science and instead they choose to squash it with ludicrous pseudo-science. Now thanks to Louisiana they are using tax money to promote this stuff to students who may not even share their religion, because their parents have been told that sending their child to a private school is a guaranteed way to get a better education. The evidence in this book says differently.