Archive for November 18th, 2014

November 18, 2014

Teaching creationism

by Neil Rickert

In spite of the title, this post really isn’t about teaching creationism.  It is about the responsibilities of a teacher.  I use creationism only as an example.

Adam Laats raised the issue in a recent blog post “Firing Creationist Scientists“.  Laats mentions the case of Mark Armitage at CalState.  As to exactly why Armitage lost his job, I do not know.  Presumably that’s a personnel matter at CalState Northridge, and full details are not usually made public though they might come out at a later court hearing.  Laats surmises that Armitage probably lost his job because he was teaching creationism.

The responsibilities of a teacher

To me, this raises the question of what a responsible teacher should present to his/her students.  So let’s suppose, hypothetically, that a scientist comes up with his own theory X in his discipline, and strongly believes that his theory is true.  How should that affect what he teaches?

My view is that the students are there to learn the consensus science.  So the scientist has a responsibility to his students to teach them what is that consensus science, even if he disagrees with that consensus.

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