Teach the (right) controversy

So, McCain’s picked a running mate. We don’t know much about her, but she has advocated “teaching the controversy” when it comes to Creationism. I’m sure her views will become more clear over the next several weeks, and we’ll let them speak for themselves. I’m simply interested in the idea of “teaching the controversy” (TTC).

First of all, I agree with the idea. A current events or social science class should delve into the details of the creationist cults and their assault on science. But I have a feeling that when theocrats talk about “teaching the controversy”, that’s not what they mean.

What they mean is “teach our creation myth alongside real science in biology classes”. Why should one theocratic cult’s myths be dragged into a science class? I have no idea. I thought that Dover pretty much dealt with this, but the cdesign proponentsists are always looking for a wedge, and “teaching the controversy” is just such a wedge.

So why not teach it in bio?

Because first of all, TTC is almost always code for teaching creation myths as being equally valid as evolution. Of course the fact that one is religious mythology and one is science is often left out. In a social science class, the Dover decision could be discussed, etc. In biology class, the scientific method and our understanding of life is the proper focus. To perhaps give a paragraph to creation myths would be interesting. I always loved the first section of each chapter of my science books where they would give a brief history of the topic. For example, an intro to biology could start with:

As long as humans have walked and thought, they have pondered their origins. For over a million years, these ponderings were limited to superstition. In the last two centuries, with the development of modern scientific method, we have gained a remarkable understanding of life in a remarkably short time. Genetics, cladistics, and molecular biology have worked together to give us a clear picture of the development and evolution of life on Earth.

Or we could just skip that and say “Shut up. Goddidit.”