There are few things that push my buttons as fast or hard as a Religious dogma taught as fact with public money. Faith and religion are important and comforting to many of us. So is an education that will prepare a child for the realities of a Twenty-first century economy.

I graduated from Whitehall-yearling High School. Whitehall was always a blue collar suburb. I received a good education there in spite of myself. Now, this was the Sixties. America was infatuated with science and progress. We were aiming for the moon, pushing the envelope of our technology to get there. The Space Program required and depended on constant breakthroughs in numerous disciplines. General Electric’s slogan was “Progress is our most important product”.

There was progress in all of the hard sciences. Much of it was driven by public and private R & D. Bell labs came up with the transistor and LASER. 3M developed new cutting edge adhesives. ALCOA and others extended the frontiers of metallurgy. We were learning about the cosmos. Medicine was moving ahead by leaps and bounds.

How was it we lead the world in innovation and discovery? Well, science and other academic fields were not based on weather lay people agreed or not. You see, facts don’t care if you believe in them. Like John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things.”

Math was taught. Science basics were taught even as new discoveries were changing the landscape. History was taught to give context and understanding as to who we were and how we got here. The idea was if we know the mistakes we won’t keep making them over and over. Then, as now, the theory of evolution was a cornerstone and foundation to biology.

In the search for knowledge, many disciplines contributed to the refinement of evolutionary understanding. Paleontology. Geology. Astro- physics. Astronomy. Physics. These fields of study created the tableau on which our understanding of evolution is written.

We know approximately how old the Universe, Solar System and Earth are. Through the fossil record and understanding of how to date the layers we know when something was happening. We can even postulate environment. Most of the fossil record lacks any hominids. Physics tells us how old the farthest stars are. It tells us how fast isotopes decay. With the tools available the age of this planet is well established. It’s around 4.5 billion years old. The Universe comes in at about 15 billion.

For the last few decades there has been a push to create a controversy where there isn’t one. This is done to present Creationism or Intelligent Design as a viable alternative to evolution. The young Earth idea is pushed to contradict solid geologic knowledge. These ideas are pushed by Evangelical Christians.

These Genesis based points of view are presented as fact. It is another example of the Conservative Christians wanting to force their beliefs on everyone, believer or not.

To bolster their argument they leap upon any quirk in established science as proof evolution is wrong. Any scientist that disagrees is hailed as a genius. It never matters if those scientist who reject evolution and an old Earth are usually not degreed in biology or geology. Many are on the fringe with a hypothesis that cannot be proven using the scientific method. It is a matter of faith to them and others they are right.

Now, here in Ohio with the current voucher system and charter schools that are a religious school will teach creationism or Intelligent Design with taxpayer money. This money comes from already cash strapped public school systems.

Now, when you reject evolution you also reject most of modern science. With evolution being rejected, the other disciplines that have helped prove it are also wrong. So, nothing in our tech should work as predicted. To support this constants like the speed of light are questioned. The basic scientific underpinnings of our entire society and economy are rejected and replaced with faith.

So as technology and science are becoming more and more important to our survival as a nation and species our children are being taught in such a way they will never be able to compete or contribute in a meaningful manner. The fact Ohio supports this with taxpayer money is tantamount to child abuse.

As always it is conservative Christianity that people want taught as science in public schools. You never see the Unitarian point of view held up as a model. I wonder what would happen if an Islamic school received voucher students?

These schools cannot possibly prepare our children for a risky future. It is simply letting a segment of our educational system teach knowledge as a la carte pick and choose from column A and column B.

So, do we continue to support schools teaching ideology as science and history? Do we surrender these kids to be sacrificed on the altar of theocracy?

We need the best and brightest to revive Ohio. This State was once ground zero for innovation. Firestone. The Wright brothers. Kettering and so many others.

We need to ask our legislature why we are paying to cloak our future in ignorance. If they don’t want to propel Ohio forward into the new era of technological advancement, tech firms will locate elsewhere or flee to States where education isn’t up for grabs. We aren’t Texas, right? But we’re on our way.

  • Religion has often been at odds with science. The fear of the faithful is that science will prove the myth story behind their religion is wrong. For Ohio and America to move forward we need to dispel these myths so students can be prepared for the real world. While many of the myth stories are entertaining and may have numerous truths that are valuable lessons for life, in fact they are all fantasies based on wishes and not the scientific method.

  • Great post, Thomas. I was an Evangelical pastor for 25 years and my wife and I homeschooled our six children. We were avid young earth creationists, believing that the Bible was God’s divine science book. In later years, we moved beyond this and I am now an atheist. Fortunately, for our children, they were able to make up for the ignorance we taught them by taking a few science classes at the local community college.

    While I support the right to privately educate one’s children, IF tax money is going to the school then they should be expected to teach science rather than theology that pretends to be science.

    Many Ohioans don’t realize how minimal the educational requirements are to home school. Even worse, a church can start a non-accredited, non-charter religious school and there are NO requirements or regulations. In the 1990’s, I started a private Christian school in SE Ohio. Nothing was required of us and the local school district lost thousands of dollars in state funding because the children of the church were no longer part of their census.

    IMO, Ohio is quite lax in regulating private schools. Charter schools have only made things worse. They siphon off money from cash-strapped local school districts, often enriching the corporations behind them.

  • dmoore2222

    “We need to ask our legislature why we are paying to cloak our future in ignorance.” I have the answer to this one. So they (politicians) can continue to rig the political and economic systems in their favor as the rich direct them to do. Creationism, anti-abortion, anti gay marriage are no more than diversions from things like JobsOhio which is using taxpayer money to enrich politically friendly companies, or charter schools that are way under performing while their CEOs are getting rich.

  • Barbara Brothers

    Don’t Horizon (Gulen) schools receive state money?

  • anastasjoy

    Actually, the Unitarian point of view would be great! I went to a Unitarian Sunday school and we did things like calculate the distance to the stars based on science or analyze how and why religions were created and how they were constructed. We also learned to make paper airplanes and glue balls to pelt the kids on the other side of the table just as our teacher was coming in the door!

    Unitarians believe that you can learn something valuable from any religion, that you should respect their beliefs of others, and you should use reason and questioning to arrive at your own personal beliefs. Also, science. My church was located one block from the University of Chicago which has produced 57 Nobel Prize winners in the sciences. Many people associated with the university, including my parents, went there or sent there kids to my church. Nobody rejected science.

  • Stuck in the Boro Bubble

    As long as the GOP has the evangelicals and the TP in their caucus, one should vote for the Democratic party if they want to protect public education. The majority of the GOP do not believe in evidence-based science and history. There are many slots on the Ohio BOE that are appointed by the Governor (the current leader of the Ohio BOE is TP, appointed by Kasich) that are involved in directing the education in Ohio. These positions, as well as many of the State Reps, are closely aligned with the TP and the Christian organizations that have been pushing charters/vouchers/creationism/Christian revisionist history etc, which are eroding the public education system. This is their goal and follows ALEC legislation to privatize education. For the reasons of protecting public education, maintaining the separation of church and state/acknowledging that there are many religions or none (most religions are compatible with science, but not the majority of evangelicals), and moving Ohio forward in science, technology, engineering and math for a better future of Ohioans and our country, the voters of Ohio need to vote Democratic.

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