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    1. I think it's (creationism) potentially intellectually damaging. I studied creationism in a philosophy context at uni but that's at a much higher level of thought/analysis. Depending on the age of the kids they may take it at face value and not have developed critical thinking skills yet. I know scientists who don't believe in human evolution due to their upbringing being so ingrained. And they research in areas of non-human evolution too! I just don't understand how their thinking can be so compartmentalized.

    2. I'm not comfortable with teaching creationism in schools. I'm not keen on the funding ban - seems more like a political/anti-private school suggestion to me.

    2a. I've never heard of schools teaching creationism in Australia. I'm ok with scripture/religious education classes. Religious studies are compulsory in religious private schools. However, the private school I went to had a much more social/society focused religious curriculum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witherwings View Post
    So my questions are:

    1) do you agree with the statement in the 3rd paragraph that teaching creationism is intellectually damaging? If you don't agree with that statement, do you think that it creates an intellectual dilemma of sorts when children are concurrently being taught biology and other sciences?

    2) do you think that creationism should be taught in schools? If not, do you agree with the petition to ban funding or do you think that's a step too far?

    2a) On another note, are schools actually teaching "creationism" in Australia, or is it just "scripture" which parents can choose for their kids to opt out of anyway? Is taking religious studies in private schools compulsory?

    3) if you watched the video of Lawrence Krauss, I am very interested to hear your opinion of it. Would you agree with his statement that teaching children that the world is 6000 years old is a form of child abuse?
    I'll preface all these by saying I am a card carrying atheist with a fairly devout catholic husband. My kids are baptised. I had a crisis of faith when I had cancer and do wish I could believe in something 'more'

    1. No I dont though it absolutely could be confusing for children. However I think this confusion can be easily addressed by their parents.

    2. Creationism has ZERO place in a science class. I dont mind it being taught in a humanities scenario say as a discussion about how every civilisation has some sort of creationist mythology and this is the christian one. Otherwise I'm not a fan. I dont believe funding should be restricted as long as the school also teaches to the set curriculum. I dont agree with it but I think it opens the door to the government having too much say in private/independent schooling.

    2a). As far as I know it's just in RE at primary and humanities/social studies in high school (Assuming it's not an actual religious school). Certainly in nth qld I've never heard it being taught in any other context.

    3) Richard Dawkins said something similar in one of his books. I'm frankly disgusted by the comment.

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    Okay, so, no I don't believe funding should be withdrawn from Private Schools who teach it.

    This is because private Schools all have religious affiliation. I know that's not why all of the students go to those schools, but fact is they are religion based schools and finding should absolutely not be taken away from them.

    It's not child a use or intellectually damaging to teach it. Given those schools would all teach physics, biology and chemistry, says that they can teach scripture and what their religious beliefs are along side sciences shows that what they teach isn't damaging. In fact it encourages critical thinking. You know kids being brought up with religion going, hey wait a minute, how is it possible there were dinosaurs but then God created the world???? How can that be? Then that leads into a discussion about it. No matter whether the teacher denies what science has proven or not wouldn't really matter as those kids strong in their faith would believe and agree with the teacher and those who aren't so sure or who are atheists will be doing a lot of thinking about the topic to help them come to their own conclusions, so no I don't see it as bad and finding should not be removed.

    Public schools, another kettle of fish. All kids should need to 'opt-in' to any kind of religion studies or religious scripture, it should absolutely not be forced upon all students, and I support the teaching of religious and multicultural studies by way of discussing all of the different arguments for and against each 'side' again teaching critical thinking.

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    This is a delicate argument as it deals in some people's firmly held beliefs which they are definitely entitled to hold and pass to their children. Having said that...
    1. I wouldn't say it's intellectually damaging per se. I think there is tremendous value in presenting a range of beliefs/ideas/facts and developing critical thinking skills within children to assess the most plausible explanation. However if creationism is presented as the fact and scientific rationalism is presented only as an incorrect opposition then that's problematic. If you're going to include both sides treat both sides fairly.
    2. No I don't agree creationism should be taught in schools as the explanation for our planet and the basis of life. However I do see value in exploring the beliefs of different cultures and religions and respecting the fact that people are free to hold those beliefs. I do think it's important that children learn about religion in an objective and abstract way (I.e not indoctrination but explanation of what different religions believe in and practice). I want my dd to have a basic understanding of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc as I believe this contributes to well rounded general knowledge and aids in developing relationships with others. I do want the underpinning of my daughter's education to be based in science and evidence and the mandated curriculum framework.
    How would you separate the funding? I can't see that working in practice. I'm not sure how much leeway private schools get in developing curriculum but presumably all schools must meet the Australian curriculum framework so there are hopefully other measures available to direct appropriate curriculum content.
    2a. Not sure these days but 20 years ago when I was at a religious school (as a non-religious student) we didn't have to attend religious services but did have to do religious education. I *think* these days it's framed as more values education but schools may differ on the extent they delve into religious beliefs.
    3. No it's not child abuse. I watched the video and that's very strong language. It's frankly quite offensive to the real notion of child abuse for him to say this - it's very extreme. As I said before I want my daughter to be educated in a pedagogy based in science and evidence but (even as a non-religious person) I see value in her learning about different religions and their respective beliefs, including creationism. As long as it's presented as a belief system not fact and it's critiqued I'm ok with it.
    Sorry for the essay but I thought the questions warranted a detailed response!

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    Default Teaching creationism in schools - opinions?

    I'll preface by saying I didn't watch the video. In a nutshell I'm with Kaybaby. I don't think creationism should be taught in public schools as I agree with the separation of church and state. If private/ religious schools want to teach their version of creation and they are upfront with parents about it I think that's fine.

    I don't think it's child abuse to teach creationism. I was taught the Islamic version of creationism as a child and also evolution in school and I'm able to happily reconcile the two in my mind. I don't feel I was 'abused' because my parents shared their faith with me.

    So basically no I wouldn't sign the petition because I don't think the government should ban private schools from teaching creationism; and as for funding that's a whole other issue and I think private schools should generally get less funding overall and more should be invested in the public education system and it shouldn't have anything to do with whether schools teach creationism or evolution.

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    Not 100% sure where I stand on this one.

    I totally see the value in learning about religious beliefs, but government funding supporting teaching religion as fact is somewhat problematic.

    I can understand the 'child abuse' argument, though I'd by no means categorize it that way myself. I guess it's the idea that adults in a position of power, teaching children something that goes against all our scientific understanding of the world, can appear to be an abuse of power. Of course it wouldn't appear that way if you believed in creationism, but apply it to any other belief that flies in the face of science. Would the general public accept government funded schools teaching that people never actually went to the moon, that flying saucers and little green men exist etc.? I genuinely don't know the answer.

    Of course people want to pass on their beliefs and worldviews to their children, and that's one of the reasons that parents send their children to religious schools. Should religion hold a special place though, and create a criticism-free-zone? People believe all sorts of things that the majority would reject as simply incorrect - is it okay to teach them to children as fact, so long as they're important beliefs to you?

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    I haven't read the whole thread and this a pop in and out as we have a very busy medical appointments day. Dd appliance holding her jaw together while it heals is slipping.

    My kids have in past and currently do attend a school where creationism is taught as a alternative theory in religious studies. I know personally 5 schools that do this. Science classes are just that science after all we want our kids to grow up and have the opportunity to study and have jobs in the medical or science fields too.

    I believe knowledge is power. I don't limit knowledge. Teaching a alternative theory doesn't limit intelligence.
    I know there are people on here that think that the way I bring up my kids is child abuse because we bring them up with a sttrong Christian beliefs and that is fine thats their choice.

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    My children go to a private Lutheran school. I have no issue with them being taught creationism, however, I do not think it belongs in public schools AT all under any circumstance. If you have a kid in public school and you want them to learn creationism they can do that at a church.
    I also have no issue with them being taught evolution in science, which they are as part of the high school curriculum even at my children's school.
    I think it is good to learn about religion in high school, but just the basics of the major religions because it is important to know what other people believe and that not everyone is atheist.
    I think it helps people learn to be more tolerant.
    Really, honestly, unless Christianity is followed up at home and at church, I think you'll find that kids in general just treat it like any other subject they learn at school and don't really give it as much emphasis as what a lot of non-christian people worry. They really dont get indoctrinated and forced to believe it. You can always say, "Yes some people believe that but in our family, we believe in science". ...

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    I went to a school that taught it and do not feel I have been damaged in any way. My parents chose that school knowing what was taught and so do other parents.

    As for funding... many schools have content that not everyone agrees with or feels is important to be taught. Teaching creationism is a small area of what is taught at school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gingermillie View Post
    Sorry for the essay but I thought the questions warranted a detailed response!
    Please don't apologise! The detailed responses are insightful and thought provoking!

    I agree 100% that learning about different religious beliefs is important, and that encouraging critical thinking is absolutely necessary. I also agree that if creationism is taught as "fact" then it could be damaging.

    The Stanford article I quoted and linked earlier talks about creationists having a profound impact on public education in the USA in the early 1900s (amending curriculum texts to exclude science-based facts in biology for example) and this resulted in a poor standard of science based education, which only became a government concern when the USSR beat USA In the space race.

    It just goes to show that it could be more damaging than people think. However maybe these days, it's quite impossible for children to be persuaded so easily in one way or another when the information is constantly challenged on the WWW. I still remember a time before Google and yahoo and wikipedia, when information wasn't so easily accessible.

    And yes I can see how cutting funding would be more politically motivated than an ethically/socially-conscious decision, and I guess I wouldn't support this either.

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