Thursday, January 20, 2005

Column on Creationism v. Darwinism

Schools, Government, and Creationism

Tibor R. Machan

No matter how often you point this out, those in the mainstream simply
ignore the issue even though it is central to the controversy. Ever since
the Scopes ?monkey? trial back in 1926, there has been this on-going,
unending battle between secularists and fundamentalist Christians about
whether Darwin?s evolutionary theory should be taught as established fact
in government schools. (Oddly, few talk about whether Einstein, Bohr or
Heisenberg ought to be part of the curriculum. Nor whether the Big Bang
should be included in astrophysics. Nor seems there to be much fuss about
genetics and other sciences. But with evolutionary biology I suppose
things are most directly testy, so people get more excited.)

But the real problem is that government schools exist. The delusion that
you can get religion and values out of education is part of what lulls so
many people into the misguided belief that government education is just
fine. No one would admit this about a government ministry which the US
Constitution explicitly prohibits. Yet schools are rife with lessons about
controversial matters that touch on religion and other matter about which
members of the citizenry are deeply divided. And in a free country there
ought to be no official pressure on them to conform. Yet demanding that
they agree either with the Creationists or with the Darwinists is imposing
pressure on them they cannot escape without considerable cost they ought
not to have to bear.

Suppose government/public schools teach Darwin but one objects and does
not elect to subject one?s children to such teaching. In order to escape,
one must do double jeopardy now?pay the property taxes for the government
school and then pay tuition to the private/religious school of one?s
choice. Or suppose it?s the other way?or, indeed, some way not today in
the limelight. All are surely rank injustice.

It is interesting that the major supporters of government education,
modern liberals, often complain when their taxes go to projects with which
they disagree. During the Vietnam War era they often advocated tax
resistance because their funds were being sent to support a war they found
morally objectionable. And more recently some have proposed similar
measures vis-à-vis Bush?s war in Iraq.

Yet, they see nothing wrong with forcing fundamentalists to pay for
government schools that teach what fundamentalists consider an
abomination. And this includes not only Darwinism but, often, sex
education and other value-laden topics to which children of parents who
object should not be subjected.

In this respect the ACLU, too, is two-faced, as are the pro-choice
people, who endorse choice when it comes to killing a fetus but will not
defend it when it comes to spending one?s wealth as one wishes or not
paying women the same as men in the same job. How come choice is such a
fine thing when the lives of fetuses are at stake but not in most other
areas in which they insist political correctness must rule?

This also points up just how inconsistent many modern liberals are when
it comes to the right to private property. For many of them?certainly some
of their most prolific proselytizers?government really owns all the wealth
in society, not individuals. (This is argued by New York University
Professors Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel in their book, The Myth of
Ownership, Oxford UP 2002.) Taxation, therefore, is not any kind of
confiscation but resource-management by government that properly owns all
the wealth in society.

Yet, folks of the same ilk take part in tax protests when they don?t like
how the government uses the taxes it takes from us. Well, why
protest?government is merely managing things as it sees fit and no one has
any say in the matter once a decision has been reached.

Well, the same can be said about protesting the teaching of either Darwin
or Creationism in government schools. The very institution implies that
there is nothing to protest?they got the power! To remedy it all, let?s
then take it from them and support teaching as we choose, in the varieties
of schools we could have if government didn?t usurp this area of social

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