One of my favorite columnists, the AJC’s Jay Bookman, is confused.
Let’s see if I’ve got this straight:Georgia has ambitions of becoming the next big high-tech state, a new center of scientific achievement in fields ranging from cancer research to nanotechnology. Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been committed to that effort, which our business and political leaders say is essential to the state’s future prosperity. And the most important factor in the success of that effort will be our ability to recruit science-oriented companies and personnel to the state.
Meanwhile, Georgia is removing the word “evolution” from its middle school and high school curriculum guide because it is deemed to be “a buzzword that causes a lot of negative reaction,” according to the state school superintendent.
And it’s not just the word that disappears: The proposed changes will also gut much of the instruction that would allow an understanding of evolution’s underpinnings. Other changes are being made as well, including deletion of mention that the Earth has a long history, because such a statement conflicts with literal interpretations of the Bible claiming that the Earth is young.
Yeah, this move to high-tech is gonna work out just fine.
Cox picked her moment, alright.
It is not merely that scientists will now be reluctant to bring their families to a state where their children will be miseducated, although that will hurt immensely. It is not merely that company executives will now be leery of depending on a work force produced by such schools, although that, too, will be damaging. More fundamentally, they will be wary of an overall political climate so clearly hostile to science and to scientific methods and inquiry.
Bingo. Jay gets it.
The national news media has taken the stance that this is a largely independent attempt to infiltrate a religious doctrine into a school science curriculum in a limited way–by removing a word to which far-right-wing Christians are sensitive; they took that stance because that’s the way Cox defended her decision. But as I pointed out earlier, the proposed changes go much further: they remove any acknowledgment that the earth is more than the few thousand years old that literal-interpretation fundamentalists believe it to be, effectively trashing huge areas of sciences like astronomy, archeology and physics.
Jay’s exactly right; this is no mere PR-oriented excision but a hostile assault on all “scientific methods and inquiry.” Cox is a Movement Conservative–the latest label for radcons–and her goal is to bring GA’s school curriculum in line with radcon beliefs, not to quiet a few parents who don’t like the sound of a single word. The proposed curriculum also removes the study of the Civil War from the high school level and shifts it to elementary grades, a slick trick that will have the effect of dumbing-down a complicated and important–but controversial–course to 5th-grade level, eliminating the controversy. Since this has been part of the radcon agenda for decades, the changes as a whole must be seen for what they are: radcons using their positions of power to force their “truth” down our throats any way they can.