Sometimes, I wonder if my obsession with debunking Christianist textbooks is rather ridiculous. After all, how many truly committed creationists are there, really? Aren’t there more important causes I should be investing my time in? Surely I could be doing more on the feminist front, f’r instance. I could be pouring my time and energy into meatier posts about the magnificent science of geology. And I feel vaguely guilty that I let myself get distracted by the latest creationist outrages in textbooks that are foisted upon a mere fraction of the world’s children.
But then, I read survivors’ stories, and yes, I do think of the children: all those bright and curious minds stunted by the ignorant adults around them. I hope at least a few of them stumble upon this series, and find themselves jolted out of the confining creationist box and launched on an epic adventure in the science of their choice (even if it’s not one of the geosciences, although of course I think those are the best).
And there’s the fact we all learn some things about the earth sciences along the way, in what I hope is an entertaining fashion.
Not an inconsiderable consideration for me is that I’ve found so few women* debunking creationist nonsense, so it helps me feel like I’m doing my bit for diversity in the creationist nonsense debunking community.
Besides, Jonny Scaramanga recently said why creationism and the debunking thereof matters, so that’s told me this quest is not quixotic.
But when it really comes down to it, the main reason why I feel it’s bloody damned important to keep you guys informed as to what creationists are teaching their kiddies is because their kiddies are growing up ignorant, and then spewing that ignorance all over our public schools:
Here’s a frightening statistic for you, especially if you have children in public schools in Lynchburg, Virginia: Liberty University supplies a full 30% of the new teachers hired in that school district. I can’t possibly see how this won’t undermine the ability to educate those students.
Liberty University is one of those young-earth creationist, frighteningly fundamentalist universities where Christianists send their kids in order to keep them in their confining bubble of ignorance as long as possible, hoping that they’ll never learn that the world outside knows they’re completely full of shit and has the scientific evidence to prove it. This is in the Statement of Faith which teachers have to affirm:
We affirm that all things were created by God. The universe was created in six historical days and is continuously sustained by God; thus it both reflects His glory and reveals His truth.
So students who have been taught by people who think Goddidit in 6 regular days and kicked up his feet on the 7th, who believe he pokes his finger into the cogs of the universe on the regular, are now teaching your public school kiddies. And Lynchburg has a terrifying concentration of them. Your little tot could come toddling home spewing anti-evolution talking points and babbling about how Noah used to ride dinosaurs before that nasty old Flood. Your kids could end up thinking the entire geological column, including the evaporites, happened in less than a year. You know how you wanted your kids to get a good, solid foundation in science so they could go on to those sexy STEM careers and increase humanity’s knowledge if they wanted to? That education won’t happen with staunch Liberty graduates in charge of science class.
Now, that’s not to say that having a Liberty U grad teaching your kids is always catastrophic (see what I did there?). Some graduates got stuck there because their credits from terrible Christianist colleges and homeschools wouldn’t transfer anywhere else. They may be incredibly smart cookies who augmented their own education and can teach your kids just fine. I know several utterly brilliant homeschooled and Christianist university-educated people I’d entrust my kiddies to in a heartbeat, if I had any. But you’d better make damned certain that your school ascertained that those teachers from Liberty U and other creationist colleges have the appropriate understanding of science (not to mention the First Amendment) before hiring them. And I’d be willing to bet cash money that the Lynchburg school district hasn’t screened that 30% of their teachers who came from Liberty that carefully at all.
And so, even aside from debunking for the Christianist-ed survivors and the earth science and the larfs, it’s worth doing this just for the parents and citizens. We all need to be aware of what’s been taught to teachers from Christianist colleges – teachers who might just see the public schools as a mission field. You may need this to have this stuff handy to set your own kids straight, and in order to effectively advocate for science education in the face of creationist onslaughts. And it will help you empathize with those graduates who were once trapped in the mesh of lies, but managed to escape, and are now brilliant teachers with a strong secular ethic.
*I’ve come across a few. There are quite a few women on the National Center for Science Education’s blog, for instance, which is outstanding. But they typically focus on evolution and climate change. Places like TalkOrigins and No Answers in Genesis are overwhelmingly filled with dudes. Most of the debunkings I find when I run searches are by men. So what I’m saying is, if you know of women and non-binary folk who are debunking Flood geology on the regular, and they aren’t on those sites, tell me who they are. I’d love to find more of us out there! Also, share with me your favorite creationist smackdown sites and authors, regardless of gender identity, because there may be someone awesome out there I’ve missed.