50 Shades of Lies about Evolution are Still Lies

Imagine you are taking high school math from a Christian math teacher, perhaps a fundamentalist one named Teacher X. Say you are learning about pi. "Now, the textbook will tell you that pi is an irrational number," Teacher X informs you. "Textbook says that pi is 3.14159 and goes on and on and never forms a pattern, and can't be turned into a fraction of two integers." So the students write this down, pi can't be written as a fraction, and the teacher proceeds. "But as a Christian, I believe God is rational. And I don't believe anything in God's whole world is irrational. Is the Bible Irrational? Did Jesus preach irrationality?" The teacher goes on, "Write this down, everybody, 22/7. That's a good, rational approximation for pi." The students write that down, and the teacher continues "You'll do just fine on your standardized tests if you remember pi is 3.14159 or 22/7." God help those students when they hit imaginary numbers. None are being prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering and math if they don't even get a decent exposure to irrational numbers.

You can live in the world without understanding it, but when you are in a class that is supposed to be teaching you how to understand it, the teachers should teach the truth, not the truth qualified.

When Copernicus showed that the earth revolved around the sun, did everyone in society immediately accept this? Probably not. But eventually, the true model was taught in the schools and handed down, generation to generation. Evolution is every bit as accurate, every bit as proven, as the statement that the earth revolves around the sun. The fact that not everyone believes it doesn't bother me so much, you can believe what you want. But you need to teach the truth.

Slate.com reports that ResponsiveEd, an educational organization going to open 2 new charter schools in Indianapolis this year, uses curriculum that teaches creationism. 

ResponsiveEd says that Slate.com took some materials out of context, according to an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal by J.K. Wall.

There is no good context for lies, untruths, or false connections between absolute facts in the physical world and religious values.

ResponsiveEd argues their textbooks contain evolution, but also point out ways in which evolution has been questioned and criticized, according to the IBJ article. But the questioning and criticism are all as factually inaccurate as the satire I used to start this blog. They are all wrong. Tobacco companies and others questioned and criticized findings that cigarette smoking is bad for you health. Guess what? They were all wrong. People have denied the existence of the Holocaust. When you teach about the Holocaust, do you  have the teacher insinuate or the textbook note the many "trusted historians" who claim there is a dispute whether all that really happened? I hope not; they're all completely wrong.

ResponsiveEd wants to present "both sides" so it can teach children to think "critically." They also attacked the Slate.com author as "activist." Math and science, including evolution, have right and wrong answers. Actually, for events that occurred since recorded history began, history has right and wrong answers, and the ResponsiveEd curriculum presents some history factually incorrectly according to Slate.com, but let's not go there.

Please do not think that I write this because I personally am against teaching religion in school. I am all for it, in fact, one of my children attends a private religious day school where he studies math and science, art and history, Hebrew and the Bible. This is not about religion. This is about teaching a pack of lies, for what purpose I don't know and I won't presume to guess.

You can't shade the truth and have it still be true. If NASA used 22/7 for its calculations, would the Rover be walking around collecting data on Mars for ten years? 

Medical breakthroughs demand researchers know, understand, exploit evolution in their search for cures for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, an even  cancer.

I demand the mayor withdraw approval and not permit ResponsiveEd or other schools with similar agendas and curricula to open schools in Indianapolis this year, next year, or any year.


  1. First off, I believe that creationism has no place in schools and that religion should not be a part of the curriculum in the physical sciences. That said, I believe that the role of education is to teach people to think of 'why' and alternative theories that fit the facts should be investigated. Thankfully creationism doesn't fit the facts. The 'what' is purely the facts that support or refute the 'why'. I dismiss the holocaust deniers because they are trying to refute facts. But I caution you to distinguish between observable or testable facts and hypotheses which make perfect sense but which are untested or directly observed.
    Evolution is a great hypothesis and I want it to be true but that doesn't mean it is a fact. All I know is that organisms have changed over time (facts which support the hypothesis). A heliocentric system is a fact because it can be tested through direct observation.
    Now, I know that creationists use the argument about a lack of direct observation being the reason to disprove evolution (http://atheism.about.com/od/evolutionexplained/a/ObservedEvidenceEvolution.htm) and I think that creationists are wrong. There are a great many facts which support evolution as a hypothesis; and a VERY strong argument it is. But a fact? Nope. I'll even call it a theory. One I don't expect to be disproven anytime soon.

  2. Trux, thanks for your post. It is my understanding that the basic tenets of the theory of evolution, including natural selection (which Wikipedia calls one of the cornerstones of modern biology), are undisputed by biologists. Some of the details may be a bit hazy, but some of the details of the so-called "theory" of relativity are also hazy (did Hawking really propose there are no black holes this week?) Biologists use natural selection to try to design new drugs and understand the progression of cancer. So, I accept it as fact.

    Austin Cline wrote a very nice article where he compared evolution and circumstantial evidence in criminal law, but he's not a biologist. Take a college level biology class (please not from ResponsiveEd, MIT has a free on online eg), and see where you come out on evolution beingjust a theory and not a fact Hugs,

  3. Amanda- Your argument supports mine. Elements of the theory of relativity can be proven (have been successfully tested, etc) but there is still a difference of opinion in areas. Gene mutation happens (is directly observed, etc) but the theory of evolution, as a whole, has some areas where there may not be such universal agreement. Calling evolution a fact is like calling it a law.
    I saw references to Austin Cline's work. There is a difference between classifying something as a fact and classifying it as "Beyond all reasonable doubt." If you extend his argument then the United States government killed Martin Luther King, Jr. In a 1999 civil lawsuit the US Government was found guilty of his death (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/01/dr-king-familys-civil-trial-verdict-us-government-assassinated-martin.html).
    Evolution is "the best argument around" for the "why" that organisms change over time and the facts are that they do change over time but I don't accept the "law" of evolution at this point.

  4. Received a response from the Mayor's office:

    Ms. Siegel,

    I appreciate your comment regarding the recent Slate article. Please know that we take accusations of this nature seriously and are continuing our review of Responsive Ed’s curriculum.

    All Mayor-sponsored charter schools are required to follow Indiana State Standards. As part of our pre-opening process, new schools must submit final curriculum plans to our office prior to executing the official charter agreement.



    Brandon Brown


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