Louisiana’s new voucher program will kick in during the upcoming school year, giving students in failing public schools the funds to attend certain highly rated public schools and private institutions. Some of these private schools will be spreading ignorance to their students by using curriculum that openly clashes with modern science.
One textbook used by many private schools makes the creationist claim that no transitional fossils showing evolutionary changes have ever been found, which is simply not true. “This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis,” the book reads. “For the change, to have taken place many transitional forms would have been developed. However, no transitional fossils have been or will ever be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsman fashioned them all” [poor reasoning and use of commas theirs; emphasis ours].
This excerpt comes from a high-school science book used in the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum, an educational tool in many Louisiana schools, like the Eternity Christian Academy in Calcasieu Parish, which is offering spots for 135 voucher students. British musician Jonny Scaramanga, who attended an ACE school while growing up as a Christian fundamentalist, has published this and other alarming textbook passages on his blog, Leaving Fundamentalism, including the creationist claim that the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution.
The battle that has raged over creationism and evolution in the United States is likely to spread to the Islamic world, a scholar of science and religion argues in a new essay. But author Salman Hameed writes that the opening of a new front in the battle gives scientists an opportunity to reframe the debate. Better education, the spread of Internet access and news about U.S. controversies over evolution are provoking some Muslims worldwide to start to ask whether Islam is compatible with evolutionary theory, Hameed said. “Now is the time that these ideas are going to be solidified. We can shape it. There are positive ways to shape these ideas in which we can avert a mass rejection of evolution,” Hameed said [LiveScience].
The most fundamentalist form of creationism in the United States is based on a literal reading of the Bible, which implies that the earth and all its creatures were created by God in their present form over the course of six days; creationists say this narrative is in direct conflict with the idea that organisms slowly evolved over billions of years. However, Hameed notes that the Koran may be more compatible with evolutionary theory. One of the big evolution problems from the US creationist perspective is the age of the Earth. Logically speaking, if you believe in a 6000 or 10,000 year-old Earth, then you have to reject evolution. In the Muslim countries, young Earth creationism is nonexistent. The Koran is very vague about creation stories, specifically regarding the creation of the universe. If you accept an old Earth, then it makes it relatively easier to accept evolution [New Scientist].