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Adam and Eve Had No DNA

August 2nd, 2010

In Australia, primary school students apparently have “Religious Instruction” classes in public schools, and while one gets the feeling that they are usually taught by professionals, it would seem that the churches who send the teachers are giving in to Creationist pressures and are now teaching stuff like about how Noah collected Dinosaur eggs for the ark, and other fun Fundie factoids.

Here’s the end of the article:

A parent of a Year 5 student on the Sunshine Coast said his daughter was ostracised to the library after arguing with her scripture teacher about DNA.

“The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve,” he said.

“My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that ‘wouldn’t they all be inbred’?

”But the teacher replied that DNA wasn’t invented then.“

In the above exchange, a few things are significant. Firstly, the primary school student seemed better educated than her teacher. And second, the less funny part, is that this young girl became ostracized because she was intelligent and asked sensible questions, and now likely stands out as some kind of pariah in her school.

This is a very real problem in schools where a solid majority is religious: children raised to be freethinking often find themselves outcast, bullied and rejected, because the school itself allows religion in the door and these students don’t subscribe. Without religious instruction, they would blend in and be treated fairly; allow religion to enter, and the students become targets. In Delaware, when religion was allowed to deeply permeate school curriculum and social life, two Jewish students, a brother and sister, were first ostracized and then their whole family literally run out of town because they weren’t Christian. Or this story told by a teen atheist from a religious family in Oklahoma who was harassed and outcast at his high school for his beliefs, to the point where he was labeled psychologically unstable and was forced to drop out of school. Again, something that would not have happened had the school been secular. Especially where religion is strong, this kind of singling out and discrimination is more likely to happen.

This is not just a matter of being offended, this is a serious breach of personal rights and liberties for the sake of forced indoctrination–which is what this is really about. Prayer does not belong in the classroom, as it can be performed countless times during the day otherwise. A child can pray when he wakes up, as he gets dressed, before and after eating breakfast, and any time at home before leaving. He can pray at the bus stop, on the bus, and when he arrives at school. He can pray by himself or with other Christians either out in the yard or in the hallways or in an empty classroom. He can pray during breaks, between classes, during lunch, or other free times. He can pray after school ends, on the way home, with his family, before and after study, before and after watching TV… well, I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. Not to mention that he can pray silently at any time.

So why does prayer need to be directed by teachers? Simple: because that makes it official. That lends governmental and educational authority to religion. That’s really the major reason for this. To proselytize, to get new people in the church and keep kids in the religion. That’s why it’s so often pushed at schools more than most other places.

The real test is to turn it around and ask if you’d be OK still. If you are a Christian, and you want your kids to be raised Christian, what would you think if the school in your neighborhood pushed Islam and your kids were bullied and outcast for being Christian? Or how about atheism? Not science and scientific findings, which are not atheism, but actual atheism–what would a Christian think if the schools had teachers saying outright that God does not exist, that religion is a sham for the weak-minded? What if they taught the history of religion as war, and that one must discard God to be a good and moral person? I seriously doubt that would not be problem for Christian families; on the contrary, it would be a huge issue. They raise holy hell over a lot less right now. So how come their brand of proselytization is A-OK?

Sorry, I know that I repeat myself a lot on this issue. But every time I see a story like the one above–admittedly on the extreme side, but more ”tame“ stories are nonetheless just as objectionable–I can’t resist getting the soapbox out.

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  1. Alex
    August 3rd, 2010 at 05:42 | #1

    You got it right, Luis. I feel my stomach collapsing when religious groups with money are enforcing their beliefs on us. I remember a joke saying: stay away from stupid people in large numbers AND with money. But sometimes, they don’t let you.
    Besides “lending the educational authority to religion”, I think turf and politics are major reasons. The real reason to me is the lack of attestation; the scientists, atheists, free-thinkers, etc. do not endorse religion, so the christians must force it on them (us). It is similar to people with beat-up or slow cars, driving on fast lanes, at least here in US. It a tacit desire to pull you down; however, if you would ask, they surely will say they saved your life (for your own good) by keeping you within the speed limit.
    Why the christians burnt the “witches” on stake if they were damned for eternity anyway? Because of the uncertainty hell exists (together with the whole afterlife and religious fantasy), so better make sure they suffer on Earth. If the afterlife is so great, why is the suicide or euthanasia banned?
    Also, christians have a show-off an attitude: I asked an acquaintance about seeing “Million dollar baby” and he said he did not want to go because he learned it is about euthanasia.

    Sorry, you got me started.

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