Sunday, September 09, 2007

Principal of Local Christian School Gives Away the Store

As I've previously discussed, there is a current push by some religious groups and the Ontario Tories to fund private religious schools. John Tory, leader of the Conservatives, awoke a firestorm of controversy when he stated that it would just fine if Christian schools decided to teach creationism.

In a September 8 letter to the editor published in our local paper, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Bob Moore, the principal of the John Calvin Christian School in Guelph, Ontario, calls the teaching of creationism a "bogey man". He went on to say "...evolution and creationism are non-issues." So far, par for the course.

Now, here's where Moore inadvertently gives away the store. His very next sentence is "The actual scientific study of the origins of the universe in any faith-based school would be remarkably similar to what McGuinty experienced when he was educated in a Roman Catholic faith-based school, and I suspect that he thinks he was well-educated."

Only problem is, evolution is a theory of biology that has nothing to do "the scientific study of the origins of the universe". This is exactly the kind of confusion sown by creationist tracts.

Unwittingly, Principal Moore has demonstrated a lack of understanding of evolution, and the reason why private religious schools shouldn't be funded.

3 comments:

Scott said...

Unwittingly, Principal Moore has demonstrated a lack of understanding of evolution,

True.

and the reason why private religious schools shouldn't be funded.

Come now ... one ignorant comment from a Christian school principal in Guelph hardly demonstrates "the reason" why religious schools should not be funded. There's no good reason for this sort of gross oversimplification.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Scott:

I think your reading compehension could use some improvement.

His comment is not the reason. It's what his comment demonstrates. Understand the difference?

Papa Giorgio said...

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Well, for the purpose of finding “fodder” to blog on, I think Jeffrey Shallit is justified in his oversimplification. People hear things and usually have a first thought on the matter that pops into their head and then it is usually gone soon thereafter. The difference today is the “blog.” So the blame should be put squarely on the shoulders of the man who invented the internet… and we all know who that is.

I think the problem is is that Doc Shallit may have not allowed the fact that this school principle was in fact referring to “evolution” as not simply a biological theory, but was thinking of “cosmic evolution” when he mentioned “evolution.” I do not really know myself, so I am doing the same thing Doc Shallit does here… that is, speculate. Which I will continue to do.

Something I learned while relearning the rules of grammar that may be of some help in this case. I went out and bought every “dummies guide,” “idiots guide,” as well as the “last book you’ll ever need for grammar” book I could get my hands on. (I haven’t had time to study them though… mainly due to the 2,500 pages on average I read for class every semester.) I found this tidbit in the English Grammar for Dummies, the author speaks about three types of English people speak: 1) Friendspeak, 2) Conversational English, 3) Formal English.

1) Wanna get something to eat. 2) Do you feel like getting a sandwich? 3) Will you accompany me to the dining room?.

These are examples given by the author to make a point, and this point is often times people (myself included) use the wrong language for the application at hand. This is what I think the principle may have done more-so than having the ability in an interview to distinguish between all the competing fields of beliefs in our biological origins and what followed their origins (macromutationist, neutral selectionist, structuralist, natural order systematics, transformed cladist, panspermia, discontinuitist, special creation, theistic evolutionism, design theorist, Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, etc.).

Just like when I say “cosmic evolution”* I do not here wish to explain and distinguish between all the cosmological theories that alter either its origins or its development in some form or fashion (clashing branes, evolving universes, superfluid space-time, goldilocks universe, gravity reaches out, cosmic ghost, it's a small universe, fast light, sterile neutrinos, in the matrix, etc.).

Maybe in the laboratory exact phraseology is needed, but in a media interview or conversation in a blog, a little slack is needed I think.

* http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/splash.html

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