|"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank
Joined: Feb. 2005
I posted this on t.o this past summer. I'm re-posting it
because I think the creationist loss in Georgia and their soon-to-be loss in Pennsylvania has increased its relevance and made it even more necessary that we begin taking the fight TO the creationists.
Over on another email list, I am having a discussion about a proposal of mine for an anti-creationist campaign that will, I think, cut away the creationist support in local school
districts and will, I think, pound the final nail into their coffin.
My proposal is this:
Most states in the US have, in the past years, either
srengthened or added in their state curriculum standards a
requirement that evolution be taught as a part of a good
science education. While some states have very strong
detailed standards and others have brief ambiguous ones,
the fact remaisn that they have decided that evolution is an
important part of biology and must be taught as part of any
good science education.
Creationist, on the other hand, have still been able to
intimidate many local schools into dropping mention of
evolution as "too controversial", and this local base of
support is the only thing holding the creationists up right
So I propose we kill it.
I propose we find a state which has very strong detailed
standards requiring evolution, find a district within that state which is NOT teaching evolution (either because the local school board "doesn't believe in it" or because they "don't want to offend parents" or because the subject is "too controversial"), and then sue them on the grounds that they are not meeting the state's educational standards and are therefore, by the state's own definition, providing a sub-standard science education to its students.
Here is why I think it's a good tactic to take:
(1) we can't lose. The district has no defense to offer ----
they must meet the state standards, and they are not. Case closed.
(2) It will accomplish what we all have said for years that we want -- it will get evolution into all our schools and
textbooks, and it will make it impossible for creationists to
intimidate or pressure anyone into keeping it out.
(3) it will establish the legal precedent that evolution is
standard part of any good science education and that any
school which does not teach evolution (for whatever reason)
is not meeting its obligation to teach good science
(4) it will negate the fundie's power in local school board
elections by making those elections irrelevant to the issue -- state school standards apply to every school in the state,
and those districts MUST comply, no matter WHAT their
local school board wants to do. Even if the fundies capture
the entire local school board and they ALL vote to drop
evolution, they can't do it -- they *must* comply with the
state education standards.
(5) Winning in one district will establish the legal precedent, and force every school district in the state to comply. It will also send the message to all the other districts in other states, sicne they will all be equally vulnerable to such a lawsuit. At that point, the fundies will have a choice; they can either choose to contest us in each and every state, which will lead into a long drawn out legal fight for them which will drain their resources and disrupt their own plans, all for a fight that they cannot possibly win anyway; or they can choose to not waste their resources and to cede the field to us, giving up their influence in local districts. Either choice makes me happy. We win either way, they lose either way.
(6) such a strategy disrupts the fundies' coherent national
strategy. For too long, the fundies have been calling all the
shots, free to pick and choose fights when and where they
want, and the anti-creationist movement has just been
following behind them, reacting to what they do. It's time we stop being defensive with them and go on the attack, forcing them to react to *us*.
As I noted before, the fundies are in retreat everywhere.
The local school board is their last remaining power base.
So let's take that power base away from them.
Editor, Red and Black Publishers