The Education Department of Victoria has issued a directive clarifying rules on the Australian state’s requirements on secular education which could limit the activities of outside religious groups.
“While it is important that pupils be taught about religion - all religion - and, if their parents prefer it, instruction in it, there is no room in class for proselytising. Pupils are there to learn, not to be converted.”
“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” – Christopher Hitchens
Julea Ward, in case you are wondering, was a student at Eastern Michigan University who was kicked out of a school counseling graduate program after she refused, on religious grounds, to affirm homosexual behavior when serving clients. Judge George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court in Detroit dismissed the suit, saying that the university “had a right and duty to enforce compliance” with professional ethics rules that bars counselors from discrimination, and ruled in favor of the university.
We’ll Have None Of THAT…!
ThinkProgress reports that the Michigan House passed HB 5040 (Julea Ward Freedom Of Conscience Act). This bill transcends Christian colleges and will, if passed, also effect non-Christian (read: real) colleges that will allow students to refuse to provide any counseling that compromises their religious beliefs. Including those pesky gays…
According to HB 5040, this bill is,
“A public degree or certificate granting college, university, junior college, or community college of this state shall not discipline or discriminate against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student, if the student refers the client to a counselor who will provide the counseling or services.”
Legislation should dictate ethical standards in a university setting, but this bill seeks to dodge it.
ThinkProgress closes their article by reporting that activist Wayne Besen said,
“Counseling should be about the client, not the self-serving needs of the therapist.”
Michigan’s distaste for their LGBT community was solidified when they banned all domestic partnerships, and again when they attempted to create a “license to bully” in schools. Their illustrious Governor, Rick Snyder (R), as expected wouldn’t even meet with anyone from the LGBT press.
The Michigan State Motto should be changed from “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice” (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you) to “Si vos peto bigotry , vos mos reperio is hic” (If you seek bigotry, you will find it here)
Whereas employers traditionally fought over classicists because they were seen as the most rounded graduates, students with degrees in evolution would soon gain a similar reputation, the author and renowned atheist said.
Although no such course exists in Britain, with the subject principally being confined to biology programmes, Prof Dawkins said degrees in evolution were sure to appear in future and their students would achieve “polymathic status”.
Reading evolution would broaden scholars’ horizons by giving them a better understanding of economics, social science, philosophy, engineering, medicine, agriculture, linguistics, physics, cosmology and the history of science, he argued.
The author of The God Delusion was speaking as he accepted an award for Distinguished Services to Humanism from the British Humanists Association last weekend.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “I think evolution would do a good job of uniting not just biology and geology and the obvious scientific subjects, but also philosophy, history, economics.
"Rather like classics it gives you the skills of debating, a perspective on life … it would do what classics has always done, which is just teach people how to think."
Prof Dawkins, who is employed by Oxford University but is also affiliated with A.C. Grayling’s New College of the Humanities, added that he would happily lecture on such a course.
Explaining the common ground shared by evolution and behavioural economics in his speech last weekend, he said: “Everything has to be paid for, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You have to pay for whatever you do now in the form of lost opportunities to do other things in the future.”
The evolutionary subject of sexual selection, the relationship between parents and their children and the significance of sex ratios are “rife” within economic thinking, he added, according to a Guardian blog.
Engineering principles such as the refinement of designs to make them more efficient and effective are “central to evolutionary theory” while the modern-day study of molecular genetics is effectively “digital information technology”, he said.
All doctors should be followers of Darwin, he continued, saying that “If doctors had been wise to natural selection we wouldn’t have the problem we have now with antibiotic resistance evolving by natural selection by bacteria”.
Yesterday I blogged about a new Gallup poll revealing that 46 per cent of Americans hold creationist views, but today attention shifts around the globe to South Korea, following news that school textbook publishers are to remove several references to evolution from future editions as a result of a successful petition by a creationist organisation.
According to a report in the latest issue of Nature, the Society for Textbook Revise, an offshoot of the Korea Association for Creation Research, launched a petition calling on the South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to ask publishers to remove examples concerning the evolution of the horse and Archaeopteryx, a winged Late Jurassic creature believed to be an ancestor of modern birds. After the Ministry passed on the petition to textbook publishers, several took the decision to remove the examples from their books.
The focus on the specific example of Archaeopteryx represents a common creationist tactic, whereby genuine disputes among evolutionary biologists are exploited in an attempt to undermine the science as a whole. Archaeopteryx has long been believed to have been an ancient ancestor of birds, but more recent studies have suggested the connection to modern birds may not be as clear as was previously thought. Having successfully taken advantage of that particular scientific debate, the Society for Textbook Revise are apparently now aiming to persuade publishers to remove references to “the evolution of humans”.
Figures for those not believing in evolution in South Korea are relatively high, with almost one-third of those surveyed in a 2009 poll saying they did not. Considering that only 26 per cent of Koreans are Christian, it is possible that the problem lies with science education rather than religion – 41 per cent of those disputing evolution in the 2009 survey cited “insufficient scientific evidence”, compared with 39 per cent who cited religious beliefs. Speaking to Nature Dayk Jang, an evolutionary scientist at Seoul National University, suggests evolution is not taught widely enough in the country’s universities, with “only 5–10 evolutionary scientists” teaching the theory to students across the entire university system.
This doesn’t surprise me. This is my neck of the woods right now, and the sheer amount of crosses I see, on every damn street, flashing neon from roof-tops, Religious Iconography in windows and store-fronts…I swear, it’s worse than America.