Smack your heads in shame, my fellow intellectual snobs of the Northeastern elite. We’re used to sneering at the creationist follies playing out in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere—benighted hellholes where they wouldn’t know a decent bagel, a proper chowder or the correct pronunciation of “Worcester” if it were served up alongside their customary daily ration of cheese grits. But now the same buffoonery is occurring in (bless my nutmeg!) Connecticut.
In short, the administration of the Weston Intermediate School has twice rejected a proposal for students in the third, fourth and fifth grade Talented and Gifted program to study the work of Charles Darwin. Such a plan seems to be completely in keeping with Connecticut’s standards for science education. Mark Ribbens, the principal who first denied the plan, apparently left the school earlier this year, but a subsequent resubmission for the curriculum fared no better.
Brandon Keim at Wired Science has more details, but I’m struck by the proposition (which may not originate with Brandon) that this antievolution development in Weston is somehow different in kind from what we’ve seen before:
Evolution education is under attack in Weston, Connecticut, but not from the usual direction.
Nobody is promoting intelligent design in the curriculum, or asking schools to teach evolution’s “strengths and weaknesses.” There’s just an administration afraid that teaching third graders too much about Charles Darwin will cause trouble.
How does this genuinely differ in essence from the reasons usually given by evolution’s opponents in education? No matter whether they attack evolution’s merits directly or insist that intelligent design should be taught as a valid alternative, the antievolutionists nearly always say that “forcing” evolution on students would intrude on parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit. In other words, they are saying not to create controversy and upset the parents. And just as seems to be the case here in Connecticut, the antievolutionists often make these arguments preemptively, long before any actual outrage from parents appears.