The newest attack on Evolution comes from a very unlikely source – the New York City Department of Education. They have just passed a rule which bars the mention of the words “dinosaurs” and “evolution” in biology tests. This has been done to avoid offending the creationists who hold a lot of administrative power in the state.
Madness and more madness…
Just to remind you of what this means : this is not the Bible belt; this is not Kansas or Texas. New York City is not known for being creationist or anti-evolution. Exactly what offence precise scientific terms can cause is still unknown.
The only faint silver lining in the dark academic clouds: the words can still be used in classrooms for instruction and in school textbooks, just not in state-wide tests.
Part of a Bigger Scheme
This censorship is actually a part of a greater, more shameful, scheme. The NYC State Education Board has drawn up a list of 50 words which shouldn’t be mentioned in the test. These include everything from ‘parapsychology’ (good move) to ‘sex’ (debatable) to ‘rock-and-roll’ (senseless!). A few more words not allowed are ‘cancer’ (the disease, not the sun sign), ‘celebrities’ (are you out of your minds?) and ‘halloween’ (okay, ignore the previous parenthetical question – you obviously are).
The entire deal…
If you’re interested in finding more examples, the entire list is given below:
Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
The madness with school textbooks and, now, state tests continues across various US state education boards. Evolution is still far away from being a very acceptable topic, even though it’s one of the most scientifically established subjects. Prof. Dawkins, your work is still not done!