Monday, June 4, 2012

Rick Santorum's It Takes a Family 14

In my latest reading of Rick Santorum's It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, Santorum talks about education, from public education to higher education.  Santorum favors teaching students about Intelligent Design, while also allowing teachers to present the reasons why most scientists believe in evolution.  Regarding higher education, Santorum laments that it's dominated by liberals.  While he applauds programs that bring conservative speakers to campuses, he does not think that goes far enough, since faculties are still overwhelmingly liberal and tend to persecute conservative students and professors.

On the one hand, Santorum appeals to the importance of debating ideas within education, and that's why he favors including alternative points-of-view.  On the other hand, I get the sense that he also wants to counter ideas that he considers to be dangerous (not through censorship, though).  For example, although he talks about evolutionists who see a divine process leading evolution up to a good end, he treats evolution as a sort of nihilism that is inconsistent with teaching values.  That's just my impression.

I'm one who believes that different points-of-view should be taught in schools and universities.  I'm aware that this needs a significant amount of fleshing out, for, obviously, we can't teach everything.  But, if there is a significant amount of controversy about an issue, and schools are discussing that issue in their classes, then students should be told about the different perspectives about it.

"But evolution is not controversial, for the vast majority of scientists accept it", people have said.  True, and that should be taught.  Yet, there are people who have problems with evolution, for religious or other reasons.  That should be acknowledged in schools, as well.  Simply ignoring that people have problems with evolution (even if they're wrong) does not make that fact go away.

"But then shouldn't we teach also that the earth came from the womb of the goddess?", one could ask.  Look, if there was a sizeable number of people who had issues with evolution because they believed that the earth came from the womb of the goddess, then, yes, that belief should somehow be addressed in the classroom.  Ignoring it wouldn't help matters.  I do think, though, that students should be exposed to evolution and the scientific justifications for it.

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