You’re Fired!Well, here we go. Twenty minutes after I found this, I find that Murmuring Jake posts this. Jake’s got a good discussion going, and I encourage you to check it out, because most of my reactions to this situation are already there. If you don’t feel like going to Fox’s site, linked above, the gist of the story is that an Oregon Biology teacher was fired by the town School Board for, apparently, raising ethical implications for evolutionary theory that included, among other things, references to specific passages in the Bible. It’s a short article, so have a look.

But, a few words are in order in my own space. For several years I have been resisting any kind of serious comment on the whole issue of whether creationism should be taught in public schools. I’m not really going to indulge in it here either, except to make a couple of comments. First, the bibliophobia of public school administrations has reached new lows. While I am not at all interested in biblical indoctrination in public schools, I do support the idea of teaching biblical literacy, meaning nothing more than that students should know certain facts about contents of and in the Bible. Although the Fox report is way too sketchy to even be called responsible journalism, it seems from the report that the teacher who was fired was simply calling to his students’ attention certain relevant passages from scripture for whatever his point was. For all we know, he may have been refuting the Bible. This is exactly why we need to raise our religious IQ. From what I can tell, there isn’t any agenda going on here other than to point out potential implications of evolutionary theory at (apparently) the level of ethics. The theory of evolution, regardless of where we position ourselves vis a vis its facticity, has historically led to certain questions of scientific, social, and medical ethics, like eugenics (see: Nazism and Holocaust) and racism, to name just two.

Jake’s post on his blog notes the related issue of why in the world this makes front page news. This is a good and very important question. What do you all think? My take is in the comments, but in my opinion it goes back to the relationship between rhetoric and religion that I suggested last week in the “F-Bombs” post. Take a news story that is virtually devoid of informational content, slap it on the front page of one of the most sensationalist news outlets, and Voila! Instant persuasive news piece, designed not to inform, but to ruffle feathers and create opportunities for bloggers.

I’m interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this, especially because it is related to much of what some of us have been discussing around the Aedificium water cooler.