Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Running Against Darwin

Aaron Miller, a Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota, is in the race to run on the usual Tea Party agenda: repeal Obamacare, cut the deficit, et cetera. But he’s added a new item to the list: stop evolution… or at least the teaching of it.

He also called for more religious freedoms. He repeated his story about his daughter returning home from school because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.

“We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington D.C.,” Miller said.

First things first: Washington D.C. does not decide what is taught in our schools.  That is up to the local school board.  The Department of Education is specifically precluded by federal law from dictating curriculum content to public schools.

Second, if the public school teacher is admitting to not believing in the scientific theory, then perhaps they should be teaching another class — or another profession — because that’s a lot like having a math teacher who says they don’t “believe” in Euclidean geometry.  Of course, that assumes that Mr. Miller’s child is telling the whole story, which sounds a little fishy to me.  After all, how many kids come home from school complaining about a teacher when it was the student who didn’t do the homework?

Finally, as Steve Benen notes, running for Congress because public schools are teaching accepted scientific theories and doesn’t include medieval mythology in biology classes is a really strange motivator, and the people in Minnesota could probably do better.

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