The Freedom From Religion Foundation is alarmed about the New Mexico Public Education Department's recent announcement that it intends to remove from the state’s science curriculum all references to evolution, climate change, and the age of the Earth.
A representative of the New Mexico Public Education Department said the goal was to reflect the “diversity of perspective” in New Mexico, but science is not subject to the mob mentality of scientifically illiterate citizens. And it isn't subject to the religious sensibilities of the Christian majority. If many non-scientists don’t believe a scientific fact, then science classes need to do a better job of teaching that fact, not weaken our educational standards.
The proposed changes are an attempt to undermine the teaching of scientific facts — evolution, global climate change and the age of the Earth — to avoid offending the religious sentimentalities of creationists. The theory of evolution is as much a scientific fact as the theory of gravity or the germ theory of disease. Religious teachings to the contrary are simply false and have no place in a science classroom.
The proposed curriculum will also lead to costly, unwinnable, and easily avoidable lawsuits because teachers with a creationist bent will see this as a green light to preach their religion instead of teaching facts. Or, they will inject their religion into the knowledge vacuum left by these proposed amendments. Schools are not permitted to teach creationism, intelligent design, or any other creatively named religious belief as science, regardless of state standards that omit any mention of evolution.
FFRF and its New Mexico membership expects public school science classes to help New Mexico’s youth overcome their parents’ ignorant anti-science beliefs, not cater to them. Now, more than ever before, we need a younger generation that understands and accepts scientific reality.
The New Mexico Public Education Committee will hold a public hearing regarding these proposed standards on October 16, 9:00 a.m., at the Jerry Apodaca Education Building in Santa Fe. FFRF urges all New Mexico residents who support reality-based education standards to attend and challenge these religiously motivated, anti-science changes.