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Rick Santorum: Evolution Used To Promote Atheism In Schools

Once again Rick Santorum’s past comments about religious and cultural issues are coming back to bite him. This time, it’s a comment he made in 2008 regarding the teaching of evolution in public schools:

One of the issues that I always got hammered for was the issue of evolution. I was the guy who actually put words in the No Child Left Behind Act, which was our big education bill that passed back in 2001 or 2002 that reformed the education system. Well, I had an amendment, it’s a great story, I had this language, because what’s taught in our school system as a result of liberal academia, is evolution is an incontrovertible fact. There is no suspicion of it. It is decided science that cannot be questioned. There cannot be any doubts about it. If you have any questions or doubts, it’s trying to inject religion into the science classroom. So it is above reproach.

I obviously don’t feel that way. I think there are a lot of problems with the theory of evolution, and do believe that it is used to promote to a worldview that is anti-theist, that is atheist.

Here’s what that Amendment said as described by Santorum in a floor speech:

This is an amendment that is a sense of the Senate. It is a sense of the Senate that deals with the subject of intellectual freedom with respect to the teaching of science in the classroom, in primary and secondary education. It is a sense of the Senate that does not try to dictate curriculum to anybody; quite the contrary, it says there should be freedom to discuss and air good scientific debate within the classroom. In fact, students will do better and will learn more if there is this intellectual freedom to discuss. I will read this sense of the Senate. It is simply two sentences—frankly, two rather innocuous sentences—that hopefully this Senate will embrace: “It is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and
(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should pre. pare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.

It simply says there are disagreements in scientific theories out there that are continually tested

Of course all the material that Santorum submitted to establish these “disagreements” came from groups that promote so-called “intelligent design” such as the Discovery Institute. In reality there’s no real disagreement among scientists about the basic fact that life on Earth today evolved from other forms over millions, indeed billions, of years. Rejecting that idea is rejecting the building blocks of biology, geology, and anthropology.

As for the idea that teaching evolution promotes atheism, I’m sure the Catholic Church would be surprised to hear that.

H/T: Buzzfeed

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    Whose dredging up all this stuff?….who would that be I wonder?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. merl says:

    is little ricky running as the Church Lady?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. DRS says:

    Hey, when you’re suddenly the “front-runner” closer attention is paid to your record. Only the fringe has the luxury of getting by on what they’re currently doing and saying. Kind of a compliment, in a way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Given that the “Sense of the Senate” is just some meaningless dictum, I really don’t see any problem with Item (1). It would seem to merely state the irrefutable: that science is different from religion/philosophy. If you told me that a biology teacher is in fact teaching his students there is no G*d, I would say he is as wrong as if he taught the opposite.

    Item (2), however, which appears to want to use science to teach about polemics is not an appropriate use of science class. Perhaps, a school could have a social studies class on current issues that would provide for a robust discussion of the various political/social/religious issues that are out there, but that’s not the role of a science teacher (See Item (1)).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Santorum is a guy who is about as smart as a rock and should be getting some serious psychiatric help rather than running for president. He’s not even a very good Catholic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  6. Sirkowski says:

    Santorum is kind of right.

    The more educated you are, the less bullshit you’re likely to believe.

    Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    -Matthew 18:3

    1. Quit school
    2. Pray
    3. ???
    4. Profit$$$

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Critical thought does lead to atheism.

    It also leads to questioning GOP policies.

    Clearly, this must be brought to a grinding halt, under the crushing boot heel of theocracy.

    … this is gonna be a GREAT election! Wackadoos keep pulling the candidates further and further beyond the right, as one will not be outdone by the other.

    I can’t wait until they deny heliocentrism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  8. MikeSJ says:

    If this was being written up as a play I’m not sure if it would be presented as a tragedy or a comedy.

    If you listen carefully you can hear them laughing at us in China….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. de stijl says:

    The Catholic Church has no problem with evolution. Santorum is a cafeteria Catholic.

    His primary tribe is the Republican Party and he chooses parts of his Catholicism to buff those credentials.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. merl says:

    Thank God little ricky will never be President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. An Interested Party says:

    One benefit of Santorum receiving so much scrutiny is that it has become obvious that he and people like him are just as much Cafeteria Catholics as other Catholics who use birth control or believe in abortion rights for women…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1