Virginia Teacher Chastened for Making Optional Creation Material Available
A highly-respected and well-liked high school biology teacher in Bristol, Virginia almost lost his job recently. His crime? Making an optional notebook of supplementary material called “Creation Battles Evolution” available to his students. The notebook, printed at his own expense, included evidence for creation and against evolution, from “sources ranging from the Internet to scholarly papers and quotations from scientists and scholars critical of evolution or evidence supporting it.” Each semester for 15 years, Larry Booher had mentioned it in passing, telling the class it was optional material that would not be on the test but available for extra credit. A reporter got wind of it and gave an anonymous tip to the school authorities. Booher was told to stop. The superintendent claimed the teacher had stepped over the line and ordered, “He must teach evolution exclusively – observable scientific fact, not beliefs or religion” (emphasis added). Like Galileo, he was forced to recant: he told the Roanoke Times “he regretted handing out the material.” The story was mentioned in the Hampton Roads Pilot, LA Times and the Richmond Times Dispatch.
One of his former students wrote us and said he was saddened by the action, calling Booher “a teacher of great impact” and “one of the greats in my life.” He now values his copy of that notebook even more. “When you can’t beat your opponent in a debate, you have to silence him, which is what they have done to a great biology teacher,” he said. He described Booher as one of the most respected and liked teachers in the school. He never discussed his personal views unless asked, and “made it very clear that nobody was pressured to believe anything.” This student could not find any parent or former classmate who was happy about what the school did to Booher. “Maybe that’s why not one parent or student complained in two decades, and it took an anonymous reporter from Charlottesville, Va (250 miles away) to make an issue of it.”
The superintendent agreed with the assessment of Larry Booher’s reputation:
Lee described Booher, 48, as “one of the finest science teachers I’ve ever been around” and said Booher would return to the classroom in the fall since he agreed to stop distributing the creationism materials.
The news reports made it sound like Larry Booher had broken the law, violating a Supreme Court decision. That decision, however, only forbade school boards from mandating equal time for creationism along with evolutionism. It stated explicitly that teachers are free to discuss any scientific theory of origins. Similarly, the guidelines for the congressional No Child Left Behind act targeted evolution as a controversial theory that teachers were free to discuss critically and mention alternatives.
So “Evolution Must Be Taught Exclusively.” Anything other than 100% pure Darwin Dogma is now labeled “belief” and “religion” by fiat, no matter how scientifically sound it is, no matter how supported by reputable scientific sources. Students’ tender eyes must be shielded from any of the voluminous damaging evidence against official dogma. Are you mad about this? Look at the next entry; think about all those molecular machines that are inexplicable by evolution – mechanisms that shout design with a capital D. And they call evolution “observable scientific fact”? How enlightened our age.
Persecution like this is not limited to Virginia; it is happening all over the country in one of the most momentous scientific paradigm battles of the century. Evolution is controversial, whether the Darwin Party realizes it or not. It is tearing this country apart (see 05/24/2005, 05/13/2005 and 05/05/2005 entries, and another recent example in Utah from the Salt Lake Tribune). It is the defining issue of the culture war. A large majority of the public denies that evolution can explain the complexity of life, and increasing numbers of scientists are ready to cast Darwin overboard.
Incongruously, the same Darwin Party thugs who shut out debate and forbid access to scrutiny over their incomprehensible Tinker Bell religion are usually the same people who have no problem with any leftist, radical, homosexual-activist, abortion-advocate, Marxist or new-age prophet preaching their dogma unhindered, without any opportunity to opt out. If you’ve had enough and can’t take this any more, do something. Start by getting informed: about the evidence, the history of science, the law, and the right strategy to combat today’s incorrigible dogmatists, the Darwinians.* Attend your school board meetings. Write effective letters. Vote. Push back on the ACLU, the NCSE, the Dogmatists United For Separation of Reason and State, and the other pro-Darwin PACs. Their censorship will only succeed if the citizens let it.