Wednesday, September 05, 2007

John Tory: My Faith-Based Schools Plan Will Allow The Teaching Of Creationism

From The Star:

John Tory spent the morning promoting his $400 million election campaign promise to introduce public funding for faith-based schools and acknowledged that under the plan, schools would be allowed teach controversial subjects such a creationism.

“They teach evolution in the Ontario curriculum but they also could teach the facts to the children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Christian beliefs,” the Progressive Conservative Leader told reporters.

Not only does his plan admittedly allow the teaching of Creationism but in the second paragraph he also seems to be endorsing Creationism, at least to the point of referring to it as a theory among other scientific theories.

John Tory has just crossed the line from wrong to crazy, IMHO, and I think he has just lost any hope of winning this election or even holding Dalton McGuinty to a Minority. In fact I suspect he has lost any ability to recast the Ontario Conservatives as a "Centrist" party under his leadership. My prediction: one thumping defeat and out for John Tory.

Yo Kinsella, time to whip out your old Barney doll!

Update: A couple of people in my comments section, and at Cherniak's place, think that we are misinterpreting Tory's words. That is not impossible. However, the most logical interpretation of the quote above is that "they" teach Evolution in the curriculum but could also teach that "there are other theories" which are alternatives to Evolution. So Creationism gets promoted to the status of a theory, and these religious schools get to teach this fact--that there are theories which are alternatives to Evolution. They get to "teach the controversy", as it were. Well, this wording sounds very much like the platform of the Intelligent Design movement down in the U.S. And the ID people want both Evolution and its alternatives taught in science class; that is why they have spent so much effort trying to show that ID meets the definition of theory.

17 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

The CONS really can't get the issue right, can they? They still believe Creationism is a scientific theory. And these are the same rightwingers who bitch and moan all the time about the state of science teaching in public education.

Fuck. Round 'em all up and ship 'em off to the Arctic or something.

I was taught the creation myth in Catholic school...during Catechism. It was never discussed as science.

Jay said...

You'd think he was running as leader of the The Family Coalition Party.

Some centrist.

Anonymous said...

Could you zealots re-read the article. Here is what John Tory said

{b]"there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Christian beliefs"[/b]

That creationism could be taught as a Christian belief, not as science.

Tory is a moderate and a centrist. Creationism is already taught in Catholic schools as a religious belief, Tory is saying nothing new.

Signed atheist swing voter

Gila said...

I invited John Tory to visit my children's school, which he did today. It is my opinion that we all have our own religion, even if that "religion" is to not believe in any religion - this is our own personal set of values and ideals.
Canada supports multiculturalism and that means helping people maintain and preserve their culture/religion. There is absolutely no point to having faith-based education if we aren't going to teach our faith! My interpretation was thatJohn Tory was trying to explain that all the schools will be obligated to teach Ontario's general curriculum. Then, in the religious studies courses they can discuss how their religion believes in something different, not better or worse, just different, and how their religion differs from what the secular education teaches and hopefully how their religions teachings differ from other religions! We all have different priorities for our children. I respect your priorities if they include French language immersion, Arts, Sports, etc. Why is it so hard for you to support my priorities - an education of all the basic core subjects as well as history, religious studies and the language of my "bible" (torah) which is in Hebrew?

jlandau said...

What difference does it make whether students learn Creationism or Evolution (although they should be aware of both). Religious people who believe in creationism, as well as agnostics and skeptics who do not -- all fit well and work well for the betterment of society provided they are well grounded in all core subjects and the 3 Rs.

So lets make sure that all students, whether in faith based schools or non faith based schools, are well grounding in reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. - and not worry about obviously nuanced differences in society such as creationism vs. evolution. There is room for all types. And John Tory's plan will go a long way to making sure that those in non-Catholic faith based schools will have to pass standardized tests on the 3 Rs. That is a good thing.

Ti-Guy said...

My interpretation was thatJohn Tory was trying to explain that all the schools will be obligated to teach Ontario's general curriculum.

The problem, Gila, is that's not what he said. We all know that there is a creeping anti-science coming through with creationism and people who support quality education should be justifiably alarmed.

With regard to faith and education...some elements of faith are simply incompatible with liberalism and democracy and some are downright hateful and it's valid for all of us to question how much of that can be supported through the public education system.

Mostly though, at this point in time, I think Tory is pandering to special interest groups and marginals and I don't think it's in most our interests to expand faith based education at this time.

Anonymous said...

Hi BCLSB,
Mr Tory has a problem.
The majority of his base that he is appealing to with this private / faith based funding proposal, want only one thing...the money. They don't and won't be told what to teach.
Apparently Mr Tory is discovering this as he daily massages the message.
Many of the schools he proposes to fund have no intention of teaching the provincial curriculum...so now he is apparently ammending the curriculum.
What a mess the man has created by trying to keep the promise he made to faith groups to get elected leader of the "Tory Candidates Party"

Anonymous said...

"What difference does it make whether students learn Creationism or Evolution"

Basically, by not teaching evolution you are making the children biological illiterates. So much of today's biological research depends and/or makes assumptions from evolutionary theory we'd get left behind in those fields if the kids weren't taught it.

There is way too much genetic information out there. If evolution did not hold up, it would have been discredited by now.

That said, I see little harm in discussing some of the difficulties people have with evolutionary theory (that's what science is all about), but from a scientific perspective, it's the most credible theory we have and should be the only one taught in a science class.

richard said...

"obviously nuanced differences in society such as creationism vs. evolution."

Good grief! Please stay the heck out of my school!

Anonymous said...

Is Ontario about to merge with Kansas?

Filling kids heads with absurd and primitive science fiction myths as facts is dangerous and quite immoral.
It seems that Conservatives relish an intellectually infantile population.

Religion should be marginalized as it makes people stupid.

John Tory is stark raving mad and dangerous.

Jay said...

Gila,
There is a very big reason why only evolution should be taught.

Namely understanding the biology of themselves in relation to the species they evolved from and the world around them.

How do you expect to have children that will understand what stem cells are or especially as seen in the news today, stem cells made up of two different animals, one being human. If you don't understand that all animals on this planet and this includes humans evolved from one to another and so on to what we see today they will be completely lost trying to understand hybridization. Sure he/she may never have to deal with it or even hear about it but hiding away and pretending its not there is not an appropriate way to lead a normal life.

Then we have cross species organ transplant. The lowly pig is used quite often. How do you expect to understand how you can even do it? Its just as well they put a stick in because you will never reconcile how it works without evolution.

Without evolution you cannot even begin to understand why drugs are tested on animals before people.

Don't even think about gene therapy, doesn't exist in your universe obviously. Neither does your canola oil exist.

Science and especially biology and genetics is what enable us to even have a medical system.

Get the point?

BEAJ said...

There should be no faith based funding at all. Faith based education only creates more segregation at a time that is crucial in the West to for example, keep an eye on Muslim children in a non faith based public school.

Creation belongs in school as much as evolution belongs in church, although I wouldn't be upset if evolution had to be taught in churches.

Tory committed political suicide.

Mike said...

"not worry about obviously nuanced differences in society such as creationism vs. evolution."

Nuanced differences? Creationism is a myth, not supported by any facts or evidence and provably false. It is not science. Evolution is fact, has been proven over and over and continues to get evidence.

That is not nuanced. And which "creationism" should be taught? The myth held by the Christian-Jews-Muslims? Or the dream time myth of Australian Aborigines? Maybe Erik Von Daneken's Chariots of the Gods version?

There is no equivalence between creationism and evolution. Anyone that thinks there is, is a fool.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me - are they planning to get rid of churches and synagogues and mosques? Isn't that where religion is taught? Do the clerics not teach religion any more?

Talking about doubling up on costs - pay for religious buildings and pay for religion to be taught in schools.

If John Tory wants to be seen as an old progressive conservative, why is he acting like a republican?

Janice Reemer said...

Any suggestion that John Tory "favors" or "supports the teaching of creationism" is either Liberal spin, sloppy reporting, or some combination of both.

I think John has been very clear all along that any independent schools that wish to receive public funding would be required to implement the Ontario curriculum (as well as hiring only certified teachers and testing their students using the province's standardized tests).

The Ontario curriculum does not allow the teaching of creationism or any other religious belief or theory in science classes, Those subjects can, however, be part of a religious studies class - as they are right now in many of Ontario's public and Catholic schools.

So Tory's policy would mean that the theory of creation would be handled no differently in independent schools than it is in schools which currently receive public education funding.

Further, his policy would ensure that those faith based schools would have to start following the Ontario curriculum, using only certified teachers, and implementing standardized testing if they wanted to receive any funding from the government.

Ti-Guy said...

Any suggestion that John Tory "favors" or "supports the teaching of creationism" is either Liberal spin, sloppy reporting, or some combination of both.

Can't we also blame this on John Tory being incredibly inept? I sure can...

Ti-Guy said...

By the way, "Janice Remeer"...I saw the exact same comment over at Cathie From Canada's, but posted under the name "Joanne Lithgrow."

...Is plagiarism the kind of behaviour supporters of faith-based education should be modeling?