Actually, I’m trying to get away from discussions concerning creationism and Intelligent Design, since I think in the last couple of years everything there’s to say about it has already been said. There are topics in the field of science and religion that are more interesting, rewarding, and fruitful. However, every once in a while I simply come across something that infuriates me and that I need to write about. Creationist brainwashing strategies to confuse the whit out of young children’s minds is one of them…
One of the things that infuriates me is brainwashing children with nonsense. There’s a lot of nonsense floating around in Western culture nowadays. Unfortunately, much of that nonsense is religious in character, creationism being a brilliant example. Just take a look at the following blog entry, written by someone who actually had the nerves to pick up an American homeschooling textbook, to see what children are actually taught. The textbook is breathtaking in its stupidity.
The analysis of the book is thorough, and it’s especially interesting to actually see the rhetoric strategy of the book unfold in one blog entry. The strategy of the textbook writers is to start right away with young earth creationism, and then slowly move to more established areas of knowledge. The blog writer explains the underlying psychology as follows:
By going strong on God early, sprinkling in a few Bible quotes throughout, and occasionally dropping in a completely ridiculous page like the one on electricity, the book comes off more like a propaganda tool than an educational one. All that science in the middle is presented on equal footing with all the young-Earth creation theory in the first chapter — and with the pages on electricity and the Moon’s role in the Rapture. It sets everything up to be an all-or-nothing truth. “Well, all this matter-of-fact science I’m reading seems very thorough and researched, so the stuff I read earlier about the Moon and Biblical theory must be right too, by association.”
It’s like me saying, “I don’t believe in creationism, intelligent design or talking dogs.” By putting the last one in, I’m suggesting all three are equal. I’m suggesting creationism is as outlandish as a talking dog. And to an eight-year-old reading that, that subtext can sneak right on in.
Very, very clever – even devious. The blog writer’s conclusion is therefore absolutely true:
This isn’t a real textbook. It’s, at best, a flawed book that confuses the issue of science and faith and, at worst, a deliberate effort to insidiously brainwash children with inaccurate information to discredit anything except one belief system.
Fortunately, homeschooling in Europe is as yet a relatively rare phenomenon, but also in the Netherlands there is an increasing number of fundamentalist or orthodox parents who claim that even the most right-wing orthodox school is not good enough for their kids, because of the government’s insistence on teaching established science, and thus evolutionary theory, in schools. These parents are insisting on homeschooling, but luckily our secular government is still able to put a brake on this phenomenon. But for how much longer?
I consider myself a religious person, but God forbid that a time comes in which some Dutch children are brainwashed by the made-up nonsense of religious fanatics…