There’s nothing quite as dangerous for the future of a country (or province) as keeping information from children in their formative years, yet that’s exactly what the Province of Alberta will be doing with one of the proposed revisions to their Human Rights Legislation. They will promote ignorance if the bill passes without changes.
If the bill becomes law, one section of it will allow Alberta parents to remove their children from any class where something that is taught conflicts with their religious view. Religion is not a subject in Alberta schools now, so where’s the problem?
The problem is that science and history will get kicked right where it hurts. A lot of science and history conflicts with fundamentalist religious teachings.
Some creationists tell us that the earth is 6,000 years old, give or take a year or two. Science and common sense tells us that this is a myth and even Alberta creationists and fundamentalists should have some inkling of this. After all, Alberta harbors some of the most ancient dinosaur excavation sites on the continent. But creationists say these were put there on purpose, just a bit of theater by the creator to confuse the picture. According to them men walked alongside dinosaurs and evolution is a myth and a hoax. I wonder if they also flew on the backs of pterodactyls? After all, weren’t the beasts put on earth for the benefit of man? But I digress.
The real problem is that, if removed from class, their kids will not get to learn anything about archeology, geology or evolution. They will have to make sense of the world with only a part of the information available to them. Somewhat like trying to run on one leg.
Astronomy could be another area where kids would be withdrawn from class because some strict creationists still believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. And Galileo and Copernicus never lived? I haven’t heard that one yet, but I do know that the church of the day tried to shut them down . Exactly what the proposed legislation would do to some kids’ opportunity to learn.
I’m sure that some parents will consider the content of other classroom subjects to be not what their particular brand of religion says. The history of the Middle East would certainly contain the seeds of objection, just to name one.
So did the legislators intend to support the beliefs of the parents, no matter what? Did they really wish to support parents if they decide to raise dumbed down kids? Information is what lets us to explore and compare conflicting ideas and develop critical thinking. This proposed law will only serve to spread ignorance. I can’t believe that was the original intent, although it most certainly would be a foreseeable by-product.
Not giving kids a chance to form their own conclusions is a denial of their right to learn and to come to their own conclusions. The freedom to form independent conclusions should also be a basic human right. This can’t be done without full information on hand.
It’s time some Alberta legislators looked beyond political expediency and their own personal biases. Don’t shortchange the future generations. Look at the opportunities some kids will be missing and look at some of the dead-end ideas that will be perpetuated.
Isn’t it time for people and legislators to realize that religious fundamentalism of any kind is a danger not just in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but right here in Canada as well? So why encourage it?