This Is Why I Hate Watching the “News” March 25, 2009

This Is Why I Hate Watching the “News”

In the brief clip below, Katie Couric makes a bold claim about Creationism:

Actually, here’s her quotation:

“But if schools want to dispute the notion of evolution or give students an alternative theory like Creationism, perhaps it should be taught in Religion class, not Science.

Wow. Science ought to be taught in a Science classroom. That takes balls.

While I’m glad she said it, here’s why it’s ineffective.

First, she says this as if it’s a unique opinion. Earth-shattering, it is not. It’s what any educated person would have said.

Second, Creationism is best suited for discussion in a Mythology class, not a Religion class.

Finally, why the qualifier? “Perhaps it should be taught in Religion class”? Perhaps?! Why not use your anchorperson powers and call out these Creation-proponents for what they are: zealots who are illegally pushing for their faith to be taught as a legitimate scientific theory when in fact their belief has no basis in reality, has never withstood any scientific rigor, and has no business being taught to students who want a quality education.

If she said something like that, I might actually watch her.

(via Atheist Media Blog)


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  • Luther Weeks

    Second, Creationism is best suited for discussion in a Mythology class, not a Religion class.

    Come on. Religion should be taught in Mythology class. In my book “Religion” is a subset of Mythology. The only difference might be is that Religion is Mythology that some still believe.

  • Second, Creationism is best suited for discussion in a Mythology class, not a Religion class.

    What is the criteria for this division?

  • Aj

    It sounded to me like she was prescribing teaching an alternative to evolution, instead of the correct stance of teaching students about the various creation myths some people believe. Whether that happens in science, religion, or geography class doesn’t really help.

  • Ed

    “Second, Creationism is best suited for discussion in a Mythology class, not a Religion class.”

    What is the criteria for this division?

    Mythology are merely stories created to provide an explanation for natural phenomena, for example: Greek mythology explained lightnings by saying they were the result of Zeus’ rage; whereas religion is the performing of rituals based on those beliefs, like Christians going to church every Sunday so their god doesn’t smite them.

    I must say I agree with Hemant, I remember discussing Christian Creationism and other myths used by different civilizations throughout history on my Philosophy class during Highschool, and how those myths are not applicable anymore, since technology has provided us with far more accurate answers. That’s the only way of introducing myths into quality education, by teaching they are just that, myths, and as such they can not be used in our time, since we have better ways of explaining natural phenomena (i.e. the Scientific Method).

  • another Mike

    I don’t even get TV because it is so boring and dumb, but I watched the Couric clip. I didn’t find it as offensive as I expected, having heard many awfully wierd claims about evolution from religionists & just plain dopey people. I went to Wikipedia and looked up KC just for the hell of it, and she sounds like a pretty cool person. Maybe the network bosses are really the ones who think creationism vs. evolution is a toss-up.

  • jmdoran

    Mythology are merely stories created to provide an explanation for natural phenomena, for example: Greek mythology explained lightnings by saying they were the result of Zeus’ rage; whereas religion is the performing of rituals based on those beliefs, like Christians going to church every Sunday so their god doesn’t smite them.

    Actually there is an ongoing debate on both the definition of myth and religion in academia. There is no correct answer, but the one you gave is not particularly popular. There is a lot more to religion than ritual, and there is a lot more to mythology than explanations of natural phenomena. In fact, if you only look at mythology as these kinds of explanations (which you did in highschool?!) you would miss out on most of the content of a myth, as well as ignoring all of the context of its transmission.

    What you’re saying is usually called a Tylorian explanation after E.B. Tylor.

  • Creationism should be taught in science class as part of the progressive and cumulative nature of science. Only two hundred years ago every scientist was a creationist but thanks to the body of evidence and incite by rational minds these ideas have been rejected in favour of evolution, geology, archaeology, etc.

    At best crationism should be a footnote explaining how we got to where we are now. Understanding that should allow students to reject creationism as a subject worthy of study today.

  • Only two hundred years ago every scientist was a creationist

    Rubbish. Even in ancient history there were rational people who saw the universe as a natural entity. But speaking your mind on such things two hundred years ago would not be good for your career (or even personal safety if you go back a little further).

  • Oh, come on Hemant. I think she’s trying, and nitpicking her words is a little mean.

  • SASnSA

    Actually I think it’s an improvement. Try getting something like that out of a Fox newsperson.

  • Michael Parmeley

    Oh, come on Hemant. I think she’s trying, and nitpicking her words is a little mean.

    +1

    I think everyone understood what she was saying. Complaining about her qualifiers is a little much.

  • i am a dodt

    Hey, at least she made the proposition that creationism doesn’t belong in a science class. Her tone sounded to me like the “perhaps” was more for emphasis rather than expressing an uncertainty. I could be wrong, though, since I don’t watch tv.

  • I agree with i am a dodt. “Perhaps” sounded like a figure of speech. I use “perhaps” all the time when pointing out something that should be obvious.

    Also, keep in mind that this is mainstream media. Mainstream media = dependent on advertising = need broad audience reach = need to appease crazy creationists lest they switch to FOX. While the mainstream media hold a lot of advantages as a result of their broad audience reach and advertising funding, they are also limited by it, because they have to keep appealing to that audience in order to keep pulling in the ad dollars. Thus, mainstream media tend to self-censor a lot more than alternative media. So, while we might want Couric to say all those things, and while even Couric herself might want to say them, I doubt it’ll happen until evolution is more widely accepted in the US. Couric isn’t marketed as a pundit or commentator. She’s primarily an anchor and journalist and she needs to play that role to keep her audience. So yeah, I think it definitely makes sense for her to soften her comments a little, even if I would prefer her to take a firmer stance.

  • I don’t hold it against her for using the disclaimer “perhaps.” She’s got an image to keep….unfortunately, when you’re that high on the social ladder (and in the homes of millions of angry Creationists and atheists/evolution-acknowledgers alike), you have to be so astutely careful with what you say and how you say it that it’s very difficult to say what you mean without the wrong image slipping through.

    Given the standard of our media today, though, I’d stand behind what she said sooner than I’d stand behind certain others.

  • Wow, I thought we in Norwegian didn’t get into this debate, but this week we got our first “teacher claims to know evolution is wrong” newspaper story. I really feel sorry for you guys in the US, it seems you fight this nonsense every day!

  • I also think the “perhaps” was a figure of speach to really mean it should be obvious. Perhaps I would have said it the same way.

    As for Mythology vs religion… Every society has its founding myths. Religion is optional.