Lake Zurich School Board Candidates Retract Pro-Creationism Statements March 6, 2011

Lake Zurich School Board Candidates Retract Pro-Creationism Statements

Last week, I was disturbed to see all four candidates for the Lake Zurich Unit District 95 school board admit to believing in Creationism.

But they’re quickly retracting their statements.

In a separate telephone interview, [Doug] Goldberg said he misunderstood the context of the original question.

Goldberg said he’s researched the issue since the original Daily Herald interview session and understands teaching creationism in science class is against the law.

In a separate telephone interview, [Tony] Pietro said he misunderstood the question and didn’t remember that it specifically referred to science classes.

“I would like to retract the comment as it pertains to creationism in the science classroom,” he said. “Creationism is not a scientific theory, and creationism has no place in a science classroom.”

[Jim] Burke could not be reached for comment Friday. At the previous night’s public forum, he said he has never supported creationism in science class and that “any quote that may make it look like I do has been taken out of context.”

Chris Wallace, the only non-incumbent in the race, sticks by his statement that creationism is fact and evolution is “just a theory.”

I don’t really buy that the three incumbents had no idea what they were talking about.

Pietro knew damn well what Creationism was last week:

Pietro believes creationism should be taught in science class to give students “as much information as possible” about the origins of life.

“I think we can say this is a theory,” he said Thursday. “None of us were here when man was created.”

How is that a misunderstanding? That’s a Creationist talking point right there.

Goldberg previously said he wanted to add Creationism to the science curriculum, but now he’s saying he knows it’s against the law? Forget if he’s being honest about that — that’s still a shitty answer. The law isn’t the reason Creationism should be kept out of science class. Creationism should be kept out of science class because it’s not science.

At the very best, the three candidates retracting their statements have acknowledged that they aren’t up to date about one of the biggest fake “controversies” in the past couple decades. Does anyone really want to put them in charge of the curriculum for thousands of children?

The full District 95 Board of Education was so embarrassed by all this, they released a statement (PDF) explaining how Creationism has no place in the schools:

… The Illinois Learning Standards and the laws of Illinois do not allow for the teaching of creationism in science class, and we do not do so.

For at least the past six years during which current Board members have been seated, never once has the subject of creationism been discussed or even mentioned. No sitting Board member has ever asked to have the issue of creationism put on a meeting agenda, nor has any current Board member expressed plans to do so. Simply put, the issue of whether to teach creationism in a science class is not a controversy that exists in District 95. It is a controversy that has been created by an article published by the Daily Herald last Friday.

That’s a relief. But it would be better if all the candidates who wanted to be taken seriously — Wallace is excluded here — just said outright that Creationism is bullshit.

Maybe then, the people in Lake Zurich could consider voting for their re-election.

On a side note, this is a perfect example of what happens when we publicize these people who want to Christianize the curriculum. In the better school districts, they will retract their statements. But only after we hold their feet to the fire.

It’d be even better if we had some educated people with science backgrounds running for these positions.

(via Jerry Coyne)

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  • Steve

    Burke and Wallace were the only candidates to acknowledge the law’s limitations on teaching creationism. Burke said he wouldn’t try to get around the law, while Wallace said people must work within the law, “or you change the law.”

    That law is the fucking First Amendment. He apparently has been told “it’s against the law”, but doesn’t understand exactly why.


    Pietro said creationism should still be taught, but only if it’s explained as a theory.


    But good to hear that the entire school board isn’t like that. There is still hope.

  • qwertyuiop

    So the board acknowledges that Creationism has no place in the schools, but it lets these people run for election?

  • Jonas

    Still waiting for the day School Board Candidates honestly say what Creationism is — Part of a Christian Religious view which tries to make literal sense of the Genesis Creation myth. — Then Give suggestions for where it might be taught :

    History – In the context of the Scopes Trial.

    Religious Literacy – (Can schools still teach about religion, without pushing any specific one)
    – I had private school, but we read Pearl S. Buck’s ‘The Story Bible’ and learned about Greek & Roman Gods.

  • Kevin S.

    Not sure what the rules are with public schools teaching religion – obviously, public universities can have academic courses on various religions, but I don’t know if any high schools can. Probably just asking for overzealous schoolboard members to turn the classroom into a pulpit.

    Also, creationism is not a theory, it’s a hypothesis. I love how creationists misuse terminologies of uncertainty to give evolution and creationism equal footing in a science class when creationism doesn’t even meet the standard for the term they use to deride evolution.

  • Kevin S.

    Also, is the Theogony an acceptable theory for science classes? If we’re allowing creation myths and all…

  • Steve

    To be fair, most of these hobby creationists don’t intentionally misuse the term in order to deceive people. They are just so stupid and ignorant that they don’t know what the word means.

  • Annie

    @ Kevin- Here in Florida, my daughter is learning about world religions in her middle school world history class. The unit came right after their Greek and Roman myths unit, which I thought was fitting.

    These retractions seem like common political BS… say what you think people want to hear, and if you misread the public, retract the statement and say it was “out of context”. I agree with Steve here… they didn’t really understand what they were even saying, they were just trying to pander to as many voters as possible.

  • iota

    Creationism is not even an hypothesis and we should stop calling it “creationism”. It is a story from one book and nothing more.

  • Melanie Dawn

    So they are liars on top of being creationists trying to get elected to a school board. Why am I not surprised?

  • Kevin S.

    Eh, the myth is the story, the various guises it gets packaged under are hypothoses. Thoroughly debunked hypothoses.

  • Baconsbud

    I would say that who can be on a school broad needs to be reevaluated. I would say all school broads should have at least half their members coming from the education field and the other have can come from the general public. I would then have a final member who only has a vote in the case of a tie. Most Americans in the general public hasn’t got a good handle on what is really needed within education to better prepare the children of tomorrow. I don’t follow many of these types of election but it does seem to me most running for school broads often turn to religious issue to get themselves elected. They seem to forget that the school broads job is to insure the best possible education for the students.

  • Rich Wilson

    It is a story from one book and nothing more.

    Well, to be fair, there are lots of books about creationism. I like the one about how in the beginning the world was all water, and turtle swam to the bottom and brought back a bit of mud to make the first land.

    But is is <smirk>just a theory</smirk>.

  • Richard Wade

    If creationism is taught in science classes, I DEMAND that Ozism also be taught. We have the same type of evidence for the existence of the Land of Oz as we have for the story of Genesis:

    It’s in a book!

    Actually, I DEMAND that Ozism be taught as FACT and Genesis be taught as “just” a theory, since L. Frank Baum wrote 17 books about Oz. Seventeen times as much evidence! Take that, Chris Wallace!

  • Jeff

    Chris Wallace, the only non-incumbent in the race, sticks by his statement that creationism is fact and evolution is “just a theory.”

    They should trot him out in front of the kids as a cautionary tale. “You see, children – this is what is known as a douchebag“.

  • Well, to be fair, there are lots of books about creationism. I like the one about how in the beginning the world was all water, and turtle swam to the bottom and brought back a bit of mud to make the first land.

    Yup, there are lots of creation stories out there.

    Methinks the Religious Right doesn’t want any of those other myths talked about in science class.

  • Steve

    I love how Rick Gervais put it. They wouln’t want kids to learn about Hinduism and the world turtle. Nothing can compete with turtles!

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