Brentwood School Board candidates asked to clarify: creationism vs. evolution

A conversation about teaching creationism vs. evolution began when Brentwood resident, Robin Duntze, pointed out that four out of five candidates at the League of Women Voters forum last week said they favored teaching both, and sent a letter to 40 South, favoring teaching just evolution.

Duntze on Monday sent an open challenge to the Brentwood School Board candidates to clarify their views in writing.

Creationism Questions for School Board Candidates

  1. Do you support teaching creationism in science classes? If so, how do you reconcile the following:
    How does creationism align with the scientific method?
    How does creationism meet DESE’s Missouri Learning Standard that “Genetic variation sorted by the natural selection process explains evidence of biological evolution”?
  2. How does creationism explain the fossil record and carbon dating?
  3. If you support teaching creationism, what textbook would you recommend adopting for high school biology?
  4. Do you think that teaching creationism would affect Brentwood students’ scores on the science portion of standardized tests?
  5. Do you think that teaching creationism would affect Brentwood’s dual credit articulation with UMSL and St. Louis University?
  6. Would you support the teaching of non-Christian creation myths in a science class?
  7. How would you handle non-Christian students, families, and others who objected to being required to learn biblically-based creationism?

19 thoughts on “Brentwood School Board candidates asked to clarify: creationism vs. evolution

  1. Gee…why do all these people who portray themselves as defenders of science so vociferously want to insulate their kids from competing viewpoints? Sounds like they want indoctrination, not education. Truth is, there are numerous respected scientists who support both sides of this controversy. Shouldn’t our kids be aware of this? Truth will emerge. Mind police only obstruct the process.

    • No, there are not numerous respected scientists who support both sides of this controversy. There are only discredited hacks like Michael Behe and the Discovery Institute.

      “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it.”
      Neil deGrasse Tyson

  2. Close public schools. Reduce taxes accordingly. Allow dynamic and responsive free enterprise to provide a variety of education services on the open market. Shop where you want. The best methods and preferred services will win.

    • Our nation was built on public schools and opportunity for all. Your solution would be a race to the bottom.

  3. I appreciate the perspective and the letter submitted by Robin Duntze. I’d like to clarify my position on creationism vs. evolution. As a mechanical engineer, my education and my professional life are both based and reliant on science. When the question was posed, my first thought was closer to the response that Lindsay Spencer replied with. I’m a very objective person and like to have all of the facts in front of me when making decisions of any type. I listen thoroughly to those who have different opinions than I do because there may be something that I can learn from seeing the discussion at hand from someone else’s perspective. As an engineer, you have to be open to different ways of thinking if you hope to solve complex problems. As I was responding to the question posed by the moderator, what I was trying to articulate was that our students should be well educated. We should do what we can to ensure they are as informed as they can be when they leave our schools and take their next steps in life. Understanding that there is this idea out there called ‘creationism’ and understanding what it is would certainly not be harmful to our children. I did not intend for my answer to imply that I would support a curriculum based on creationism. I soundly believe that our curriculum needs to be science based and would oppose any changes to that direction. I also do not believe that any of the candidates who responded similarly would support any curriculum changes away from science, based on the responses that I heard and what I know of them.

    • Unfortunately, Mr. Brouillet, if you felt that you had insufficient information to make a decision, as you have stated, you should have said so, rather than agreeing that creationism should be taught. Being taught a subject or theory is quite different than being informed….and our schools are charged with teaching science rather than informing students on religious doctrine. Where in the science curriculum were you thinking that you would expose them to the idea of creationism? And where in the science curriculum do you feel this theory could be introduced without contradicting the scientific method which is integral to the study of science? Nevertheless, I appreciate that you have clarified your response.

      • Clarence, with your experience I’m sure you are the most knowledgeable on this subject. I can only think that the place to bring up creationism is in American History class (the Monkey trial in 1925).

    • A swing and a miss. Thanks for playing. Want to try again? Let’s make this simple. Do you support teaching creationism in science classes? Yes or no. That is all that I require. Have the courage of your convictions and give me an answer.
      Please do not speculate on the positions of the other candidates unless you have their consent to do so. I would rather they answer for themselves.

    • Hi Mr. Brouillet. Thanks for taking the time to answer. The sentence you wrote “I soundly believe that our curriculum needs to be science based and would oppose any changes to that direction” seems to answer question 1. That’s pretty clear. I appreciate your training and the need to think out of the box to solve problems. Do you think the addition of some class on creationism would be beneficial to our students – make them more well-rounded?

      • Mr. Brouillet, please answer Karen Laseter’s excellent question.
        “Do you think the addition of some class on creationism would be beneficial to our students- make them more well rounded?”
        Karen is 100% right. We need to ensure that our students are well-rounded and able to think out of the box. We should add classes on voodoo, black magic, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, astral projection, and alien abductions. I welcome other suggestions.
        Based on your comment that it is “pretty clear” that Mr. Brouillet “seems” to answer question 1, a class in clear and concise writing is needed as well as a class on critical thinking and analysis.
        Karen, keep pushing the candidates to answer your questions. Your comments are insightful.

    • Mr. Brouillet,
      I applaud you for being the only candidate so far to attempt to answer some of my questions. However, your carefully worded response seems to indicate that you don’t want to completely alienate the “teach both sides” crowd. You say that “understanding that there is this idea out there called ‘creationism’ and understanding what it is would certainly not be harmful to our children. ” I agree, with the major caveat that our children need to understand that creationism is a religious doctrine, and therefore it should be discussed in a social studies or humanities class, but not in a science class.
      Where in the curriculum do you propose introducing the concept of creationism?
      Creationism has no place in a public school science class, and in order to earn my vote you will need to unequivocally state that you oppose teaching creationism in science classes.

  4. Good people of Brentwood, do not allow religious zealots on your school board or any part of government where they will govern using religious texts rather than the U.S. Constitution. Remind them if they want a theocracy perhaps they should move to Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Israel…..

  5. I would like to hear each candidate answer these questions. One would think that since a candidate answered “yes” to teaching creationism, the candidate would have already given thoughtful consideration to the questions Dr. Duntze raises. We are only asking that said candidate share their thoughts on this change in curriculum.

  6. Good questions. Candidates who choose not to answer will give me all the information I need to know about their character. Serving on the school board is a serious responsibility and those who are unwilling to give thoughtful answers to these questions should withdraw or resign.