Monday, February 26, 2007

"Creationism is not science": Why does this bug me?

On one of my favorite education blogs, Kitchen Table Math, the sequel, I ran across a statement that bothered me:

Constructivism is to education what creationism is to science.

(For those of you who don't follow the "education wars", constructivism is the educational philosophy that believes that children truly learn only when they "discover" the information themselves; KTM is strongly anti-constructivist.)

On the surface it seems to say that creationism, as a religious belief that is unprovable and taken on faith, is not science (I completely agree). Thus, it implies that constructivism is treated more as an article of faith than as a theory (that's certainly true), and has left the realm of education. So, why does this bug me?

The reason is the context behind the comparison. The person who made this statement believes that constructivism clearly failed in the real world, and the only way to deny this fact is to close your eyes to the overwhelming evidence. They think that constructivists are either supreme idiots or intellectually dishonest, whose selfish insistence on inflicting a beloved, yet damaging, teaching method on schools has ruined millions of children's educations.

Given all the above, who else can we find that properly exemplifies the art of clinging to one's pitiful, tattered beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence while causing untold damage in the process? Why, creationists, of course!

Apparently creationists are such an obvious example of selfish irrationality that comparing constructivism to us is meant to be a devastating insult. (It works, too. As one of the commenters pointed out, most constructivists hate ID with a passion. I'll let the fact that ID != creationism slide this time.)

While I'm not thrilled that creationists are seen as intellectually bankrupt, what really bothers me is the implication that blind faith in an educational theory is intellectually and morally equivalent to devout religious belief.

1 comment:

Dr. Luther in the 21st Century said...

If being a creationist means that I am irrational than I will endeavor to be irrational boldly.