Darwin In, Religion Out in Youngstown Schools

Krish Mohip

In May 2016, Patheos’ “Friendly Atheist” revealed that the Youngstown, Ohio city schools were showing a video by Creationist Adnan Oktar (also known by his nom de plume, Harun Yahya), in the classroom as a part of the 10th-grade curriculum.

Zack Kopperlin from the “Daily Beast”, wrote:

“A curriculum map … recommends teachers in this public school district show a creationist video, ‘Cambrian Fossils and the Creation of Species’ as part of 10th-grade education. The video claims that the Cambrian Explosion ‘totally invalidates the theory of evolution.’”

The Cambrian Explosion was a period of time about 55,000,000 years ago during which the number of species experienced a rapid (in evolutionary terms) expansion. Christian Creationists often point to this as evidence for creation by God.

The curriculum map also included showing the videos “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “Darwin’s Dilemma”.

Both of the latter videos were produced by Discovery Institute which promotes intelligent design.

Now, however, things have changed. Youngstown Schools’ new CEO, Crish Mohip, declared that his schools will no longer allow any non-scientific religious dogma to be taught. The new CEO is planning to follow a curriculum that is fully in line with the guidelines as stated by the Education Department of Ohio. Those guidelines direct schools and institutions to base their education “completely on a scientific approach and to avoid all religious and pseudoscientific beliefs.”

The new measures began in the 2016-17 academic year. All references to religious, paranormal, supernatural, and other such nonscientific data are completely eliminated.

Mohip expects lawsuits and protests by religious groups and institutions. However, he is confident that his decision is in line with the directives of Ohio’s Education Department and therefore perfectly legal.

The decision by the Youngstown CEO can be seen as a win for Secularists in the battle between the religious who are fighting to keep religious doctrine in schools and Atheists who are putting up an equal fight to keep American schools secular.

Photo Credits: WKBN Canfield, Ohio

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