In the recent spat about Chancellor Blackketter inviting Greg Gianforte to speak at commencement, all the letter writers I’ve seen to date seem to think that the objections to Mr. Gianforte’s speech are based on either his religion or his wealth. Nothing could be more wrong. In the past the vast majority of Tech’s commencement speakers have been religious and all of them have been well-to-do. The objection to Mr. Gianforte is that he is a creationist.
For years, creationists across the country have been trying to get the Biblical story of creation inserted into school curricula at every level from pre-school to university. They have used fair means and foul to force teachers, school boards, and school administrators to pass off Bible stories as scientific truth. They have ruined teachers’ careers.
The creationists are the reason we have students today, in the 21st century, graduating and going out into the world thinking that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that mankind was created by an intelligent being in one day. But it’s much worse than that. In comparison to students in other developed countries, American students are getting worse and worse every year and the creationists are largely to blame.
Why? In their passion to pass on their dogma, creationists have eroded student credibility in the American educational system. You can’t tell a young person “Don’t believe this, or that, or the other when you get to class,” and expect them to believe everything else.
If you tell students the school is lying, they’re not likely to believe much of the rest of the curriculum either. And when students believe that a school is telling them something less than the truth, they’re not going to learn very much. Instead of being a place where young people go to learn the facts and skills to help them towards happiness and financial success, school now becomes a place the law says you have to go to until you turn 18.
Creationists need to recognize that Evolution is a scientific fact and that Bible stories are appropriate for church and family but not a publicly funded institution. Inviting Mr. Gianforte to speak at Tech commencement is like the FBI inviting Edward Snowden. Tech should un-invite Mr. Gianforte.
— Dave Carter, Ph.D., 215 S. Western St., professor emeritus, Montana Tech